Final Fantasy VI, deemed one of the greatest RPGs of all time, is now available to play on your PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable.
It’s really hard to go back and review re-releases of video games. I, personally, am of the school that classic games are better left being remembered than replayed.
It’s also difficult to review an older game that was once considered the greatest role-playing games of all time. Phrases like “critically acclaimed” and “landmark title” were used to describe this game from 1994.
Fundamentally, this version of Final Fantasy VI is identical to the PlayStation One re-release in 1999, which itself was an update to Final Fantasy III from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. You might be thinking, “Final Fantasy III – what???” Yeah — if you thought that only the storylines to Final Fantasy games, especially Final Fantasy XIII, were convoluted and confusing, you’ll really enjoy the numbering system with some Final Fantasy releases between North America and Japan. Without going into too much detail, the reason that Final Fantasy VI was originally called Final Fantasy III, is that the third game hadn’t been released outside of Japan at the time.
I’m not going to bad-mouth Final Fantasy VI, if that’s what you’re thinking. I just think that the brilliance of it is time-capsuled, and the true feeling of innovation and great design can only be truly appreciated by those who played it during its original release.
Today’s audience will play this game and likely see a classic pixel-style RPG that will probably go overlooked by the many other re-releases of classic RPGs and Final Fantasy re-releases, not to mention current-day RPGs. And who can really blame them — it’s overwhelming! There are already 14 proper Final Fantasy releases, and that doesn’t include any of the spin-off titles. If you’re a modern gamer who wants to see what previous titles are like, it’s hard to determine which ones you go with.
A lot of people I know state that Final Fantasy VII is the best game in the series, and that might be due in part to the visual innovation of that game thanks in part to the PlayStation One hardware and the birth of the disc-based format (Yes, the Saturn had the CD format, too.). Others, a quieter group, have stated that FFVI (well, Final Fantasy III on the SNES, that is — keep up now!) was better. And even some games will go as far as to say that Final Fantasy X is the best one — what’s the matter with them??! 😉
While I appreciate a good leap in technology, I do tend to side with Final Fantasy VI, and think it is worthy of your time. Although you’re likely not going to appreciate it the same way somebody did back almost 20 years ago, I think there’s enough there to make it worth your time.
The graphics have the classic pixelated look that we haven’t seen in a Final Fantasy games since, well, Final Fantasy VI. The gameplay mechanics should be familiar to any gamer who has played turn-based RPGs and the music features popular Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu at his finest.
For all intents and purposes, Final Fantasy VI is a perfect example of a classic game that was important at its time. For some that’s appealing, for others it’s not. Like the films Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind, some people will look upon this classic game at its face value, and decide it’s old and unworthy of their time — and I can’t blame them. Those who sit down with it, and play it with an open mind may find themselves appreciating this for the work of art it once was.
A majority of modern gamers, like youth at an classic art museum, will unfortunately see an “old game with bad graphics” and will skip right past it. It is what it is.
No matter how great Final Fantasy VI was at its time, I feel that this release (like the other re-releases over the past decade) will only truly matter to the Final Fantasy enthusiast and the hardcore gaming niche.
I consider myself a gaming enthusiast, and I’ve been playing games for 3 decades (man, that makes me feel old admitting that), and as much as I enjoy reminiscing and talking about great classic games, they’re never as good as they were when you played them. To me, revisiting re-released classics is good for a peek and not really a play-through from beginning to end.
That’s not a knock against the game or the developer, it’s just the way it is (or the way I feel it is, anyway). The gaming industry is a constantly evolving entity, adjusting and growing to the audience’s wants and needs. What was perfect one year, may see a true leap in greatness a few years later that changes everything! Gamers today, may not realize that the way a modern game plays — and plays brilliantly — may be due to something that was introduced in a game like Final Fantasy VI.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to see if the “greatest RPG of all time” stands the test of time, pick up Final Fantasy VI on the PlayStation Network. It’s available for $9.99 and is playable on both your television set through the PlayStation 3 or on the small screen of your PlayStation Portable.