Final Fantasy VI
I first saw Final Fantasy IV at my middle school friend's house. I would go over to his house almost every day to play video games with him. He had rented the game a day before and already had Terra, Locke, and Edgar, and maybe more, 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. He let me use one of the save slots, and I would play from time to time, and eventually made it all the way to the World of Ruin and collected most of the party back before quitting. Later, I tried to do a low-level run and made it to the floating continent before becoming too bored with grinding. I finally played through the game correctly and beat it around 2016.
I own this game and have beaten it with all party members accounted for.
- Overall: 9/10
- Best Version: SNES
- 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.
- This game features some of the best video game music to date, and 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 following 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 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.
The game has a full cast of characters, and here is my review of them sorted by least favorite to favorite:
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Setzer||Setzer is not very helpful in combat. Slot is rarely helpful, and he's not that great at fighting or magic, 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Locke||I really like Locke. Though 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:
Final Fantasy VI's story line isn't that great after all.
Let's all have a look at FF6's storyline for a second: There's an evil empire who presently has control over the only person in the world who can communicate with the creatures they want to enslave, even though they've already enslaved them. She's so important, in fact, that they send her right into enemy territory along with two low-ranking 'bodyguards' who care so much about her safety that they hide behind her because "There's no sense taking any risks". She's being controlled by a magic crown that makes anyone who wears it totally obedient to The Empire, but they never think to use it again on anyone else, even after two of their three generals turn traitor. A group of rebels rescue her, and then immediately send her running alone through a hostile city in broad daylight, then into some caves full of ghosts and hunchbacked guys who throw wrenches. The cave floor then collapses for no apparent reason, and she has a flashback in which she remembers that The Empire is planning on resurrecting the ancient power of magic, even though they already have a research facility that's pumping out magic-powered robots, and can infuse regular people with magic power - and, even without magic, they have enough power to dominate the entire world anyway.
She gets rescued by a thief and bunch of goblin / cat / bat things (who just happen to be there). They run off to meet the king, whose castle is closer to the town he doesn't control than the town he does. The Empire is so concerned with recapturing magic-girl that they burn down the castle she's hiding in. Our Heroes climb a mountain and get attacked by a monk for absolutely no reason, but are saved by the king's long-lost brother (who just happened to be there). Meeting with the resistance, we learn that the girl and her magic powers are the key to victory against The Empire, because she's the only person alive who can talk to espers... at the moment, anyway, because later on we meet a bunch of them and they're quite chatty regardless of one's parentage. Then, in order to stop them from being killed and turned into magicite, they give you their power by killing themselves and turning into magicite.
There's a legendary general with magic powers, but who can still be imprisoned in someone's basement by a soldier who can't stay awake. They don't trust her, then they do, then they don't, then they do, then she suddenly manifests the power to destroy an entire room full of soldiers, but never again. There are some ghosts on a haunted train, which also happens to be the only train in the entire world, and can only be stopped by killing the engine, even though it's already dead, even though trains aren't alive to start with. The rescued general just happens to be the exact double of a famous opera singer, so she's used as bait to lure The Wandering Gambler, who owns not only the world's only airship, but the world's only casino. An island takes off into the sky for no reason, and it has three statues on it, and the world will end if they're ever moved. The bad guy moves them because he's bad, and that's what bad guys do! Despite everyone being involved in a mid-air explosion over the sea, they all manage to survive.
Later, you physically destroy the statues, and nothing happens. Killing the bad guy, however, instantly fixes everything. You'll also be repeatedly harassed by a talking purple octopus with teeth, which shows up without any explanation, and then becomes a receptionist.
A very deep story!