Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI, originally released in the USA as "Final Fantasy III," is a role-playing game by Square released on the SNES on 1994-04-02. It is the sixth game in the series and the last release to use a 2D graphic engine.
I first saw Final Fantasy IV at my middle school friend's house shortly after the game was released. I would go over to his house almost every day to play video games with him. He had rented the game the day before and already had Terra, Locke, and Edgar, so I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but I was mesmerized by the beauty of the game. Later, in high school, another friend of mine had the game, and I watched him play a lot until he beat it. Over summer vacation he let me use one of the save slots, and I would play at his house while he was at work. I made it well into the way to the World of Ruin and collected most of the party back before quitting. I tried to beat it again while house-sitting for my aunt, making it just prior to the Floating Continent before getting bored. Later, I tried to do a low-level run and made it to the Floating Continent again but got sick of dying while trying to run. I tried again to beat it in 2007, and finishing everything but the final assault on Kefka, but stopped again. I finally played through the game completely and beat it on 2016-08-09. The game not only has a severe amount of nostalgia for me as it ties me to several teen friends, but it's also just a really fun game.
I own this game and have beaten it with all party members accounted for, and the majority of the side quests solved.
- Overall: 9/10
- Best Version: SNES
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game is pretty much the quality apex of the traditional 2-D basic RPG.
- The story has some really well-written and emotional arcs.
- The graphics are beautiful and amazingly well-compact for an SNES game. Each major area has a unique look and feel.
- Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack is one of the best video game soundtrack's to date and even surpasses much of what came after it. Not too many games add an opera and a 4-movement concerto for boss music.
- There is a large cast of characters to find in the game, even a couple optional ones, and most of the them have pretty fleshed-out story lines.
- Combat is highly varied and allows for all sorts of different strategies.
- When played at a normal pace, the game doesn't require very much grinding, but for those who find it too difficult (or are a completionist), you can always grind levels, spells, items, etc. to make the game easier.
- There are so many items, spells, special abilities, etc. that you can make all sorts of unexpected combinations.
- Each character has some special weapons, armor, and relics that only they can use, making them feel more unique.
- The game does a good job of being linear when it needs to be and open for large sections of the game. At one point, even when you're forced to follow a script, you're given the option of doing each of the three major sections in any order you like, so it doesn't feel too much like you're just going through the motions.
- The game has a fantastic manual.
- Though the story has several great moments, it's riddled with plot holes. And while the game was meant for a younger crowd, a lot of the jokes and plot-elements were more juvenile than they needed to be.
- Even with the items in the game to reduce random encounters, there are far too many.
- There are several programming bugs that affect game play. Dark doesn't decrease hit ability, Evade isn't checked properly, Sketch is buggy, etc. Nothing is game-breaking (in the revision cart, that is!), but they do create noticeable problems.
- Most of the game's spells (like muddle, poison, float, etc.) are under-powered and have no applicable use. Others (like break, doom, x-zone, etc.) fail so often, that they're not worth using. And most of the global spells you get later in the game (quake, w.wind, merton, etc.) aren't worth all the setup required to make them useful. For most of the game you'll just cast variations of bolt and cure, then, near the end, you'll just cast ultima all the time.
- A lot of the character's special abilities (Dance, Slot, Sketch, Rage, etc.) are so unreliable that they're not worth using over fight, making the characters feel more generic.
- While the large quantity of items, spells, etc. is great for finding new and better strategies, it also becomes a nightmare for finding what you're looking for in your inventory, especially since the sorting is so poor. Trying to equip non-optimal equipment or finding a ninja star for Shadow's throw ability becomes a hassle.
- FF6 derives a lot of its ideas (character classes, monster artwork, spells, items, weapons, etc.) from earlier FF games. Had I known this when I first played it, I'd probably be less impressed with it.
- I'm not a fan of the box art.
- Nothing. This game is art.
I don't care much for either of the versions of the box art.
- youtube.com/watch?v=iGNskqYu2_0 - Long Play.
- youtube.com/watch?v=zD9EFpcjzCI - Boundary Break - Off-camera secrets.
