Review by DarkAngel13

"The best game of all-time, that is, if you're into RPGs"

If you aren't a fan of RPGs, then you'll probably completely disagree with this writer's opinion. However, for those of you who are fans of the RPG genre, Final Fantasy III (From here on referred to as FF3) is one of, if not the best game of all-time. Now, some people may refer to it as Final Fantasy VI, which is actually what it is. It is known as three in North America because it was the third Final Fantasy released here, while over in Japan it was the sixth. Now people tend to refer to it as FFVI because nearly every Final Fantasy fan knows that it's actually the sixth, but for the review I am still going to refer to it as three because that is what number it is in the states, and this is a review for FF3 of the states. Anyway, this game has everything you could possibly want in a classic: beautiful graphics (for its time), an amazing soundtrack, great game play, plenty of side quests to complete, and a storyline that you will remember for the rest of your gaming life.

As the game begins you are in control of Terra, a young girl with the power of magic who is under the control of the Empire, and is sent along with Vicks and Wedge to see the esper in Narshe. Once they arrive in Narshe they meet some resistance from some locals in which they will have to fight to get to the esper. Once you reach the esper, Vicks and Wedge disappear and the esper has a reaction with Terra that frees her from the slave crown. She awakens a bit later in a bed, being tended to. Terra wakes up and realizes that she doesn't remember what happened. She sets off to go back to the esper, where she collapses along the way and is rescued by Locke. Locke promises he will protect her, and insists that she come with him to meet the king if Figaro, which is where the story really begins to unfold…

What makes the storyline of FF3 so great is that there is truly no protagonist throughout the game. It changes over the course of the game, and leaves you with the sense that nearly every character is an integral part of the plot. Nearly each of the characters of the game has some sort of background that comes into play throughout the story. While there are a few characters that the game could possibly do without, they are helpful over the course of the game. Even the villains of the game are developed well. The story has the things that most classics have: Love, revenge, and of course death.

While the graphics of FF3 may look bad compared to games being released this year, back when it was first released it contained some of the most visually appealing graphics of the time. The game was one of the last on the SNES, and it went out showing off what the SNES could be capable of. The sprites of the characters on the game are all very well drawn. There are a wide variety of enemy sprites as well. Now while there aren't as many as there are in the newer games, not too many of the sprites are replicated for usage as a different enemy in the game. The visuals while in the airship were one of the SNES' few attempts to incorporate 3D into a game of 16-bit capacity. While it may seem like crap compared to airship visuals of today, at the time they were amazing. The animations of the characters within the battles are very well done as well. If you look closely during the battles you can see that nearly every weapon is drawn differently. This is a great job of detailing by Square, as they easily could have just used the same sword each time but choose to vary it up instead. The game in general is very detailed, from the water flowing in the towns, to the machines running in a factory. The towns and dungeons of FF3 are very well drawn as well. The games' dungeons are much larger than most dungeons of the more recent FF games. Unlike in some of the more recent games, the towns on the world map are actually drawn to scale as they are in the game. There isn't a massive megalopolis looking thing from the world map that has only four houses, if it is big on the world map then it'll be big when you enter it.

The sounds within FF3 are on another level compared to other games of the SNES. Nobuo Uematsu created another musical masterpiece in FF3. Nearly every song played in the game fits exactly perfect as to where it is placed in the game. You never really hear an upbeat theme while there is a depressing scene, nor will you hear a downtrodden song playing in the midst of a dramatic scene. The songs are great, and it the soundtrack is definitely worth a buy. The sound effects within the game are great as well, especially the unforgettable evil laugh of Kefka. The sounds of each separate are distinct, although at times some may sound fuzzy due to the poor sound quality of the SNES. The real thing that separates the soundtrack of FF3 apart from the other Final Fantasy games is the variety in all of the music. There is such a varied soundtrack that each song is able to be used in a different way throughout the game.

The controls of FF3 are simple, yet great. The control pad is obviously for controlling your characters. You use the A button to select things in the menus, talk with villagers, open up treasure chests, and is also used to move a chocobo/airship forward when in the air. B is used to go back in menus and also to get off of your chocobo/airship. X is to access the sub-screen. Y is used on the world map to switch parties if you are in a multiple party scenario, and is also used in battle to switch active characters. In battle the A button is used to confirm choices and advance in menus, while the B button is to go back in them. Start is used in battles to pause the game, and in the world map is used to turn the mini-map in the bottom right off or on. L and R are used to select whether you want to cast a spell on the whole group, or on one person. While riding on an airship you use up or down on the control pad to control the height of the ship, and left and right to steer. You can use L and R to make sharper turns, and also can hold down Y to move the ship while it is standing still.

One more key thing about FF3 was the innovations it made to the series. FF3 was the first game of the series where you were able to select your characters for your party. Prior to this game, they were all set and you had no choice, but in FF3 you can mix and match your party to find one suitable towards your strengths. FF3 also implemented the esper system in which you learn magic. How this works, is that you equip an esper to a character. After each battle you earn a certain number of magic points which help you learn spells. Each spell is learned at a different rate, for example, an esper may teach cure at an x10 rate which means that for each magic point you receive you will gain ten percent of the way to learning the spell. This is still one of the best systems of a final fantasy, because there are very few drawbacks to it, and it is very simple to understand.

The battle system of FF3 is the ATB system. In this system, the battles are dependent upon a time meter to determine when somebody will be able to attack. In the ATB system, once the time bar is full then it will be that characters turn to attack. You can switch characters if each of them have the bar full, and thus use this to your advantage in the battle. The ATB system was used from FF4 through FF9, which tells you something about the quality of it. You have the option in the configuration menu to have the battle still be active while choosing a spell or item, or you can have it stay still so you are able to think about what spell to cast or item to use during your turn.

There is plenty of replay value in FF3. There are many quests that aren't required, but are important such as getting every character in your party. There are also the side quests where you can do things to find out important things about your characters, get some closure on an event, or you can do them to gain the most powerful weapons and relics. There are also events for those who insist on getting everything done in the game, such as finding every Rage, and breaking the curse on the cursed shield. These quests alone may push the game into upwards of 100 hours spent on it.

If in the case you are lucky enough to find this shop at a local pawn shop, you should buy it without a second thought. It is one of the rarest games to find, so if you are lucky enough you should get it. It is definitely worth finding a copy on eBay or another on-line store in order to own one of the greatest games of all-time. While it may be tough to find a copy of it, it is worth the extra few bucks you'll have to shell out. Whether you're a classic role-playing gamer, or a new generation one; Final Fantasy 3 is a game that rightfully survives through the ages.

Key points:
+ Storyline
+ Battle Mode
+ Soundtrack
+ Graphics (for its time)
+ Simple controls
+ Esper system
+ An all-time great game
- Graphics (Compared to now)
- Occasional frame-rate drop during some enemy spells
- Rarity


Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/01/05

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