Review by YSF

"The Greatest Game That Mankind Has Ever Crafted!!!"

Introduction

Do you still remember the time when you were so totally engrossed with a game that you forgot about your tiredness and the rumbling of your stomach? If you can't get that feeling back with today's modern game, then you should really pick up Final Fantasy VI. [Final Fantasy III in the US]. During the SNES era, quality games were found at abundance. SquareSoft had produced countless top-notch quality games on the SNES. And among one of these games is the last Final Fantasy game on the SNES and it's Final Fantasy VI. Prepare to embark on an adventure on the best Role Playing Game, the most remarkable and by far the best fantasy adventure of all.

Story

Final Fantasy VI set in a futuristic era- 1000 years after the war of the magi, the evil empire, governed by Emperor Ghestal are extracting the magic from the Espers. The story begins when Terra, Biggs and Wedge are sent on a mission to retrieve the lost Esper in Narshe on a cold, snowy day. Terra's identity and why she has the ability to use magic remains a mystery until later. And, who are the Espers and where is the Esper world? Will ultimate power satisfy the ambitious desire of Emperor Ghestal and Kefka? To prevent spoilers, I'll leave you to find it out on yourself. Thus, Final Fantasy VI [III in US] begins with an epic tale of fantasy.

The character cast is crammed with personality, and has one of the greatest number of characters in an RPG. With a total of 12 characters, and 2 hidden characters, each character's origin, personality is so vividly portrayed that you will agree that it is hard to decide who are the main characters because everyone appears to be so. Terra- a half-human and a half-esper, Cyan's pain of losing his wife and child, Locke's remorsefullness for not being able to protect his love ones, Celes- an Empire general who joins the returner and betrays the empire to stop the evil forces, Setzer- a gambler who knows only how to fool around and so on are some examples. Other characters include Mog, Gogo, the mimic master, Sabin, Edgar etc.

There is only one character in the game which I will like to talk more about him and he is none other than the no 1. villain, Kefka. He really deserves this title. In my opinion, even Sephiroth, Ultimecia etc had to give way to him. Nothing can beat him. He is a psychopathic, murderous and bloodthirsty maniac. The only word that kept echoing repeatedly in his mind was 'destruction'. He murdered Emperor Ghestal, ordered his soldiers to poison the people of Doma Castle, killed Cyan's wife and child and committed countless more evil sins. Rage, betrayal, anger, greed, ... he does really make you hate him. All the undesirable qualities that human beings possess, he has it. He loves to laugh maliciously especially when someone dies. [Indeed, Kefka is that nefarious that you can't wait to slice him......] And he speaks with a sense of humour that will sometimes make you laugh. Furthermore, he looks very skinny and puny. In general, the story is outrageously great.

Graphics

When I first bought Final Fantasy VI [III in US] in 1994, I was completely stunned by its visuals!!! The graphics was so astoundingly good and seemed to be improved at least tenfolds over its predecessor. The graphics were so vastly different from Final Fantasy V that I could not believe my eyes. Scenes like on the Phantom Train, Opera scene, airship flying in the overworld etc had shown that the power of the 2-D sprites and the mode 7 effect were being pushed to the extreme limit. Yoshitaka Amano, one of the greatest artists designed all the character images from FFI to FFVI. Final Fantasy VI was perhaps his greatest achievement before he finally retired and ended his career as an artist. All towns and characters were designed with his utmost efforts, so detail and spectacular. Unfortunately, Square changed FF's direction from sprite-based to polygons from VII onwards and this wasn't Yoshitaka's idea. But, to all Yoshitaka's fans, don't be sad since Yoshitaka will return to work on Final Fantasy IX, the last Final Fantasy on the PlayStation.

Music

Years back when I first started playing Final Fantasy III [VI in japan], I was completely mesmerised by the opening theme [the introduction part whereby you see two magitek armours walking on a snowy night] and the tune at the World of Balance. To say it simply, I couldn't believe my ears- so beautiful that it's beyond my limitation of description. I seem to have enter the Final Fantasy Musical World. The Opera scene further impressed me. I listened to the tunes over and over again countless times. Never had I experienced that before.

Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, few games can rival Final Fantasy VI's marvellous music. Nobuo Uematsu composes each tune that suits the best for each character and town. Tunes are the finest masterpieces ever made in the videogame world from the most talented musician, Nobuo Uematsu as each tune conveys the emotional feelings, desires etc that each character experiences.

