Review by xenogears06
"This game is the bar for which all RPGs have been measured for years. Buy it!"
When I heard that Square Enix was finally bringing Final Fantasy IV to the GBA, I was ecstatic. I loved playing Final Fantasy IV Advance, but was overall disappointed with the fact that Square put some parts of the game together quite sloppily (especially the music not being in sync with the ending). Final Fantasy V Advance, easily the worst plot-wise in the SNES series, gave me hope that Final Fantasy VI Advance would be good by remaining close to the original FFV. Finally, Square Enix has released one of the greatest games of all time to the GBA, and I am pleased to say that I, as a fan boy, am not disappointed. Here's the breakdown of the game.
The evil Gestahl Empire on the brink of world domination is challenged by a remarkable cast of believable characters, each with his or her own motive for fighting for a better world. The game doesn't even try to insult the audience's intelligence by portraying the heroes/heroins as everyday characters that shouldn't be mixed up in something larger than themselves, and actually shows how and why each character has something against the Empire. Each character is either a specialist or holds some great distinct power that no other possesses, showing why they're better than average soldiers of the Empire. The plot changes from being fairly linear to being extremely customizable about 10-25 hours into the game (depending on if you've played the game before, the hours vary greatly).
The graphics remain just about the same as they did on the SNES, which is not a bad thing whatsoever. The sprites and areas look just as they should have, the menu and designs stay true to their original greatness, and the world map looks as it should. There's a slight slowdown during battle sequences depending on some moves, and during airship flights, but other than these minor problems, the game looks awesome and just like the SNES.
Sadly, the sound isn't as good as it should be. Some parts are more obvious than others (the Opera House and battle theme are the two most obvious), and this will annoy hardcore fans more than anything else. Despite the fact that the sound isn't as good as it was on the SNES, the tunes still grew on me and got to me all over again. The music is forgivable, so don't neglect purchasing this game if you own a GBA and are a purist.
Game Play: 10/10
I've always loved the game play of Final Fantasy VI, and the GBA brings it all over with extras. You'll be in a lot of battles, and this game makes sure that the battles don't get too tedious for the most part (which is something not all RPGs do even now in 2007). All of the characters have their own abilities: Locke steals, Sabin uses martial arts, Cyan has his own sword techniques, Edgar uses tools, Shadow has ninjitsu, etc. What's more, each character can learn magic depending on which Magicite they're equipped with. Each Magicite is infused with certain attributes, and gaining levels with certain Magicite equipped gives your characters permanent extra stats.
This game is such a huge achievement in the world of RPGs that few have surpassed it. The game is far superior to Square's flagship PS1 game FFVII, and deserves the same respect and regard given to FFVII. The only things that bothered me in the game's port are the music and some slight changes during in-game sequences. I can't really blame Square Enix for the music quality, as the GBA can't really handle the awesome soundtrack Nobuo Uematsu put out for this game; however, some of the things they took out annoy me because they were on the SNES version, yet were omitted for ESRB purposes. The sound demotion and stupidity of holding back on certain scenes aside, this game has everything Final Fantasy fans could ever dream of: a great plot, fantastic characters, great music, fun and addictive battles, customizable teams, and the ability for gamers to choose if they want a linear game or one with a lot of extremely rewarding side quests. If you haven't played this game, do so now-- you won't regret it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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