Final Fantasy games have primarily been a single player experience, focussing on story above all else and giving players a very specific experience. The Four Heroes of Light is slightly different. The story element is still there, but the experience can now be shared. Up to four Nintendo DS consoles can be linked up in unison in order to play the game meaning co-operation is key, at least in a multiplayer aspect.
The game can be played in single player as Final Fantasy games usually are, there is no detriment to the story either way it is played. At E3, a single player demo was being demonstrated and in this, the first town and dungeon that players will experience in the first game was shown. Unfortunately the sample shown was distinctly tailor-made for the demo, so any story elements were replaced by dialogue describing gameplay hints and tips.
The first noticeable feature about the game is the art direction. It is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy 3, the re-make that is, and it makes it feel a little underwhelming considering the potential Square Enix can achieve on the system. Gameplay wise, the game is very similar to the Final Fantasy games of old. Turn-based combat has made a comeback and the game is all the better for it, but like the others before it, the combat has a twist. During combat, players earn 'orbs' that contribute to more powerful attacks; essentially they are a replacement for Ability Points (AP) that are found in most other RPG titles.
The combat isn't without its problems however, like how players don't have the choice of who to attack. This isn't a problem during the minor enemies, but towards the bigger fights later on, it could become an issue. Square Enix have more than likely solved that kind of problem though by designing the game around this factor and forcing players to use specific tactics in certain situations. It may take away from the gameplay most Final Fantasy fans are used to, but it may be what newcomers to the series need.
The game will be out later this year exclusively for the Nintendo DS platform. No word on any 3D functionality for when the Nintendo 3DS is finally released, but the build we played was running on a normal DSi. Hopefully Square will take some more time improving the graphics as it really the only aspect that needed touching up. Other than that the game feels great and more importantly feels like a Final Fantasy, something the fans will truly enjoy.