Review by Nightowlstriker
"Without a doubt, the best port of the SNES trio..."
Final Fantasy VI Advance...When I saw that they were porting Final Fantasy IV to the GBA, my mind immediately thought about a possible Final Fantasy VI port. Sure enough, the websites showed me good things in the future and here we are. Now, can Final Fantasy VI truly be named the greatest Final Fantasy of all time? In my opinion, it is, but there are people who would disagree. But I CAN tell you one thing, it's the best Final Fantasy of the SNES trio. Let's break it down.
Warning: May contain miniature spoilers, nothing game breaking though.
Well, we're off to a good start. What makes Final Fantasy VI so compelling is that the main focus of the story isn't just on one character, but as many as 14 characters. Final Fantasy VI contains the largest cast of playable characters ever in Final Fantasy history. But what's so fascinating about it is that they each have their own personal backgrounds that the game clearly doesn't hesitate to explore through. It's not just a simple "Oh hey, mind if I join? I just like to fight that's all, I'm expendable." You start off as girl named Terra, who's been brainwashed to serve the Empire and ordered to do their bidding. After about the first hour of gameplay things get a bit complicated, and since I don't want to spoil anything, I'll leave the story cracking to you.
Final Fantasy VI sported some of the best SNES graphics ever conceived. The environments, the character details, and of course, the in-battle graphics are simply amazing. From a simple Fire Spell, to the amazing visuals of spells like Meteor, the visuals in this game are spectacular. Oh, did I mention the bosses in this game look beautiful as well? Thankfully everything remained intact when it came to porting it to the GBA, though due to the GBA's technical limitations, there is a bit of slowdown here and there, but it's barely noticeable most of the time so it's no big deal. If you enjoyed the visuals in the original, you'll be happy to see that everything is still the same here.
Alas, no port is perfect. While Final Fantasy VI had some of the best graphics for the SNES, I believe it had THE BEST sound quality and music in the history of the SNES. From memorable pieces such as Opera Scene, to the magnificent Dancing Mad theme, Final Fantasy VI's soundtrack was truly one of Nobou's greatest works. Now, being that the GBA has less sound quality than the SNES, the music and sound had to take a hit. The GBA tries its very best to emulate the sound and music of the SNES masterpiece, and though it falls short on some points (a lack of echoing affects some tracks), some pieces still sound amazing. Oh and yes, Kefka's laugh still sounds enjoyably the same.
The classic Final Fantasy style of gameplay never felt so good in this installment. You still have your basic Attack, Item, and whatnot. But things get even better when you discover that each character has their own special techniques. From Sabin's Blitz skills, to Gau's Rages, you'll quickly find yourself having a blast developing each characters special abilities, adding a tremendous amount to replay value. The Magic learning system in this game is one of the best learning engines Final Fantasy has developed. By equipping Espers, you can learn the magic they offer by battling monsters and acquiring a certain number of Ability Points. Unlike the Materia system in Final Fantasy VII, once you learn a spell, it's permanent. You'll find yourself eager to discover new Espers and get those awesome spells at your disposal.
New Content 9/10 (This section contains mini-spoilers)
As you may of heard before clicking on this, Final Fantasy VI Advance is not just a port of the SNES Title, but an enhanced port. This means new stuff has been added. The four new espers Leviathan, Gigantuar, Gilgamesh, and Diablos are definitely welcome additions to the Esper line up. There are new spells to learn as well, such as Flood, Valor, and Gravija. Two new dungeons known as the Dragon's Den and Soul Shrine await the player who think he/she's brave enough to conquer the hardest new challenges the game has to offer. If you thought it was over when it say THE END, you couldn't be more wrong. If you're looking for more replay value, then the newest additions will definitely consume more of your time...in a positive way of course!
What can I say? I've been waiting for this port for nearly two years, and I am glad to say that I was not disappointed. I was a tad let down by the sound quality, but playing it with a set of headphones nearly cures all of the problems. The story will grab you like Nicotine, the new content is a welcome addition, and the gameplay couldn't be much better. Final Fantasy VI Advance is an excellent port of an excellent game, and should be in every Final Fantasy fan's collection of awesomeness...except maybe Final Fantasy VI for the Playstation...that's a different story *shudders*.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/01/07
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