Final Fantasy III

aka: FF6, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VI Advance, Zui Zhong Huanxiang 6
Moby ID: 5202

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 89% (based on 72 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 414 ratings with 8 reviews)

Japanese RPG at its very best

The Good
In 1994, Square released the third and the last Final Fantasy game for Super Nintendo. Made during a particularly creative period of video game development, Final Fantasy VI remains until now one of the most revered Japanese RPGs. It was a story-driven game with great emotional intensity; at the same time, it expanded the gameplay almost beyond the boundaries of the genre.

The approach of Final Fantasy VI towards story-telling is unique for several reasons. There are two different "planes" of narrative in the game. While the outer storyline is fairly standard, traditionally epic, serving to tie all the events and the destinies of the heroes together, the inner layer of the story concentrates in turn on each one of the many characters of the game, telling their stories in a very warm and detailed fashion, bringing the player as close to them as it was only possible.

What makes the narrative remarkable is not the course of the events depicted by it, but the small individual "sub-stories" of each one of the game's characters. Every character joins the rebel group for his (or her) personal reasons, and those reasons are explained and shown in detail. The typically epic plot line becomes almost obsolete when the player dives deeper into the intimate worlds of the game's characters, discovering their fears, hopes, joys, and grievances.

Final Fantasy VI introduced mature themes that were unseen in Japanese RPG before: suicide, teenage pregnancy, complicated moral problems, love, etc. It is true that they are treated in a melodramatic way, but that's precisely what makes them so endearing, especially when they are presented against the background of a typical "world-saving" epic. The "opera scene" is, for me, one of the single most touching moments in the history of video games.

A brilliant move Final Fantasy VI did was eliminating the concept of one lead character. It is a unique example of a Japanese RPG in which it is impossible to point out a single protagonist. At least three people can be called "main characters", but it is impossible to say which one of them is more "important". This technique fit the melodramatic tone of the game extremely well, allowing quick shifts of focus that moved the story forward in a graceful, involving way. I can only say it's a real pity that the even more melodramatic sequels didn't use it, preferring to return to the old "lone hero" concept.

RPG designers have been always struggling to create a perfect balance between a focused narrative and exploration. Final Fantasy VI solves this problem in a simple and elegant way. Its first part is linear and intensely story-driven, like most Japanese RPGs. However, the second part (World of Ruin) throws the player into an absolutely open-ended environment, with only one main quest: defeat Kefka. The player is free to explore this world, travel to any location, and recruit any party members he/she sees fit. But the story doesn't simply disappear; the characters offer plenty of interesting side-quest, and gradually gathering them together for a fight against the ultimate evil is an unforgettable experience. World of Ruin is a phenomenon; I don't think there is any other Japanese RPG world that can compete with it.

Final Fantasy VI also manages to solve another common Japanese RPG dilemma. Should characters belong to a particular class, or should they develop freely and be able to learn any abilities? The fourth game chose the first path; the fifth the second. The sixth once again finds the golden mean. The characters do have clearly assigned classes: you can easily recognize the typical Final Fantasy classes of monk, thief, ninja, samurai, etc. However, later in the game the characters can learn any spells on top of their old, "pre-defined" techniques, essentially allowing completely free customization.

The series has always been famous for its exceptional music. But I think many fans will agree that the main theme of Final Fantasy VI is the single most memorable musical piece of the entire series. Like many outstanding compositions, it conveys strong emotions while being very simple.

The Bad
Final Fantasy VI suffers from occasional bad translation, though perhaps the original writing wasn't exactly stellar to begin with. Writing has been the Achilles' heal of the series during its entire existence. It is, however, possible that much of the writing was intentionally goofy. Personally, I find the awkward dialogues endearing, but I can see how they could detract from the serious themes of the game.

Same can be applied to "cutesy" elements such as recruiting a moogle into your party and teaching him "dance" abilities, etc. The main villain is also decidedly "cartoony", having no other motives for his deeds other than simply being evil.

The graphics of the game are considered by some the best example of 16-bit art. However, those graphics also showed the limits of the Super Nintendo console in the age of full-screen animations and CD. They were barely enough to express all the rich ideas and emotions of the game. Maybe it sounds odd, but sometimes I wish Final Fantasy VI were made for a console with superior storage capacity, like TurboGrafx or Sega CD.

