Final Fantasy 6 - Retroview

The Square SNES Classics, Part 1

By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 7
   Plot 10
   Localization 8
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Moderate
   Time to Complete

40-50 hours


Final Fantasy VI

   What's there to say about Final Fantasy 6 that hasn't been said? It's quite possibly the greatest RPG ever made, although that's debatable, as there's just as many Chrono Trigger addicts as there are for Final Fantasy 6. But since this is my review, you get to find out what *I* think! Isn't that awesome? :) Let's get to it.

   The story is probably one of the most engrossing ever of any RPG. It opens with Terra and two of Vector's Imperial Soldiers breaking into the town of Narshe to retrieve an Esper that had been found in the mines. That's how it begins...and it turns into a long tale of several tortured souls coming together, facing and defeating their personal demons, being split up, and reuniting to face the ultimate evil of Emperor Gestahl and his right hand man, Kefka. I won't ruin the story for the three people who haven't played it yet, but it is one of the most inspirational stories in RPG history. It is also VERY unique in that there is no one "central" character, the fourteen characters each get their time in the spotlight and it is, story wise, a team effort bringing peace and tranquility to the world.

   The battle system is well worn, having appeared in 6 out of the 10 Final Fantasy games, referred to as the "Active Time Battle System." What this means is that it's a combination of turn based and real time. You choose your options as you would in a turn based system, but the enemies will keep attacking if you take too long. You have the generic battle options: Fight, Magic, Item, plus each character has their own unique battle option. For example, Cyan's Swordtech maneuvers, Sabin's Blitz attacks, and Locke's Steal skill. One unique feature is that each character, when running from battle, runs individually, instead of taking the whole team with them. This is bad, in that you don't all escape at once, leaving some characters to be thrown to the wolves, but is good in that if even one character escapes and the rest get wiped out, you don't lose the game. Additionally, a little known fact is that when each character is close to death, it is possible that they will unleash a super desperation attack, which does massive amounts of damage. Each character has their own and if you're not paying attention, you will miss it, but keep your eyes open, because they're cool to watch.

Just one of the many cool scenes from this game
Just one of the many cool scenes from this game  

   FF6 is basically divided into two parts, the first part is linear, and you can't stray too far from the straight line of the plot. The second part, after a brief, linear beginning, is totally non-linear...there are several side quests you can undertake (none of which involve stupid mini-games or super-rare item hunting), or you can go straight to face the final battle. I definitely recommend going through the side quests, as they tie up loose ends, explain a lot more about the backgrounds of each character, and you get to pick up some very valuable items.

   The visuals were another thing that made this game great. Everything was beautifully illustrated, from the colorful backgrounds, to the awesomely detailed characters. It is obvious that a lot of time and effort was put into the graphics in this game, and it shows, the visuals will absolutely knock your socks off.

   The music was VERY good; in fact I think it is the best soundtrack of any RPG ever, to which many people will agree. From the frantic nature of the battle music, to the mysterious sounds of the Phantom Forest and Ghost Train, to the awe-inspiring sounds of the battle with Atma Weapon, this game has it all, and EVERY tune in the game perfectly fits its location. The sounds were equally well done, all the sword slashes and spell castings and everything other effect you could think of sounded very realistic. Nobuo and company did their job well, and it shows.

   The localization was very, VERY good. All the lines conveyed nothing but emotion, and almost every character in the game (except obviously for townspeople, and even then not all of them) had a unique personality, something very rarely found in other RPGs. While it was subject to the Nintendo Localization Code from Hell, it wasn't enough to hold back the awesomeness of this game.

Catch a ride on the Phantom Train
Catch a ride on the Phantom Train  

   A lot of features from previous RPGs appear here, but as with any Final Fantasy there is innovation. In this game, the major innovation was the Esper system. As you progress through the game, you collect Magicite, which contains the essences of Espers. Each Esper has the ability to teach you certain spells, which are gained by earning magic points at the ends of battles. Another new innovation was the Relic system. Relics are a bit easier to come by than Espers, but instead of teaching you magic, you equip them to gain abilities such as walking fast, no random battles, and immunity to status ailments. Relics are either found or store bought, and each character can equip up to two.

This game has a TON of replay value. For one, it's a fun enough game that whether there's more to do the second time around or not, you'll play it again, probably more than once. Fortunately, there IS a lot of optional stuff to do, particularly in the second half of the game that you can miss the first time, making you want to play through again.

Another great thing about this game is its length. There's PLENTY to do in this game, and stopping to look at everything can take 50-60 hours. On the other hand, if you're crazy and for some reason hate this game and just want to rush through it, you can skip a lot of optional stuff and get through it in about 35 hours. But there's so much this game has to offer, that there's even stuff you see once that you'll want to see again with a second play through.

General Leo's brutally powerful Shock attack
General Leo's brutally powerful Shock attack  

This is, without a doubt, not just one of the greatest RPGs of all time, but one of the greatest games ever as well. This game has everything, from stunning graphics and sound to an awesome story and battle system. But was it better than Chrono Trigger? Well, I guess you'll just have to read my Chrono Trigger review to find out how I feel about that game, now won't you? But as for Final Fantasy 6, definitely one of the best games ever made. Get it if you can find it, which is a difficult task in itself.

Highest Recommendation.

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