Final Fantasy VI - Retroview

A Mysterious Power Indeed
By: Solon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 6
   Music & Sound 8
   Originality 7
   Story & Plot 7
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 6
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Moderate
   Completion Time 25-45 Hours  

Ugly monsters, nice spells.
Ugly monsters, nice spells.
Final Fantasy VI

   The Final Fantasy series stand tall as one of the best series ever made. Almost every RPGamer out there started their careers with this series. Are they really that good? A lot of people say that Final Fantasy VI(IIIus) is the crown jewel of the series. While it sure has its charms, it also has some flaws that I cannot ignore. Also, please note that this is a Re-Review... meaning I'm trying to make up for the mistakes I made in my earlier review. It felt bad from the moment I sent it in, and I know exactly why. While my last review was written almost totally without thought, I hope this will make up for it. It was a terrible mistake, complaining on such meaningless things, just because I happened to be tired of the hype for the moment. Anyway, here goes (also note, this is a review of the PAL release of Final Fantasy VI for the Playstation, that also included a demo-disc on Final Fantasy X).

   As seen in almost all Final Fantasy games that has ever been released, the battle system in FFVI is also built up around the ATB meter. You know, characters gain their turns when the meter is full and then have the abillity to perform the different commands; attack, item, run, magic etc. Even then, this was something that most people had experienced before. However, all characters have unique abillities as well. For example, we have Edgar who can use different tools to defeat his enemies, Locke who can steal from enemies, and Sabin who defeats his enemeis through Blitz (special combos similar to those in fighting games). All of the characters have one of these unique abillities that helps them in battle, and that makes them more interesting in battle as well, not only plotwise. There is also a new part in the equip section in FFVI; Relics. Aside from ordinary equip, each character can make use of two different relics at the same time. These can provide the characters with anything from poison resist to higher attack power. Very useful.

   Summons also appear in FFVI, as they always have. This time though, they are a little different. While they are still summoned by the charcters like they always have been, a character can only have one summon (also called Espers) equipped at a time. Why? Because through Espers, you learn magic. Each Esper has a bunch of spells for the characters to learn, and this is the only way to learn new spells. Meaning, it might be good to take your time and reconsider who is going to learn what. As for the actual summoning though, it is totally unimportant. Through all my runs, I have never really used summons for summoning more than perhaps ten times in total.

   The Interface was perhaps a little too dull for my taste. Almost every interface looked the same on the older SNES games though, so I guess it cannot be helped. One thing that I couldn't understand though, was the run button. As far as I understand, FFVI for SNES never really had a run button... however, in the PSX version, it has. In the SNES version, you needed to equip a relic called 'Sprint Shoes' (or something like that) to make the character run, and the funny thing is that this relic actually exists in the PSX version as well. So when the character has both Sprint Shoes and run button, you can run a lot faster than you should. Was this meant to be? I think it's strange, why keep the Sprint Shoes then? It's like having Auto-Haste throughout the entire game (in the field, that is). While you at least run fast, the loading times in the PSX version is INCREDIBLY slow. Every session I had was totally ruined by the slow menus and extremely slow loading times between battle and field. Seriously, this was a pain.

Edgar, placing a bet
Edgar, placing a bet

   I cannot deny that FFVI has a great musical score. Looking at the Final Fantasy games released before this one, in my opinion the only title that can compete with this is FFIV. While Nobuo Uematsu has become a little too-much-of-the-same lately, this soundtrack was one of the greatest ever at the time of its release.

   As for the localization throughout the entire game, it is a lot more improved when comparing the PSX version to the SNES version of the game. I found the translation on the SNES version quite irritating and full of weird sentences at times... but this is a review of the PSX version of the game, which had some large improvements in the localization area. This is probably one of the larger improvements when converting the game to the Playstation, and I was happy to see it. The graphics however, stayed exactly the same. No improvements were made, but then again, it wasn't even needed. I liked the graphics when I played the game on the SNES, and I still do today... while there were prettier games for the SNES, FFVI still had visuals above average, and I was more than able to enjoy them still today.

   Here we go, the part of the game that I just cannot melt: the plot. In one way, the plot in FFVI is built up in a very cool and original way. There really is no main character at all, instead it is up to you to decide who is going to be in your party almost at all times throughout the game. Also, almost all characters have long and well made intros and backgrounds, so that you really get involved with their deep personalities. However, the one thing that make the plot feel old-fashioned, is that it is totally built up around the take-over-the-world theme. The bad guy in FFVI is Kefka, an evil general that threathens to destroy humanity and rule the world alone. The whole thing is a classic fight between good and evil, and it is very predictable. I know that this game is old, but this kind of story has been seen in so many games, and it was a used theme even at that time. However, I also understand that the plot involves a whole lot more than just this battle between the party and Kefka, preventing him from taking over the world. The game tells a beautiful story about love, hate, friendship and differences between people. Combined with fantastic musical themes, a lot of scenes in the game stays in the heart of the player for a long long time. At the time of its release, FFVI had probably the most beautifully told story ever in the world of RPGs.

Cool Intro
Cool Intro

   If not long enough, player can easliy beat the game again, as it isn't that long if you just want to experience the story, around 25 Hours if you stay away from most sidequests and such. However, if you want to do most of the extra dungeons and sidequests, you'll probably have to stay around for at least 45-50 Hours. The game isn't hard either.. probably the most simple FF game that was released on the SNES. Those areas that gave me the most problems were the optional ones.

   Look, what I wanted to say was that I think this game is overrated. I mean, it's great... it's a really great game. It came with new ideas, new ways of storytelling etc. But there are things that are bad about it... things that prevents me from giving it a 10 straight away, that so many do. I know that I cannot blame others too much either, as I am quite a fanboy myself of the Xeno series. But personally, I didn't find FFVI so special. Perhaps I can't see the true beauty about it... or perhaps I am too demanding when it comes to what a plot should be about. But hey, this is my taste, and I'm not going to make this review an excuse.

   I'm giving this game 7 out of 10, and that's what I think it's worth, and it ain't a bad score. I still think that RPGamers should take it a little easy with the Final Fantasy hype though, at least those who refuse to realize that other series actually exist.

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