Final Fantasy VI (PC) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 10.01.2016 4

Review for Final Fantasy VI on PC

Let it be known. Let it be repeated across the earth, through the universe, and through all the megaverses in the ultraverse: Final Fantasy VI is a towering, behemothian masterpiece of perfection. There are few games that nail perfection as comprehensively as the original SNES RPG. When the GBA saw a rerelease, it was still pretty awesome. What is this, then? Cubed3 evaluates whether Square Enix is trolling with the PC port.

As usual, this is a great game. It boasts a terrific roster of fourteen characters, some of whom are tremendously fascinating and some of whom have no personality, and the plot revolves around Kefka, the legendary antagonist. With so many characters, themes are the main focus of the game: adjustment, growth, and hope in the face of a straw-nihilistic god, and excellent music further ties the package together. As with Final Fantasy V on PC, this is a great game, but also a terrible version of it.

One of the more curious aspects of Final Fantasy VI on PC is that it has eluded much of the community that this is a port of the mobile version, and that the issues being criticised are not unique to the PC. Ridiculous sprites, ugly black bars, and static PNGs for enemies were all present in the mobile version, much as was the case for Final Fantasy V.

It's true that more effort was put into this than was put into its immediate predecessor, but that doesn't say very much. Among the optimisations is that the control is fluid and concise; one of the biggest problems with the mobile version is that the controls were never smooth or graceful. With FFV on PC, the sense of navigating touchscreen controls with a cursor was omnipresent. FFVI doesn't have these problems, and that's refreshing, but this isn't to say the PC version is flawless.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PC

Never mind that offline mode was unavailable upon launch (almost certainly because of obtrusive DRM), and never mind the severe lag that many laptop players experienced. Sometimes character sprites inexplicably disappear, followed by crashing and a Quicksave that becomes useless. Hours of progress can be lost this way, and even regular saves are not immune to this bizarre bug. Often, relaunching the game fixes this, but not always.

It's still the same game it's always been, more or less, and it's still good. It's not the perfect thing it used to be, and in this form it's only slightly better than good. Screen tearing is obnoxious and something that players are expected to fix; the recommendation is to activate anti-aliasing with third-party software, presumably because Square Enix couldn't be bothered to add it itself. That is the running theme for the recent Final Fantasy cash-ins: Square Enix couldn't be bothered.

Among the more interesting failures is that the title appears to close by forcing itself to crash. Neither is the mouse cursor hidden upon launch, although there is no support for mouse input. It could be worse, of course: it wouldn't be terribly surprising if the game attempted to hide the mouse cursor by uninstalling and deleting the mouse drivers. The whole affair of Final Fantasy rereleases has gotten to a point where tears or laughter are warranted, and which is justified depends on an individual's tolerance for shameless silliness.

It's perfectly okay when Goat Simulator stops working inexplicably and crashes as a method of closing the game. It's less acceptable when Final Fantasy VI does it, partially because the latter is more expensive and partially because it's not a joke product - or is it?

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Final Fantasy VI is still good, but its primary purpose is to kick gamers in the pants about bringing emulation discussions to the forefront. In an age where classic games are easily playable on modern systems, a rerelease should really amaze with its changes and new features, but because emulation is tainted by tangentially related conversations about piracy, it's taboo to point out that a better version is widely available with very little effort. If this release is stacked against the emulation scene, it's an absolute joke that people are expected to pay money for this, but the overall sentiment from AAA publishers is that emulation doesn't exist. There are plenty of legitimate ways to enjoy this game without the long list of flaws that characterise this port, and it is advised to explore other avenues; Square Enix shouldn't be rewarded for releasing shoddy ports.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

One of my friends got me this for Christmas. Honestly, though, given enough time I would have got it anyways since I like Terra a lot.

But it's the ultimate paradox for the reviewer. With a cruddy port of a great game or a sequel that doesn't change much do you give the game a high score for being still solid, or a low score for the lack of effort and poor attempt to deviate? I wish I knew the answer.

I think that was me, actually. I ended up accidentally buying a second copy thanks to some horrific mismanagement of my cart.

