Final Fantasy III
Review by BimmyandJimmy
"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel better than fine."
Well, I can't deny it, Final Fantasy 6 is a game that has absolutely no major flaws that I can put my finger on. In fact, there are just so many great things about this game that even if I were to bother to look for flaws, I would just come out with something good about the game. It's no wonder why this game is the way it is. After 5 games of consistent and great games, Squarsoft had finally fine-tuned and refined their RPGs to a T so well that it was only a matter of time when they would release their greatest game of all time, and in 1994 they did just that, and have taken the world by storm since. It was a great pleasure to play this game from start to finish and I felt like I got every dollar I paid for out of it. Hey, I had better got my dollars' worth out of it seeing as how it set me back 110 clams, that and it wasn't actually the game that I was planning on buying that day.
Ah, ok, so maybe I've hyperbolised the game's lack of flaws, of course every game has some flaws, and it's my duty as a reviewer to pick them like the puss encrusted scabs that they are, but like I said, the number of them are so far in between that I might as well get them out right at the beginning of this review.
So, you ready?
For one, and this a relative small thing that annoyed me, the dialog at specific times thought the game doesn't give a clear indication to who was actually speaking, meaning that you had to guess who was saying what. I know who really cares besides me though?
Since this is a RPG, the emphases was obviously placed more on the story than anything else. Therefore, the game's challenge is pretty moderate/ low to say the least since the game actually wants you to beat it so you can actually witness the rest of the game until the end. Typically, this meant then even when I died, I still gained the experience points from all the past monsters that I beat beforehand, and recovered all the items that I had used on them, even before I saved the game. So, difficulty wise, the game is pretty forgiving, so if you're the type of gamer who likes a challenge, then ah hell, this is STILL a game that you should play regardless of your skill level.
So, enough of this obvious cherry picking of minor, unimportant flaws, let's get to why this game is great.
From the first time you power up your SNES to play this game, the high number of pros stand out with the title screen itself, showcasing a pan of shadowy, dark clouds, complete with a creepy musical score to give the obvious sense of danger and doom yet to come (like an overused metaphor). Even after turning the game on over again many times, this title screen will still be as effective as it was the first time, and get this, this is only the tip of the iceberg atmosphere wise in Final Fantasy 6.
Reason being is that this game has pretty much taped out all the visual tricks that the SNES could pull besides Super FX 3D visuals; huge, divers landscapes that cover the entire map with gigantic mountain ranges, ice incrusted caverns, dark and shadowy forests, industrialized complexes made out concrete and metal and so much more. Cover it all in a layer of high quality textures and, at some points during the gameplay, Mode 7 rendering and you've got a game with such nice, crisp graphics that are only behind Donkey Kong Country.
What astonished me most about this game's visuals, however, were the character sprites themselves. I don't know how the graphic designers did it, but Squarsoft actually manage to place facial expressions on each one of the characters in the game that are so clear, it's almost spooky. Even though it's an incredibly small detail, it makes the game seem much more complete, and at the same time, it adds to the characters personality and development in a way that text can't accomplish, but a little more on that later. As with most other great games, the enemy and boss sprites are both gigantic and detailed that they will leave you in aw when you first meet them and will make you want to play the game again just to come across them again; they are just that memorable, especially when you consider how creative and tricky these bosses are.
I mean, come on, you fight a giant ghost train in this game. Nothing can compare to that, no matter what.
Sure, maybe some of the character portraits can look a little goofy, especially in the menu selection screen, but it's such a small problem that it doesn't really diminish the rest of the game's quality.
Not outshined, the audio plays a huge part in this game as much as the visuals. The game is composed of traditional Squaresoft trademarks which made the other games successful. To describe the game's soundtrack, it pretty much has it all, ranging from sweeping symphonic scores that will send shivers down your body, intense action based songs usually found in the battle screens and ambient and atonal sounding riffs that also make the game scary as hell, and this is just a sample of the songs that you will find in this game. Of course, the game still uses the classic victory song found in every other Final Fantasy game ever made, which is a classic melody I think everyone knows up to this point.
