This blog has been a long time coming. Fresh off of completing Final Fantasy VI on the SNES, III if you're one of those
people, I assumed that the denizens of Destructoid would like to know what I thought of the experience. Conceited of me, isn't it? After a failed blog attempt that I have now hidden in shame, several sleepless nights, and a few kilos of cocaine, I'm finally ready to tell you all about it.
As an experience, Final Fantasy VI is fantastic. It doesn't do much to hide the fact that it's a traditional JRPG, but honestly, it doesn't need to. The Esper system provided enough variety to keep me engaged, and the diversity of the fourteen character party provided more than enough unique abilities to sate my lust for complex battle systems. I'm getting ahead of myself though, why don't we start with the basics?
As some of you know, Final Fantasy VI takes place in a steampunk setting, throwing you, the player, into the middle of a war between an evil Empire and a resistance faction known as the Returners. Sure smells like Star Wars in here, doesn't it? The Empire has recently acquired a new weapon known as Magitek armor that has allowed them to stamp out most all resistance and declare itself ruler of the free world. The story centers around Terra, a young girl whose mysterious ability to use magic has helped fuel Magitek's development and the Empire's rise to power. After a few dozen hours of epic adventuring, we come to find out that Espers are the source of magic, some things about the War of the Magi, Terra is half human, half esper, and after a continent is raised into the sky by Emperor Gesthal and Kefka, Kefka destroys the world.
Is that enough plot summary for you? It had better be.
Personally, while I found the overall story of Final Fantasy VI interesting and engaging, the little moments nestled inside it are what kept me coming back for more. Though I was perfectly happy to infiltrate a Magitek research facility to learn more about the evils of the Empire, I found the death of Cyan's family, a moment that takes up mere minutes of gameplay, more compelling. Sure, defending the Esper Tritoch against the Empire's army and battling Kefka atop a cliff was satisfying, but it pales in comparison to discovering the truth behind Shadow's past.
What about the opera house scene, Krow? Uh, what about it? Sure, it's entertaining, and it's a break from the relatively typical fantasy fair the rest of the game off , but I don't understand why people laud this scene as one of the finest moments in Final Fantasy VI, let alone the series as a whole. It didn't have near the impact on me that the aforementioned little moments in the game did, and when it was all over with, I shrugged and moved on with my quest. Please don't beat me to death king3vbo.
More than the story, I greatly enjoyed the combat. To be honest, I can't give you a very clear reason as to why, suffice it to say that I did. Perhaps it was giving Locke the ability to kill any enemy in one turn? I can't say for sure. What I can do is show you how I fared against Kefka's monument to pain and the Godly magician himself in the videos at the end of the post.
Final Fantasy VI helped to confirm a few things for me as a long time fan of the Final Fantasy series. For one thing, I learned why I can play any of the titles in the series nearly endlessly like some people play Gradius III and Ikaruga, and not feel like I'm wasting time. It's a little weird, possibly a bit stupid, and it's very likely you won't understand it. Each Final Fantasy title is familiar to me, regardless of whether or not I've played it before. There is a system in place that I've experienced before, a musical style I've grown fond of, and a sense of working my way from a level one wimp to someone who can kill a God without flinching. Aside from satisfaction via gameplay, the cast of characters in each title is one I'm instantly familiar with. When I pop in a Final Fantasy, it's like I'm visiting old friends. Is this sad and nerdy? Fuck yeah it is, but it's also true.
When I had first entered the World of Ruin, and it dawned upon me that I was going to be marching around looking for my lost comrades, that the overall plot had come to a griding halt, I was initially discouraged. As I traveled the world, peering into the shattered lives of my lost companions, I realized that I was grateful. I'd been given an opportunity to understand the fictional people I had been traveling with for so long, a brief glimpse into their tiny, pixelated lives. Of course, Final Fantasy IX was brilliant enough to weave moments like that into the overall plot of the game, but we're not talking about that right now. We're talking about final Fantasy VI, and it's a damn fine game in its own right.
You should play it if you haven't, and if you have, you should play it again. So sayeth I.
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