The Bottom Line
Some people would perhaps name the next installment as the highest achievement of the series; and while it is correct when applied to ambition, presentation, and influence, from the point of view of soul (and perhaps gameplay perfection as well) Final Fantasy VI takes the crown. It contains everything there is to love in the series and in Japanese RPGs in general, and remains a timeless classic that is admired by loyal fans and newcomers alike.

SNES · by Unicorn Lynx (181769) · 2017

Defines everything there is to love about the Final Fantasy games

The Good
A definitive classic of console rpgs, FF6 is the last Final Fantasy to be developed for the SNES, and the last 2D game in the series making it not just a classic but also a nostalgic phenomenon when looked at through the polygonal eyes of today's gaming audience. And as with most classic games of any genre it's too difficult to find anything new to say to add to the praises and awards that have piled upon it as the years went by, but well...that doesn't mean I can't try :)

FF6 is basically the most obvious example of the different approach Japanese game designers do when crafting their "roleplaying" games. Basically speaking, here you have an rpg where the roleplaying aspect is limited to tuning up some individual stats and add some additional skills to each character (usually magic-related) and the story develops with the same interactivity as when you sit your fat ass in your sofa and watch ESPN. So what's the big deal behind FF6 you say? It's story, it's characters, it's attention to detail, it's careful scripting and plot development.

I think it's only fair to acknowledge that the true revolution started with FF4, but in my mind 6 is the number I think of whenever I think of the prototypical plot-oriented console rpg. The kind that weaves a large, epic plotline whose complexity is only matched by it's gigantic cast of characters that, in classic Squaresoft fashion, get their own sections of the plot devoted entirely to them, and become interesting parts of a huge tapestry of sideplots, stories of friendship and love that connect in different ways to the "Kill Gonzo" plot and give it a more human and touching feeling that make it a much more interesting and mature experience. And which ever since this game (FF4, really) have become Square's formula for success, with every character having adding it's own collection of traumas, fears and vulnerabilities to make up a much deeper tapestry of emotions.

In fact FF6 goes the extra mile and gives such a prominent place in the spotlight to each particular character that the final plot ends up taking a backseat to the personal dramas and problems of each character, and the game makes a move that I absolutely loved and consider one of the highlights of the game: you see, it doesn't focus the entire story around a certain easy-to-market character that appealed to a specific demographic. For what I think is the only time in the series, the game's hero is actually a collective assembly of characters that help each other evenly and drive the plotline on their own through very thick situations changing the focus of the story as different events pass the ball around the different characters not just for said character's development sake but as an important dramatic component that allows the story to flow much more seamlessly and with a much more epic scope. In fact, thanks to Square's refusal to focus on a single character to drive the main game's plot for it's 6th FF, the game is one of the few that actually has that operatic flow the series so often strives to reach but which often fail to get and end up composing what's mostly an adventure serial (and hey, there's a reason this particular Final Fantasy has that particular and much-praised opera scene). Emotions are driven home in a much more convincing manner as there isn't a need for forced exposition thanks to the narrative focus's ability to jump around and always seat you on the right place. Making this FF a much more adult and emotionally touching game than most of it's more advanced sequels, which had to resort to incredibly forced and unconvincing setpieces just to drive home a simple point like a character's love for another and which did nothing but mess things up because the story always had to find a way to connect the events to the same X character in some way.

For instance, the game might start you on the shoulders of a certain character who imposses you her view of things and takes you with her through most of the plot, but after a specific earth-shattering event, most of the characters you grew fond of are lost and facing their own problems outside of the main plot. Only one character seems to still have the drive to pursue the goal that you all started so long ago, and now you get to see the world from a different perspective as you essentially start over from her point of view and see that not all the characters you knew were as they appeared. Obviously, that's the most extreme example, and not every character gets "equal share" when it comes to starring in the game, but it's still enough to make a difference and remains an oddity in the world of console rpgs which favor the established hero with a supporting cast (well developed or not) that hardly ever rises above that role. Heck, this is a game were you even take control of an enemy general at one point just to see the story from his point of view! Every character in FF6 (with the possible exception of the bonus ones that hardly get any lines at all, let alone entire sequences devoted to them) owns a piece of FF6, and there's not a single character you can remove from it and not miss his/her mark on the game, and the emotional hole it leaves.