Sound wise, what can I say, it just works. It's clean, action pack and fits with the situation that you will find yourself facing in. I especially love the environment sound effect, such as the sound of rain hitting the ground, or the wind blowing on a snowy cliff top. It just sounds so good that you'll find yourself hanging around in that area for ages without thinking with its hypnotic effect.
In comparison, the audio in this game has the same emotional and large-scale scope as the album Operation Mindcrime, and I don't think I need to tell you how much I love that album.
Actually, just to lose my train of thought with pointless filler, because of the game's ability to change the name of the characters and because I had that album on at the time, I actually named one of my characters Dr. X, because hey why the hell not? He's just such a badass.
And he's got the cure, so you can't disrespect him for that.
You know, the ability to name the characters is one thing that I love about all the Final Fantasy games because if you wanted to, you can get really creative with the names (of course I had to name the main two character Bimmy and Jimmy because, well, think about it won't you), especially when you somehow manage to give a character the perfect name the first time that you are playing the game. I don't know it just makes the game much more interesting this way.
Man, I have the most bizarre reasons why I love video games sometimes
Thankfully, I know I'm not crazy when it came to the story of this game and, for a game of this caliber, this part of Final Fantasy 6 is, dare I say, golden. By the way, I wear glasses so you can't hit me if you wanted to.
Seriously though, I enjoyed the writing in this game from beginning to end. The exposition is unbelievable, even if it's a little cliched with the whole good vs. evil, taking over the world with an ungodly power lost long ago. Unlike many games released in 1994, this game actually has character development really good character development to put it frankly. I don't want to sound like a wimp or anything, but because the characters where so well-developed, I kind of felt some emotion for them when something happened to them, but before you ask *spoilers* NO, I DIDN'T CRY AT THE OPERA SCENE, I'm not that big of a wussy. In fact, I actually found that part quite humorous than emotional in my honest opinion. Now the part where Celes almost committed suicide in the beginning of the world of ruin, I'll admit, it stunned me, but only for a bit. Not only that, Kefka is such a well thought out character in this game that when he destroyed the world, it was actually pretty badass and I couldn't help but just dementedly laugh at the destruction like an evil son of a b***h. *spoilers end here*
Ya, energy is basically what this game is all about, and nowhere is this obviously most placed than in the gameplay in Final Fantasy 6. Without a doubt, even for an RPG newbie like myself, I've got to admit, this is one of the best RPG battle systems I have ever played with, right next to one found in Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door, disproving my theory that the best RPG systems are the most simple. To be blunt, the reason why this one works is that it's complicated enough to please all the hardcore fans of the series, but still simple enough to let anyone quickly understand what is going on and hit devastating attacks that will render up into the thousands.
Let me try to explain.
Like with most Final Fantasy games, you are able to use a range of weapons, armor, shields and magical spells to defeat your enemies with. What makes this system better however is how easy it is to navigate and manage these items around in the menu select screen and on the world map. For example, let's say you bought a better piece of armor for multiple characters. Instead of having to painstakingly change all the characters stats to use the better item, you can just easily let the game do the work by selecting an item update choice. This is a great feature and it makes the game feel a lot faster than previous games, and because there are a ton of items that you can find in this world that range in all sorts of aspects such as strength, speed and dexterity, figuring out which item is best suited for each character is a snap. Of course, the game still lets you customize your items still with relative ease with all sorts of options like alphabetizing your items and such, so you don't have to worry about losing track of your items you have already collected. Not only that, but at any point during the map screen, you can use any spell, item or anything you want to change with no problem at all.
Like I said, the game has a ton of varied items that you can collect and use, mostly bought in shops located in cities, but a lot of these items are either scattered around the map, traded for other items or won by defeating an opponent for it, and no matter how hard I'll try, I probably won't be able to find them all in my lifetime. At least not without a guide or something, but that's a challenge for a different day altogether. Better yet, the effects of these items are so useful that you'll be grateful every time you need to fill up your HP or magic meter and you have a ton of helpful potions and tonics on your side. Believe me, by the end of the game, you will have to use a ton of items just to keep your characters barely alive once you get to the last dungeon.
