- Original release year: 1994
- Consoles: SNES (later: PS1, GameBoy Advance, Android, iOS, Windows)
Prior to the huge success that was Final Fantasy VII, the Final Fantasy series had an odd relationship with the West. The first Final Fantasy game made it over to North America, but after that, only Final Fantasy IV and the game we’re talking about today, Final Fantasy VI, saw a North American release. Because of this, confusingly, IV was renamed II and VI was renamed III in America.
Meanwhile in Europe, not a single Final Fantasy game was released until VII. After the massive success of the aforementioned, however, we finally got Final Fantasy VI (as well as many other Final Fantasy games) released on the Playstation and many other consoles over the years.
Because of this, I don’t quite have the feelings of nostalgia other players may have. I played Final Fantasy VI for the first time long after I had played Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII, IX and even X. And yet, despite playing it much later on, I still couldn’t help noticing that it delivered in so many ways to produce one of the best RPGs of the 16-bit era, if not of all time.
As a Genesis/Mega Drive kid growing up, the first thing that struck me with Final Fantasy VI, is just how beautiful the visual style is. The SNES was capable of producing some amazing visuals and Square used every trick available to them on the SNES, in order to bring their steampunk inspired world to life, with an absolutely incredible level of detail put into the environments and backdrops. The production as a whole is amazing, boasting a brilliant soundtrack, in addition to the fantastic graphical style.
Gameplay-wise, Final Fantasy VI isn’t a lot different from the other games in the series (up until the point when they started ‘modernising’ the games). As you explore certain environments and the world map, you will encounter ‘random battles’. The battle system, as you’d expect is turn-based. The game begins in a fairly linear manner, but the game eventually opens up, allowing a lot of freedom and the option to complete many side quests.
What really makes Final Fantasy VI stand out amongst other RPGS, is the story. The story and cast of characters in VI are the reasons why it is one of my favourite games of all time. Square choose to not just focus on one character in Final Fantasy VI, but instead give the player 14 characters to play as, of which most receive a great deal of character development. In terms of the story, a number of darker themes are tackled, for example, suicide.
Final Fantasy VI is a game with a lot of depth and in many ways has yet to be bettered by any Final Fantasy game that has followed it since.