Things are so similar and yet so different because of this simple narrative technique that you might not even notice it as practically on every FF you have a melodramatic component of corny love stories, coming-of-age issues and stuff like that shoved in the game, but rarely they make it fit so well with what's going on. Another reason I dare point out as to why the formula worked so and hasn't really been tried again in the same way is because of a nice side-effect of the technical limitations of our 16-bit ancestors: It enforced on designers the notion of SUBTLETY.

So Yes, characters are the true stars of FF6, but it also has a very good save-the-world plot, and great gameplay value with lots of optional quests, branching areas, extra dungeons to explore and unlockable bonuses such as hidden characters, more storyline revelations, and end-all-be-all weapons and spells. The combat and magic system takes a step towards a much more free-form customizable model as it would eventually become in FF7, were any character can become a powerhouse in the right field with the right materia/esper combo, but 6 still retains those "class-like" quirks in full form with well defined warriors, monks, thieves, dancers and the usual assortment of good game-balancing stuff games like FF8 sent to the gutter.

As far as technical development goes, FF6 refines every aspect of the SNES-era FF engine and showcases everything Square and Nintendo had learned from each other, sporting loads of scripted sequences, pseudo-polygonal map exploration, assorted graphic effects and a refined interface as well as extra advances in the sound department that help it showcase the always impressive FF music. Now speaking about the music, I'm not one of the rabid fans that always have nothing but praises towards Nobuo-whatshisname and his compositions, yes they are effective, but quite frankly I've seen more impressive work and could never really find a FF soundtrack that stuck with me or even moved me (specially nowadays, when the series seems to favor shitty pop songs that not even Christina Aguilera would sing)... That is, EXCEPT for the main map theme as played in FF6. Which I found to be a beautiful melancholic melody that often made me stop playing for a while just to listen to it. It is the sole melody I remember from all the FF games (though I often wake up screaming whenever Eyes on Me [or whatever it was called]is sung on my nightmares).

The Bad
Nothing I can think of. Seriously speaking FF6 represents the most evolved state of console rpgs from the 16-bit era and is still a fully playable game to this date.

Tough to be fair I should mention that in order to fully enjoy this one you have to always remember to switch yourself into "Japanese RPG" mode and be able to ignore those naive quirks and "kawaii" moments our friends of the east can't seem to forget to include every now and then. Or their predilection for stupid, needless mini-games (hey boys 'n girls! Let's play catch the fast fish and save Cid!! YaaaaY!!!)...

The Bottom Line
Look at it this way: Square grabbed this game, slapped some fancy cgi cutscenes, character art and extra stuff to it and re-released it verbatim for the PSX years later. Believe me, there's was a reason for doing that besides slick marketing, and it's because FF6 is a monumental achievement in the history of console rpgs. No self respecting gamer can pass it up, be it on it's original form or on it's souped-up, mucho-macho PSX edition. Get it, live it, love it.

SNES · by Zovni (10504) · 2004

An ever-so-slightly flawed update

The Good
Continuing their trend of remaking past hits for the current generations of handheld consoles, Square Enix have now moved onto the sixth of the increasingly inaccurately named Final Fantasy series, seeing fit to release it on the Game Boy Advance. Indeed, this is one of the last big releases for Nintendo's somewhat neglected handheld.

Final Fantasy VI - But On The Game Boy Advance (or as Square Enix have dubbed it, Final Fantasy VI Advance) is a significant rerelease of the classic Super Nintendo RPG, originally released in 1994, but how significant this is depends on whereabouts in the world you buy your videogames from. Yes, it's the old chestnut of regions, one which Nintendo themselves pioneered back in the murky world of the mid-80's.

Let's take a tangent from reviewing the game itself to explore quite why, as a PAL gamer, this version of the game has me writhing about on the floor in giddy joy.

While North American gamers were somewhat neglected by SquareSoft until the mid-90's, here in Europe we didn't see so much as a whiff of a Final Fantasy game until Square and Sony decided it would be a good idea to have a crack at the PAL market, releasing Final Fantasy VII to acclaim and large sacks of money in 1997. This meant that while North American gamers at least saw three games in the series, here in the UK we didn't so much see even one of the spin-offs, such as Mystic Quest.

To make matters worse, one couldn't simply buy a cartridge from an NTSC region and expect the game to work. Thanks to Nintendo's ingenious combination of hardware region detections and physically different cartridges, getting an import copy to work became an interesting process of either modifying a PAL console or buying an NTSC one and convincing it to work with our power supply and televisions. (While most TVs these days understand PAL, SECAM, and NTSC, these were rarer beasts as little as 10 years ago.)

