Saturday, February 04, 2006

Retro Review: Final Fantasy VI

7 days to go...

Hey there, I posted my old FF8 review yesterday, the other old review I found on my GameSpot account was this little baby, a review of Final Fantasy VI. I posted both my FF6 and FF8 reviews on the same day, February 4th 2006, so I don't know when I actually reviewed either of them. I would have been 15 or 16 though, probably 16. The title of the review is really ironic, as I did an article for this site explaining why I want a remake (you can read that here). Anyway, enjoy.

"If they remake this game, it will probably be better than any other game I have ever played."

Final Fantasy VI was the final in the series to be released on the SNES for Nintendo. It was called Final Fantasy III in the U.S., which lead to a lot of confusion. This game was never released in the U.K., until it was re-released eight years later in 2002 as a stand alone Playstation game. No changes were made to the actual game. (This is how I played it by the way.) 

Final Fantasy VI was the best in the series as far. The gameplay was improved pretty much in every game made, and VI reached the climax where Squaresoft/Square Enix knew what would make their games successful. In VI, this was the last game until Final Fantasy IX that would use four characters battling on screen at the same time. However, this game has the most playable characters out of all the others in the series, prior and subsequent to this title as far. Not every character in the game has an in-depth storyline, and this may be the downfall to the game. The majority of the characters have one main scene direct at them, of course excluding the more popular, used characters. 
The main rule of getting experience to level up is still used in Final Fantasy VI, like most if not every other Final Fantasy game. One difference however would be the Esper system. Esper is the name of the “summoned monster” of Final Fantasy VI (like Eidolons in IX, Guardian Force in VIII and Aeons in X). Espers are the key to learning magic, and the Esper system consists of a piece of Magicite (the remains of an Esper before passing away), that a character can equip, and thus leading to learning magic. For example, the Esper “Ifrit” allows you to learn the magic “Fire”, and points are gained from battles. One battle point is multiplied by the number next to the Fire move, in this case it would be 10, so if you gained 4 battle points, this would multiply to 40, meaning an extra 40% of Fire has been learned. Once reached 100%, the spell would be available for use. However, spells can be learned at different paces, for example, Fire can be learned 10 times as fast if equipped with Ifrit, however it can be learned 20 times as fast with the Esper “Bismark”. 
The gameplay has its advantages in some ways, and disadvantages in others. Some would say this game is a lot easier than any other Final Fantasy, for instance the magic system is far too simple to use, and makes the game a lot easier. Others would say that they do not like the fact that some of the character’s possess abilities that far outdoes other character abilities, meaning that the characters are not balanced. On the whole, I love the gameplay in Final Fantasy, and even though dated, the gameplay has an amazing flow throughout the game. 
Gameplay: 23/25

As a story, this is slightly weaker than other Final Fantasies. The thing that drives this games storyline so well is the characters. There is not a main character in the game, but there are three characters that are higher than the rest. First is Terra, a half human, half Esper who has the power of magic. She wants to understand love. Secondly is Locke, who likes to be called “a treasure hunter”, and who has had a tragic past. He vows to not make the same happen again, by protecting Terra. Thirdly is Celes, an ex general for the mighty Empire, who was born infused with the powers of magic. She is also taken for Locke’s determination. The fact that there are so many characters in this game either puts people off or makes them like it even more. Quite frankly I think the characters blend in the game and they actually “make” the story. The storyline itself in my opinion is a lot weaker than other games in the series. And do not get me to the main villain… Ooooh boy… 
Story: 19/20

It is hard to rate the graphics of this game. It was on the SNES, and only until the Saturn, N64 and Playstation came out, graphics did not make the game. Compared to previous Final Fantasies before this date, the graphics have improved in terms of colour use and scale. The characters are a lot bigger on this game than in FFV and IV. That was the problem of the previous FF games and VI sorts that problem out. 
Graphics: 13/15

Once again it is hard to rate the sound in this game, as very simple melodies were used as the musical score of the game. However there are great tunes to play, and to compare the sound to other games around this time, it’s a great sound, and some tunes are still great to hear now, 11 years later. 
Sound: 9/10

Well some might criticise my opinion, but I consider the controls perfect. Yeah it is true that in FF games in general it only takes one button press (on the Playstation it’s the X button) to do a whole lot of commands, but there is some good use of the other buttons too. I always enjoy using Sabin’s Blitz, because of the fact that there is some decent use of the control pad in there. 
Controls: 5/5

This game, out of all the FF games in my opinion, has the most side quests. After the first half of the game, something happens and you have the whole world to search again, with sidequests to do all over the place. Characters to find, Espers to obtain, loads. There is a lot to do in FF VI that will keep you going for hours. 
Extras: 10/10

The thing about this game is that it has a lot more variation in difficulty than others. You can challenge yourself, or you can go the easy way. There are simple methods in the game that lets you defeat bosses in two hits. You can limit yourself to make the game easier. That is what I like in a challenge. Variation. 
Challenge: 5/5

I will probably play this game again in a few years. After only going through the game deeply once, it will probably creep back into my console again. I am going to knock down one mark however, because the game is very dated, and it can put people off at times, unfortunately. 
Replay: 9/10

Well this got a smaller percentage than the other two FF games I have reviewed before. This is probably because the game is very dated, it is eleven years old, but it was such a classic. This is considered the second best FF games of the series, even dated with 2D models. If they remake this game, it will probably be better than any other game I have ever played. It is a shame that the vintage dust on the covers brings it down.

Overall: 93%
Posted: 4/2/06

It's funny looking at my FF8 and FF6 reviews from 5 years ago, I appreciate FF6 much more than FF8 now. FF6 for me would be a ****1/2 or ****3/4 game, it was brilliant. If you haven't been following my blog for long, I want an FF6 remake, and did a huge article on it for this site about 3 months ago. Once again you can read it here, it's a piece of work I'm really proud of. 

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