Final Fantasy VI (PlayStation) Review

By Leo Epema 20.12.2017

Review for Final Fantasy VI on PlayStation

Final Fantasy VI revolves around a band of rebels, called the Returners, fighting an evil empire led by emperor Gestahl. This empire intends to bring magic back into the world and use it to subjugate everyone who isn't part of the empire. It's up to the Returners and their new friends (the protagonists) to stop Gestahl and his jester-general hybrid right-hand man, Kefka.

Final Fantasy VI starts off with what can only be described as a haunting and truly epic intro, showing one of the eventual protagonists, Terra (along with two imperial soldiers), marching towards an industrial town. Supposedly, there is an Esper there - a magical creature that the empire wants to study for their nefarious ends. Terra is clearly not herself, and this theme is explored extensively throughout the game. She suffers from amnesia, so her first question is, who is she? As she recovers her memory, this question still remains. Eventually, it transforms into the question: "What is love?"

The answer to Terra's central question is exemplified by everything the other protagonists go through as they stay by her side. It's absolutely masterfully done, and it ties each character together. Each character has some major flaw the plot makes them realize they need to fix. The thing is, the characters don't just resolve their issues themselves, they go through development together - and they do it without getting overly sappy, instead often simply coming to realizations after observing each other's actions. This cohesiveness between the characters is the beauty of Final Fantasy VI, and it's something a few other instalments (such as FFIV) lack.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PlayStation

However, it is a shame that some characters aren't as well developed as others. Characters like Shadow and Gau disappear for much of the story, and so their inclusion in the gameplay as optional characters to place in the battle party can feel a bit out of place. Shadow shares almost nothing about himself. He experiences dreams when sleeping at inns, but whilst they explore his backstory, they're randomly triggered and are easily missable, assuming they were even discovered at all. Other characters, like Sabin and Edgar, are overshadowed by the female characters Terra and Celes (a former Magitek Knight of the Empire), along with Locke (a lock-picking member of the Returners). Thankfully, many of the protagonists, while not always having deep backstories, do get fleshed out quite a bit through the course of the main plot's events. It's impressive for a game featuring such a large cast.

The overarching storyline itself takes some odd detours occasionally, in order to introduce new characters such as Setzer. It distracts from the main plot quite a bit, making everything feel less urgent than the script makes it out to be. That said, these distractions connect back to the story quickly - it's just that there's so many of them due to the breadth of the main cast. It makes it a bit hard to swallow. What's great is that none of the characters serve only as plot progressors.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PlayStation

Adding to the excellent storyline and characters is the amazing presentation. Extensive use is made of leitmotifs, giving each character its own distinct feeling. There are so many haunting pieces that fit the game's themes and plot like a velvet glove. Terra's theme becomes all the more magical when her backstory is revealed, and certainly when she shares her thoughts more and more. On the flipside, some towns and cities look similar and slightly monotonous. Many of them contain few things of interest, such as side-quests.

Speaking of magic, when it comes to the whizz-bang-crackle, FFVI shines. Certain characters were indispensable in previous games. They needed to constantly have their magic replenished with costly MP recovery items. Alternatively, loads of health recovery items and MP recovery items could be bought. Indeed, the magic users needed to use their magic and didn't have much of anything else going for them. Not so in this instalment. Magic users like Terra can simply use melee attacks. While that might not be as effective as magic and doesn't have the bonus of area-of-effect damage, it's perfectly viable. In any case, no more constant use of healing magic only to find that magic has been depleted and is now no longer usable in battle. No more grinding weak enemies just to get money to buy things in a town entered at least fifteen times. There is no need for grinding to beat overpowered enemies or huge groups, because enemies are appropriately scaled to the party.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PlayStation

More importantly, each character can now learn magic with the use of magicite. These pieces of an Esper's essence can be recovered from within the game world and during story missions. Not everybody does equal damage with magic. That prevents the party from becoming overpowered… is what would've been said if the Ultima spell didn't exist. Ultima isn't that easy to acquire, though. The possibility for each character to learn magic is a welcome addition because sometimes the plot demands the main cast split up. In that case, with only two or three true magic users, it becomes rather useful to include at least one magic user in each group. The universality of magic for the playable cast is also good because it allows for a custom playstyle. Yes, damaging one enemy at a time is nice, but roleplaying is the name of the game.

The weapon progression system is a bit standard, as new weapons tend to simply be stronger versions of previous ones. That said, there are still many weapons with their own beneficial effect, and there are some trade-offs to consider. The lack of roleplaying there is offset by items called relics, which confer inherent boons or invulnerabilities. Want to make a magic user more adept at using weaponry? Go for it… or go for broke. Specific magicite can even provide increases in certain stats per level-up. Play your role - be whatever you want to be, within certain limits.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VI on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It's hard to point out what makes this game so great, because everything about it is so good. That's a rarity in this series. The characters are consistent, play well off of each other, and they're all linked thematically. Even the baddie is linked to them in a way. The pacing is also marvellous, with each character getting their time to shine in moments to take a breather. Who knew dungeons could actually be fun to traverse again, because the light on the other end is plain to see? Even the gameplay, while not innovative, fixes old issues and is expertly balanced. That's what this game is: it's consistent, balanced, and emotional. What is love? Final Fantasy VI is.

Developer

TOSE

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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