Square Enix is teaming up with Prima Games to release an upcoming box set featuring the official strategy guides for Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX. As you may suspect, the bundle is not cheap (you can find its current price with this link on Amazon). So is the product worth buying or are you better off saving your money on something else? Let’s take a look at a few factors that may influence your purchasing decision on the Final Fantasy Box Set (FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX): Official Game Guides.
About Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII came out in the U.S. in 1997 for the PS1 and was eventually made available for the PC, PS3, PSP and Vita. Square Enix also release an updated PC version of the JRPG for better optimization with newer computer platforms in addition to new features like character boosters. A PS4 port, which is based on the PC iteration, is coming out later this spring as well.
The game itself is not too difficult, especially if you play the previous installments. It uses the Active Time Battle mechanic as you and the opposing forces take turns attacking, defending and more based on how fast your action gauge fills up. You can use magic and other special abilities by equipping Materias.
About Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII was released two years later in 1999 on the PS1 before being released on the PC, PS3, PSP and Vita as well. It also received an enhanced PC update last year, adding boosters to help players out during the more difficult battles.
While the eighth mainline installment also uses the same Active Time Battle mechanic, it replaces Materia with the more complicate Junction system. The enemies in Final Fantasy VIII will always be at the same level as the protagonist. To get an advantage, you have to equip Guardian Force and then use the Junction feature to assign different magic spells to boost your stats.
You can get by most of the game by simply summoning your Guardian Force to defeat enemies. However, a certain boss battle will hinder your progress if you did not properly set up your Junctions. Out of the three mainline Final Fantasy games, you will most likely get stuck the most in Final Fantasy 8.
About Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX launched for the PS1 in 2001. It was then released for the other Playstation platforms: , PS3, PSP and Vita. Unlike the other two games, IX was never ported to the PC.
Final Fantasy IX also uses the Active Time Battle mechanic. Instead of three party members, however, you can use four. You can customize your party by learning abilities from the different equipment you get to equipped.
While there are some difficult battles in the ninth mainline installment, you can should be able to get through it by grinding to higher levels. The only exception to this case is the last boss, who can be very difficult to defeat if you don’t have the right abilities learned and equipped prior to the fight.
About Final Fantasy Box Set (FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX): Official Game Guides
The official strategy guide box set comes with the hardcover releases of the for Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8 and Final Fantasy 9 guides. Of course, you won’t be getting the same content from the older versions. Instead, Prima Games decided to create the new guides from scratch using updated content high-resolution screenshots. This is especially important for the Final Fantasy IX guide, which was barren in content when it came out in 2001 as most of it was locked away on the Play Online website.
Aside from the hardcover designs, the product also comes with a ribbon bookmark as well as three holographic lithographs (one for each game) that are stored behind a slip case with magnetic enclosure. While the product is not cheap, Prima Games and Square Enix did not skip any corners and added some neat extras that will certainly entice hardcore Final Fantasy fans to buy the product.
Being old games and relatively easy in terms of difficulty (with some notable exceptions), the Final Fantasy Box Set (FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX): Official Game Guides may not be a great purchase if you are buying the set to help you beat the JRPGs. Not to mention that you simply can search for plenty of free guides online if you are having trouble with a specific section in either of the three games.
With that said, the box set does make a nice collectible item for hardcore fans of the series with its premium hardcover designs, bookmarks and lithographs. Gamers can use it as a nostalgic references when playing (or replaying) three of the more popular games in the franchise as well.
Final Fantasy Box Set (FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX): Official Game Guides is expected to come out in North America on the 7th of July. If you are interested, you can preorder the bundle from Amazon with this page.