Review: Final Fantasy VI (Retro)
- Release Date (NA): April 2, 1994
- Publisher: Squaresoft/Square Enix
- Genres: RPG, JRPG
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Final Fantasy VI, also known as Final Fantasy III in North America at the time, was a Japanese RPG unlike any other released at the time. It was praised for its story, but not just storyline, but music, overall appeal, and the fact that it brushed upon some topics that other game developers just don't like to go near. All of these and more make up for the great story that Final Fantasy VI is.
Final Fantasy VI begins by introducing you to the particular world the game is involved in. It states that the world is in a state of comeback 1000 years after the "War of Magi". Gunpowder and all sorts of basic technologies are being rediscovered and its those technologies that make things happen. It also mentions how magic was the main reason for that war, and that magic, just like technology, was on the rise, after being nearly completely abolished from the world. However, magic was on the rise for a different reason, and there were two sides to that argument: One was to use it to assist, and the other was to use it to enslave people. The game then poses the question that whoever is in power could possibly be repeating a deadly mistake. Then, you begin playing. You are Terra Branford, and you are under the control of The Empire, headed by Emperor Gestahl and Kefka, his sidekick. They have you for one sole reason: You have the ability to use magic. They recently learned of an esper, which is a type of deity that uses magic at its most extreme. You are sent with two others under their control by use of a crown, and you invade the mines in a small mining town called Narshe. Once in the mines, you encounter the esper, to which the entire mission fails, and Terra falls from the hands of Gestahl into the hands of The Returners. The Returners are against Emperor Gestahl and want him ousted because they perceive him as a threat to the world because of the way he runs it. Terra learns the hard truth of his plans, and from here, this sets off a chain of events that eventually do change the world.
GameplayFinal Fantasy VI has a few different parts of the game. There's the exploration part, in the overworld, towns, and caves, and there's battling. Both work very differently from one another.
The Overworld provides instant access to all locations in the game. Being in a town/cave/building works in the same way, but certain places lead to battles. A surprise around every corner!
In the overworld, you move from place to place on a large world map. Pressing the Select button can pull up a very useful map. The world is big, so you should get to know it well. In most parts of the game, you have a bit of choice as to where you want to go next, but for the most part, you have to follow a specific storyline, like heading to a specific destination. A good example of choices is in the beginning of the game. You're on a raft heading down a river, and after a period of time, you get to choose from three scenarios. This is where you have some freedom. Another example is after the halfpoint of the game where you go and get all your team members back together. You can choose what order you want to get them back in. There is no set storyline, however, some parts of the storyline are required to get others back.
As mentioned earlier, I said that the game touched up on topics some developers don't like. One such topic was suicide. At the half point of the game, one of the main characters believed that she was the only one still alive after living on an isolated island for a year. Once her guardian passed away, she didn't want to have to bear with life anymore, so she attempts to take her own life after much hesitation. Although she doesn't manage to do so, she does begin to discover that her friends are more than still alive. The game also has references to murder, death, as well as teenage pregnancy. However, these themes are handled in a way that it does not offend anyone.
ContentThe game is well represented and has a lot of graphic appeal for a Super Nintendo game. The game makes use of Mode 7 for the world map, as well as some cutscenes, and the rich, vibrant graphics bring it to life. This game also has an excellent soundtrack, in which the songs are catchy to the point you may catch yourself humming to them once in a while. Let's go into detail.
Music:Final Fantasy VI has an immense soundtrack consisting of 75 songs. Nobuo Uematsu is the lead composer of the songs within the game, and according to many, this is the best he has done of any Final Fantasy game. There is a song for every single moment of the game, whether it's happy, sad, dramatic, or panicked. Such as the famous Opera Scene.
This part of the game still brings tears to even the most seasoned veterans of RPGs.
And there's a little bit of everything in this, as stated, and it ranges from howling winds in an an abandoned city to happy cheerfulness when riding a Chocobo. Look up some of the OST on YouTube. I guarantee that you won't find something you don't like.
Graphics:The graphics in this game range from dull and gross to bright and cheerful, all dependent on their location in the game. And the same applies to the battle backgrounds. Caves, shady locations, forests, later parts of the overworld, and The Veldt all have darker-colored backgrounds to suit the mood, while earlier parts of the overworld, snowy areas, and whatnot all have lighter backgrounds. Not to mention that there is a colorful array of enemies and bosses. All the enemies are well-suited for their locations as well, such as rats in caves and cities, and rabbits and small birds in the overworld (Although that changes rather quickly), or strange-colored pallet swaps for zombie-type enemies.
