Final Fantasy VI Review
Final Fantasy VI Review
Most gamers know the Super Nintendo wasn’t lacking in the RPG department. It was home to many great RPGs including the innovative, time travelling adventure known as Chrono Trigger, and the quirky, unconventional Earthbound. A little game known as Final Fantasy VI also happened to find its home on the SNES. It is without a doubt among the best of the best even today. It didn’t do much to evolve the genre, but it executed everything with excellence, and set the standard for many RPGs to follow.
Final Fantasy VI has a deep and engaging story that follows several characters on their journey to take down the Gestahlian Empire. The game doesn’t point out a particular main character – some may argue that it’s Terra because of her significance to the plot – but I think that’s what makes this journey feel so epic. Every character has a rich background with each carrying a motive to fight the opposition. Each character comes from a different walk of life, which brings a lot of variety to the story. From the magical and mysterious Terra, to the brothers of royalty – Edgar and Sabin – living completely separate lives, and of course Shadow, the ominous assassin who comes and goes like the wind.
Throughout the journey, the story continuously unfolds with twists and secrets waiting around every corner. You will learn about the Espers’ significance, and watch as Kefka – mad with power – spirals out of control. Kefka Palazzo plays a supporting role to Emperor Gestahl in the beginning, but is following through with a plan to overthrow him and become the God of Magic. Kefka is not only a great Final Fantasy villain, but quite possibly the best villain of all time. He is a maniacal nihilist determined to achieve ultimate power. His rise to power is a gradual one, but he eventually becomes the most feared person in existence.
Final Fantasy VI is a standard RPG in terms of gameplay; gain experience and level up, buy and find new items and equipment, travel to towns and dungeons while enduring random enemy encounters. However, Final Fantasy VI does bring a few unique elements to the series.
First, I’d like to mention that Final Fantasy VI can actually be adjusted to support two players. In the game’s menu you are able to assign characters to each player. Of course, this is after you activate the multiple controller option. This configuration only plays out in battle, but it adds a neat co-operative spin on the game, which makes it necessary to work as a team.
Each character holds a special ability in battle; two great examples are Sabin’s Blitz and Edgar’s Tools. Whatever the special ability may be, it is usually character specific and matches their characteristics. These techniques are powerful, and quite useful in battle. I predict that you will be using Sabin’s Bum Rush more than once.
Another unique aspect of the gameplay is found in the Esper system. Espers can be equipped to your party and will let your party members learn magic. Espers also serve as summons in the game, but that isn’t all they offer as Espers play another important role. Espers, when equipped, will boost certain stats when you level up. Some will raise your vigor (strength) and some will raise your magic attack, while other Espers will increase the amount of HP gained when you level up. You will find yourself grinding a lot to build your stats as you see fit, and of course, to learn magic. Grinding will help you get out of some tough spots, but if you grind too much the game will become really easy. For reference, at level 70 you are overpowered for the final stretch of the game and Kefka becomes a pushover.
Overall, the gameplay is well-balanced and its gradual difficulty curve shouldn’t discourage newcomers to the genre.
Graphics wise, Final Fantasy VI is gorgeous. It contains some of the best sprite art on the SNES, in my opinion. While a certain Mode 7 section looks dull (mine cart ride), everything else is nicely detailed and unique, which is always a plus. It is especially fun to fly around the world map in the airship, which is nicely done with Mode 7. Final Fantasy VI also excels in the soundtrack department. It has some of the most recognizable themes in the series, and they are definitely some of the best 16-bit chiptunes in existence. Kefka himself even sports a chilling signature laugh, which adds another layer of evil to his character.
4.5/5 D-Pads: Final Fantasy VI is pretty much one of the best RPGs in existence. It lacks a little in the gameplay department, but it’s easy to see past because the Esper system offers a unique spin on the genre. Final Fantasy VI combats its weakness by adding a truly epic story, and well-crafted characters, not to mention gorgeous sprites and a classic video game soundtrack. There are secret characters and items to find, which adds to the replay value of the game. It will take roughly 20-30 hours to complete your first time, but I can see that decreasing during a second run. While there is a lot more to talk about, I feel I have covered the most important aspects; I need to leave some surprises for you to discover. Overall, Final Fantasy VI is a fantastic experience and anyone that calls themselves a gamer absolutely needs to play this game.