Review by !.ACA.!

"A + … An unforgettable cast, an epic story, and an incredible musical score."

An unforgettable cast, an epic story, and an incredible musical score.

Final Fantasy VI is worlds apart from most games, setting the standards for roleplaying games. Leaving such an impression on the gaming world is not easily accomplished, but Final Fantasy VI makes it look so easy.

From the opening minutes, Final Fantasy VI brings the gamer into its world. Final Fantasy VI’s story, one of mystery and intrigue, grasps the gamer right from the start of the game. Coupled with luscious graphics and amazing music, Final Fantasy VI’s opening is truly memorable as two armed soldiers lead an enslaved girl through the bitter winter snowfield, in attempts to acquire a frozen Esper. Just how does this frozen Esper directly relate to this enslaved girl’s past, present, and future? The answers are found throughout the game. And up until the game’s close, you’ll ponder these same questions, as Square does a remarkable job at keeping Final Fantasy VI’s plot intriguing through the entire game.

This is only possible because of Final Fantasy VI’s cast of characters, both playable and not. Final Fantasy VI forces the gamer to empathize with each hero and to hate each villain.

There are many characters that will join you along the way, and each one has a unique story to tell. Meet Edgar, ruler of a kingdom, whose fate was determined by the flip of a coin. Cyan, a noble warrior and loyal father, whose own kingdom he takes the ultimate responsibility for. Celes, a general in the evil empire’s army. Locke, a thief after the world’s greatest treasures. In addition to these characters, there are many, many more that each hold a vital responsibility in the world’s fate.

Throughout the game, each character’s story is unfolded through touching music and powerful dialog. Final Fantasy VI’s music, composed by Nobuo Uematsu, is possibly the greatest musical score in video game history. Tracks such as “Awakening” and “Aria de Mezzo Carattere” highlight some of the best works from the soundtrack. There are over fifty tracks found throughout the game, and nearly each one is absolutely incredible.

Visually, Final Fantasy VI is quite a sight to see. The characters are drawn nicely, as are the enemies. The battle backgrounds are done extraordinarily well, with much detail paid attention to little aspects such as stones, trees, or walls. And the backgrounds are plentiful, which means you will not tire of them right away—something that cannot be said for the towns, unfortunately.

Nearly each town looks very similar. The town graphics are far overused, which is strange considering how much work went into other graphics, such as the amazing world map.

Like most RPGs, Final Fantasy VI has turn-based battles resulting from “random encounters”. Luckily, however, the gameplay of these battles is not overly monotonous. The fact that the battles are not a chore can be directly attributed to the characters themselves.

Each character has a special set of skills, which only that character can use. A ninja, Shadow, for example, can throw weapons at his enemies. Setzer, a gambler, plays the slots to determine his special attack. Sabin, your incredibly powerful fighter, has Street Fighter style attacks that need to be input with a button combination.

It is in this manner that you’ll be fighting most of the game. Instead of mashing your buttons, choosing “Attack” each turn, you’ll actually have some fun using each character’s unique skills. Battles can be in active time, or they can be in a semi-active time. In active time, battles never stop, forcing you to think on your feet. However, in the semi-active time, the battle time stops to let you choose what magic spells or items you wish to use. Both are fun, and it is nice to have an option between the two. And after the battles, of course, you’ll be equipping the latest armor, weapons, accessories, and summons.

Most games are not without flaws, however, and one of Final Fantasy VI’s most glaring flaws is the characters’ walk speed. The characters walk unbelievably slow, which causes an incredible amount of frustration. Thankfully, this can be remedied by equipping an item that allows your characters to run.

Another flaw, which is inexcusable, comes in the character attributes. For some mysterious reason due to a glitch in the game, standard Evasion is not calculated during battle, but is instead decided by Magic Evasion. How this obvious mistake escaped testing is completely unbelievable. There are a few other minor glitches, but they are negligible and can actually be fun if exploited.

Even with these small problems, Final Fantasy VI is one of the most powerful RPGs in gaming history. Its stellar music and story make up for any minute shortcomings in its gameplay. Final Fantasy VI features many hidden characters, plenty of side quests, and many memorable moments. It isn’t hard to fall in love with the heroes, which helps set Final Fantasy VI apart from the competition.

To write anymore would spoil the many plots and plot twists found throughout Final Fantasy VI.

A + … Presentation
Everything looks very finished. Aside from a few glitches, Final Fantasy VI is nearly perfect.

B + … Graphics
An extremely strong set of graphics allow the game to set the standard for so many games.

A + … Audio
Final Fantasy VI has possibly the best soundtrack in gaming history. Unlike games with only three or four memorable songs, Final Fantasy VI has over fifty. Sound effects are average at best, but this is overlooked by the stunning music. Nobuo Uematsu sets the standard for RPG music.

A … Gameplay
A fun battle system, with little room for improvement.

A + … Value
With a compelling plot and so many hidden secrets to find, Final Fantasy VI will last for a long time.

A + … FINAL GRADE


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/02, Updated 10/13/02


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