Like in Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III (for Nintendo DS and iOS) allows you to choose between equipping a weapon and a shield, or to equip two weapons. Is it ever worth it to choose a shield?

In FF2, it was often better to equip a shield than to equip two weapons, since your non-dominant hand did less damage anyway, and enemy attacks in the end-game often caused deadly side-effects, putting a premium on the extra evasion a shield provided.

In FF3, however, there's no concept of 'dominant hand', so dual-wielding does double your damage. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be an "evasion" stat at all, though I guess it could be a hidden stat. I'm about halfway through the game (just got the fire crystal), and have never seen any "shield-block" animation that indicates that the character dodged an attack thanks to his shield.

So, is dual-wielding usually the better route in FF3? If so, are there exceptions?

1 Answer 1


The main purpose of a shield is to just improve your defense (and maybe also get extra benefits for specific shields). In the majority of cases, the best defense is a good offense. So wielding two weapons will kill off enemies faster than they can kill you.

Shields then serve to reduce damage when damage is inevitable. And to that end, it's best on defensively minded classes that will be protecting all your allies who do have two weapons. These would be the Knight, and in the DS/iOS remake the Viking. All mention of Viking beyond this point refers to the remakes, as the original Vikings did not get a special skill.

The Knight's Cover ability lets it take damage in place of weak allies. Meanwhile, in the remakes, the Viking gains the Provoke ability which expends its turn to attract attacks. Since this means they'll be the ones taking damage, equipping them with shields is usually a good idea so that they can take more damage.

Vikings in particular, an actual common strategy is dual wielding shields. Since Provoke takes up your turn, you won't be attacking. Two shields gives you a whole lot more defense, your axes and hammers tend to miss anyway and you don't have nearly as strong an offense as the more attack-geared classes. So, you could have a powerful party of attackers that can safely attack while one dual-shielded Viking takes all the hits. This is especially helpful for those bosses who throw in an extra physical attack on their turns.

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