Of all the character themes, Terra theme stands out to be the most distinctive theme, conveying her sadness and helplessness. As always, the villains get a number of tunes. Kefka's theme fits kefka perfectly well as the tune started slowly and quietly, before it gets gradually louder, as if Kefka becomes mad all of a sudden.

Of all the great tunes, perhaps, the most impressive one is Aria Di Mezzo Carattere from the Opera scene. It is a glorious piece of music that every Final Fantasy fan should have heard it at least once to claim themselves to be a fan of Nobuo. If these aren't enough to capture your soul, how about the classic Final Fantasy tunes like the Victory Fanfare, Chocobo theme, Prelude etc?

Sound

The sound effects are also up to the quality. You can even hear a chocobo warking. And, every single sound produced during combat can be heard very clearly. The sound effects during the battles are majestic, especially when you cast spells or use special abilities.

Combat

As of custom in the Final Fantasy series, a completely new battle combat is being implemented. Gone is the highly-successful Job system in Final Fantasy V, which many agree that it offers the most variety of abilities that an RPG ever has and replacing it is the Esper system.

Espers are the source of all magic. Esper is quite similar to the summons or Guardian Force you know. You equip an esper and gain magic points when you win battles. Once the character gains enough magic points, the character learns the magic. Also, espers can be summoned to the battle too to create a devastating havoc.

There are more than 20 different espers. These espers include familiar ones like Odin, Bahamut, Fenrir, Leviathan etc. Magic that can be learned from Espers are divided into two types: White Magic and Black Magic.

However, these aren't all that you can expect of. Square borrowed the best concepts from the past Final Fantasy games, mixed and modified them with some new and original concepts. Each character has his or her own unique abilities, besides learning magic alone.

For example, Locke is the only one who can steal, while others cannot. Taking the blue mage concept in FFV, Strago is the only one which has a 'Lore' command, which allows him to learn blue magic. Blue magic are actually enemy skills. Terra has a 'Morph' command, which allows her to transform into an esper temporary during battle. When Terra is in her Esper form, her physical and magical attack will rise. Relm has a 'Sketch' ability, which works almost like 'Manipulate' materia in FFVII. 'Manipulate' also originates again from one of the FFV's jobs. Edgar uses a biotech tools and each tools are unique in nature. Some of these tools when used can cause devastating attacks. Cyan has a 'swdtech' command which you need to wait for the gauge bar to fill up to certain points in order to use a specific sword technique. Perhaps, the most coolest unique character's ability is Sabin's Blitz command, which you need to input buttons to let Sabin execute Street Fighter moves. [Did anyone mention Zell's limit break?]

If you think these aren't enough, there are also magitek armour, relics and even desperation moves. A maximum of two relics can be equipped by the characters to enhance the characters' abilities. For example, by equipping Ribbon, your character is immune to all status ailments like poison, berserk and so on. There are also other relics which changes or affects the characters way of attacking. For example, if you equip Dragonboots to a character, the 'Fight' command will then change to the 'Jump' command. Locke can equip thiefglove to change 'Steal' into 'capture', which enables him to steal and attack at the same time. Equip a sprint shoes, and your character will be able make a dash. Each character has his or her own desperation move, much like limit breaks in FFVII and FFVIII. However, each character can only have one desperation move, and not more than that, unlike Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. When a character's HP is low, select fight to unleash the desperation move.

Conclusion

Gameplay and replay value are extremely good. The game will take you at least 40+ hours to find all the characters, secrets and new moves. The Colosseum is another interesting place to go if you want challenge. Also, you can bid for incredible items at the Auction House. [Did anyone mention Treno?]

Don't hesitate anymore!!! No other game comes close to it, not even Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Zelda etc. If you have not played Final Fantasy VI before, pick it up now. It is Square's best masterpiece and the best Final Fantasy series. The most honourable, groundbreaking game, a traditional, legendary Japanese RPG with gameplay extras than any other titles in gaming history and with incredible ideas that are pushed to the extreme limits comes Square's most GORGEOUS, BEAUTIFUL GEM, FINAL FANTASY VI. [FINAL FANTASY III IN THE US]

Nothing like this has ever hit a street before and once again, Final Fantasy VI [III in US] has paved the way for mainstream acceptance an once niche genre. Its legacy will always be REMEMBERED FOREVER by all gamers in the world.

Story : 10.0/10.0
Graphics : 10.0/10.0
Concept : 10.0/10.0
Music : 10.0/10.0
Sound : 10.0/10.0
Gameplay : 10.0/10.0
Replay : 10.0/10.0
Challenge: 10.0/10.0
Overall : 10.0/10.0


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/13/00, Updated 12/16/02


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