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Final Fantasy VI – SNES

Final Fantasy VI – SNES

2408854-4670746880-ff3_uPlatform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Square

Publisher: Square

Release Date: April 2, 1994

Genre: RPG

Nerd Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by Paladin

Wow, this Paladin guy has no idea what he’s talking about, does he? Not only does he have a picture of Final Fantasy III in an article entitled “Final Fantasy VI“, but clearly the only Final Fantasy that deserves a 10/10 is Final Fantasy VIIwhich everyone should worship as their lord and master. What’s Nerd Bacon trying to pull anyway?

*Sigh* It’s not easy educating the masses, but somebody’s gotta do it.

First of all, the game called Final Fantasy III that Americans grew up playing in the 90s is actually the sixth FF that was made. Due to time and budget constraints, the US didn’t bring all of the original Final Fantasies over from Japan. We got the first Final Fantasy, then skipped over the real FFs II and III, brought over Final Fantasy IV and called it Final Fantasy II because it was the second one that we recieved, skipped over Final Fantasy V and went straight for Final Fantasy VI, which we called FF III due to the fact that it was the third one brought Stateside, Who’s on First,download What’s on Second, and I Don’t Know’s on Third.

You can see why this caused confusion. Eventually, we decided to just bring over all the games in this series and call them by their actual names. Yes, FF VII was not only the first FF in 3D, but it was the first one in this new “America acknowledges that Final Fantasy is awesome and we’d love to have them all” initiative. Looking back, this may have been for the best because VII not only showed what new and revolutionary things could be done with RPGs, but it completely revitalized, not only the series, but the genre in general. It was loved by old fans while simultaneously attracting a whole new generation of gamers that weren’t into these kinds of games up to this point.

I believe it’s due to this fortuitous timing of an incredible game that many in the mainstream gaming public overlook the masterpiece that is Final Fantasy VI. Don’t get me wrong, VII deserves every piece of praise you’ve ever heard, but if I’m picking the best entry in the series I’d have to go with VI. Fans may not concur, but most critics agree that when factoring in and averaging all the factors that make a great RPG like story, characters, game play, graphics, music, replay value, and originality, Final Fantasy VI comes out on top as both the greatest Final Fantasy and one of the best RPGs ever made.

imagesThe plot is beyond epic: The Gesthalian Empire is slowly taking over the world using its unique combination of magic and technology, Magitek. The game opens with one of the most epic scenes in gaming history; Terra, a girl with mysterious magic powers being controlled by the Empire, is trekking through the snow with Biggs and Wedge towards Narshe. They arrive, wreak havoc, and Terra goes nuts and kills her guards. She wakes up with amnesia to find that both the Empire and the townspeople of Narshe are after her. A thief named Locke helps her escape to Figaro Castle, which can move underground, where King Edgar assists them further. A resistance forms against the Empire and the characters have to traverse all over the world to discover what’s going on, including traveling on the train of the dead, jumping down a massive waterfall, and the award winning opera scene. The suspense continues to build as every scene ends with a cliffhanger.

Words can’t do this story justice and it’s only helped along by the incredible cast of characters. As opposed to the usual six or seven party members, FF VI  give us 14 characters to battle with and each one has their own unique story that gets fleshed out and developed along the way. We feel for them, cheer for them, cry with them, and more. Part of what makes this possible is the fact that this game has no main character. Instead, everyone gets equal attention and screen time. When the characters split up we get to pick which story to play out next, almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure story, and that’s just the first half of the game. In the second half, our heroes get scattered all over the world and the player can literally travel anywhere they like in any order in an attempt to reunite the tattered forces of good. Once again, each character is going through their own struggles when they get re-discovered and it’s always a mystery as to who you will come across next and when. To this day VI remains the only FF to adopt this multi-protagonist formula and I’m shocked that they never did it again. Not only did it work, it worked perfectly. There’s not a single moment that doesn’t evoke some kind of emotion out of you.images (1)

These guys are just as much fun to control as they are to watch. The battle system is refreshingly basic, yet engaging. By equipping a Summon monster, called Espers, the characters learn a wide array of magic spells, a satisfying process only made more enjoyable by the impressive roster of summonable creatures at your disposal. In any other game this may make the characters interchangeable, but VI wisely gives each hero their own techniques to utilize in battle whenever the player desires. Between discovering these unique moves and building up your arsenal of magic spells, battles rarely, if ever, become stale and repetitive.

Even if the fighting process was underwhelming, it would still be worth it just to watch it happen. This game may have the best graphics of any 16-bit console. It’s astonishing the amount of detail that the developers squeezed into each sprite without making them look crowded or jumbled. The backgrounds and scenery are nothing short of majestic, and the music only makes it better. Every note of every song brings the action to life. The amount of legendary tracks that came out of this game can’t be exaggerated. The battle theme, the boss theme, Kefka’s theme, and of course, the Overworld theme are absolutely breathtaking. Nobuo Uematsu went all out in this one and I’d go so far as to call it his best soundtrack of all time.

images (2)I don’t throw the word “perfect” around often or lightly, but I have no problem in calling Final Fantasy VI a perfect game. The story touches every end of the emotional spectrum without suffocating us, the characters are diverse, engaging, and relatable, the game play is fulfilling without being distracting, the graphics take full advantage of the technology at the time, and the music is worthy of Hollywood. It was a perfect way to end the 2D era of Final Fantasy. Anyone who hasn’t played Final Fantasy VI needs to. It isn’t just a video game, it’s an experience, and there’s no other like it anywhere.

 

Written by Paladin

 
 

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