Review by Zylo the wolf
"The series went from great to fantastic with this title."
Just like when I reviewed Final Fantasy II on the SNES I think it's important to point out that even if this game is called Final Fantasy III, it is in fact not the third game in the series since it's actually the sixth (not counting all the spin offs.). But since neither the real Final Fantasy II or Final Fantasy III got an official English translation on the Nes and also never got released outside of Japan they thought that American gamers would be confused if the first Final Fantasy on the SNES was called Final Fantasy IV. And Final Fantasy V on the SNES also didn't get released outside so the SNES version of Final Fantasy VI is known as Final Fantasy III. However all the ports of the game are called Final Fantasy VI, so I will call it Final Fantasy VI in this review.
There are a lot of great RPGs on the SNES, and a lot of them are made by one company, Squaresoft. Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger are all considered to be some of the finest games the system has to offer, but the three (once again I don't count any spin offs) Final Fantasy games which is Squaresoft's biggest series had what many consider "the golden age" on that system, and most people think that Final Fantasy VI is the best of the three on this system.
The story begins that two random Empire soldiers called Vicks and Wedge are just about to search for an Esper (An Esper is a monster that possesses great magic) and with them they got a mysterious girl who can for some reason use magic and once killed a lot of the empire soldiers in just a couple of minutes. But now the she's under the Empire control thanks to a crown on her head. When they find the Esper, it frees the girl from this and kills the two Empire soldiers. The girl gains her memory back and remembers that her name is Terra.
She then wakes up in a house in Narshe and it turns out that a rebel group called the Returners want her support but feels that she has to decide what she wants. But since the Empire is searching for her, she hides in the cave just north of Narshe. However the Returners are worried about her, so they send out the thief Locke (or the treasure hunter as he prefer to be called) to rescue her. The main plot of the story is then the Returners against the Empire, and I feel like I don't want to spoil the rest.
One cool thing in this game is that there is no real main character. Most of the story focus on Terra and how she can use magic, but for the most of the time you don't have to have her in your party. Fans have many times debated on who really is the main character, but there really is none. The game focus on a main plot and maybe 7 different characters, and then there's 7 another playable characters that don't get much attention. One of my favourite parts of the game is when the team gets separated in three parts, and each part has it's own story until the reunite. Final Fantasy VI really handles the characters in a unique way.
Every character in this game got one unique skill. Terra can morph into an Esper which makes her do twice as much damage when she casts magic, Locke can steal items from enemies, Edgar can use tools to do damage, Sabin can use his martial arts e.t.c. One of the most unique skills is Gau's Rage which makes him to do the same type of attacks like a certain enemy. I think he can do any move that any enemy in the game has, which of course takes a lot of time to master him but if you want something different in the game then this is perfect for you.
Even if Terra and Celes are the only ones who can use magic in the beginning of the game, it doesn't take long time unti the party gets the power of a few Espers, and now everyone can learn every spell in the game. Each Esper can teach a character some spells, and each spell got a learn rate. For every battle you now also get a few Magic Points, which helps a character to learn a spell. For example, if you get 3 magic points and the learn rate on a spell is x2, then the character gets 6% on that spell. When a spell reaches 100%, the character can finally use this spell (the Esper does not have to be equipped in order for a character to use a spell when it has been learned).
But the Esper also got two other uses. One thing which I've almost never used is that you can also use the Esper as summon. Some of the Espers cause a lot of damage,while others give you different support. They usually cost a lot of MP to use and can only be used once in every battle.
The finally use of Espers is one thing that took me some playthroughs to figure out (and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who missed this) is that when a character gains a level, the only stats that always increases is the maximum HP and MP. In order to make a character gain any other stat, an Esper has to be equipped. Some Esper also has a bonus that a character get permanently if the Esper was equipped. This makes it possible to customize your character a lot more than what most think it's possible in this game. If you want to make someone a good fighter you give him an Esper that increases his strength e.t.c.
What many consider to either make or break the game is the part of the story where the world actually gets destroyed, and Celes wakes up on a island and has to begin her search for all the others, and the game just is a lot of different side quests to prepare you for the ultimate showdown with the villain. You can either spend your time to really prepare yourself for the final and find all your buddies, or you can just get the three ones you have to get and have a real challenge to defeat the final boss.
What makes Final Fantasy VI so good is not only the fact that it got a really interesting plot between Humans and Espers, the great music and that it delivers what a Final Fantasy game usually do, but it's also the fact that despite that the game got so many characters, it actually work and gives us one of the best games in the series. What makes the game even better is that it also features Kefka, one of the most memorable villains in the RPG history, along with many other characters that you will remember. Even if you don't have to because the game isn't that hard, you will most likely build up at least 8 characters because you want to see how they are when they are strong.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/15/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 10/20/94)
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