Well, you know what, as much as I love this feature, I've got admit, the reason why you will be able to afford all these items to begin with is because this game is actually fairly charitable with the money you make. Off of most monsters, you can easily make hundreds of dollars in no time. The only flip side to this is that the items are ridiculously expensive, but it will hardly seem to matter once you're up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. Still I can't complain; I already know what it's like to deal with games that take forever to buy stuff.
Then of course, there is the main aspect to the game; the fighting and by god has it been perfected. What makes this system better than the other is that it uses real-time capabilities during random battles, meaning that anyone can attack when their battle bar in full, including the enemies. I love this because it makes the game harder, faster and intelligent than with most other RPGs. Best of all, the damage you can deliver could potentially be upwards into the thousands, making it seem like every hit counted as much as the last one did. I just love how in one turn, you can potentially deliver not one, but three max HP attacks on one or multiple enemies. It's features like this what made the game such an experience to sit and play.
As with the other games, magic plays a vital role in Final Fantasy 6. Better yet, the system is better on all aspects in this game. Long gone are the days were you can only let one character use magic, because mostly everyone in this game can use it if they gain something called Espers, the keepers of magic that have been lost for centuries. By using these Espers, any character can develop a selected number of spells that you can use on your enemies, all of which you can upgrade as the game progresses. A lot of these spells are incredibly useful, regardless whether or not an enemy can reflect magic, but a few of them I found were completely useless by the time the game ended, but in all honesty, it didn't seem to matter seeing as how most of the time, I didn't use those spells in the first place, so I'm not too disappointed by it. Better yet, the magic system now uses a magic meter instead of having only a few spells that you can only use until you exhaust them bone dry.
Oh, but there's much more to this game than this. Each character also has their own special abilities that they can only use, and each one is suited to the profile of each character perfectly so, for example, one of the characters is big and muscular and can pick up enemies, while another one might use something called Swordtech and use a different attack as you increase the numbers on the bottom of the screen. I don't know what else to say about this except that it is incredibly useful in a ton of situations, such as fighting a boss and not wanting to use magic until later.
Ah the bosses, the main center of any game, and FF6 doesn't disappoint, because there are literally a boss every half hour of playtime that you will meet, and because these bosses are so divers in their attacks, you can only guess which attack will be best suited to defeat them, that is unless, of course, you're an RPG expert, unlike me. Like I said, these bosses are gigantic and will take and dish out enough attacks that it will leave you worn out by the time you beat them. The only main problems that I have when it came to fighting bosses is that for one, even if you lose, you can still keep going back and fight them without losing any experience points you might have had during that point. Second, the number of bosses in this game actually can feel a little too much at points were all you want to do is rest after beating the last one. I can understand maybe a grand total of 15 bosses to beat for one RPG game alone, but this game pretty much has doubled that number, making the game feel a little sluggish and, like I said, can leave you worn out by the end.
Much like this review, which I'm sure has pretty much worn you out by reading it this far.
So, what else can I say about this game. Since the gameplay is amazing and the story is so involving, I have no doubt that you will be coming back to play this game after you beat it for the first time. Better yet, unlike most other adventure games that for some reason block you from going back and exploring the game until you completely beat it (here's looking at you Super Metroid), Final Fantasy 6 doesn't have this problem, allowing you to find almost everything in this game if you manage to have the time to look. Then of course, there are all the game restricting challenges you can do to make the game harder so you can impress your friends with (concerning that you have any by the time you're done) and prove once and for all that you are indeed the true RPG expert over everyone else.
Personally, I'd just go back and play the game over again just for that damn ghost train boss battle. Like I said on my top ten video game cliches list, GREATEST TRAIN LEVEL EVER!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/12/12
Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 10/20/94)
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