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Final Fantasy 4 isn't easy, but it is familiar


RATING Everyone 10 and older

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is something of an introductory role-playing game.

The story is pretty light, the characters are familiar archetypes, and the visuals are rendered in a breezy storybook style somewhere between The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Final Fantasy IV DS. The 4 Heroes of Light is not easy. The game demands careful attention to the state of the player's party, and some foes can be quite tough to put down.

But 4 Heroes is uncomplicated, especially compared with Final Fantasy XIII or Dragon Quest IX, two RPGs from earlier this year whose battles and character management are pretty complex.

In this game, when players attack, use an item or cast a spell or ability, the computer chooses the targets and does a good job of it - the weakest character gets the healing spell, the most vulnerable enemy is attacked, the poisoned hero receives an antidote.

All actions use Action Points. Each character has up to five APs, with one regenerating each turn. Some commands use up a single point, while others use more. The Boost command makes a player forgo action for the turn to generate an extra AP, and certain events can cause a character to spontaneously generate an extra point.

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