Review by Cyber-Sushi

"A true balanced RPG, that you'll never forget."

Note : Final Fantasy 6 is known as Final Fantasy 3 in North America.

First is the big question -- Do you play RPGs for flashy graphics and fancy FMVs? Or do you play them for inspiring characters, an immense, well-crafted storyline and wonderful gameplay? I sure hope you answered yes to the second question and no to the first, otherwise you could be passing up on the absolute best RPG ever made in my opinion. Sure, all of the Final Fantasies of today have a nice look and don’t get me wrong; they’re excellent - but to what FF6 did to me can not be redone. To single handedly turn me towards the RPG genre, to take hold of me and drag me towards Squaresoft. I have never doubted their ability to show me a new experience of originality and quality with each and every chapter of the series. My sister and I literally fought endlessly for the controller, and when one of us did the winner played for hour after hour as the other looked on until they simply couldn’t take it anymore and stormed out of the room. You have to play this game, you can't call yourself an RPG fan – or even a gamer if you haven't. Simply a classic, and still my favourite game ever (over FF7, FF8, Lunar: SSSC, Suikoden II and more) and who knows, maybe it always will be.

By all means, Final Fantasy 6 is a fantastic game – but it’s not perfect. It comes near it, but you have to face the truth. When you compare FF6 to the Final Fantasies of today, you may find that *gasp* Square has improved over these years! Yet, FF6 is far more balanced then the rest of the modern FFs. Final Fantasy 7’s blocky graphics and horrible ending, Final Fantasy 8’s magic system all brought the games down in one specific area. Final Fantasy 6 provides you with a simple battle system, a great and easy to use Esper system, a fantastic storyline, glorious 2D graphics, and a set of characters that everyone will like. Balance, people is what you need. If you have a game with the best story ever but boring and dull characters.. do you think people will like it?

The Story

The story starts very simple. The fantastic intro shows itself, and you wonder ''War of the Magi? Espers? Huh!?'' Don’t worry, you’ll catch on soon. Could the story itself have been better? Yes, but not by very much. It begins with 3 people in Magitek armor, looking for an Esper. You have absolutely no idea about what’s going on right now – but in due time you’ll figure it out. Soon, something goes wrong. The group finds the Esper and it kills the two soldiers. The mysterious girl is left alone. Next thing you know you’re in a bed and an old man whom you’ve never seen before is talking to you. The story begins to unravel, you meet Locke, and then Edgar, Kefka, and the list goes on. From when the World of Balance is brought to chaos, to when General Leo stands up against Kefka, FF6 will keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for more to discover, more secrets to learn.

Characters

Each has their own story, although some are more developed then others. The only set of characters I admire more then these are those found in FF9. It’s amazing really, as you play through the game you really get to know the characters, besides Strago and a few others. The characters are original, beautifully illustrated by Mr.Amano and have a real story behind them. Terra, Edgar, Sabin, Shadow, Strago, Relm, Mog, Umaro, Gau, Celes, Locke, Gogo, Setzer, and Cyan – these people bring the world of FF6 together, uniting their strength, courage, and hope in attempt to restore the world that once was overwhelmed with life.

At the centre of it all is Terra Bradford. She doesn’t know what or who she is, and why she’s doing what she’s doing. She’s half esper, half human and searching for her history. Terra constantly wonders what true love is like, and hopes that one day she will experience it. You’ll have to guide her, as she meets new friends and begins to understand who she really is. One of the most intriguing main characters in an RPG thus far, Terra is the ultimate main character. A disturbing history, a strange power to use magic and an urge to find out what she is. Terra is not like Cloud or Squall, who both don’t really care about what’s going on. She has to work endlessly to just figure out what’s going on.

I could go on describing all the characters, but I’ll just point out one of the most interesting ones. If you're into customization - Gogo's your man/woman. Sure, some people might think to use a paragraph to write about Gogo is a waste of time, but I personally liked him/her and his/her mysterious story. You find him/her inside the Zone eater, and I've heard many rumors that he/she could be Daryl, Setzer's lost friend. Gogo can take any moves- all of the unique abilities that each character has (such as Blitz, or Morph). And also mimic, which is Gogo's own specialty allows him/her (I'm really getting sick of typing that :) to copy whatever the last character did. Just imagine, if someone casts an ultima spell, Gogo can mimic it, without any MP taken at all. He/she is really a great character.

