Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. Some of these i may stream or play on my own.
Long time Final Fantasy fans know the US release of FF2 on the SNES was a dumbed down version from the original project of FF4. It was later called “easytype” for a reason. FF4 Ultima fixes that. You can call it the FF4 Deluxe Collector’s Edition package. FF4 Ultima by 8-bit fan keeps the plot going and makes TONS of changes to everything. The plot script is cleaner and makes more sense, you got new changes in the overworld, underworld and even the moon! Expect to get lost if you try to take the normal way to the Towel of Bab-il in the underground from the Dwarf Castle! Look out for new areas in familiar dungeons and caves too! New places to take the Hovercraft too! Best way to explain the changes is this list from the page on romhacking.net and the FF4 Ultima website:
List of features, additions and changes:
- Party Swapping among 10 different members at Endgame!!
- Dark Knight Cecil now available at endgame!!
- A VERY Challenging BOSS RUSH Mode unlocked at endgame!!
- New Game+ mode with higher MAX level/stats!!
- 45 New Weapons! Including Magically Imbued Weapons!
- 50 New Spells! Also revamped existing spells!
- 32 New Bosses! Brand New Boss at Endgame with Randomized AI!
- New Status ‘Aura’ for buffs during battle!!
- Damage Limit increased to 14999! Can turn Encounters On/Off!
- New Areas! New Side Quests! New and Upgradable Commands!!
- New Enemy Graphics! New Events! New Endgame Scenarios!
- New Equipment Screen with DETAILED buffs and stats!!
- New attack/swing/spell animations!
- New weapon graphics!! New sound effects! New items!!
- New maps, new areas and new edits to overworld maps!
- New events! New enemies!! Sprint with the Y button!!
- New commands for characters. New Armors and Gears!
- Revamped shops/equipment and balanced their progression.
- Dark Knight Cecil now dual-wields and is 2-handed!!
- Edge is now buffed offensively! Stealing is also buffed!
- Rydia has also been buffed. It’s a surprise!
- Cecil has been buffed as a tank.
- Rosa can use more White Mage combative gears.
- Kain has new offensive buffing spells.
- Yang, Edward, Palom, Porom and others have also been buffed!
- Rare items and summons now drop much easier! This hack’s main game is designed as a ‘play-through’ without grinding.
- Many enemies now have meaningful rare drops, and all end-game enemies now have rare ultimate drops!
- Lots of secrets that can lead to early acquirement of better equipment!
- Few minor tweaks to the base game such as save points, etc.
- MOST items/equipment are now non-missable. Meaning they will be acquirable in some ways at end-game.
I had a blast with this, this is the best version of FF4 ever! I was surprised how difficult even some of the normal enemy mobs could be by the time i hit the underground and then the moon, old enemies I knew from the vanilla game and new ones! Don’t expect to always use the same techniques you used in the vanilla FF4 to fight some bosses either, or to just go in guns blazing, some bosses have new tricks which could result in a dead party fast. So you may find yourself having to tweak your strategies. New bosses show up at some locations, and they seem placed there organically per plot or in general. Traveling by airship and Big Whale around the new world maps is fun and makes you want to see what’s inside any new locations. Explore everywhere! Some new items can be traded for something ever better too! The new gear is great from beginning to end-game of Ultima. Great that the treasure chests are all useful one way or another and not just crap you’ll have sitting around to sell off or choke your Fat Chocobo with. I was surprised by the cleaner script going along and during important events. Did I mention playing Ultima is the first time I EVER got a Pink Tail from the Pink Puffs after all the years playing snes FF2 and Free Enterprise? XD
Ultima also brings back Japanese only items from FF4 such as the silver and golden apples for increasing hp, sirens for rare enemy calls, the moon and starveil items, and more! Stealing is fun now and doesn’t feel a chore! The game starts out at a normal difficulty about the same as in the original, you’ll find a bump in the difficulty later in the game, then near the end it can get what some old school gamers consider “Nintendo Hard.” There’s also tremendous rewards for beating the superbosses as post-game content in the form of gear and new spells! Expect to die a lot fighting the new bosses and superbosses till you figure out a strategy and their scripts. Expect new areas on the Moon too! I love how some party members in what becomes your end-game party have new abilities and can equip new stuff! Having Rosa using something other than a bow and arrow is so much fun. Being surprised at the new spells and gear is great and the graphics are pretty too! Some members even learn new spells not in the original! Be prepared to run into old favorite bosses from other FF games too! Peeking around I’ve noticed many the new bosses, and end-game ones, are from other FF titles and they seem to have been inserted organically into the game, instead of “oh you’re here, so let’s just add x, y, z here even though it may not make logical sense.” Then again, logic does tend to go out the window at times with a FF title. I mean look at the Big Whale. XD Also worth noting if you’re in areas that you’re familiar with, and you come across a save point that wasn’t in the vanilla game, SAVE, or you’re gonna have a really bad day. When it comes to many of the super bosses at endgame, you don’t have to fight them to win Ultima, but it’s a fun challenge. Though there are some mandatory on your way to Zeromus.
Remember the New Game+ feature on Chrono Trigger and some other games where you can start over at your endgame stats? Well now you can do that in Ultima! Bulldoze your way through most of the game with your party and your improved stats and endgame weapons and have a blast doing it too!
Another new feature is the party swapping! Instead of taking the usual vanilla party (Cecil, Kain, Rosa, Rydia, and Edge) to the moon and back, you can swap them out at endgame for any of the party members you had along your journey. That includes Yang, Palom, Porom, and even Edward! You can even swap back Cecil as a Dark Knight! Of course with these new party members come new upgraded gear for them along with new and upgraded spells so they can survive the endgame journey! There’s also a new boss rush! Ultima tends to reward you if you hoard old equipment for party members not around anymore, including the dark knight stuff when it comes to the party swapping, and in general. So if you’re a rpg hoarder, you’ll enjoy it! I love this idea, and reminds me a lot of how party building works in Free Enterprise!
In conclusion, I love this. If you like any FF game, or FF2/4, give this a try!!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crystals in the Lunar Palace
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