Final Fantasy VI finally saw a release in Europe on the PlayStation in 2002, and sold like reasonably warm cakes - not at all hindered by the fact that Square bundled a PS2 demo of Final Fantasy X with it. This was a frankly ghastly port - a few additional FMVs, a bestiary, and slightly prettier menus were grossly offset by load times long enough to make you slip gradually into a coma, where at least you wouldn't care that your save games hadn't been mysteriously corrupted.

But I'm going off-message here. This is not a rant about the PlayStation port, but a celebration of the GBA version. Pleasantly, I can do just that and only be slightly bitter.

The entire SNES original is here, presented with the original graphics and a reasonable approximation of the sound. Due to the nature of the GBA sound hardware, the music sounds different; but that's a necessary trade-off, and the music still sounds remarkably close to the original. I could sing the praises of the game's soundtrack for the rest of this review, but I'll leave it with the simple statement that it's still one of the best of any game, ever. Other sounds are fine, and Kefka's trademark laugh is reproduced exactly. Once the game has been completed once, a music player becomes available should you wish to replay any of the game tracks. Well, it's cheaper than hunting down the OST.

The design is preserved from the original, an epic tale of swords and sorcery mixed with steampunk technology and Victorian aesthetics. Remarkably, it all works. The mix of fantasy and near-present day themes has been repeated elsewhere, but FF6 sticks out as one of the pioneers and it's impressive to see how well it appears even today. The graphics are beautiful and still look good compared to other GBA titles.

The story is essentially unchanged, save for the translation - more on that later. Again, it feels remarkably mature, and the sheer wealth of characters available makes the game seem so much deeper than later titles in the series. There's arguably no one central character, and in addition, the game should be praised for its strong female characters and refusal to pander to simple stereotypes. The sheer number of characters to choose from, including those optional two, should ensure you can replay the game with significantly different parties, especially in the latter half of the game.

To bring this into enhanced remake territory, Square Enix have added the ability to explore the world after you've beaten the final boss, including a brand new dungeon in the form of the Dragon's Den. Harder than the original, this includes some treasures which didn't exist in the original and so are must-haves for the completists. In addition, new Espers (Summon monsters, with extras) have been implemented.

I could stop here. A portable port of my favourite Final Fantasy game. What's not to love?

The Bad
Sadly, there are a few flaws in the plan. This is not a perfect port, if it could even be called a port at all. Most glaring is the slowdown evident during the more intensive magic attacks; this wasn't present on the SNES version, and despite the arguably limited hardware of the GBA, there must be ways of making simple sprite manipulation smoother than this. While it doesn't affect the gameplay, it's simply jarring.

Secondly, the game remains entirely too easy compared to other RPGs. While perhaps challenging for a newcomer to the genre, to anyone well-versed in Japanese RPGs, the game won't pose any particular challenges. Even the removal of some of the more exploitable bugs (the infamous Vanish trick, for instance) does little to increase the difficulty. But then, it does remove some of the pressing need to power-level your way through the game.

The music, while excellent, isn't the original, and some tracks just feel (hnng...) wrong in subtle ways. This is getting into nit-picking territory, and really shouldn't bother me. It never prevents the game from being anything other than enjoyable.

The cardinal sin, however, will only really touch upon those who hold the original so close to their heart. The original English translation was by none other than the legendary Ted Woolsey himself - a man responsible for Final Fantasy IV's "spoony bard" quip, among others. While he has been much maligned for some of his translations, I always found the SNES English translation to be charming in its way, not least because of the characterisation of everybody's favourite insane clown Kefka. Many lines have been re-written, and some of Kefka's best comments have vanished. Alas.

The Bottom Line
Despite those points I simply can't bring it upon myself to feel bad about Final Fantasy VI - But On The Game Boy Advance (That's Final Fantasy VI Advance - Ed). It's still an exceptionally good game, now portable. It's the same FF6 I fell in love with when I played a ROM through a SNES emulator during my GCSEs - well, sort of - and for that I can't be harsh upon it. A worthy update to the classic, and well worth hunting down while you still can.

