Final Fantasy 6 aka Final Fantasy III aka Everyone’s Favorite Final Fantasy (unless its FF7, FF9, FFX, or FF…). Whatever you call it, FF6 has become one of gaming’s historical icons as a great JRPG brought to the West along with the likes of Chrono Trigger that helped usher in the excitement of other Japanese titles.
It’s been forever since I’ve touched FF6, so I figured now I would finally sit down and complete the remake for Gameboy Advance. I’ve never beaten the Advance version so I’ve been excited to actually get through it in its entirety.
So I busted out the old Gameboy Advance which I haven’t used in awhile (I think it was last used for Superstar Saga). The built-in backlight was one of the better ideas in handheld gaming.
Anyway, I got started playing the timeless classic. What hit me first was the music – even in its simplicity its still great. The classic tune on the menu screen is just great.
I had an old save file but obviously went for a fresh play through. The game starts with the Empire’s Magitek soldiers leading Terra into Narshe and obliterating any opposition. I was a bit taken aback by the fact that you can die easier than expected in this beginning section if you are not careful about your healing.
The 16-bit style is sharpened and preserved in the Advance version, and the whole SNES RPG era is one of all time favorite styles. Like its cousin Chrono Trigger, the graphics give the game a classic feel that doesn’t feel dated like early 3D models, or blocky like NES titles.
While the presentation was as great as its always been, the gameplay reminded me of times past. The random encounter rate feels like its been upped a bit in the Advance version, and some enemies can hit pretty hard. With limited ability to have true save points, this can get frustrating if you are not careful.
So far, I have not had to grind to keep pace with the monsters. Although going through the Magitek factory did have its difficulties with the Onion Knights that do big damage, along with Proto Armors.
The experience thus far has really had me looking back at what games used to be and where we’ve come now with game play, presentation, and pace. FF6 has a great charm, timeless presentation, and a great soundtrack. The random battles and numbers game of the combat has evolved since the 90s.
Despite some of the qualms with the age, JRPGs have not necessarily reinvented themselves in today’s environment, although Bravely Default did take out some of the monotony in the battle system (although its not without fault either). As I have gotten deeper into the game with more spells, attacks, and characters, the depth of the combat has increased, and gives some variability other than just spewing out attacks and healing up after every battle.
This post has been a bit of a ramble, but I really just wanted to get some thoughts of my playthrough out somewhere. Its been awhile since I’ve played an “older” game, and it really made start to think about the direction gaming has gone.
With all of that said, the game has, in my opinion, made up for the dated combat with its pacing. The story moves along and keeps each event interesting. Like I mentioned, I haven’t had to consciously grind at any section as of yet. I’m starting to rebuild my love of the characters. There’s just a lot this game gets right.
What are your fond memories of FF6? Have you replayed it recently? How do you feel about the modern state of JRPGs? Comment below!