Review by buruburu1
"A great remake that seems as fresh as if it was new"
Graphics (25/30): There's no denying that this is a very attractive game, the nicest looking of the 2d Final Fantasy games, and better than most of what was built specifically for the GBA. The overworld is large and detailed, with architecture better rendered than in earlier entries in the series. The cast of player characters is large, the bestiary large (though mostly static, animation-wise) and effects generally good. There is a touch of slowdown here and there, but nothing terrible. While this is clearly among the nicer looking GBA games, it is yet eclipsed by titles such as Golden Age. But this game is no graphical slouch by any means.
Sound:FX (5/10): Basically a few enemy-slash sounds, the tinkly sound of ice, the whoosh of flames, and a few other miscellaneous spell sounds make up the overwhelming (rather, underwhelming) bulk of the soundscape here.
Sound: Music (8/10): Many who played the original SNES and PS1 versions of this game have complained that the music took a hit in quality to be ported to the GBA soundchip. I don't doubt these reports, but never having played them on those systems, I would never have known. The soundtrack is truly fantastic, and though it has a few remixes of earlier themes, is nevertheless the best of the first 6 Final Fantasy titles.
Length (15/15): I didn't make a note of the hours played here, but have no doubt that the game is plenty longeasily over 30 hours, and I'd be surprised if it didn't hit 40+ by the time all was said and done.
Story (4/5): The story is here quite full, particularly for a game of its age. While the main plot is mainly fairly standard, it is fleshed out tons of personality, quite literally through the use of so many player charactersyou eventually come to be in control of a huge variety of characters who come in and out of the story at times, and who each have a pretty unique story on their own. The main enemies are memorable, and some of the breaks in the game lend an extra dash of flavor, for instance in the famous Opera scene.
Gameplay (24/30): There are two main things that set this game apart from others. First is the character/class management, which seems more robust than ever. Most of the characters have unique attack styles, some more or less useful than other, and these can be customized greatly in most cases through the way Magic is learned. Battling is nothing particularly new here, although it is largely well done, with an Active Time Battle system that keeps you on your toes. One gripe would be the amount of random battling done, which seems a bit excessive and so can start to grate on your nerves. On the other hand, the game didn't require me to do extra grinding at the end to complete it, so perhaps this was the better way to go.
Beyond that, there is a good variety of gameplay styles to break up the go here, go there style of earlier RPGs. You'll save folks from a burning house, participate in an Opera performance, leap from tower to tower while trying to solve puzzles and all sorts of other things that break up the monotony while moving the story forward.
Final Thoughts: If you haven't played it before, you owe it to yourself to play this title, which is the pinnacle of 2D Final Fantasy gaming, and the last entry in the series before it was rebooted as a 3D staple. If you have, then you'll have already decided if this game is good enough for another playthrough. Having it on a handheld is a good motivator, regardless.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/19/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy VI Advance (US, 02/05/07)
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