Review by Gillygamesh
"The Finest Fantasy For Advance?"
FINAL FANTASY VI (FFVI) was released in Japan in 1994, back in the Super Famicom days. To many of us, when it was released on the Super Nintendo under the title of "Final Fantasy III" in 1996, it was given a special place in our hearts. The characters were memorable, the plot was fascinating, and the gameplay was superb. It never disappointed. Later on, the game recieved a rerelease on the Playstation. This port sported brand new FMV scenes and bonus material after beating the game. However, this port was horrendous. I remember buying this game used, and experiencing a ludicrous amount of lag and having the sound seem inferior to its original counterpart. Thinking it was just due to the game being used, I bought it after it recieved a rerelease under the "greatest hits" label. I was wrong. They simply put out a crappy port. They couldn't even give us a new translation.
Before I get into the actual review, you ought to know that many a time I have, as well as others, have considered me to be a purist of the original Japanese. Trust me, I am. Despite this, I respect Ted Woolsey's work on the original translation, and would also like to thank Sky Render and Lina for their translations of the game. All three were very helpful in helping me decide on what would make the perfect translation.
Well, with that said, let's get into the review.
FFVI is a story that focuses around protagonist Terra Brandford, a young woman who was controlled and raised by the Gestahlian Empire since she was a young child. Now free from their controll, she embarks on an epic journey with 11 other people she becomes friends with along the way. The thing you'll probably notice immediately with FFVI is that all of the characters seem to have quite a bit of developement. Not to mention all of the characters being very diverse. Granted, you can skip quite a great deal of the character developement that takes place later in the game (we'll get into that soon), but for the most part, you're likely to see all of the character's various scenes.
The gameplay, for the most part, is quite entertaining actually. Using the impressive ATB battle system used in FFs IV-IX, FFVI is no exception. It's pretty standard. Wait for the bar to fill up, and then your character will get to select an attack. Something that's nice about this game is that each character is able to use their own special skill set, but isn't entitled to be simply a "fighter" or a "mage". Instead, characters eventually will all be given the ability to cast Magic spells through the use of Espers. Espers are summon creatures that not only teach magic, but also give stat bonuses. Because of this, you could make one character specialize in physical attacks, while having another become a speed demon. How you want to develop the stats of your characters is up to you. However, the ability for everyone to cast magic *does* have its negatives too. The game really isn't that difficult. Actually, I'd consider it to be the easiest installment in the series, save FFX. There were quite a few bugs though in the original, and the lack of them in this port increases the difficulty slightly. First time players probably won't be disappointed though. I got roughly 28 hours out of the main game, and this is probably my 8th or 9th playthrough.
The sound. Hmmmm. I take it you've heard from a bunch of crying loonies that the soundtrack has been butchered, thrown aside, and ravaged. They're just being silly. Nevertheless, do not get your hopes up in being pleased with how the music sounds. As I can see where people are coming from. I just got over the music sounding lesser after FFIV Advance came out. Truthfully though, some tracks, such as Devil's Lab. and Final Dungeon sound far better. I was very pleased with those two. Sound effects, FYI, are perfect, as most of them are identical to their original counterparts. Well, at any rate, I hope you're able to enjoy the sound, as I did.
This is my favorite part of reviewing a FF port. The translation. Honestly, I think this has got to be the most successful translation done of the 6 ports/remakes in the FINEST Fantasy For Advance (+ FFIII DS) series. The original US character names were kept, as I'm sure that the translators knew people would be burning their copies if they had Terra become Tina *rolls eyes*. Well, I was satisfied knowing that those would be their US counterparts, but honestly I was afraid of what our spell/item/equipment translations would become. This is where I stick with my purist side. I wanted them all to be what they were in the original version. In the original US, the typical spell name was something along the lines of "Fire 2" or "Ice 3". Now tell me something. If you're trying to summon a pillar of ice to destroy your opponent, which sounds more vicious and magic-esque? Ice 3, or Blizzaga? I'm going to say Blizzaga, but that's just me. All of the spells and such were given proper names thankfully. There were a few questionable translations, but I think most of them were appropriate. A few of the Esper names, as well as most of the town/location names were given their US names though. I think it was a wise decision, as many fans of the original release would not be willing to accept these "changes". As for the actual text, let's just say that I couldn't be more pleased for the most part. The dialogue has been noticably enriched, as well as many of our favorite lines from the SNES days are still intact. I think the only thing to bring me down in the translation was the very obvious lack of Relm's personality she had in the original script. However, with the rating being 10+, I doubt they wouldve been able to get that in their. And just to seal the deal on the translation issue, I want those of you who love the Son of a Submariner, as well as the haters of it, that it's gone. And you're both likely to go ballistic and want the translator's head for finding yet another way to piss you off.
Bonus stuff. Yey. You know, I'm not really going to go to far into this, as the back of the box really sums it all up. But basically you've got the standard bestiary and music player, but there's also a nice extra dungeon (one that I feel is far more satisfying than the ones in FFI-V Advance) that encompasses a boss that hackers of the SNES version will rejoice in the name of.
And last but not least, rumors of this port. You're going to hear things about lag, getting new characters, blahblahblah you know how it works. I'd like to prove all of these false. Well, let's just quickly explain the lag thing. It *occasionally* slows down during spells that you target multiple targets with, but beyond that, it's fine. Really. This is NOT another Final Fantasy Anthologies ;)
And so buy or not? I'd say so. There's a lot to love about this, but a lot of SNES Script purists are going to cry. I'd definetly though, in conclusion, say that this is truely the Finest Fantasy For Advance.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/26/07
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