Review by PizzaDude371

"The Epic Masterpiece"

-Intro-

Fantastic. That is all you need to know about this game. Too bad I need to fulfill the requirement of 1500 words. Oh, to start, I will be referring to this game as Final Fantasy VI throughout the review, so that you don't become confused. Well let's see here…Final Fantasy VI (or III in the U.S.) was originally released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo by Squaresoft. Americans were happy to see this game come to America, due to the fact that Square decided not to release Final Fantasy V anywhere outside of Japan. Of course it received an enormous amount of hype, mainly because it is a part of Sqaure's biggest video game franchise. It was the conclusion to the SNES Final Fantasy trilogy, and also a conclusion to the 2D Final Fantasy era. It was met with critical acclaim upon its release, and is generally thought of as one of the best RPG's ever made.

But enough with the background! This is supposed to be my personal review! We're going to talk about gameplay now, dammit!

-Gameplay-

*takes a deep breath*

FFVI is a traditional turn-based RPG, like the previous games in the series. The battles are triggered randomly in dungeons and on the world map. This game uses the Active Time Battle system, or ATB, in which the battles take place in real time, despite being turn-based. If you've played any Square RPG's on the SNES, then you will already be familiar with it. Each character in this game has their own unique command in battle. For example, Locke, the thief, uses the ability “Steal” to steal treasure from enemies. Some of these commands are more useful than others. In addition to these commands, every character has a Fight, Magic, and Item command. There is a lot to do in this game, whether it be getting Gau's rages or stealing a bandanna from a Brawler.

Oh yeah, let me get into the magic system in this game. The magic system in Final Fantasy VI may be the best of any RPG out there. Only two characters in the game learn magic by gaining levels. Instead, the main way to learn magic in this game is to equip espers on your characters. Espers allow characters to learn specific spells and also grant stat bonuses at level ups. Each esper is unique in the spells that it teaches and the rate at which it teaches them. At the end of any battle, the party will receive magic points which will contribute to the character learning spells. It may seem a little complex, but it's actually quite simple. Overall, I think that the esper system is a fun and addicting aspect of the gameplay.

Another thing I like about FFVI is the amount of sidequests available. Almost all of the second half of the game are sidequests. Most of these give you powerful items and skills and are interesting storyline-wise as well.

The control in Final Fantasy VI is solid, with virtually no problems. Menus are easy to navigate through, and the controls are responsive. The only gripe I had was that you could not walk diagonally. Not too big of a problem, however.

*exhales*

-Story-

Oh god yes. The story in Final Fantasy VI may be the best of any RPG I have ever played. I don't want to spoil anyone, so I am just going to be pretty general. The story centers around a group of rebels called “The Returners”. They are against the Empire, which is an powerful organization that is after world domination. The story starts with a young woman named Terra being controlled by this Empire due to her magical abilities. The plot centers around magic for a large part of the game. The tale spreads out from there to form a wonderful plot twists as The Young and the Restless (okay maybe not).

Each character has their own distinct personality, and there is so much character development. This seems remarkable since there are a total of fourteen characters, which coincidentally is the most out of any Final Fantasy ever. Every character contributes to the story very well and is not just thrown to the side. Most characters also have a strong motive for being against the Empire, with the exception of Umaro. The sidequests at the end of the game help to contribute to character development of the characters, so make sure not to miss out on them.

-Music and Sound Effects-

“Wow”. That is the first word that came out of my mouth as I heard music in Final Fantasy VI. Now this may be a bold statement, and my opinion could change in the near future, but right now I believe that FFVI has the best soundtrack of any video game ever created. Yep, and I've played my fair share of games. It's just…hard to describe the greatness of the music in this game. The composer, Nobuo Uematsu, is an absolute genius. Each song is beautifully composed and fits the mood of the situation so well. Every character theme seems perfect for the character, whether it be the ambitious theme of Locke or the sad theme of Gau. Terra's theme is one of my favorite video game songs ever. The final battle theme is one of the best final battle themes I've ever heard. It's easy to see why Square keeps asking Uematsu to come back. Truly incredible…

The sound effects featured in FFVI are solid, but they, unlike the music, are nothing to get excited about. In battle, there are sword slashes, claw scratches, flail whips, and a wide variety of spell sounds. Most of these sounds are somewhat impressive, but some are fairly bland. However, this is hardly a problem, unless you absolutely can't live without a realistic sounding flame or lightning bolt.

-Graphics-

Yet another spectacular aspect of Final Fantasy VI is the graphics. This game is a pretty big step-up in graphics from FFV. The backgrounds in dungeons and towns were very well done. I also enjoyed the look of the character portraits in the menu screen for just about every character. Character sprites had a great amount of detail, even the NPC's. The graphics in battle are no different, with many visually impressive bosses. However, I thought that several of the enemies and bosses were uncreatively designed. Others were just plain ugly. Ah well, there were plenty of creative and impressive designs as well. The world map uses the unique Mode 7 to create a 3D effect while flying the airship. This was well-done, in my opinion, and was quite impressive for its time.

The animation in this game is, simply, solid. In battle, your characters will have their own attack pose and their own spell casting pose. The enemies don't move when they attack you, but hey none of the other early FF games did, so why should this game be any different.

-Challenge, Length, and Replay-

The challenge level in Final Fantasy VI is tough to define. The game may seem very difficult to new players of the game, and there are some tough parts in the game. The thing is, once you get the hang of the battle system and you know some powerful tactics, the game becomes much easier. I guess the same thing can be said about most games. I would say that overall the challenge in this game is medium, just the way I like it. It starts off fairly tough, gets easier, becomes difficult again, and then becomes easy for the rest of the game. Sounds odd, I know.

This is a very long RPG for the SNES. While most RPG's of this era time take around 25 hours to complete, FFVI takes around 35 to complete with all sidequests. Needless to say, there is a lot of things to do in this game. If you're looking for a long RPG, then you're in for a real treat.

Replay value is also high in this game due to the large cast. Since each character has distinct equipment, abilities, stats, and desperation attacks there is motivation to use different characters on new playthroughs.

-Summary-

Gameplay – 10/10……..excellent
Story – 10/10………… excellent
Music/Sound – 10/10.... excellent
Graphics – 9/10………great
Overall – 10/10……… excellent

-Final Words-

Well, there's not much else to be said about this game. If you've read through the review, you will see that I believe that it has a top-notch battle system with an awesome story with the best music I have ever heard. Well, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised by my amazement with this game, seeing as how this game was made while Squaresoft was in their prime. Final Fantasy VI defines what an RPG is and what it should be. It is, simply, an epic masterpiece. It is my favorite Final Fantasy ever, and my second favorite RPG of all time. *winks at Chrono Trigger*

So click out of this overly-long review and play this game already. There are tons of copies of this game on eBay, and you could probably buy the cartridge for $20. If you want to go the emulation route, that's fine, just play the game already. You owe it to yourselves. Now go on, git!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/23/07


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