Review by DemiGodX
"One of Square's best, but far from perfect."
This 6th installment of Square's brilliant FF series ranked as the second 16-bit RPG of all-time in GamePro but don't be fooled. For a game that many consider perfect, it has many serious flaws. Although, without a doubt, this is one of the best RPGs ever created, it falls short in its overall appeal.
First, the good stuff...
Graphics = 10 - Final Fantasy 6 (3 US) is excellent in its graphical capabilities. It uses the 16-bit pallette extensively and employs many brilliant special effects which are visible when casting spells or calling espers. It's not as good as Chrono Trigger's, but then again, what SNES (and even some Saturn and Playstation) RPG has graphics better than Chrono Trigger?
Sound/Music = 10 - The soundtrack in FF6 is pretty much awesome. Each character has their individual music that corresponds with that person's characteristics. There are some minor annoying tunes but the majority is very enjoyable and sets the mood for each setting perfectly.
Now this is where it start to get ugly...
Plot = 8.5 - Now I know what most of you are thinking: `What in hell is wrong with the plot?!' Before you press that back button or shut down this review, let me explain this rating. FF6's plot isn't a bad one, but it has some questionable elements about it. For starters, the world gets destroyed, despite the efforts of the heroes. I figure the basic goal of most RPGs is to stop the villain from destroying the world and its citizens before it's too late. In FF6, the heroes failed and in the World of Ruin they try to make up for it by destroying Kefka, which will do really nothing for what's already happened to the world. Also Kefka, for a guy who is totally bent on destroying the world, he sure takes his time doing it. All he did in the World of Ruin was destroy a single house while all the heroes gather together to take him on. What was he doing all that time? At least they could shown some cutscenes of Kefka in his domain or have monster coming at you, sent by him trying to stop you. The plot in the World of Balance was great but it seems to fall apart in the World of Ruin. From that point on it's apparent that what you do is all sub-quests. However, the should be signs that the heroes must hurry to stop Kefka. In conclusion, most of the plot is good but the ending is terrible. The heroe save a world that is already destroyed and destroy the Espers and all magic in the process. Is it a very happy and deserving ending? I give it a score of 8.5 despite my complaints because most of the plot takes place in the World of Balance which is, as I mentioned before, pretty good.
Characters and Character Development = 7 - One of the main problems with FF6 is its size. It's just too big with too many characters. Trying to focus on all of them is far too stressing and players usually pick only a handful of them to be their main party memebers, usually ones with good skills. In fact, who is supposed to be the main character? Is it Terra? Or Locke? Maybe it's Celes? It's practically impossible to tell because there's no one person that the plot revolves around. Most people would say that it's Terra but she does not fit the role very well in my most humble opinion. She slips out of the role as the game progresses and by the end she is like everyone else. Because there are so many characters the character development suffers. Only 5 or 6 of them truly develop and the others are just "in the background" sort of speak. Characters like Mog and Emaro aren't even necessary and because they're found so late in the game they don't even get a proper chance to blend into the plot. I feel like they're just extra soldiers or units. Another problem that arises is power distribution among the characters. Some characters are powerful and fun to play (Sabin, Edgar, Cyan) while others are weak and have simiarly weak abilities (Relm, Locke, Terra). The player builds up their favorite characters, and leave the other weak characters behind in the dust. Problems then arise when the multi-party battles begin.
Gameplay = 7 - The game has standard gameplay similar to those seen in previous FFs. Battles are fought in a menu-based system. It's not as ingenious as Chrono Trigger but it is fun to play. However, the `ready bar' charged even when doing specials and casting spells which Square really shouldn't have done. If they did that, why didn't they just make the battles real-time then where enemies attack in the middle of casting spells. Because of this it's hard to tell when you'll actually attack or when enemy units will attack. The commands get stacked up so you never know when the units will do things, making timing difficult. Let's take an example and say that one of your party members gets brutally hurt. So you command one of your guys to cast Cure on him but by the time that person actually gets around to casting the spell, the enemy strikes him and he dies, simply because you had to wait your chance to cast the spell, even when you were ready. Waste of magic and an attack round for that person and the dead person. Let's take another example. Say you were fighting a boss and you command your first one to do a special attack or cast magic that takes a long time. The bar charges for all the others before the first one finishes their attack so you command the others to attack as well. Then after the first unit finishes the attack, the boss goes into counterattack mode. Then you should stop attacking and wait but you already put in your commands. See where the problems come up? This was a similar problem in FF4 where units waited before they attacked so it was impossible to stop them if the enemy suddenly changed modes. Also the last battle in the game is very disappointing. The game was just not balanced enough with the attacks and the amount of HP Kefka had. I had more trouble fighting the enemies below him. He was much too easy for the person who is supposed to be the source of all magic.
Oh, and in case you didn't know, Final Fantasy 6 is the only FF where there were actual errors in the game. Relm's Sketch skill sometimes messed up the game doing some very nasty things like erasing the game data or freezing the system so you had to reset, etc. A ROM cartridge with actual errors is very rare and the team obviously didn't test it enough, probably due to the sheer size of options in the game. It just goes to show what happens when you try to overstuff a game with too many characters and options.
Overall it isn't a terribly bad game but it has quite a number of flaws that extract from the game. If they just took out some unnecessary elements and fixed up some of the bugs then this game would have been the greatest thing ever created. Sadly, I Square just missed the mark of perfection in their efforts to make a game too big than it should be.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 02/20/03
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