Between the first main quest and the second, you'll find yourself grinding a lot in order to be on equal footing with new enemies. It subsequently takes time to get anywhere in the game, made worse by an infuriating lack of pointers and directions. Often you'll have no idea what to do, or where to go, and will end up aimlessly roaming about until you happen to stumble on something by accident. That said, I grew to quite like the exploration this forced. It might not sit well with those looking to plough straight through the story, but for anybody looking to lose themselves in the quaint world of the game it's a blessing in disguise.
The story doesn't take itself too seriously, quickly introducing new plot lines and rarely interrupting play with cutscenes. It presents a problem - a village turned to stone, a child kidnapped by pirates - and simply asks that you do the heroic thing and sort it out. There's an overarching narrative concerning a crystal to tie everything together, but this is left on the backburner for most of the game. The characters aren't developed to any crazy depths, but each has a distinct personality: Princess Aire is arrogant and obnoxious, spoilt by royalty; Yunita is patient and loyal, the perfect guardian for Aire; Jusqua couldn't give a crap about anything; and Brandt is your quintessential justice-obsessed adventurer. The foursome split up fairly early on, too, allowing the introduction of several new characters that join the adventure for a short while.
Four Heroes of Light also makes use of WiFi connectivity, allowing players to jump into the world of a friend for some co-operative adventuring. It's a nice bonus for those socially inclined, and works well in the context of four heroes - but I always find these multiplayer features go largely to waste. But that's probably just me.
Four Heroes of Light is a refreshing departure for the franchise, ditching pretty much every convention the series has established over the years. Chocobos, Moogles and Airships are nowhere to be found here, and if it wasn't for the words 'Final' and 'Fantasy' in the title, you might not have guessed it was part of the same series. This might disgruntle some Final Fantasy fans, but as a standalone experience this is an RPG that can hold its head high. Four Heroes of Light is very much its own thing; quaint and deceptively difficult - a combination that fans of the genre should grab hold of with both hands.