Game Boy Advance · by Vulpine (247) · 2009

Personally my favourite RPG of all time

The Good
- excellent soundtrack by the one and only Nobuo Uematsu. The music adds plenty of atmosphere and emotion to the game. Terra's theme is truly inspirational (heard in the intro and on the world map of the world of balance and some other places throughout the game). - brilliant plot with many twist (one brilliant twist in particular, but can't give spoilers so you will just have to find out for yourself). - characters all have unique abilities. All of them have personality helping the player to become more engaged into the story. There are characters you can care for like Terra and characters you hate such as the epic villain, Kefka. - Many, many side-quests to uncover character backgrounds and extra items, etc to go with the 20 - 70 hours of fun you can get playing through the game depending on the amount of secrets, level building, etc you can be bothered with - a generally all round classic RPG with great story, great characters, great music, and has to go down as one of the best games of all time.

The Bad
However the game isn't faultless: - too many random encounters - the story pretty much fades away after the world of balance (near the end of the game anyway though, which is pretty much all side-quests, so not that bad) - leveling up system automatically levels up characters not in your party, and your characters gain more attributes when they have espers equipped making those levels gained without espers equipped semi-useless. - maybe too many characters (i think about 14 or so including secret characters). Some of the characters you get too late on and don't develop much, e.g mog.

The Bottom Line
Snes version is better that playstation. The playstation one has extras such as fmv's but there are annoying loading times. A MUST play for all Japanese RPG and final fantasy fans. However some people find it hard to play 2-d RPGs in this day and age of 3-d brilliant graphics but they will only miss out on one of the best games in existence, some people even believe that all the newer final fantasy's have threw away all the good plots in exchange for graphics (except maybe FF7, of course). If you are like that then you should try Final Fantasy 7 - also a classic for playstation.

SNES · by Alan Yeung (3) · 2004

Great game but didn't fully satisfy my appetite

The Good
This review is about the sixth game of the Final Fantasy series, the well known epic jRPGs. This is the last game of what I'll call the "SNES trilogy" which is made of games Final Fantasy IV, V and VI.

The story is about Empire Gestra which oppress people, and how some of the spared nations continue to resist against it. You will control a group of rebel and fight to save people and resist the empire. While the story sounds very unoriginal, it is the developed characters and the way it is told which makes it much more interesting than it sounds at first.

This game features one of the largest character case of the Final Fantasy series with at least a dozen of character available. Unlike Final Fantasy V but like Final Fantasy IV, "jobs" (such as warrior, mage, monk, treasure hunter, etc...) are hardwired to protagonists of the game, which makes every character unique in his fighting style. However, you can also customise your character as wish because the system in this game allows to equip Espers (which is the name this game uses for summons). (This system is similar to the system that will be used later in Final Fantasy VIII). Depending on which summon you equip, you'll learn different spells (surprisingly, everyone can use black, white and time magic regardless of their jobs), and get different stat increases at level-up (in addition to the stat increases related to the job) which makes this system particularly powerful and interesting.

A good thing is that (like most of it's predecessors except FF4) this game has no such thing as a "Main protagonist", you could just have whoever you like in your party after some point in the story. However, it's sadly the last game of the series which lacks this "Main protagonist". Not that I don't like them, but it's nice you can have whoever you want in the party, and not be forced to have some guy just because he's the main protagonist.

Just like other Final Fantasy games, the controls are extremely intuitive and responsive, and are nothing to worry about. The menus are laid out in a way which makes perfect sense, and it's easy to equip your characters with items, etc, etc... (I just thought I'd mention that because this can't be said of all RPGs.) Save points are overall frequent enough and placed at appropriate locations.

This game have a weird Game Over system, where you will respawn at the last save point automatically, instead of loading the last saved state. From what I understand, EXP is kept but everything else is lost (I might be wrong). Apparently Square wanted to try something experimental, before going back again for the rest of the series. It doesn't make much of a difference, since you'll get most of your Game Overs at boss battles, and a save point is placed just before them in general, which means you didn't gain much EXP anyways.

Like the other games in the series, this game features many enemies and bosses you'll have to fight. While enemies are very often reused among different games of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VI is notable for not reusing anything from the previous games, and making it's own enemies from start. This is mostly a good thing, however, this game kind of break the tradition that was build up with the 5 first games. By the way, for the first time, elemental crystals are gone, too, which is sad because I just happen to love stories which are tightly coupled with the 4 elements. I don't know why but it's just a good old formula that never gets old. Well apparently Square decided it was getting old and, while elemental spells remain intact, the 4 elements are whipped out of the storyline (and will be wiped out for all following games of the series as far I can tell, except Final Fantasy IX where they play a minor role again).

