Review by StephenYap3

"The future desperately needs more RPGs like this"

The first game I ever played in the series was Final Fantasy X, which in my opinion...well to tell you the truth, I never really had an opinion since I was a rookie back then and even today, I still am. I never really beat it since somehow I grew bored of it. Then, the next game I played was X-2, which in my opinion did not really feel like a Final Fantasy game at all, but rather than a Charlie's Angels RPG of some kind. I never gotten at least 1/8 of the way for the same reason and every time I think about it, it bothers me mentally and sometimes I'm always asking myself “What was Square Enix thinking?”. So years after that, I went on to playing the first FF and V and VI. The only titles in the series I've beaten so far were V, but just now, VI.

After playing Final Fantasy III for the SNES (ahem, Final Fantasy disguise), I was pretty amazed at how it was. Back then, I used to think V is somewhat appealing to me in some ways and a lot of people were saying VI is the apex of the series. I was not sure if I would agree to them, but after reading about it, I would say that it might be better for me than V. Plus, I said to myself that “If I ever feel up to it, I wouldn't mind going through V again”. And now, after playing it...well, let me review this supposedly called “Masterpiece”. Unfortunately, I will not write the plot due to my laziness, but I will mention some of it from here to there in this review.

The battle system in the series remain similar among each other, but the one thing that amused me about VI's game play was that it was faster than V's slow progression. The animations (and even the Esper's attacks) were unforgiving for their longer animations, yet they were eye candy to me. VI's animations turn the tables and that was how I wanted V's animations to be. Will you see a man waiting for five seconds before lifting a finger? Not in VI, man. Not in VI. The problem with the animations are that they don't seem thrilling as V's animations, but at least a lame but shorter attack animation is better than a cool but longer one.

There are also various characters in the game, being at an amount enough to put them in a fruit basket. However, the true beauty of all characters in the game is that you can name them all to whoever you want! Only a few titles in the series (as far as I know) give this ability, and I was quite contented that VI is one of them. You can name a girl to “Peach” or “Daisy”, or a man to “Mario” or “Luigi”. Whichever name you give them is entirely up to you, or you could just leave their names be, which I did.

In addition to that, VI's roster is versatile in many ways possible. You will find a macho guy with his own attacks executed through certain button presses like Street Fighter, an elderly man that learns moves from enemy attacks in battles, a Johnny Bravo-like dude with a crossbow to fire a wide array of ammo, and a cute little creature to dance and affect the battlefields to aid his allies some of the time. Some you may like and some you may dislike. It is up to you and your appeal.

But honestly in my opinion, a few of these characters seem to require attention. One of them has a ton of moves in his disposal and while neither of his moves have no limit to usage, selecting any move was impossible since it was replaced by a meter that fills up. If the meter reaches a number you want, you can stop it right there and worst of all, neither of his moves seem to work in the later part of the game. For the least part, most of the other useful characters make up for this problem.

One of the characters I was thrilled to the most (and I mostly used throughout the whole game) is Terra Branford, who is discreetly the main protagonist of this game. I will not say she's beautiful, but I will say that in my opinion, she is perhaps the most thrilling character I've ever seen. I mean, the things she goes through, her eye-watering past, her loyalty to people around her, she takes dire matters seriously, and best of all she never becomes involved in any humorous occasions around her. Not to spoil it; Terra is also an Esper, the series' summon monsters staple, where she is a bright flying...well, um...never mind. Her Esper form, to be honest, disturbed me, yet that makes her one of the best main protagonists I've ever seen (again). The series needs more people like her, putting the Esper part aside.

Behind the wide array of characters are Espers that do not include Terra herself, which unlike her they not only give the Esper-assigned member the ability to use the equipped Esper in battles, since Espers teach spells to any character without restriction through the collection of Magic Points (it should have been called something else since there already is a Magic Points counter for individual members) upon winning battles. Some Espers may be useful while others not at all, and same goes for the spells. Speak of the devil, Espers that teach spells may teach the member at a slower or faster rate. For instance, one Esper can teach you the health-restoring Cure while the other teaches you at a faster rate. Of course, Espers are hidden around in the game or found during the story and each one may be better or worse than the other, but mostly the better part. However, I fail to see how this feature adds some sort of customization to the appeal, but it is quite intriguing.

Sometimes, you will have to split your party into a group of two or three. Those occasions may involve guarding a person or something from enemy soldiers around while in other times it is used for solving puzzles. At first I found this to be annoying, but after a while, I found it to be quite intriguing, apart from the annoying random encounters thing in many JRPGs. Like it or not, you won't encounter this too often in the game.

Another icon to the series is the airship, where you can use it to go anywhere you want in the world under the effect of the SNES' popular Mode 7. Pretty much whatever you can do to driving the airship is the same you would do in the popular series F-Zero, leaving the disembarking part aside. Below this, the members you have found in the game are found in the airship as well, plus you get a little shop to help you get packed for adventuring and a man to restore your party's fighting energy to purity. Plus, you get to see the other décor put into the airship as well. Unfortunately, the second airship you get will not have any of this, but you still get to switch members! Like all other RPGs, you cannot crash your airship.

Getting back to the story thing in VI, I will say it is quite impressive. I mean, you've seen movies that have suspense, romance, action, and all other genres, right? Luckily, VI has it all. Some parts in the game you may cry while others may thrill you like how Terra thrilled me. Also, the plot is beautifully put together in the right pieces of a puzzle board and best of all, the ending is unforgettable.

And I will admit to fans that VI has the best soundtrack in the series and to be honest, I listen to them daily. I mean, listen to the awesome boss fight music! It's like you're really fighting something stronger than a normal enemy you may encounter! Some music you may like and some music you may love. I will not lie to you.

Lastly, there is quite some humor in this game, which bugs me about the series having that whilst being mainly serious. V had done brought it too far with cheesy jokes, but somehow VI manages to keep this in a balanced manner, which I enjoyed. Most of these jokes did get me a lot without trying to disgust me in wrong times of usage, yet maybe it's just me. I will let the humor slide in this case.

--Final Words--
Final Fantasy III (or Final Fantasy VI) is easily one of the best RPGs I have ever played and guaranteed deserves to be on my Top 10 Favorite RPGs list (and chances are that if I am up to it, I wouldn't mind playing through it again). Apart from its little flaws, Square needs to bring titles like this back to the future, not mentioning the movie Back to the Future. As for my score, while many fans that love this game may give it a 10 or 11 out of 10, in my opinion it's only fair that I give this game a score of 9.7 out of 10. I would have given it a 10 or an 11 if I was one of those fans, but hey I'm still a rookie fan. 9.7 isn't a bad score, right?

Score: 9.7 out of 10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/08/11, Updated 04/11/11

Game Release: Final Fantasy III (US, 10/20/94)

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