Final Fantasy VI. Square (1999) PlayStation

Final_Fantasy_VI

First off, this is the PlayStation re-release, not the original SNES version.

Secondly, and to the point… This is my favourite Final Fantasy game. If you know me, you will know I have spent the last 18 years saying Final Fantasy 7 is the best game ever. Well, I have been converted.

Differences between original and re-release

There are no real differences between this and the original SNES version in terms of gameplay/graphics, and sound. The differences are:

  • *Slight* loading time increase between menus/battles
  • Addition of the Memo saving function
  • CGI intro, and CGI ending.

Other than those 3 minor changes, this is the same game you played on the SNES, with the 16bitty goodness has been retained.

The Story

To cut a long story short…

Magic is outlawed, an evil emperor is mining magic to increase his grip on the empire, a rebel faction sets out to stop this.

It is a simple story, and it is easy to follow.

It is also the best, and most coherent Final Fantasy story. There is no “It was a dream“, “you are all brothers and sisters“, there is no whiney emo protaganist, and the main bad guy doesn’t have a mother complex.

Characters

FFVI has the most likable characters too. Don’t get me wrong, all Final Fantasies have a some good characters, but man Squall, Tidus, and Cloud (and others) are mopey, whiney douchebags.

In FFVI, all the main characters are well defined, there is no sudden personality change, no “Cait Sith” moment of “We all know he is a bad guy,”. Celes and Terra are two great female leads, Locke is cool, Edgar and Sabin provide a decent amount of backstory. Cyan is a the “tormented soul”, yet manages to avoids the cliches present in Vincent or Cloud.

All in all there are 14 characters, and depending on your actions you can permanently kill 2 of them (Mog/Shadow), and not collect the secret ones (Mog/Umaro/Gogo), and since all characters have a unique ability, losing (up to) 4 of them will seriously affect the final boss battle.

One feature of FFVI I really enjoyed was the lack of “main character”. In most of the FF games, you are stuck controlling 1 character, and then choosing others to complete the party. This will often lead you to having 3-5 characters massively over levelled, and then the other 4-6 being next to useless.

Some people find that too many cooks spoil the broth, but for me, free reign to choose your party is a massive plus.

Celes' Opera Scene

Celes’ Opera Scene

In FFVI apart from a few story driven sections, there are very few constraints on your party. This means you are much happier to experiment, and swap people out. My preferred party would be Celes/Terra/Sabin/Relm, but having the other 10 meant I was always swapping, and trying different techniques.

This experimenting helped, as there are a few sections, such as the Pheonix Cave, or Kefka’s Tower, where you have to form 2 or 3 parties (of 4). This means you cannot have 1 overpowered core character, and the rest useless.

In Kefka’s Tower you use 3 groups of 4, and each group will fight multiple bosses, so you need to ensure all characters are skilled up, and you have learnt everyone’s strength.

  • Sabin, has a skill system called “Blitz” this requires you to enter button combinations to perform moves, like in proper fighting games, short codes do less damage, but a 12 button combo will do a hard move.
  • Cyan has a skill which charges, so, do you do a level 1 attack, and do low damage, or do you charge it, wasting a move or two, but get a super powerful attack at the end of it?
  • Gogo is a Mime, and has no skills. So you can repeat the previous attack, this is great for combo attacks, and repeating stupidly powerful attacks. For instance, X-Magic Ultima, and a Mime will do 4 Ultimas, this will kill pretty much everything.
  • Terra transforms into a Esper, and gets stupidly powerful magic temporarily.
  • Celes absorbs magical attacks.
  • Locke Steals…
  • Strago has Lore (Enemy Skills)
  • Relm, paints a picture of enemy, and the “sketch” does one of that enemies moves
  • Shadow throws items…
  • Edgar uses tools, which vary in usefulness
  • Gau is crap…
  • Mog does a “Dance” which sets you off on a series of attacks based on the dance.
  • Umaro is uncontroable, and just attacks.
  • Setzer has a Slot Machine mechanic

One other quirk of the party system is, you get different responses to events, or general town experiences. Edgar, as an example, if he is you’re party leader in Figaro Castle, everything is half price. If you stay at an inn with Shadow, you’ll get cutscenes.

Some events will only trigger if you have certain members in your party, such as Ebot Rock with Strago and Relm, so unless you have a guide, it is highly advisable to swap parties.

Kefka!

Kefka is by far the best character in any game series. There is no silly motivation behind him, no pretense. He is just evil. Think the Joker, from Batman. He just wants to watch the world burn.

The first half of the game, you’re led to believe he is a joker, a clown, just doing his masters bidding, half way through the game, it finally dawns on you, he is just fucking evil. And for evils sake.

For christ sake, he destroys the world and attained godhood!

Go listen to Dancing Mad, it is the best song in the FF series.

Have a listen, seriously. I know a lot of you don’t click these links, but you’re missing out if you don’t. Each section, accompanies a different section of the final forms of Kefka, it integrates various sections of other songs from the game, and seamlessly blends them into one 20 minute epic. (The release [operatic] version is only 10 mins).

Oh, and Kefka’s laugh.

