Review by Variaz
"Great...until you reach the middle of the game."
Well, now, as you are reading the reviews of Final Fantasy III(or VI, which is the same game), you are probably noticing the insane amount of 10/10 awarded to this game. Yes, the game is highly overrated for the simple fact it has the name ''Final Fantasy'', and it had a rather nice graphical and audio quality for it's time. But you know...take any poorly designed RPG and it will get bad ratings. Now, give it the name ''Final Fantasy'', and great reviews will magically appear. This is what we call ''hype'' or ''marketing'', and I would ask you not to fall prey to it.
Well, enough with that(you know, I just HAD to say it!), onto the actual game. Basically, Final Fantasy III/VI is a RPG, in which you control a group of characters, each with different attributes and a different background story. Each characters can be equipped with different weapons and armors, and you use them to defeat monsters you randomly encounter while exploring the world. So basically, it's a typical RPG. Now, I am going to separate this review in two parts, as the game completely changes after you finish the first half of it. The first part of the game is the one I would consider ''good'', and the other is the ''bad'' one.
------ FIRST HALF OF THE GAME ------
I have to admit that for the first part of the game, the story is quite good and original. The story begins with a group of soldiers, consisted of a mysterious magic-using woman and two imperial soldiers. They have to investigate the mysterious creature known as ''Esper'', which was found in the caves of Narshe. However, things didn't turn out as planned, and the soldiers are defeated, and the magic-using woman recovers her memory. Now, the woman is trying to learn more about herself. During the game, she will encounter many characters, including the thief Locke and king Edgar, who will try their best to help her. There are many more characters, and most of them have a nice background story. As the game progress, you learn more about the mysterious woman and about the creatures known as ''Espers'', and also about the enemies who are trying to control the espers. Originality, emotions and addiction are three words I could use to describe the story....until you reach the middle of the game, that is. The only thing I can complain about is that some characters have little or none background story, which makes them somewhat boring. But other than that, the story is pretty good!
This game plays much like any other RPGs. You control a group of up to four characters, and each characters can attack the monsters with different weapons. Each characters also have their own special abilities they can use during battle. For example, the thief Locke can steal items from enemies, while king Edgar can use technological devices to defeat his foes, and the magic-using woman can use her spells. However, this is what completely ruins the gameplay: magic spells. In this game, every characters can equip themselves with an Esper, and by doing so, they can learn magic spells. The problem is that ALL characters can learn ALL spells in the game, thus rendering their personal abilities useless. Also, magic is WAY too powerful compared to other forms of attacks. After all, why should you use a 1500 damages dealing chainsaw when you can use a spell that does 9999 damages? Therefore, at the end of the game, all characters are going to be magic users with the strongest magical attacks, and they will never use their special abilities. And physical attacks? Forget about them. They could have removed the ''Fight'' command, and that would not have changed much. Again, why slashing an enemy with the legendary sword when you can just kill them with a spell? The gameplay starts out nicely, but once you reach the first quarter of the game, it is ruined by the esper system.
I certainly won't give this game an award for being difficult, but still... The first half of the game is moderately difficult. Most monsters aren't too hard to kill, but some of them may still prove to be a challenge, or at least annoying in some ways. The bosses aren't too hard, but they aren't too easy either, and I would actually recommend caution against a few of them, especially the one just before you reach the middle of the game. Not that he is extremely hard, but he can still be a challenge if you're not prepared enough. But overall, the game is not too difficult, and it is mainly due to the fact that every characters can learn all spells. You know, if a monster is weak against fire, and all your characters have the strongest ice spells, will the fire monster be hard to kill? Probably not.
Well, as far as I'm concerned, graphics will NEVER make up for a poor gameplay. But still, the graphics are very well done. Back in the SNES days, it was one of the most beautiful RPGs, along with Chrono Trigger. And even today, the graphics surpass many Gameboy Advance games. And the special effects of the spells are very nice as well, giving the battles a good feeling. At least, if they cannot be hard, they might as well look good, right?