Graphics are very well made for the time, we can immediately tell the developers played with the limitations of the SNES. Character sprites are slightly bigger than in the previous games, and are definitely more detailed. There is parallax scrolling and/or transparency effects everywhere. As you'd expect, summons are graphically very impressive. There is nothing to complain about this department, unless you are one of those guys who think that 2D graphics = bad graphics, in which case I have nothing to say to you.

However I must say that the mode-7 world map (mode 7 is a way for the SNES to fake 3D graphics) is a bit annoying. When you are by foot, the 3D effect is already there but it doesn't work as well as it was supposed to. When you are by airship, it really looks amazing. When you are by chocobo, they made it look like the airship view, where the camera is behind the chocobo, and this is absolutely terrible. Because the chocobo, and therefore the camera, is close to the ground, it makes the ground blend way too much for you to see where you are, and because this is not actual 3D but fake 3D, everything including building and mountains are "drawn on the ground", which in this case looks terrible. Thank god they fixed this in Final Fantasy VII and allowed you to manually switch between the "upper" view and the "behind" view (in addition to having true 3D). So, overall, the world map is globally OK, but it's the weakest point for the graphics of this game, and the effect there is when you ride a chocobo hasn't aged well.

Musically, this game is great and up to line with it's predecessors. The battle theme and boss theme are notably great, and the world map music is amazing, even my parents happens love it, despite them loathing video games in general ! There is even a particular musical piece for a special world map location, which is a nice addition to the game. I'll have to add to say that, however, some songs are more forgettable than songs in Final Fantasy IV and V. Not a big deal though, as this game still have overall incredibly good music. The sound effects are fine and do their work. There is nothing particular to say about them.

The Bad
Yet, I can't refrain from saying this game is overrated. So many people keep shooting "FF6 IS THE BEST RPG EVEEEER", but let me just tell, I think they're wrong. Many of them are biased because they played this first, and before the Final Fantasy series was well known to the masses in the western world. I can perfectly understand why they prefer this game if this is the game that made them discover this amazing series.

However, I played Final Fantasy VI the very last, after beating all the others of the series from Final Fantasy I up to Final Fantasy X-2 (FF7 being the one who made me discover the series). I had of course started games of Final Fantasy VI multiple times, but never had the urge to continue until more recently. Of course, I had high expectations, and for the most part, they were met, however, I will of course have a totally different viewpoint that one of someone who discovered this game in their early teens.

I must say that of course, this is a good game, but the story is one of the weakest of the series, which is mainly well known for it's great stories. If we consider just the SNES trilogy, the quality of the storyline were in my opinion decreasing as the entries of the series were increasing. The story of FF4 is fabulous, especially for it's time. The story in FF5 was a bit of a let down, as the villain had no reason to be a villain, but it was still good with developed characters and multiple worlds to discover.

In FF6, all we have is the cliche of an empire against rebellion group, and the cliche of the evil emperor's right arm (Cefka/Kefka in this case) which is in fact even more evil than the emperor himself. Also, like in FF5 but unlike FF7 for instance, the main opponent of the game has ZERO reasons to be evil. He just wants to bring shame and destruction for his own personal fun, and that's it. This is not what I'd call a very developed character. Sure Cefka/Kefka has the particularity of being an "evil joker" type of villain, something original in the Final Fantasy series.

Although we have a large character set, most of the playable characters do not feel like they are actually in the party. There is about 6 fully developed and interesting characters and 6 jokes/dummy characters with no personality at all (some of them can't even be equipped) who joins your party by pure chance, and couple of characters between those two extremes. Many characters joins you extremely late in the game, some of them can't be obtained until right before the last dungeon.

A large character case works for games like Suikoden which were designed with this in mind (and with the assumption you're going to use your favourite guys), but in the case of FF6 it didn't work as well. Most of the "dummy" characters are still somewhat useful in combat which makes them not as dummy as I am saying (for instance Umaro who is some sort of gorilla, can't be equipped, can't talk and can't be controlled in battle but he hurts enemies EXTREMELY hard, which always happens to be useful), but yet all those dummy character play zero role in the story, and the half-dummy characters play a very minor role once and that's all, which is disturbing to say the least.