Small, cute-ish creatures dominate the landscape, for a time. However, get into a factory and there's nothing cute about Number 128.
As mentioned, this game also uses Mode 7, a technology that came before the Super FX chip seen in Starfox, that simulated 3D by making images scale and move in different ways depending on its location from the player or camera. There are six ways it's used. One being the airship, the second being when you ride on a Chocobo, the third being in a small, uncontrolled part of the game where you are going down a tunnel on a cart, the fourth being an underground water system during a scenario, the fifth being during the credits, and the sixth in the opening credits. All of which use the same graphics, just drawn in a different style.
In order: Chocobo on the Overworld, Airship on the way to Vector, and the opening credits.
The Battle System:Final Fantasy VI utilises the Active Time Battle system introduced in Final Fantasy IV. As seen in the screenshots, there is a small bar on the right-hand side of the character's name and health value. This bar determines when a character can have another command put in for battle. Once it fills up, it's their turn. If more than one fills up at a time, it goes in order from the most recent to the least recent. However, you can't sit and dicker for long! The more time you waste selecting a command, the more time an enemy has to attack you! This can be changed, however, for newer people to the series. This battle system, however, makes it more of an RPG than the turn-based system that older Final Fantasy games on the NES and Famicom utilised. Battles are initialized from the overworld or dungeons through random encounters, however, some battles are initialized through one-on-one contact with another NPC (Atma Weapon in the final dungeon is such an example). Once all enemies are defeated on-screen (Although not all enemies disappearing from the screen signifies the end of the battle, mind you), you win the fight, and are awarded prizes, like GP (Money in the Final Fantasy world, which was later renamed Gil), items, and Magic Points (Which allow you to upgrade your magic and use more powerful attacks). There isn't a lot more to say about the battle system, though. It's efficient, and can make the game a lot easier or harder depending on how you set it.
...Or is there? Note how I mentioned the game has Local Multiplayer. That's because in Final Fantasy VI, you can use two players in battles! In the settings of the game, you can change this and allow multiple people to compete in the game's ATB system. You can even change what controller controls what character! This allows for co-operative gameplay and brings a whole new depth to the battle system.
However, some parts of the battle system are rather confusing. Example? When you face Vargas in Mt. Koltz (This isn't too far from the beginning of the game), Sabin comes to rescue while everyone else gets blown away by his more powerful moves. At this point, you can fight all you want, but in order to beat him, you must use a Blitz attack. The game doesn't specifically specify what to do, and it gives a very vague description on how they are done. It would take an observant person to see the arrow above Sabin's head when putting in a Blitz combination. Of course, Google is here to help with that.
+ -Excellent soundtrack
+ -Plenty of storyline, as well as extras
+ -Well-done graphics to suit every mood in the game
+ -Hours upon hours of gameplay to rot your brains out over
- -Some points have a sudden spike in the difficulty curve that can be overwhelming
- -Some directions (Like Sabin's Blitz commands when you first start using them) in the game are confusing
The graphical charm of the game and the music all combine to make a very big impression on the player. The story is also very linear, however, it gives the player some freedoms to do whatever they want within the limits of the current amount of storyline progress. The story is also top-notch in terms of content and quality. Nothing was overlooked when writing it. There is also a sheer amount of characters in the game, and the story covers every single character thoroughly. And not to mention the fact that they covered pressing topics of the day with attention towards the audience they were appealing to while not offending others adds an interesting twist into the story.
The way the game is handled in terms of controls, and the controls are very responsive. The airship controls are nice and tight, and the overworld/town/map controls are adequate for an RPG. There is no extra little things that you need to do in order to do what is defined as normal by many RPGs of today.
The game has a lot of replay value, since there are a total of two different endings, and a whole myriad of ways to beat the game, whether it's different teams, raising a single team to do everything, or just trying to get every single good item. You could be playing this game for many years to come and it will never come close to many RPGs you see today.
out of 10
(not an average)
Final Fantasy VI will leave the biggest impressions on you after finishing the game (Well, however long that takes you) and will have the most memorable moments. This is the best RPG I've played, and it's the best in the series in my opinion. Pick it up and give it a try. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed by the amount of content, options, and story there is in the game.