Greets, fleshy water bags! So, once again you all get to profit from a mistake I made. You see, when I got home from work, I was really tired and mentally drained, so I sat down on the bed just to rest for a second…and woke up two hours later. So now I can’t fall asleep, and thus, you get to hear me ramble again. Lucky you!
So since we are here together, and since I’ve been going back through some classic games despite having a massive backlog that I keep telling myself and everyone else that I am going to get through, I’ve decided to bring you another review of one of my favorite Final Fantasy games of all time – in fact, one of the greatest RPGS and video games in general of all time – Final Fantasy VI.
Although this was the sixth entry in the series to come out in Japan for the Super Famicom, it was only the third of those six games to be brought to the West. Thus when it debuted on the Super Nintendo in North America, it was rechristened as Final Fantasy III, and it was only with the advent of FF VII years later on the PlayStation that the weird concept of renumbering games would be dumped and everyone would know exactly what fucking game they were playing. Since then, FFVI has been ported to the GBA, iOS/Android phones, and most recently to Steam on PC. Now, there have been niggling little complaints about each of these ports of the game, but I’m not going to get into those for one very simple reason – they don’t fucking matter. Yes, the sprites in the later versions are somewhat “cleaner” and smoother than the original SNES sprites. Whether you like them or not is a matter of stylistic choice or nostalgia. But it has absolutely no impact on the sublime underlying game. So this review is from my time spent most recently with the iOS and PC ports of the game – but I have owned and played every version of the game to ever be released, and when it gets a 3DS or Switch upgrade (it has to, right? I mean, III, IV, and After Years did?!) then I’ll be first in line to play that too.
FFVI takes place in a world dominated by the Gestahl Empire and it’s Magitek technology and soldiers, which give them far superiority over the steampunk technologies employed by the other kingdoms spread across the World of Balance. The Empire comes into possession of a young girl with the innate ability to use magic – something not seen in world since the magical creatures known as Espers sealed off their lands from the human world. The Empire quickly places a slave crown on the girl’s head, robbing her of her memories and free will and sending her with a two man Magitek escort to subdue the village of Narshe and root out a Resistance movement there. Our game picks up as she is on her way to that mission, tromping through the snow in her Magitek armor.
Terra and her cohorts make smooth progress carving through the village until reaching a point in the mine where Terra is separated from her fellows after receiving some type of psychic distress or communication from the frozen form of an Esper trying to communicate with her. In her confusion, she is found by Locke, a theif and adventurer, and Mog, a, uh, Moogle that breakdances, fights with a spear, and has an uncontrollable Yeti buddy that will lend his violent insanity to your cause as well. This rescue party is OFF THE HOOK!! Locke and Mog find Terra wandering in the slums of the city and remove her slave crown. Her free will is returned, but she still as questions about who she is and where she comes from. Knowing that they can’t keep her safe in Narshe, Locke decides to sneak Terra into the neighboring kingdom of Figgaro, where he is friends with the current king, Edward. However, the Empire pursues their taken prize, and thus a grand chase becomes an investigation into the Empire’s acquisition of magitek, and finally into their plans for the destruction of the world of Balance. To spoil that major climax would be a disservice to anyone that has yet to play through the game as it was intended to be played. There are twists and turns and emotional moments all throughout the game.
Special mention must be given to the sheer labor of love that was apparent by the way each and every character, villain, PC, NPC, all were written well, and all executed their roles, no matter how minimal or vast they be, and grew as characters, each and every one. And not only does the incredibly deep cast of playable characters all undergo development, they are all useful in battle in their own way – which is good since several parts of the game require you to split up your entire group into three or four squads of adventurers to take down the same dungeon or monster simultaneously. This adds some meta strategy to the game – do you spend the time as you go leveling up as best you can to try and keep the newer or weaker characters more caught up, or do you just hope that the powers of the top crew will be enough to carry the day?
As Locke and Terra are avoid Imperial troops in Narshe, it serves as a tutorial for the games battle system, which will go down in history as perhaps the greatest pure distillation of the ATB battle system first devised in FFIV. Battles are turn based, which each individual character or enemy getting to take a turn as soon as the stamina bar is full. Unlike in some past FF games, here, magic spells are learned by having Magicite equipped while in combat. After combat, a percentage of AP points is applied to your account and you’re that much closer to permanently unlocking the spells that it teaches. In this way, you can teach almost every one of the wide case of characters all of the magic in the game – and in fact this becomes a gameplay element in which weapons and physical attacks are ineffective and the only way to damage some bosses is either with magic or by draining their own MP. It can be a bit tedious doing the necessary level of grinding to get all of your characters up to that level, but the payoff for it is tremendous!
The story, although it spans a threat to not just one, but two worlds, is actually best digested through the small side stories and personal reasons for each party member to continue on with the party. These are the moments that stick with you long after the closing credits have rolled, and you’ve defeated one of the greatest villains in Final Fantasy history.
Final Fantasy VI is a seminal entry in the world of JRPGs and RPGs in general, as well as one of the widely regarded greatest video games of all time. There isn’t much more that can be said about it that hasn’t already been addressed. Will absolutely everyone like it? No, but the world will always be filled with morons that have no taste. Just as not everyone that looks at a work of fine art can truly “get it” not everyone can appreciate the timeless quality of this game. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a phenomenal achievement in the art of game design that should be mandatory playing by anyone who claims to be interested in the game community. So what are you waiting for? Climb aboard the express!
Now, before we say goodnight, I have a special request. As you know, I don’t care for most humans. They treat me like garbage, and thus I don’t usually give a damn about them or their pathetic problems. But there are exceptions: some of the best humans I have had the pleasure to interact with are Ryan McCaffrey and Alanah Pearce over at IGN. They’re modern-day celebrities in the internet and gaming community, and yet they always take a few moments to engage me in conversation and to treat me like a friend when I need it. I consider them my friends, and so it was with a heavy heart that I saw Alanah had created a Please Help Maggie the Boxer Campaign, You see, Maggie the Boxer is facing multiple, expensive surgeries in order to correct an open cyst that, if left untreated, could lead her to bleed out or die of infection. None of our furry friends should have to suffer such a fate. and Ryan can use all the help that he can get with paying for her care. So please, go and donate as much or little as you can to Maggie the Boxer’s recovery fund. Or…I’ll find you. And when I do I’ll be quite sad. And what do you consider could happen if I’m sad?
Thank you all kindly for all of your support, both for Maggie the Boxer, and for me! Until next time! – EWE