Review by krakenx
"Great Game, Horrible Port"
I love FF6, I remember getting the SNES cartridge back when I was in middle school and I played it dozens of times. I still consider it to be one of the greatest games ever created. That said, I am even more critical of an inferior port that Square-Enix put little to no effort into solely to make a fast buck. From the pathetic and soulless new content to the washed out graphics to the terrible sounding music and unintelligible sound effects it is evident that Square-Enix simply didn't care. FF4 Advance is the way to do a port, the graphics were drastically changed, the music improved in places, and the new content was diverse and let you get to know the characters a little bit better. FF6 Advance offers none of these qualities.
FF6 really pushed the limits of what the aging SNES could do. Perhaps it is due to this reason that they didn't improve the graphics at all for this port. In FF4 Advance, they redid a few character sprites, added tons of character portraits, and redid all the battle backgrounds. In this game they added THREE new portraits, and that's it. They didn't even redo the gradient on the text boxes and menus. The graphics overall are decent for GBA, but overall, the SNES version looks better.
This is where this game really falls flat. FF6 had some of the best game music ever, music that you could very easily listen to even when not playing. The music in this game in contrast seems very synthesized. Some songs like the mountains and the last level are so bad that they are barely recognizable. Others like the Veldt aren't bad, but are nowhere near as good as they sound on an SNES. People say that the music in this game is "remixed." No, its not, it's the same notes as the SNES version but with really bad instruments. If you don't believe me, play the SNES OST with a GBA plugged into your speakers and switch between them. You will find that the SNES version sounds better in ALL cases. Even worse are the sound effects. None of them sound half as good as on the SNES, and many of them are so bad that I actually had to turn the sound off (Shadow's dreams are a good example of this). That has never happened on any game before let alone a Final Fantasy, and really shows how little effort they put into this port. Some might say that all of this is the GBA's fault. If the GBA couldn't do a suitable port, make it for the DS then!
They didn't screw this up as bad, but there is some lag in battles, especially when casting more fancy spells and summons. This lag can make you choose the wrong spell or command as it may not register the push on the d-pad as you would like. There also seems to be some issues with lag in movement, especially in mode 7 things like on a Chocobo or the airship. Movement with the Sprint Shoes equipped is nearly impossible, but the autodash more than makes up for it.
FF6 has an amazing plot, and great characters. This fact has not been changed. The translation of the original has been criticized over the years, but I enjoyed it. I honestly don't know if I am biased due to my experience with the original, but I didn't like this translation as much. My biggest issue is with the renaming of the items to their Japanese names. I often would have difficulty finding the relic I was looking for since its name changed. The names are also not as good, for example "economizer" is far more descriptive than "celestriad," and in one instance I scoured the Veldt cave looking for the "Striker" when it turned out I had the "Ichigeki" in my inventory the whole time. In the end though, it's like the soldier in Figaro says, "Some people call Kefka, Cefka. What does it matter, He is still the same villain."
New Content: 2/10
This is my primary complaint with this game. It is being marketed as having lots of new content, in reality, the new content is pathetic. Of the four new espers, only one is moderately useful. The new dungeon is nothing but a huge maze, with the same cave music playing throughout. It will take you at least 6 hours to traverse, but it won't be a fun 6 hours. I kept playing hoping it would get better, but here is a spoiler for you, it doesn't. FF4 Advance's extra dungeon had soul. FF4 had very diverse objectives in each part of the dungeon from a murder mystery, to a platformesque area, to a timed village scene and each served to expand the characters personalities. There is none of that here, just a maze with annoying enemies, and the same repetitive music. After completing it, I can't help but feel like a moderately knowledgeable person with the tools Square has could have made much better extra content in under a week.
As I said before I love FF6, but this port is so poorly done, that I am honestly sorry that I wasted my limited time playing it. It is for this reason that I decided to write my first review. If you have never played FF6, it is your duty to pick up a SNES and a copy of FF3 (or find another way to play the SNES version) as it is one of the greatest RPGs ever made. There is absolutely no reason to play this game, as it is inferior to the SNES version in absolutely every way. If you are looking for a portable RPG, the GBA has a huge library of original games (as well as FF4 Advance which I felt was very well done). If you are looking for more FF6 style content, check out Treasure of the Rudras, an excellent Square game released around the time of the original FF6. The extra content in FF6 Advance is nothing but a waste of your time, the graphics are inferior, and the sound atrocious. I sincerely hope that Square-Enix puts at least a little bit of time into their remake or FF7 because hopefully more fans than just myself are upset by their recent lack of effort.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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