Final Fantasy IV first released on the SNES in 1991, and quickly cemented itself as one of the greatest games of all time. Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, IV had a very strong plot which still holds up today as an epic tale of redemption and sacrifice, as well as quite possibly the best character line-up of any Final Fantasy game.
20 years later, and here we are, with 'Final Fantasy IV - The Complete Collection.' And it is truly complete. The UMD disc contains the original Final Fantasy IV game (with 'high definition 2D,' as some call it) as well as the previously Wii-exclusive 'The After Years,' which chronicles what happens after the rather open end of the main game. Bridging FFIV and The After Years is a completely new episode titled 'Interlude,' which, although short, serves its purpose nicely.
The gameplay is virtually identical to the GBA remake that came out some years ago; a relief to me as I personally found Final Fantasy IV on the DS a little too hard, and so The Complete Collection's difficulty is just right for me -- you'll still be using strategy and may get your sorry arse kicked by a few bosses, but at least now you won't nearly have half your party wiped out after a couple of random encounters. For those who have never played FFIV, the gameplay is very 'old school JRPG,' with you having an ensemble of characters, each tailored to their own roles (Mage, Warrior, Fighter, etc) who you control in turn based battles against enemies. Breaking up these battles is a huge overworld to explore, lovingly rendered in some of the most beautiful sprite art I've ever seen.
And the graphics truly are lovely. They manage to be evocative of the original's 16-bit graphics whilst simultaneously not looking too outdated; I personally hated the cutesy blocky 3D graphics of the DS remake, and so I find this perfect. The only issue is that some scenes in the DS version can sometimes be more cinematic, and so a few more CGI movies at key moments wouldn't have gone amiss here.
The music is absolutely wonderful, with the lovely option to be able to switch between the 'remastered' soundtrack and the original SNES soundtrack on the fly. I personally prefer the former, but I know there will be many nostalgic people who'd prefer to listen to the soundtrack in 16 bit glory. No voice acting, which is to be expected, although I did find it quite nice in the DS version; an option to enable/disable voice acting would not have gone amiss.
All in all, you couldn't hope for a better package for Final Fantasy IV -- if the DS remake was the director's cut, then this is the definitive, extended edition. With well over 40 hours of gameplay here, this game will keep you going for a while.
An excellent addition to the PSP, and well worth the purchase. If you're not a fan of classic JRPGs, though, this probably isn't for you.