Final Fantasy III review
A timeless classic. One of the greatest FF games to date
Very memorable scenes
Everything that a good FF game should have
Encounter rate is too highSummary:
Final Fantasy (FF) has a long history that spans back into the late 80s. Since then there have been 14 main instalments to the series and countless other titles along the way. While FF7 was the title that brought Squaresoft (now SquareEnix) to international fame and is widely considered the greatest RPG ever made (and for very good reason), many people believe the true king of the series is its predecessor, FF6. I’m not going to debate which of the two is better, but I will say that FF6 is certainly a contender. In my opinion (and many may disagree due to the existence of Chrono Trigger), FF6 is easily the best RPG (and game for that matter) that the SNES has to offer and still remains one of my favourite RPGs to date. If I was granted the gift of jumping into the shoes of SquareEnix’s CEO for a day, my first move would be to give FF6 a complete HD remake, and I know for a fact that millions of people around the world would praise me as a god if I did so.
I know a the majority of modern gamers out there wouldn’t think twice about playing a game that looks like FF6, and this is truly a shame. Obviously it’s not going to stand up to anything seen on the PS3 or 360. It also doesn’t have network capabilities or twenty different kinds of machine guns. Guess what? Games had to start somewhere and FF6 was visually a league leader back in the day when sprites used to be cool (they still are in my books). But somehow, the limited number of pixels manages to create beautiful atmosphere and scenery and this is something you’ll have to experience to believe. In addition, the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal and contains some of my favourite video game tracks to date ( Aria Di Mezzo Carattere, anyone?). What I’m trying to say is: at first, you may need to give your filthy candy seeking eyes a stern talking to, but after a few hours of playing, you’ll most likely forget what games of the 2013 look like.
FF6 begins with a mage, Terra, who has been brainwashed by the Emperor. She has been ordered to travel to the town of Narshe to follow a lead on the existence of an Esper (magical being from another world). During this mission, Terra reclaims her mind, joins the rebellion and begins her journey to put an end to the evil Empire who wishes to use the Espers powers for evil. While Terra is initially the main character, it soon becomes apparent that there is no single character to drive the story. This is one of things that makes FF6 so enjoyable as it allows the game to be played from many characters perspectives. FF6s story has some great moments that are as memorable as some of the famous plot points from later FF instalments. Many of these moments are pulled off exceptionally well and like I said before, I would love to see them in HD. FF6s plot starts strong and remains that way through the entire game. While I wouldn’t quite put it in the league of the PSX era FFs, it will still easily keep the player more than engaged through the 40 odd hour adventure. Below is one particular scene that is a staple of FF6
One of the things that I adore about FF6 is the huge, colourful cast of characters. These characters are memorable and have many personal scenes that define who they are. The only problem was trying to decide on four of the main eleven to have in my main party. In addition to this, there are three hidden characters who you may find along the way. I love this and I believe it needs to be a more common addition to RPGs. But what is the point of a great cast of characters without a decent villain to hassle your characters at every turn? FF6 certainly has one of these, and his name is Kefka. This character is both pure crazy and evil but is also a very iconic character to old school RPG gamers. His evil laugh is something that has stuck in my mind since first playing this game about 13 years ago. These characters are one of the main things that make FF6 so special for me and easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game.
The gameplay offers no more than you would expect from a SNES era RPG. Battles are initiated by random encounters, and man; is the encounter rate annoying! Every old school gamer would know exactly how this frustration feels; walking a couple steps, only to enter another fight. Fortunately, there is an accessory that grants the ‘encounter none’ ability, but that can only be equipped by one specific character, and guess what? I used him solely for this reason. If you can get past the insane encounter rate, the battle mechanics are quite enjoyable for such a simple system. The battles are time based, and each character can attack, use magic, defend or use an item. The interesting feature is the unique battle ability that each character has. This adds a lot of variation to how you go about your battles. For example, Shadow can throw items, Celes can use her sword to absorb enemy magic attacks, and Sabin can unleash specific martial arts techniques. These are a lot of fun to experiment with and offer many different ways to take on your enemies. One thing that I have never understood however, is the inclusion of ‘Desperation attacks’ (otherwise known as limit breaks). These are powerful attacks that a character randomly unleashes when low on HP. However, the chance of this happening is so low that there really isn’t any point in having it in the game. In fact, during my two and a half play throughs over the years, I have only had it happen twice. I guess it’s similar to the feeling of never winning the lottey…. Below is a screenshot of a typical battle.
The way in which FF6 allows you to build your characters is a lot of fun. Just as you would expect from an RPG, characters can equip weapons, shields, armour and accessories, and these are specific to the type of character (eg – Mages can only wield staves). The real fun comes in the Esper system. Espers teach your characters magic spells. Each character can equip one esper at a time and that Esper will allow you to learn spells at a certain rate (some faster than others). Once learnt, the character can use the spell any time, so naturally, the character should then be equipped with another Esper to learn additional spells. Finding these Espers around the world and deciding who to equip each Esper to is a lot of fun and plays a huge role in how effective your party will perform in battle.
The story can really be divided into two halves, separated by the alteration of the world. In the first world (known as the world of balance), the player follows a somewhat linear path, visiting every location in the world along the way. It’s only when the world is altered that the player in granted complete freedom to explore the many secrets hidden throughout. There is a lot to do here, so expect to spend many hours exploring hidden dungeons, finding additional Espers, unlocking secret abilities, battling difficult super-bosses and locating unique equipment. This extra content compares to the PSX era FF games, which as any FF veteran would know, is saying a lot.
Final Fantasy Six is an absolute classic that deserves the praise it constantly receives. It has everything that our other favourite FF games have from memorable characters to huge expansive worlds. In my opinion, this is the best game on the SNES and should be played by anyone willing to give a game this old a shot. SquareEnix have arguably been going downhill over the past decade and this is because they’re straying too far from this classic formula. Please Square, please, give us a HD remake!
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