We must find a way to stop Kefka, if not more people will die.
Final Fantasy VI for Steam is an amazing game. This particular installment has become one of the most highly rated in the series. Released in North America on October 20th, 1994 for Super Nintendo, it sold 3.4 million copies worldwide. In North America, it was originally sold as ‘Final Fantasy III’ because several of the series had only been released in Japan at the time. Since then it has been ported to several systems including PSX, GBA, and Wii. The Steam version did a fantastic job of showing the combination of magic and technology into one world. The story, music, and artwork makes it one of the best and most well-known in the Final Fantasy series.
The battle system added some new and simple ideas that I felt really complemented the gameplay. The timing bar represents the order in which characters and enemies take turns, the menu rises from bottom screen and lights up to alert the player which character’s turn is ready. The classic white loading bar was what most players had been used to so this change was a unique and new spin on the mechanic. The magic and skills in the battle menu are split into tabs to differentiate black, white, and time spells. A reminder button tells you where you are headed to next and what needs completed similar to a quest log. This means you can stop for a few days and return to know exactly what needs to be completed next.
14 interesting characters and expanding plotline fills out 30+ hours of gameplay and there is a reason that it has been rated highly for so long. Fans of Final Fantasy VI remember the feeling of being younger and sitting in front of the TV thinking how cool Shadow was or learning the right controller combos for Sabin’s attacks. When porting this version Square Enix left the plot exactly how it is supposed to be, extensive and intriguing as the original was. The world map shape, battles and story went unchanged and this meant a lot to me as a player and a huge fan of the series (VI being a favorite). The tracks created by Nobuo Uematsu (creator of several Final Fantasy soundtracks) were preserved and reused in this HD remake and added the same ambience that was provided with the original Super Nintendo version.
The HD skins and textures applied to this version make a big difference for anyone who played the original. Portraits for the characters are clearer to see and the detail is stunning, showing off distinct features for each character. The enemies’ battle animations received new textures and like the characters the detail is lush. The drawback to the new graphics is that it takes away from the beautiful art of Yoshitaka Amano, who is known for the creation of some of the most iconic Final Fantasy imagery. Some of the HD overlay doesn’t do the graphics as much justice and took away from the world. The world map and characters seem blurry, which is more of a disappointment in comparison to the quality of other textures. This doesn’t take away from the story but with the HD skins switching between battle and travel, it does get distracting. All in all the graphics were the biggest problem as they belittled certain elements that were presented in the original version. With remakes of Final Fantasy VI and The After Years, why couldn’t Square Enix put for that effort for this installment?
I eventually sank in and found the original game I still love to this day. The dialogue and storyline was important for me as it brings back nostalgic memories. The array of characters and challenge that came with leveling them all up remained. This reminded me of playing this for hours as a kid learning the plot and reading every NPC’s dialogue just to see how different it was from other Final Fantasy’s. Finding each character and learning their backstory was engaging and thoughtful. The player had to spend time leveling up each character and understanding how to use each unique ability. Between magic, summons, and stealing Final Fantasy VI brings forth all the greatest elements from the series and enthralls the player to stop Kefka and save the world. Thoroughly entertaining, fans and newcomers of this installment will come to love the characters the same today as upon its initial release.