Final Fantasy IV: The After Years arrived on Wiiware last week. Some have praised it, and others have complained about paying roughly a dollar for every hour of playtime. Such are the wages of download-only titles that have overly faithful fan bases.

The After Years is a conflicted little sequel. It’s unnecessary in concept and quite mercenary in building itself from the original game’s graphics and music, yet it evokes the mood of the original Final Fantasy IV so well that I can’t help but enjoy it. It’s comparable to getting a pet that looks and acts just enough like one you had when you were twelve. You’re not the same and neither is this new creature, but the connection is there somehow.

One interesting point of The After Years concerns Rydia, the summoner who started off Final Fantasy IV as an orphaned little girl and finished it as a grown woman, all thanks to the sievelike logic of video games. Rydia didn’t wear much in the original game or its DS remake, and she wore even less in the illustrations for the Japanese cell-phone version of The After Years. Square decided to change that for Western audiences.

This is how Rydia appears on the official Japanese website for The After Years.

And this is how she appears in the official art for the game’s North American release.

I refuse to pretend that the changes aren’t for the better, as Rydia’s frilled metal bikini now resembles actual clothing. It’s not the sort of thing you’d wear into caves packed with slavering beasts, but I learned not to demand adroit realism from Final Fantasy a long time ago.

Of course, we could always go back to Katsuya Terada's Rydia art from Nintendo Power’s first Final Fantasy IV feature in 1991.

We probably shouldn’t.


  1. Aww I already miss the old site. Thank you for at least keeping the funny picture tags going, I call it "fenrisms" *cough*

    I jumped on the FF bandwagon late with FF VI (Japan) so I was never able to nurse an unhealthy attraction to green haired loli porn. Those "Rydea" cosplayers would always scare me at cons. Case in point: oh god.

    That being said I agree the changes don't merit any outcry, in fact it should be looked at as added content for the NA release! The puffy pants concept art is attractive in that babushka way.

  2. Yes, I'm afraid it was high time this site had an upgrade. Well, an upgrade for the front page, anyway. Everything else is the same straight-from-1999 web design.

    "Fenrisms" is such a flattering term that I hesitate to confess how I stole the picture-tag idea from UK Resistance many years ago.

  3. finally, this game is almost in the market now I can spend my free time in my house playing all the day, well for that price is totally reasonable to pay for something like this.