One particular character has a command called "Blitz" which is used to make combat-game style gamepad combos. However, this command is very bugged and almost unusable, and therefore I made him out of my party as much as possible. Unfortunately, he's one of the "developed" character, so at multiple times you have to bring him in the party. Not that I don't like him, but I'd like being able to use his ability without getting mad frustrated...

None of this makes FF6 a bad game, not even a mediocre one, but I just see it as being overall a tad inferior to both it's predecessors and it's sequels.

The Bottom Line
Here is it. FF6 is a must play for anyone interested in jRPGs and the Final Fantasy series in general. Missing this great game would be an error. However, my opinion is that it's still definitely weaker than other games in the series, especially it's direct predecessor and sequel, FF5 and FF7, which are both extremely solid (and my personal favourites). FF6 is not the pinnacle of the series of the perfect game some people describe.

There is also not much reason to replay FF6 again when you're finished, but that's the case for RPGs in general.

SNES · by Bregalad (937) · 2013

A sometimes-cutesy, sometimes-macabre follow-up to Final Fantasy II

The Good
Final Fantasy III was a nice little game back in its day. The visuals were fancied-up from its predecessor (Final Fantasy II for North American gamers), the music was infused with some techno beats, and the storyline is just completely nutsoid in comparison to the elegant and compelling plot line that followed Cecil, Kain, and Golbez.

As close as I can figure, the ultimate baddie of this game, Kefka, is a hideous, unfunny clown with a penchant for wild and imaginative behavior, none of which makes a whit of sense to me.

FF3 does, however, sport a wealth of tertiary characters that join sides with our amnesiac green-haired protagonist, Terra.

For example, Celes is an ice queen with tremendous magical prowess and a woeful history of being used by 'The Empire', Kefka's organization. Cyan is a compelling dark-haired lord whose family has been slain, but who is not acting out of vengeance, but altruism. And Shadow is a ninja with a companion wolfhound and a black sense of humor. Some of the other characters are a little half-baked, a few are very wild, and in sum total there's much more variety in combat than in Final Fantasy II -- though I still prefer the latter for its elegant simplicity.

The score of FF3 is perhaps its strongest feature, and was composed by the inimitable Nobuo Uemetsu, whose work arguably declined in quality after this title. The key events in the story are all accompanied by a compelling musical piece, while battles and overworld travel are invigorated with one of many lively tunes.

My personal favorite is a rollicking jungle beat, which plays as your party travels across the Veldt, a savannah region populated by a variety of tame-able beasts. I can still remember just letting the game run, not doing anything, to listen to the track for a few minutes -- it's just that good.

The Bad
There's no flaw at all in Final Fantasy III, except that it's not as well thought-out as Final Fantasy II. It's still a great game, but the overall plot concept does not leave the player in a sublime state of satisfaction as its predecessor does. Simply put, Kefka is no Golbez. Also, needs more Crystals.

But... perhaps not. FF2 is FF2, and FF3 is FF3. It's just that the first features a far more sensible, interesting plot, while the second strays into some pretty zany territory. For example: a ghost train, an end-of-the-world cataclysm, mech suits, human experimentation and mind-control... and a few dinosaurs thrown in for good measure. It's an eclectic mix to be generous, and haphazard to be critical.

The Bottom Line
Hands down, Final Fantasy III is the finest RPG from the mid-90s, superior to anything else on the Super Nintendo, the PC, or the Genesis -- from the 1994-1997 period. 1993 gave us Betrayal at Krondor on the PC, a vastly deeper, richer game, and 1998 saw the release of one of my personal favorites, Baldur's Gate. FF3 did a great job of holding me over between these stellar releases for the PC.

So -- play it on an emulator today? Mmmm if you have a strong nostalgic hankering for one of the four finest RPGs on the SNES. I'll stick with Team Fortress 2 for now, personally.

And yes, the other three are FF2, Secret of Mana, and Chrono Trigger.

SNES · by Chris Wright (85) · 2010

Possibly the best RPG ever made

The Good
Where to start? The graphics were simply incredible - some of the best ever seen on the SNES. Ditto for the music - Uematsu-san actually composed half an hour of an Opera for the game at one point. But primarily, the draw for this is in its excellent storyline and impressively complex characterizations. I wouldn't dream of spoiling it, but halfway through the game the plot takes a massive left turn which still leaves gamers gaping (in a good way) to this day. The sequence that follows is one of the most sombre and emotional I've seen in any video game ever - and they drug this level of involvement out of little 32x32 anime sprites! The plot is also non-linear compared to most Final Fantasies, with a number of quests that can be taken in any order you like before the game ends. And the subquests are far better than in most of the FFs - instead of silly diversions like breeding chocobos, most of the subplots are character-centric as well. By the end of the game, you are forced to be fond of your entire party. Everything about this is excellent.

