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Final Fantasy Anthology - Review

FF5 and FF6 in one neat package... sorta

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 2
   Plot 7
   Localization 3
   Replay Value 2
   Visuals 3
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

25-40 hrs. (FF5), 40-80 hrs. (FF6)

 
Overall
Five.
Criteria

Final Fantasy Anthology
 

   Square knew the popularity of their Final Fantasy series. One day, Square got the radical idea to port all of the Final Fantasies that were on the Super Nintendo, hailed as their greatest games ever created by many gamers, onto the PSX. As what seems the usual for Japanese companies, gamers in the US were shorted the FF4 part, and in its place, a very lackluster soundtrack CD was included. Almost none of the memorable pieces from FF5 or FF6 were included, making FF lovers mad. This decision was bad, but were the games themselves good enough to make up for this error in Square's judgement?

   FF5's battle system incorporates the job system, seen in FF3 and Tactics. Spells and abilities are learned from the jobs. New jobs are learned from the various crystals the group saves. FF6 came out with the first "learn spells from equipment" system, namely from crystals called Espers. The Espers, when equipped, allows the character to learn certain spells while it is equipped. Beside these differences, the battle system mechanics are the same. They both use the ATB meter with the "standard" Attack-Ability-Spell-Item menu. Despite their goodness, they are not fresh compared to other releases. The rudimentary battle system definitely would not keep any RPGamer glued to the gaming chair.

   Interface in FFA is smooth and well-designed. FF5 ported well, but in FF6, when entering or exiting the menu, there is a five second delay, making quick changes to equipment not so quick and handling the inventory at a store a lengthy ordeal. This is espeically annoying when you buy new equpiment at a store. FF5 has no problems with loading time. The fonts have basically remained the same as the originals. The text box background in FF5 is a solid color, but you can change the color. FF6 has several colorful, picturesque choices for text box backgrounds as well as the ability to change the text color.


The dragon
The Dragon (FF5)  

   The music is still awesome to this day. FF5 and FF6 have two of the best soundtracks ever produced for an RPG. One problem though, is that it still exactly the same as it was on the SNES. The least they could have done is translated it out of MIDI and into the redbook format. The same problem is evident with the sound effects, they could have ported them better since the whole game sounds tinny and unfinished. FF6's cursor select sound (like, when you move the cursor up and down) is delayed about a half second, and it sounds jumbled together when scrolling down a list. The sounds and music are good, but they needed to be upgraded.

   For a re-release of the games, the market was already saturated with games copied off of these two. For any normal RPGamer who has never played these games to pick up the two games, he or she would find out that the games just do not introduce anything groundbreaking. The games were not very inventive, even when they were first released.

   In FF5, a meteors crash into a planet, and by fate, four people mysteriously connected join up to eliminate the enemy creating these and other disturbances. In FF6, Kefka threatens to take over the world using magic, and your group must fight to beat him. The stories are basic, but the events that lead up to the ending are very complex and make for an excellent epic story. Even today, these stories may not be the best plots around, but they are still excellent.

   FF5 and FF6 had flawed translations. Some of the lines make no sense whatsoever. The "actual" translated names in FF5 make no sense. (Hiryuu... come on) Of course, you must consider that these games were released before companies put great effort into translations. Square could have spent more energy into fixing the translations for the FFA release. If they had localized it better, the games whould be at least a little more interesting to RPGamers who are used to well-translated games.


How shocking!
All hail the great Ramuh!  

   Both games scream "I am too long and tedious to play again!" Of course, many RPGs are this way, but these two are extreme cases of games that do not want to be replayed. The games come from the area of time when in every game, you had to spend two weeks to level up throughout the game. In the case of FF5, attempting to level up all the jobs is a long and time-consuming process. Remove the levelling up, and the games are about 40 hours long each. Add it back in and the games can be 70 to 80 hours long. Some parts of the game are just too tedious, and some too frustrating, to be appealing to play through again.

   

   I thought the addition of several FMV sequences was a good idea, but these FMVs only come around once in a billion years. There are only two per game: one at the beginning, and one at the end. The game graphics, though outdated and could have been revamped in the port, were good for their time and do not deserve a bad rating because of their oldness. The summons still have great detail and some of them are still interesting to watch.

   Overall, I was quite disappointed with FFA. I like the games separately, but the way Square made 'chop sockey' of the games did not work. The removal of FF4 from the American version of the release was not helped by the inclusion of the music CD that contains virtually none of the memorable tracks from the two games. I missed FF6 for the SNES and I thought this was going to be a good port, but I was wrong. The value is depreciated even more with the exclusion of FF4. If you missed FF6 like me, and can handle long loading times and horrible slowdown during battles, spend the money for it. Otherwise, if you have played FF5/FF6 before, it isn't worth it.





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