Review by Seto Kiaba
"An RPG legend finally makes its way to the GameBoy Advance"
An RPG legend finally makes its way to the GameBoy Advance
To start with, I would like to say how much I love Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III was the original name it was released under in North America). Some 13 odd years ago, my dad received this game for his birthday, and I have been engrossed with it ever since. From the initial weeks, even months of playing it, sharing new info with it to my dad and friends, reading up rumors and secrets online, to even today, when I have completed this game countless times, it has all been a rewarding experience. To this day, I give the honor of My Favorite Game to Final Fantasy VI. Needless to say that, a year and a half ago, when Square announced it was porting this game to the GameBoy Advance, I was excited. And now that I finally have it in my hands and have played it, I have to say that, while not quite living up to the original game, it is still amazing in its own right.
One of the most important things with any RPG is its story, and Final Fantasy VI is no different. Without spoiling much, the basic story is this: 1000 years prior to the game, the War of the Magi was fought, which ended with magic disappearing from the world. In the present day, an evil Empire has developed new technology that uses magic, and is using it to take over the world. You assume the role of various characters as they resist this Empire. The story is unique in many aspects. It delivers plot twists very well, including one half way through that many games would not do. It also has no real main character (though it does focus on some more than others). This lets the game focus more on a cast as a whole instead of a few main ones. The focus also brings out a lot of the traits, back stories, and personalities of the characters, something that no RPG before this really accomplished. The story of the game is really top-notch, and has stood the test of time very well.
Upon the release of the game, people were very concerned regarding the script, as FFIVAdvance and FFVAdvance received a brand new script. People were torn between the accuracy of the Japanese script and the one-liners that the North American script has, especially Kefka's. The new script is the best of both worlds; major plot points and conversations are re-worded in such a way that explains the general plot with more detail (the original was very ague on some things), and most of the memorable lines were kept in tact, while new ones were added it, poking fun at current events and the game itself. Also, like the other Final Fantasy Advances before it, items, equipment, and monsters are all re-translated too, keeping the names on par with the other games of the series. I personally enjoyed this new translation, and, much to the chagrin of some others, I personally feel like this translation is the best this game could ever get.
Gameplay is the same in this game as most other Final Fantasies. It features an ATB system with Menu-based commands, like most other games in the series. Every character has a unique command, and, later in the game, they can equip espers, allowing them to learn spells and summon monsters. Basically, if you like how other Final Fantasies play, you will enjoy this one too.
On the SNES cart, this game pushed the limits of sound on the SNES. Some people (myself included) believe that the soundtrack to this game is the best video game soundtrack ever. Unfortunately, the GBA's sound quality is inferior to the SNES. And yet, the music comes out very well. Some themes, like the main battle theme, sound different, but not in a bad way. Other themes, like the world map theme, came out perfect. I found problems with some songs, like Kefka's Theme, as they sounded a bit off. But once I plugged some headphones in, they sounded right. The musical score turned out very well, considering the hardware limitations. Once disappointing thing is the sound effects, especially the in-battle ones. I am not sure if it was intentional or not, but the effects sound completely different that they were on the SNES. They sound very lack-luster compared to their SNES versions.
This port does offer a bunch of new features. Final Fantasy VI was a very buggy game, but this port fixes most of them. The Evade stat now works, the Vanish/Doom trick was removed, rage list is now completed, etc. This game also added a new dungeon, just like the other Advance Final Fantasies. This new dungeon offers a bunch of new bosses, plus a unique piece of equipment for each character. Though the equipment isn't anything special (its not like everyone gets their own personal Illumnia), but the new bosses are very rewarding, as there is more to them than it seems at first glance. The dungeon isn't anything special, but it does add some replaybility to the game for the vets.
All in all, the game is a very good port of one of the best RPGs out there. Though it has it's minor flaws, I enjoyed the changes that happened to it. I honestly feel like this is the best version of FFVI released, and, if you are a fan of the Final Fantasy games, then I strongly suggest you get this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/09/07
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