Review by Fallen One
"A great game, but certainly not the best FF..."
I've always enjoyed Squaresoft's Final Fantasy series. Squaresoft almost always makes excellent RPGs. They know how to use deep characters, complex storylines, and unique gameplay to make a game a classic. But after seeing all the perfect scores for FFVI, I was a bit disappointed. This is a good game, but is nowhere near being my favorite FF, or game for that matter. Read on...
Graphics (9/10)- The graphics in this game are nothing short of excellent. Though not upgraded for this version on the PSX, the graphics still look great. Compared to the previous FF games, FFIV and FFV, the graphics improved dramatically; each character is shown with great detail, and the bosses look very fierce. Some of the character expressions look very funny, too! The town design is great also; I have nothing to complain about there. With all this praise about the graphics, you're probably wondering why I only gave them a 9. Well, here's my problem: it may be just the PSX version (not sure, I haven't played the SNES version), but the world map looks horrible, no questions asked. Towns have jagged lines, forests look blurry, and all in all the world map just looks like a mess. Other than that, though, the graphics are great.
Music/Sound (10/10)- The music in this game is definitely some of the best music I've ever heard. Each tune, from the boss music to the Zozo theme, is catchy and never gets repetitive. I can't stress how good the music in this game is; I barely ever got bored hearing it! The battle theme, fortunately, is pretty good, which is a plus since you'll be hearing it A LOT. Town music can get a bit repetitive at times, but overall it's good. The sound effects, while not very realistic, are loud and clear. Overall, the music and sound effects in this game are excellent, some of the best I've heard in a while.
Gameplay (8/10)- The gameplay in this game, though rather easy, is very fun. Control is as simple as most FF games; the only drawback I can see is that you walk VERY slow until you acquire the sprint shoes. Other than that, I have no complaints about control. As for the gameplay, I thought the relic system was the best part. The relic system is very innovative; it allows you to customize your characters with equipment combos using two accessories. A great example is the Offering/Genji Glove combo. Normally, if you only equip the offering, it will let you attack four times with your weapon. But if you equip the Genji Glove in addition to the Offering, since Genji Glove allows you to equip two weapons, you attack four times with each weapon, resulting in attacking eight times in one turn! There are many combinations with relics that you can discover yourself. As for the esper system, I still prefer learning spells automatically according to class/buying spells a lot more. The esper system isn't bad, it just seemed tedious to me; to learn all the rare spells, you usually have to wait for someone to learn all spells from an esper, de-equip it, give the esper to another person and repeat the process. I liked the idea of using the one esper a character had equipped as a summon once a battle, though, and the level bonus idea, where if you have a certain esper equipped, it gives you a specific bonus in a certain stat (depends on the esper), is very innovative.
Many people put this game down and gave it a much lower score because of two simple things: load times and slowdown in battles. Now, the slowdown in battles isn't too bad, but it is noticeable, and Squaresoft could have done a much better job. As for the load times, I really don't see why so many people complained. Sure, the menu and save loads could have been much faster, but other than that the load times are fine, and none of them are extensively long. People who complained about the load times complained about a very minor thing.
Story (7/10)- Yes, I am giving the story of this game a 7. Why? Well, despite what most people thought about the story, it just didn't impress me as much as it impressed others. I thought the beginning of the story was pretty cool, as I liked the idea of the Returners rebelling against the almighty Empire. And I have to admit, Kefka is definitely one of my favorite villains in a game, ever. He's a lunatic, killing people left and right, on his quest to become all powerful. So what didn't I like about the story? I thought it was way overrated. Everyone went on about how great and perfect the story of this game was, how they had never seen an RPG with an equal story. I just don't agree. The second half of the game's story is only adequate, as I liked the side stories of the characters, but all in all the second half is just a bunch of side quests with no story running through them. Also, some characters just don't have too much depth. Characters like Terra, Sabin, and Celes grabbed my interest, but some characters just seem thrown in there, like Gau and Mog. I did think the conflict between the espers and humans was a great idea, but I've seen much better stories in RPGs. In conclusion, the story of the first half of the game is pretty good, but most of it falls apart in the second half of the game, which is why I didn't like the story of this game as much as other people did.
Replay (6/10)- Well, this game has decent replay value. If you missed a lot during your first time through, I would always go back to find all the secrets/items you missed. Other than that, the replay value of this game is only adequate. You'll probably play it 2-3 times at the most.
Buy/rent? Definitely buy. Although not my favorite game, it is a great game that every fan of RPGs should own. Plus you get another great game, FFV, in the anthology package.
In conclusion, I'll say that while I enjoyed this game, I thought it was way overrated and not the best in the series. Still, it's a good RPG that no one should miss. If you don't already have it, pick it up when you get the chance.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/24/01, Updated 06/05/01
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