Final Fantasy III/VIj - Review

The G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)

By: MrChupon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Gameplay 9
   Music 10
   Originality 9
   Plot 9
   Replay Value 10
   Sound 10
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Medium - 
Slightly Difficult
   Time to Complete ~40 hours  

Title Screen
A march through the snow and the beginning of an epic.  

Final Fantasy III, or VI as it was in Japan, was perhaps the finest role-playing game Square ever made -- the finest role playing game ever made, and in my eyes, the finest game ever made.

Maybe you think I'm taking it far.  I want to let you all know that I don't mean it's best in terms of technical quality, but in sheer enjoyment.  And, at the time, the game was one of the top quality games technically speaking.  I read somewhere that it was the first Super Nintendo game to make use of its 256-colors on-screen capabilities.  Also, the music was splendidly done, the finest I'd heard at the time.  The gameplay was topnotch.  The story was fun and intriguing.  And the ending was worth it.

First, let's talk about the graphics.  As I said above, it may have been the first game for Super Nintendo that actually utilized its ability to display 256 colors on the screen at the same time.  The character sprites themselves are traditional super-deformed (in other words, just big heads and small bodies.)  But they are well-detailed.  There are little things such as how they bob up and down realistically when they walk, unlike in the previous games where we just saw two-framed bland strides.  They have cool expressions -- surprised, downtrodden, laughing, kneeling, and Edgar even has one where he grins and waggles his finger.  The tile-based scenery is breathtaking.  The towns are highly detailed, the outdoors and dungeons are colorful, and the overworld map utilizes a mode 7 scaling affect that is a nice quirk.  The magic spell effects were amazing at the time, and still shine today.

But not only do the graphics in this game shine -- hook your TV to stereo speakers if it doesn't support stereo, and you'll hear how marvelous a composer Nobuo Uematsu was in his prime.  Each piece of music matches the scene it's supposed to correspond with (if happy music is playing while soldiers march across desert, there's something wrong there), and pulls you into the experience. The varied melodies range from militaristic, to touching, to dynamic, to even silly.  The MIDI instruments used sounded spectacular for the Super Nintendo cartridge format; as an EGM editor said way back in 1996, I started wondering if there was a little tiny CD whirring inside the cart.  Not only was the quality great; the melodies were so varied, convincing and memorable.  (It even simulated an opera scene at one point!) 

Silly Little Comment on Screen
See? Summons don't have to be 2 minutes long to blow your mind.  

 The storyline was quite creative.  I don't discuss story in order to keep away any spoilers.  It was simple yet deep, both fun and somber.  The storyline wasn't as intriguing as that of Final Fantasy IV, but still great nonetheless. The majority of character design and character development was extremely well done.  The characters really do have personality, rather than just being a boring generic game character (see Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Legend, etc.).  Unlike most villains, the ones in this game make you laugh a lot.  Look around for documentation of Kefka and Ultros quotable quotes, and you'll see what I mean.

The gameplay -- ingenious.  Easy to learn, fun to master.  Battle commands are straightforward -- Fight, Item, Magic (once an Esper is equipped, more on that later), and the character's inherent ability.  No wading through way too complex menus or anything.  The most menus you'll have to trudge through are two.  The characters are well balanced during the whole game (providing that you haven't been running from every single battle and thus not gaining any levels, or did the exact opposite).  

Cutesy or Realistic Name
Rendered what? Polygon who?  

The Esper system is simple:  Equip an Esper once you obtain it, and you can learn magic and earn status upgrades from it.  You learn by obtaining magic points after battles, and you earn status upgrades after every level-up.  The Accessories system is simple as well, although most complained it was too simple.  I, for one, thought it was a bit "ho-hum" as well.  You equip not only armor, weapons, etc., but also an accessory which gives you an extra ability or trait -- invulnerable vs. poison, quicker battle response, etc.  The magic system in battle is typical Final Fantasy fare -- your characters have a Magic Point reserve that behaves similarly to your Hit Points: current MP/ maximum MP, and each spell takes a certain number of MP off your current amount.  Simple and bearable.  Not too innovative, but look at the rest of the game.


You know the deal-title it.
"Er, looks pretty steep. You wanna check it out for me?"  

Final Fantasy VI is perhaps the most beautifully crafted game on the SNES -- beautiful visually, aurally, and emotionally.  The gameplay is fun and addictive, calling you back to learn those spells, find those hidden items, build up those levels and find out what happened to so-and-so.  Nostalgia doesn't need to drag me back to play this game.  This game should be experienced by RPG fanatics and neophytes alike.  It truly shows plain and simple that a game doesn't need to be rendered or littered with movies to look pretty or play beautifully.  Square's last SNES Final Fantasy will always be my favorite RPG of all time, and perhaps favorite game of all time.  Go play. It's waiting for you.

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