Review by ShyguyLord
"A classic, but still slightly overrated"
We all know Final Fantasy VII is what truly got people to know the name "Final Fantasy", but this overlooked precedent of seven brought very much to the table. Possibly even more than seven did. So why would I call it overrated? Well, read on!
Graphics - 8/10
The graphics in this game are absolutely beautiful, there's no doubt about it. Characters only a few pixels tall and wide still manage to express emotion, monsters look like works of art, and backgrounds look perfect. The only thing that bothers me is some of the animation. This, to me, is a problem with many RPGs. When in battle, your characters sometimes appear in front of enemies to attack them, or make a slashing move all the way from the sidelines that somehow magically hits their enemy. Locke's "steal" attack looks more like him trying to a body slam, and Sabin's "Bum Rush" (aka Battle Dance) just looks plain odd. Not to mention many monsters are pallet swaps. I understand making monsters with that much detail and effort put into them, especially with technology then, is very difficult, but somehow calling a green monster one thing and a red monster that looks exactly the same down to the pixel as another a different name just seems a bit tacky to me.
Sound and Music - 10/10
To me, the perfect music for a game is when you can imagine what's happening, and where you are just by the music. Final Fantasy VI (or III) accomplishes this goal. Music is emotional, gripping, and adds to the game. Sound is as expected, a fire attack sounds like a fire attack, and a lightning bold sounds like a lightning bolt. No flaws to be found here.
Translation - 9/10
Ah, the one thing where fans are split. Should you go for the more literal translation now available on the Game Boy Advance, or the alternative on the SNES? Well, I won't pick for you. Some will allege that the games script is slightly more fractured in the SNES version, but most of it is comprehensible. Some changes made in the SNES version were actually considered necessary enough to keep in the more literal GBA version, for example, Terra's name stayed "Terra", due to the fact that her name was meant to sound exotic, and in the western world, her Japanese name (Tina) did not. Espers remained Espers, in spite of the fact that in a literal translation they would be called "Phantom Ghosts". After all, if they were "Phantom Ghosts", why wouldn't they have been on the Phantom Train? The most bothersome change the retranslation on GBA brought to me, though, as a fan of the original, was the spell names. I mean, come on, THUNDARA? That sounds like something from the Thunder Cats. Blizzaga sounds like a really bad sneeze. Sure, Bolt I, II, and III are kind of bland names, but they're still better than THAT.
Gameplay - 9/10
The game mechanics in this game are astounding. The variety of strategy that can be seen in this game is beyond any other RPG I've ever seen. You can change weapons mid combat, wear rings that cause you to permanently reflect all spells (The downside being that it also reflects your healing spells), and many other clever relics, as well as armor which can even cause attacks of certain elements to heal damage. In this department, FF6 is sheer perfection. My only complaint is a staple among RPGs that is rarely broken - random encounters.
Story - 9/10
Final Fantasy 6 is one of the best in the series in terms of story. There's moments that'll make you laugh, and there's moments that will make you cry. Not to mention it dwells slightly more in Science Fiction than in Fantasy, unlike the other games. The villain is not some cosmic villain or a fallen arch-angel, and although there's still magic in this game, there's at least an explanation for it. Still, it remains dwelling very much in fantasy, using the classic "magic" explanation a few times. Each character has their own story to explain why they are who they are, which gives the player a sense as if they knew that character. Still, they could be a bit more dynamic. Most of the characters, past that one significant story, will remain the same the whole way through the game, unlike in (in my opinion a much better game,) Chrono Trigger, where the hero starts out as kid who just wanted to go to a fair, and becomes the hero he is later, because of all the events that happen. Don't get me wrong, they're still dynamic in Final Fantasy 6, just not near as dynamic as in Chrono Trigger. Not to mention Chrono Trigger has a much better story line in the first place.
Synopsis - 8/10
Final Fantasy 6 is a great game. If you're looking for a fun, intriguing, exciting, and emotional RPG, you'll no doubt enjoy this game. But there are better games, namely Chrono Trigger. Where Final Fantasy falters, Chrono Trigger excels, and where Final Fantasy excels, Chrono Trigger excels doubly (save combat some strategy). Its animations are superior, its monster encounter system more tolerable, its story more engrossing, and its music actually exceeding that of Final Fantasy, one who's played both will wonder why Final Fantasy gets all the sequels and Chrono Trigger doesn't. If you look at the track record here, though, it's really much better that way, considering how badly Sony and SquareEnix are stomping on the Final Fantasy series's grave with the sheer quantity of sequels they've made. At this point they're really just milking a cash cow. If you don't think so, just look at Final Fantasy X10-2. Really look at it, and try not to look back at the old portions of the series like 6 and 7 and realize how much the series has been torn apart. So, my conclusion is this - Final Fantasy fans, play this game. RPG fans, play this game. But also realize there are better RPG games out there. And SquareEnix - Stay the hell away from Chrono Trigger. Please. You're not allowed to touch it until you get some sense back. What you've done to Final Fantasy is not unlike what's been done Jurassic Park. You've taken something absolutely beautiful and somehow ripped it apart so badly that it's become something hideous and deformed.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 10/20/94)
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