Video Game Review: Final Fantasy VI

Details: Originally release in 1994 by Squaresoft (now Square Enix). Released for Windows PC in 2015. I purchased the game through Steam for about eight dollars. Played for around sixty-five hours.

Final Fantasy VI is one of the most beloved games in the Final Fantasy series. Some of my earliest memories were watching friends/family play this game. Decades later, I now have a chance to walk down nostalgia lane and play the updated version of the game for myself.

Final Fantasy VI takes place in a fantasy world where steampunk technology meets magic. Many years ago in this world, there was a War of the Magi and magic became mostly extinct after the end of the war. You start out as Terra, one of the only people in the world who can use magic and whose mind is under the control of the Empire. You eventually break free and meet a cast of characters who seek to oppose the Empire and its desire to use magic to take over the world.

The game can be broken down into two parts. The first half of the game is fairly linear. This where you meet with the cast of characters that will become playable and part of your party. What I enjoyed about this part was how dynamic it was for a game that was released so long ago. Plot events happen and the party splits up, with multiple parts of the plot happening at the same time. The second part of the game is the open world oriented game people loved about the classic Final Fantasy games. The story becomes more free form and you can explore and tackle the challenges in whatever order you see fit. There is still a main quest and the final big bad guy to fight, but the freedom you’re allowed is vast.

I think this two act style of Final Fantasy is the correct format for the franchise. The first act of the game is setup for the story and a linear experience for those who like that sort of thing. The second part is an open world experience where you can tackle side quests and the main quest in whatever order you want. Both parts are lengthy, but the open world part was and should be longer than the linear part.

The story itself I enjoyed very much. Lots of drama, romance, and humor.

Visually, the game looked good to me. I read a number of Steam review comments that criticized the look of the characters, who admittedly look a little mushed. However, I went back and took a look at some screenshots of the Super Nintendo version and there is no comparison in my opinion. The Windows version of this game that is sold through Steam is the best looking version of the game, even considering that 1360×768 is the highest resolution for this game. With that said, this is still and old game. Don’t expect anything that looks like Horizon Zero Dawn.

The music is from the legendary Nobuo Uematsu and is as good as I remembered, despite being a synthesized soundtrack. I’ve later listened to orchestrated versions of this soundtrack and can easily say this is one of the best soundtracks for any video game, ever.

Gameplay is your standard turn based role-playing game. Characters take turns to cast spells and perform attacks. You learn more spells and skills and find weapons throughout your adventure. The Steam version has all the additional content that’s since been added to each subsequent release of Final Fantasy VI since its original release. It doesn’t have the CGI videos from the Playstation version though.

Overall, Final Fantasy VI is a very entertaining game that holds up surprisingly well despite its age. In my opinion, it is the best and final Final Fantasy game from the era of sprites and 2D pixel graphics. If you can get the game for under ten dollars I recommend it. Further and despite many opposing opinions, I think the Steam-PC version is the best and definitive version of this game to play.

Score: 7/10

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