The Bad
One tiny little irritation in the game design - call this a warning. You must level up all your characters or you won't make it through the endgame. If you, like me, are the sort of gamer who prefers to focus on one single "supergroup" and ignore the rest, this could result in greatly extended play times right when you're wanting to reach the end.

The Bottom Line
A utter classic which must be played by anyone with the slightest interest in Japanese-style RPGs.

SNES · by WizardX (116) · 2003

A surprisingly good blend of story and open world

The Good
Final Fantasy VI is structured into two chapters which work very differently: The first is very linear and tells the story of the main characters. This is very well executed, even if the writing (or the translation) is a bit uneven, mostly because of the sprites which manage to transport emotions without words and the wonderful music - yes, it is so good even a tone-deaf oaf like me can recognize it. Like many Japanese games, FFVI mixes up serious topics with goofy moments which works exceptionally well for my taste. Like usually in this series so far, the villain does not have a personality except evil, but his actions make me hate him enough that it doesn't matter.

Without spoiling too much, the second part puts the player into a known world which is drastically changed. Final Fantasy V pulled a similar trick, but it didn't succeed because too much stayed the same. Here on the other hand, everything (except a few minor NPCs dialogue) has changed and it is worth re-exploring every town and every cave. In fact, here the game drops all story and becomes a real open-world adventure. Now the player can freely visit every location and only has one goal: to meet old friends, become stronger and eventually take on the final dungeon. The revolutionary part for the series is that many of the side-quests have a narrative and even result in real character development while others have interesting secrets to find. I'm not an open world person and usually I prefer a bit more linearity, but this game pulls it off almost perfectly - even modern (as of 2021) open world games could learn a few things from FFVI.

The Windows version (which is a port of the mobile version) adds many UI improvements (just make sure to change the combat screen to "Tab" in the options) and portraits which, in contrast to FFV, match the in-game sprites and look reasonably well.

The Bad
The biggest weakness of FFVI are its number of party members. There are overall 14 and this naturally means not everyone gets the the same attention, both from the writers (only a few have actual character development, the rest are just along for the ride) and the player (an active party consists of four). This wouldn't be that bad, but for the final dungeon the player needs to create three teams (i.e. 12 members) which results in the need to grind up every NPC which wasn't used much. I did it once during my first playthrough back in the day of early SNES emulation, never again.

There is also another end-game dungeon with a gimmick: only magic allowed. Against enemies which all have reflect active, i.e. almost all magic bounces off. Oh, and there are no save points, you can't run away from random encounters, the boss dies with a spell which instantly kills the party unless he knows what is coming and afterwards the player has to walk all the way down again. This is about as fun as it sounds. There is an obvious way to beat the odds, but it results in a boring slog in which the enemies slowly kill themselves while there isn't any danger of actually dying. Unfortunately the reward is so good and useful that it can't be reasonably skipped.

The Bottom Line
You probably noticed the negative section is mostly filled with complaints over two specific dungeons and the interpretation is obvious: this is a very enjoyable and competently designed game. It was the first Final Fantasy which impressed me and it remains my favorite up to this day, even if I can't be bothered to actually finish it anymore.

Final Fantasy VI shows how to do a good blend between story and open world, even if the two sections are strictly separated. Of course it would have been better to have both at the same time, but I think it would be unfair to hold it against this game - this feat wasn't actually achieved until 2015 after all. I fully recommend FFVI to everyone with an interest in JRPGs who isn't put off by SNES graphics and a high frequency of random encounters.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (302898) · 2021

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Flu, Big John WV, Patrick Bregger, chirinea, Paolo Richetti, Martha Fwingo, vicrabb, Jacob Gens, Alsy, firefang9212, ☺☺☺☺☺, Jeanne, eradix, Evil Ryu, Wizo, Kabushi, NamelessLegacy, Gabriel Bogari, Tim Janssen, mikewwm8, 64er, yellowshirt, Scaryfun, Riemann80, Cantillon.