Awesome sections in the game

There are loads of “MAN THAT’S COOL” moments in FFVI, due to word counts I won’t go into detail (and avoid spoilers):

  • The banquet scene is awesome…
  • The Opera is… AWESOME
  • The 3 scenarios to reunite the party is pretty fucking awesome
  • Kefka’s Tower is immense, and FUCKING AWESOME

There are others, but i’ll let you find your own favourites

End game

I loved the endgame stuff, but one issue I did have is the lack of “epicness”. To get the two most powerful Espers, you need to kill Doom Gaze (random encounter), and 8 Dragons. These are cool battles in themselves, but are way too easy. Doom Gaze follows an Ultimate Weapon (from FFVII) style fight. You punish him, he runs away, you chase him, fight him, runs away etc… He doesn’t regain health, and only has 55,555 health. which for me was 2 battles and casting Ultima 7-8 times.

At this point in the game you have “X-Magic”, you’re party is most likely doing 6000+ per magic hit, and with Celes and Terra who will doing 9999, meaning this (the hardest boss) is stupidly easy.

The 8 Dragons, while cool, are also too easy. The hardest Dragon is only 4 Ultimas from death, on my file I hadn’t particularly grinded either, I was level 47ish at completion, I hadn’t got all the final weapons, and only 4 people had the top tier spells. So if anything, the end game is the only let down.

Image a bit faded, took on sunny day on a projector

Image a bit faded, took on sunny day on a projector

100%ing the game

There is no 100% completion. This is due to the choice system the game employs. For example, you can choose to save Mog, or get an awesome item. Not both.

Do you get the Ragnorak Summon, which gives you Ultima, or do you get the Ragnorak sword, which can be traded for the ultimate weapon. (HINT: Get Ultima)

Save Shadow or not???

There are several points, where you will make decisions and your choce affects the rest of the game. It is pretty cool feature, and somewhat lacking from future games in the series.

Music

The SNES soundtrack is awesome… I do advise you listen to the original tracks, but you really need to listen to the Distant Worlds versions of “Dancing Mad”, and the “Draco and Mario Opera” to get the full orchestral/operatic range.

Overall

I could waffle on for another 1000+ words, but I won’t. No words can adequately describe how good it is, or, more specifically, how much I enjoyed my play through.

The music is better, the characters are more relatable, and the setpieces are better (technological limitations aside).

Pros: Everything

Cons: End game is a little too easy, load times on PS1 are a little shit

94%

Time before Final Boss

Time before Final Boss

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22 thoughts on “Final Fantasy VI. Square (1999) PlayStation

    • Tough one. 6 is my favourite, I played it for the first time when I did this review. 7 had been my favourite game of all time until then. So I would start with 6 on the ps1, or PSN, as it is cheaper, and hasn’t been tampered with, the SNES version is £140+ on most sites.

      Then go 7,8,10.

      However the early ones are good, just hard and very grindy. 1,2,4 are 30 hours long but 20 of that is grind. 6-10 are 30-40 hours of story with 20 plus hours of extras.

      9 was a little unpopular, but it is good as it returns to the style of the first 5.

      I never played 3/5 and then 11 plus

      Like

  1. I feel I remember you playing this but cannot believe it was 1 year ago. Time flies. I remember you did FFIX in 1 week whilst off work. You seemed to enjoy that the second time round (after this review).
    You STILL maintain that 6 is the best though so it has stood the test as we have played 8 again since.

    I would have to say though, if you have never played a FF game, that 7 is the one to start with. Amd, IMHO, is STILL the best of them all 😉 Muhahahahaha FFVII FTW, forever and always. SPin off games (Dirge of Cerberus/Crisis Core) are great too!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for lauding Final Fantasy 6 and not sticking with the evergreen fan-favorite FF7! This is my favorite Final Fantasy too and I think it’s the best example quintessentially of the entire franchise. I think it deserves much more attention and a better re-release than the crappy PSX version with its insufferable loading times. Play it on the SNES, like it was meant to be.

    I would recommend FF6 to anyone new to the series.

    Thanks again for your review. Can I link you on my blog’s link page? thewellredmage.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Link away dude! 7 was my favourite, until a friend at work put me onto 6. I need an American SNES for 3, so only have PSX version to tide me over. Suppose I could try the WII version, that is closer to being 3/6.

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      • Awesome, thank you and good to meet you. Don’t get me wrong, 7 is up there with the best of the best. The Wii version is still great. You can get some cheap SNES’s online roundabouts, and they last a while too. Mine outlasted by PSX and PS2.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You and I are in the minority, when it comes to the best Final Fantasy. 6 tells its story without a deep emphasis on development why the character is this way and what;s going through their minds. It’s what makes them likeable! Dancing Mad is epic and beats One Winged Angel as the better song. Shat a brick when I came across an orchestrated version, it was ASTOUNDING.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to play Chrono Trigger, I bought it a while back and have been saving it. Legaia and Suikoden are obnoxiously expensive in the UK. So it’ll be a while before I attempt them.

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      • Yeah I know. Have you played, ‘Breath of Fire 3. Now that was a good game also. I was a fan of the grandia series and thought that wild arms 3 was great too.

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      • Never played any of them. I couldn’t afford many games during PS1 era, and didn’t have a PS2 era console until much later. So missed pretty much every RPG type that wasn’t a Final Fantasy

        Like

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