Yes, yes, the Teaser is quite a shocker- but it's true. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Lights has all the flaws and charms old school Final Fantasy games had, which is what makes it so great.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light was developed by Matrix Software, A.K.A. the ones that handled the remakes of older FF games on the Nintendo DS. It has character and art designs by Akihiko Yoshida (Who is one of my favorite Square Enix artist- he's the one that also made art and design for Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, Vagrant Story and, by last, Final Fantasy XII and XIV)
The story is quite old-school simple: you're a 14 years old kid that must present himself to the King as a tradition for reaching manhood. When the King meets you, he tells Brandt (Or how you named your character), A.K.A. you, must go to save the princess Aire from the hands of the Witch of the North. Long story short, you save the princess, and a big, talking crystal names you, along with your friend (Jusqua, or how you named him), the princess bodyguard, Yunita (Again, editable name) and the princess Aire, the four heroes of light, those heroes who must fight a darkness engulfing the land.
Of course, as you may have know already, the story is plagued with old school cliches and tropes everywhere. But, honestly, I couldn't help but feel like that's part of the charm.
Also, sometimes (Read: Most of the time), the dialog doesn't makes it clear enough on what you have to do- so, you feel kinda lost in this somewhat big, open world without an idea of what to do. Usually, though, by talking to your party members and exploring you find out what you need to do to advance on your quest.
These flaws aside, the game's story is quite charming, fun to read, entertaining, with well-done characters (Aire <3), and quite old-school. You won't cry nor anything- but you'll actually feel like you're in an adventure, and that's the charm of it.
Story aside, we'll now talk about gameplay.
It's the turn-based, random-battles gameplay you've probably come to love. However, there are a few twists.
You have a 5-circle meter representing APs (Yes, Action Points). Usually, actions take one or two APs, depending on which you're going to use.
You recover one AP per turn, and you can recover more by sacrificing your turn while using the "Boost" command.
You can't actually target your attacks, though, as they're deemed as "Rear" or "Front" attacks depending on your weapon and/or command.
Swords and other melee weapons will attack on the "Front", while ranged weapons and magic will attack the "Rear". This may sound annoying and bothersome, however, I actually did not mind it at all.
Equipment plays a good role on the game, as well, as some equipment has special resistance against certain foes and, in a game like this, with a considerable difficulty, that honestly makes the difference throughout battle. Without the Earth Shields, I honestly don't think I could've survived throughout the Sand Castle, as an example.
You also have the "Crown" system, which gives you special bonus skills and such in-game. Said Crown system is actually essential towards the middle game and beyond.
You also have an inventory limit of Fifteen items per character. There's a "Storage Room" in every town that has a 99 item limit, however, you usually have to carry items such as Torchs for certain dungeons, Antidotes against poison, Phoenix Downs for obvious reasons and Potions for critical times, without taking in account your current equipment that takes four slots already, and certain treasures you find in your adventure. Inventory management is quite tough in this game, honestly.
You have "Save Points", that are usually an adventurer with his fox. You can't really save otherwise, which is quite annoying considering you're playing a portable game.
Said Save Points are usually placed on the end of a dungeon or a town. And believe me, sometimes you'll want to see more of these.
Anyways, this game is also quite challenging, ala old school, yet again. Bosses are quite hard if you come unprepared, and some normal enemies are hard, as well.
Graphics-wise, the game's pretty. Really pretty, honestly. You have these cute cel-shaded characters that fit Yoshima's artstyle for this game perfectly, you have sometimes bright, sometimes not-so-bright enviorments, and you have a circular horizon to resemble the round world you're in. I honestly wish we would see something like this but in HD, just imagine how pretty everything would be.
Character models also change when swapping equipment, as things such as armor and weapons appear as your character's cloths when you change them.
Music-wise, it's nothing impressive, but it does a damn good job on getting you in the mood the game wants you to be in.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, even with its flaws, it's exactly what a Final Fantasy game should be, in my opinion. Fix the gameplay and put in on an HD console, and you have yourself a big winner, Square Enix.