The game has a full cast of characters, and here is my review of them sorted by least favorite to favorite:
|14||Gogo||Gogo is a mimic that can perform any other ability, though with less strength. He's not very useful, doesn't have much of a backstory, and is probably only included as an homage to the character in Final Fantasy V. He's an optional character.|
|13||Umaro||Umaro, like Gogo, is optional. He's a yeti, and can't be controlled in combat, but can be equipped with some items to make his actions a bit less sporadic. He has no story other than being friends with Mog.|
|12||Mog||Mog is a moogle, and not very good in combat, or that interesting of a character. He does save you early in the game, and allows you to get Umaro. His dance ability, though not very useful, is a pretty creative idea.|
|11||Strago||Strago is an old man who studies monsters and has adopted Relm as his grand daughter. He's not very useful in combat, only has minor story elements, and is rather boring over all.|
|10||Relm||Relm is a little girl who likes to paint. Her sketch ability is not very useful, but she's a great mage. She has some pretty funny moments, and has a nice scenario in the World of Ruin. She also has an interesting connection with Shadow.|
|9||Setzer||Setzer is weak in combat. Slot is rarely helpful, and he's not that great at fighting or casting, but he has a pretty good story. You first learn about him as a wealthy wandering gambler who likes to abduct women, and he sounds like a real villain, but you later learn about his tragic history with Daryl which has some emotional scenes.|
|8||Cyan||Though it's not executed that well, I like Cyan's tragic story line. He's the champion swordsmen for the Castle of Doma, and defends it from enemies with great honor, but he loses his family to Kefka's poisoning. He has a lot of internal strife trying to let go of his family's death in the Phantom Train, and has some messed up dreams later in the game. He's decent in combat, his sword tech is slow and random, but he's good at fighting.|
|7||Sabin||Sabin is the best over-all fighter in the game. His blitz moves can be a bit annoying until you learn them properly, but once you do, he's fantastic. However, I find him to be a dull character story-wise. His story elements are about him wanting to be a great fighter to the point where he barely even notices his own father dying, but he doesn't learn much from the ordeal.|
|6||Shadow||Shadow is a mercenary ninja with a dog named Interceptor. His throw ability makes him a great fighter, but he's a rather dull character for the first part of the game, though he becomes more lovable at the Floating Continent. His origin story doesn't make much sense, but it does tie him to Relm.|
|5||Gau||Gau contributes little to combat with his rage, but he has a great story line. As a wild child with an insane father, he was tossed into the wilderness to be raised along side animals. Unfortunately, he's used mostly for childish comic relief, but he is a very genuine character. I really sympathize with him later in the game when he meets his crazy father.|
|4||Terra||In general I find Terra to be a bit boring. She's the main character with a lot of dialogue, and a great mage in combat, but she's always in need of rescue throughout the whole game. She does have some interesting bits when you find out her true nature and her "family" in the World of Ruin.|
|3||Celes||Celes was a general for the Empire, but she becomes disillusioned to them after seeing how awful they've become. She is rescued from execution by Locke and the two develop some subtext which comes to a head during the Opera sequence. I like that she isn't trusted by the Returners at first, but wants to be judged by her merits. She's a decent mage/fighter and her relic ability helps against a lot of bosses. Despite the more hokey elements of the opera scene, it's a wonderful spotlight for her.|
|2||Edgar||Like Locke, Edgar is a rascal with honor, and an interesting character over all. His story of being obligated to become king is rough, and I like that he helps the rebellion while pretending to work for the Emperor. He's a good fighter because of his tools early in the game, but doesn't get any major powers later on.|
|1||Locke||I really like Locke. He's a terrible fighter through the entire game, and his steal ability is mostly a waste of time except for a few enemies, but his story is wonderful. He's a lovable rogue with a tragic back-story of nearly killing his girlfriend Rachel, and now has conflicting thoughts about possibly loving a new woman, Celes.|
Someone wrote this hilarious synopsis of the game's story line:
|English (Original American)||Final Fantasy III|
|English (Re-release)||Final Fantasy VI|
|Japanese||ファイナルファンタジー||Fainaru Fantaji VI||Final Fantasy VI|