Well, the music and sound effects in this game are quite nice. The musics in the towns are either emotional, serious or funny, and the overworld music is a nice, relaxing tune. The battle and boss tunes are also excellent. As for the sounds, they are quite good as well. Sure, not all sounds and tunes are excellent, but overall, the audio aspect of the game is very well done.
It is sad to see that the game's strong points are in the audio/visual department and not in the actual gameplay. Oh well, this is the first half of the game: an rpg with a mediocre gameplay and average challenge, but with a very good story, nice graphics and sounds. Now, onto the....
------ SECOND HALF OF THE GAME ------
Well, the second part of the story is....quite empty, is it? In fact, is there an ACTUAL STORY to review? No. Basically, a blond woman becomes the heroine in the second part....well, kinda. Actually, the story is simple: your comrades are lost somewhere. Find them, and go beat the final boss once you find them(and you can actually save only three of them, that is, the ones the game forces you to save). And that's about it. No romantic plots, no conspiracies, no intrigue....few, rather empty dialogs.... And what about espers? They barely talk about them now. And what about the final boss then? Same thing, they barely talk about him. And what about the new characters? They have NO background story at all, and do not say anything in the game. So...what about....the ending then? Well...if I told you the ending of Super Mario Bros 1 was better than this one, what would you be thinking? You would think that the story of the game's second half is bad...and you would be right. Seriously, this game's ending is simply....well, just as barren as the story. In fact, I can hardly call that an ending. I'm not going to spoil it to you, as there is nothing to spoil.
If anything, the gameplay only get worse during the second half of the game. The game mechanics haven't changed, but the magic spells available are so powerful, that just every characters are going to have them. Having magic on every characters was already a bad thing, but having the SAME spells on every characters is even worse. Thief? King? Martial Art champion? Knight? Who cares, we're all going to do the same thing anyway....
The second half of the game is very easy. There is no challenge at all. Sure, monster X has a lot of hp, monster Y has a lot of magical attacks...but what can they do when four characters can use the strongest spell in the game? Especially since by that point, your characters will have something that allow them to cast two spells at once, and an item that makes all spell cost only 1 Mp to cast. So why casting a weak spell when the game's strongest magic will cost the same amount of Mp to cast anyway? And what about the final boss? Of all RPGs I have played, this final boss was among the easiest. My strongest character was dead when the battle started, and my other characters weren't much prepared...and yet, I defeated him with little trouble. So, imagine how easy he is if you're actually prepared for him... Overall, the challenge wasn't so high in the first place, and now it's even worse.
The graphics didn't change much, but somehow, they messed up with the colors in some towns, giving them an odd feeling. Sure, this was intended, and the changes aren't so big, but still, they failed to give the effect they were intended to. Oh, and despite being intended, the overworld graphics aren't as nice as they were in the first half.
While still good, the tunes in the second half of the game aren't as good as the previous ones. They try to be evil and/or sad, but they fail. So it ends up that the once cool music is not so cool anymore. And therefore, the game's audio effects will not impress you anymore.
Despite the graphics and the audio, nothing will ever make up for the poor, empty(absent?) story. The gameplay is still lacking and the challenge is almost completely gone due to the poor esper system. And even the graphics and audio get worse in the second half of the game.
FINAL RATING: 5/10
Well, the average between 8 and 2 is 5. And 5/10 means only half of the game is good, and that's exactly what happens to Final Fantasy III/VI. The game started out great, but they ruined everything from the middle of the game. My best advice is play this game, until you reach the middle. Then stop playing, and let your imagination create the rest of the story. Trust me, it will be much more fun than actually playing trough the second half of the game. Buy or Rent? Well, finding the SNES version can be hard(unless you can legally use roms), but you can play the playstation remake. Rent it. If you're good, it might give you enough time to finish the first half of the game. And that's all what you need to do really. Let your creativity build up the sequel of the story. At least, there will be an actual story to talk about...
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/07/04
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