Final Fantasy VI - Retroview

The First Of The Great FFs

By: TheShroud13

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 6
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 7
   Plot 9
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 4
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Very Easy
   Time to Complete

-/+20 hours



   For many years, the Final Fantasy Series has been the most accepted role-playing series in the United States. Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy 4 were welcomed with open arms in the United States. Some of the series' games had not been released in the United States, but every game after this title was. Final Fantasy 6 (3 in America) marked the beginning of the golden era in Final Fantasy gaming. Focusing more on plot and characterization than any FF before, VI marked the breakout point of the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy IV started the adolescence of the Final Fantasy series, and it became an adult in Final Fantasy VI. In my opinion, Final Fantasy 6 is the greatest role-playing game to date, the best Final Fantasy to date, and undoubtedly the pinnacle of the 16-bit era of role-playing.

   Active-Time Battling (ATB) had been around since Final Fantasy IV, and has not made many changes since then. Aside from cleaning up the system, and making it flow more smoothly, the battle system in Final Fantasy VI has not changed significantly since the previous stateside incarnation of the famous ATB. FF VI does add that FF IV did not have is support for Espers. While Espers can be used in a manner like summons were in previous FF games, they have a much more significant purpose, teaching your party magic. While you have an Esper equipped, the character the Esper is equipped to will begin draining magical energy from the Esper at a specific rate multiplied by the AP you receive after a battle. Because of this, any character can learn any spell, not just magic users. Another new addition to the battle system is a couple of new skills you will have at your disposal, including the Blitz ability, and the Swordtech ability. The Blitzes are performed by pushing a sequence of directions after selecting to use a Blitz, much like a fighting game. These new additions add a lot more to the battles then you might think. There are also a few other skills, but most of them are operated just like items, or have been used before. The battle system is not going to wow you, but it is a much cleaner system than that of Final Fantasy IV, and it serves its purpose well. Although I've never thrown my back into the ATB system whole-heartedly, it is executed well.

   Much like the battle system, the interface does less to amaze you, and more to fulfill its role, and fulfill it does. Final Fantasy VI uses an easy to use, easy on the eyes interface. Since you'll be using the menus often to arrange your Espers, review your skills, change your equipment, and use items, you want it to be good. Thankfully, it is. Final Fantasy VI's menus are easily accessible, easy to navigate, and simple to use. While there is not too much to do within the system, it is not a terrible system, and it does a very good job of allowing you to easily get what you need to get done easily and quickly.

Look ma! I'm on TV!
Look ma! I'm on TV! 

   If there is one thing in Final Fantasy VI that instantly makes it a classic, it is its remarkable musical score. Some of the cleanest, most crisp, most detailed music ever to grace the SNES belongs to this game. >From the beautiful opening scene to the amazing ending medley, FF VI is the finest work of Nobuo Uematsu, or any composer. Featuring great battle songs, wonderful, touching character tunes, and all kinds of beautiful songs that always fit the atmosphere. If the characters don't get to you, then the music certainly will. The music is the shining glory of an already great game. I've heard a lot of music, both from games, and from other sources, and there is no music I listen to more than that which comes from FF VI. Getting you pumped in battle, and sad in tough times, FF VI's music pumps emotions through your system like no other game. As for its sounds, it is nothing special, but you'll be paying so much attention to the soundtrack that you won't care to notice.

   One of the more original members of the early Final Fantasies, Final Fantasy VI neither overachieves in the originality department, nor makes you check your library of books to check out that character really seems to be just like the ones you experience in the game. There are some very unique aspects of Final Fantasy VI, and they are joyous to observe. Nothing is amazingly original, but it is more original than most, and nothing in the game is so blatantly lacking in creativity that it makes the game a bore.

Mog is the name of a Moogle.
Mog is the name of a Moogle. 

   Final Fantasy VI doesn't sport a very amazing plot, however, it is executed in such a wonderful way, it seems absolutely amazing. The game sports very good pacing, excellent characterization, and while not a masterpiece on the story level, is still a very nice story compared to most. Final Fantasy VI hosts one of the richest casts in the entire series, and is bolstered even further by some of the most memorable dialogue to ever grace a game. FF VI also uses good use of story development moving from humble goals, to realizing an even greater importance to your quest. The game deserves very high marks for its execution, even though the game's plot isn't the world's greatest.

   One thing that really helps Final Fantasy VI in its excellent plot execution is the localization job done by Square for this game. The text flows smoothly, and richly. The grammatical errors are few, and hardly noticeable. FF VI sports some of the most entertaining dialogue in the series, and the characters sound much more like people than any game before in the series thanks to the localization.

Don't steal this guy's thunder.
Don't steal this guy's thunder. 

   The big marks against FF VI are the lack of any reason to play the game again, and the relatively lacking visuals. Aside from a few secrets that you could probably find out your first time through, FF VI is very lacking in many reasons to play the game again. Although the first time through is very rich and enjoyable, playing the game again is no more than a waste of your own time. Although the short length of the game doesn't make it difficult to play it over, but there is no real motivation to either. The visuals in FF VI are no real show either. Lacking backgrounds and only fairly detailed sprites make game less than a treat to look at. Never the less, the graphics aren't so terrible that it is a chore to look at them like previous games, but if you play games for graphics, don't play FF VI.

   All and all, Final Fantasy VI is the type of game that only comes around once or twice during a console's lifespan. One of the richest adventures ever to grace the SNES, and all of RPGaming as well, FF VI is a true classic. From start to end FF VI holds your interest, keeps you guessing, and keeps you very entertained. There are few bad things to say about this game, and the majority of those things are simply nitpicking. This game is a joy to play all around, and one of the best the SNES has to offer.

   TheShroud13's Bottom Line: One of the all time classics in RPG history, you simply have to play this game!

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