Gameplay

As everything is with FF6, the gameplay is top-notch. As more people join your party you’ll notice many things that will separate one character from another. Yes, I know that’s obvious but one main difference is the abilities the characters possess. Each character has his or her own unique ability, from Mog's dances, to Terra's morphing, and Locke’s stealing. These are abilities that are stuck with your character for life, and in some cases cost no MP whatsoever. No matter which character you choose to place in your party, each will have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Now here is one of the things I like best about FF6 -- the magic system. You equip an esper to a character and after you gain experience, you'll learn the spells the Esper has to offer. And you get to keep them - forever. All you have to do is regenerate your MP to cast them even more. It's a lot better then the materia and draw system, at leas that's what I think. You don't have to worry about ''materia spaces'' left in your weapon, or having to go back and draw spells till you fall asleep.

Graphics

It's an SNES game, you can’t expect it to have graphics that can compare to the games of today. However, they’re just fine in my opinion and get the job done. If you’ve seen the 3D eye candy of FF8 or FF9 you may feel a tad uneasy in the stomach when you look at what FF6 has to offer. But don’t judge a book by its cover, especially in the case of FF6. It’s far superior to many RPGs out there, and I still have fond memories of the game today. FF6 is like a special event that you’ll never forget. I can recall Terra and her quest to find out how love really feels, or the endless troubles Shadow has gone through. Heck, I still remember how Kefka laughs! Every second you spend with this game is a second that you’ll treasure for the rest of your gaming life.

Audio

The music, oh the wonderful, wonderful music. Nobuo Uematsu is a musical genius no matter how you look at him. With such tracks as “Forever Rachel,” Terra’s theme (or the WOB theme), The Grand Finale, The Opera music and others.. you’ll be overwhelmed with sheer brilliance – notes crafted together so carefully making you feel like a river, flowing peacefully, or burning up like a volcanoe.. ready to erupt without warning. The powerful music will trigger different emotions inside of you. You know that takes talent – to conduct a melody that will provoke the smiles, the tears, and the sadness. You do not just hear it with your ears, you feel it within your whole self. It all sounds better orchestrated, but on the cartridge itself it’s acceptable. These works are exceptional, and don’t you ever doubt that for a second.

How it compares…

The best way to judge a game is definitely not by comparing it to others – but here’s my opinion anyway.
Now think for a moment – are FMVs really that important? Is FF8 better then FF6 just because of its superior look? Do you really care about Cloud and his “let’s mosey” attitude? (well actually the “let’s mosey” attitude ain’t half bad, hehe). For an RPG it’s the gameplay and storyline that’s most important. And FF6’s got the best of both. I can guarantee you that. Sure, Celes may not have that same spunky attitude as Rinoa or Aeris/Aerith. Edgar may not have a sword with a gun barrel as a handle, or a gun on his hand - but when you actually compare the characters of FF6 and other FFs, you begin to notice that FF6’s characters really have something special. Some type of charisma that Squall just doesn’t seem to possess. FF9’s characters also have this quality.

Overall

This is the pinnacle of RPGs and I’ve yet to see the level of quality and balance passed. It is everything you crave in an RPG – an authentic classic story and experience that must be owned. Care for it, nourish it and don’t you dare sell it for a measly 2 dollars at your local video-game trade in store. This is the kind of game you’ll keep, even if it has to be kept in your closet under your gym socks. I see myself coming back to this game much later on… for its story, for its music, for its characters… and to make sure I can still bring Kefka down without breaking a sweat.

***
Sushi’s Quick Sheet

Story : A tale of a young girl seeking for her past. Excellent.
Characters : A wonderful set of characters, although some could have used some more attention.
Gameplay : Easily comparable to the top RPGs of today.
Graphics : I like them. You may not.
Audio : Fantastic!
Controls : My only problem is you can’t move diagonally.
Replay : It’s tough to rate replay on an RPG, but I know I’ll be coming back.
Battle System : Simple and easy.
Magic System : Espers allow you to learn spells. Great!
Overall : A must have for all RPGers.

***
Ratings

Storyline : 10
Characters : 9.5
Gameplay : 10
Graphics : 9.5
Audio : 10
Controls : 9
Replay : 7
Battle system : 9.5
Magic System : 9.5
Overall [not an average] : 10
Sushi says : If you’ve read any of the other text in the review, I’m sure you’ll know what I’d say here.

Hot like wasabi : The music, the story, the gameplay – almost everything
Cold like seaweed : Not being able to move diagonally.


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


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