In the back of my mind, I had the GBA version as the standard. I'd definitely rather play the GBA version over this, and definitely over the Android version. My biggest gripe is that I paid $15 for this when I could have easily just clicked like three times and played a better version. Many websites have even made this possible to do in a browser, so this left me asking repeatedly, "Why in the *&@+ did I pay for this?"

The PC version of FF8 gives players reasons to buy it instead of just throwing their PSX discs into their PC: Magic Boost and Chocobo World. With FF6, there's no advantage except achievements and cards, and $15 is too much to ask for a bunch of achievements that can't be obtained until the WoR. My question to Square-Enix would be: "Why should I play this over the GBA version?"

Their answer would be "Lol, emulatorz. U banned noob."

In the Steam forum for FF8, a pinned post by some modern Uncle Tom warns players that talks of emulation will result in bans because of its "relation to piracy." So Square-Enix is allowed to paint emulation as piracy, which leaves this version as the only legitimate way to play FF6. With no competition to worry about, quality standards plummet, and that's exactly what we're seeing with these lazy ports, just like the US Post Office is a bastion of waste and inefficiency--without competition, they can do whatever they want, and we just have to deal with it if we want to send mail. With these ports, SE can release whatever they want, and we just have to deal with it if we want to revisit these games.

Except we don't have to just deal with it. We have plenty of alternatives. The issue of emulation has been the elephant in the room for too long, and these sloppy ports are proof it's time for gamers to bring it into the open. As far as Valve and SE are concerned, emulation is illegal and therefore doesn't even exist. But that flies in the face of decades of precedent, most notably the ruling in the 80s by the US Supreme Court that earned consumers the right to record live broadcasts onto VHS, with the Supreme Court ruling that consumers can capture published media in whatever form is most convenient to them, regardless of what the producer of the media originally intended.

Hell, most game manuals insist that consumers can't make backup copies, which is laughable from a legal standpoint and violates the fundamental principle of what copyright even is; it's not the exclusive right to make copies, but the exclusive right to distribute copies.

This got way too long. Sorry about that. This whole issue is a sore point for me, because I don't think any industry spits on its consumers in the way the gaming industry routinely spits on gamers.

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?

See? I just can't leave this topic alone.

It's also worth noting that this isn't the way companies behave when they're legally in the right. Just look at how persistently Hollywood et al. have gone after the pirate bay. And that's not under U.S. jurisdiction, but Hollywood has repeatedly gone after it.

Zsnesw, Jnes, ePSXe, Mupen64, and tons of others operate on US soil and run websites on US servers, yet nothing happens to them. If they had the legal right to shut down these places, they'd do it in a heartbeat. Yet year after year emulation persists, even those that distribute ROMs and ISOs. This would not be the case if AAA publishers had an actual airtight case. They don't, and they know it, which is why they go after emulation these other ways, by banning people for discussing it, trying to violate consumer rights with invalid EULAs, and throwing out the baby with the bathwater by calling it piracy.

No one questions my right to scan a book into my computer and then read it on my computer. And that's it in a nutshell. There's nothing shady about it; it's simply a matter of a consumer enjoying products she purchased in a form that is most convenient. If it was illegal, would Microsoft have a media player that defaulted to ripping music when a music cd is inserted? The evidence and precedent is all around us. The illegal part is distributing copies of games, but no other aspect is even questionable.

Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?
Our member of the week

I just read that modders found out that this Steam version of the game actually uses a GBA rom at its core... so the game is actually just a japanese GBA rom running on an emulator for the core code (event handling, stats tracking, well pretty much everything that is NOT audio or video), but pulling audio and visual assets off an archive of, naturally, newly produced content. The archive is actually a big binary file like the Android version. That's interesting... But it also means that whatever was bugged in the original GBA release (such as the complete impossibility to get certain rages for Gau on the Veldt without using AR codes) is still present in here, since Square Enix never bothered to fix that completely. It was fixed to an extent in the GBA version over the SNES one, but there were two or three rages that were still impossible to get through any regular means (I should know since I used AR myself to get the last few that I couldn't get, and the European version being the last one to release, that one actually had the most bug fixes over the other versions released elsewhere).

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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