"Have you ever danced with Esper Diablos in the pale moonlight?"

Final Fantasy VI is thought by too many people to be the greatest Final Fantasy ever, and in extent, the best RPG ever (some say it's Chrono Trigger, but that's another story). Although I'm more lokely to say VII bears the winning medal, I must say Final Fantasy does live up to it's expectations. Let's see, point by point, what makes this game a whooping masterpiece:

Graphics (for a 1994 game: 9/10): For today's standards, tha graphics sure are lame, but they show that the hand-drawn static sprites are still cool (some bosses are damn great), and the chibi-like sprites for the PCs (Playable Characters) do the job really smooth. They also show fancy animations for emotions, both for gloomy ones (Celes, for example <NO SPOILERS>) and humourous ones as well (That smile of Edgar's is like nothing you may have ever seen in any other game). The only harsh point here lies in the enviros, specially the world map (rather crappy compared with the rest of the graphics). Speaking of which, why didn't they updated a little the navigation system in the world map? Just do it so when the PCs reach a town it's name pops up (it's really difficult to remember where is... dunno... Mandara or Kolhinger - or however it's said) and then you have to press A to get inside.

Gameplay (10/10): Full Fancy & Flashy Final Fantasy Fighting System (if you haven't got it, there are 6 Fs). It's the tried and true Final Fantasy system we love and praise. Of course, each Final Fantasy gives it's fighting a special treat to make it specially juicy, and here there are two indeed: special commands (each and every PC has one, and NO ONE has his/her own equal to any other's - which isn't much of a thing once you realize there are up to 14 PCs, each one with a different skill), some sweet, some outright ass-whooping, and some plain lame; and the Espers, this Final Fantasy's answer to VII's Materia (well, Materia is rather VII's answer to VI's Espers, but bear with me a little). Espers are without a doubt a great way to learn Magicks and improve the PCs, just with two cons: for a game with up to 31 Espers (4 of which are GBA-Version-only), too many of them give access to the same Magic (there are more than four with Cura), and once you start improving your PCs's stats with them, the game starts to get too easy. But these are forgivable cons once you realize you have to make all 14 characters powerful enough to kick the bad's ass (forget about sticking with your 4-member party forever; for the final dungeons you must be ready to steer up to three of these parties! Sooo cooooll!!!)

Story (9/10): Each Final Fantasy story features a great villian, and if Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth was a great SOB half Sauron, half Shinigami (the big brother of the capturee shinigami girl from Bleach - I don't know any of the names :-P) and half Sishio Makoto from Kenshin, Final Fantrasy's Kefka is a full breed The Joker, and no any kind of Joker, but Jack Nicholson's Joker (no kidding!). He does look like a spineless jackass, just too evil and too mad to hold the urge to ripe his spinal cord and/or make a xilophone out of his ribcage. He doesn't seem to have the sheer power of Sephiroth, but something must have this SOB if he's the only FF villian so far to complete his agenda and rule the world (Whanna know how...? Then what are you doing instead of going to buy this already!?) The PCs aren't pussover, and each one has his background story, really really sweet each one. Pretty shame they haven't managed to get a lenghtier game with all of this.

Lenght (8/10): That's in my opinion the main flaw of the game: with most of the sidequests done (and of course unless you're trying to hit level 99 with all 14 characters) and most of the secrets, the game won't last much more than 30-40 hours. Yeah, I realize that's no kind of short, not at all, but I think I'm rather used to PSX Final Fantasies and other epic RPGs, which tend to last 60 hours or more if you spend the proper time in the sidequests, and when going with pre-PSX games, it fells a little disappointed when it lasts half the time. One of the worst parts of this is that you're able to go to the final dungeon right after about 15-20 hours of gameplay (not to mean that it's recomended, but damnit! Other Final Fantasies had it last up to 35-50 hours without the sidequests - most of which should be done, as the final boss tends to be a real pain without what you get from them), making the rest of the game optional. And there could be room for tons of story driven gameplay (in the part in which Kefka rules the world, there are no story sequences 'til you reach the final dungeon). The game isn't by any means short, but as I said, when I play Final Fantasy I expect something a little longer...

All in all (9/10): A great classic and a must-have for everyone. Y por supuesto, se lo compra; nada de alquilarlo para un finde o dos... And don't forget to get all those Final Fantasies from every platform!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/19/08

Game Release: Final Fantasy VI Advance (EU, 07/06/07)

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