GBA

Japan

Final Fantasy VI Advance

by Ryan Winterhalter - December 27, 2006, 1:17 am PST
Total comments: 17

8

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Square-Enix has given us GBA remakes of Final Fantasy IV and V, and the company has already released the sixth installment of the series in Japan. Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III as it was called when it was first released in North America for the SNES) follows in the footsteps of Final Fantasy IV by offering a meaty (by the standards of the time) story along with the RPG action. It is a favorite amongst the fans of the series, and stands up just as well as any of the previous 16-bit remakes.

Final Fantasy VI is more about story than gameplay. While Final Fantasy IV laid the groundwork, it was Final Fantasy VI that brought the series into full bloom. Featuring fourteen characters, showcasing moral ambiguity, and touching upon issues such as teen pregnancy and suicide, Final Fantasy VI’s narrative packs a punch. However, this narrative power comes at the expense of gameplay.

Final Fantasy VI is divided into two halves: the first guided and linear, the second free -roaming. If a player knows where to go and what to do, like many fans of the series such as myself do, leveling up to an unbeatable party in eight hours is possible. The end game comes down to hitting enemies with the same spell or technique repeatedly. Not a single enemy encountered – save for one exception – requires a different strategy. That being said, the instant death, vanish/x-zone trick has been eliminated, adding a bit more challenge to the game.

Characters have their own unique special talents, and individual stats that pre-dispose thenm towards a certain role. You can influence certain stats and teach characters magic by attaching summons (called Genju in Japanese or Espers in English) to your characters. Once you have taught every character his or her best ability or the Ultima spell, something easily accomplished in twenty-five hours if you know what to do, the game is almost impossible to lose. However, new content adds a slight challenge to the game for veteran players.

The four new summons and a new, hidden, boss-filled dungeon also contribute to the new challenge. Beating this dungeon unlocks endurance-battle mode. You can also continue exploring the world even after you have beaten the final boss. Nevertheless, even these extra challenges eventually fall to leveling up rather than provide a new kind of challenge.

Several new touches beyond the new bosses and summons have been added. Portraits now accompany the dialogue of main characters, and a handful of new weapons and spells appear as well.

The game looks exactly like it did at the time of its SNES release. Aside from the new dialogue portraits, no new art has been added. Despite the lack of a graphical upgrade, the game slows down during the more elaborate spell effects, though gameplay is never affected by it.

The SNES had a powerful and unique sound chip. Emulating it, especially on the GBA’s speakers, is difficult. While most of the tunes sound close enough to their originals, a few key pieces, namely the ending theme and the now famous opera scene, are noticeably different. Purists may abhor the thought of such famous scenes being anything less than faithful to their originals, but I found the changes – in the opera scene at least – to be an improvement.

The game won’t see a stateside release until February. If you are familiar with the original, you might be able to navigate FFVI Advance with little Japanese knowledge. Those who are experiencing Final Fantasy VI for the first time will probably need to be at a fairly advanced level in order to know where to go and to understand the effects of weapons and spells.

The difficulty is a joke, and hardcore RPG fans will likely want to play it for the story, or avoid the game all together. For casual RPG fans, this game is perfect. Its deep story and simple but fun gameplay are sure to please.

If you think you are capable of navigating this RPG in Japanese, give it a shot. For the rest, you will just have to wait until February.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 8 9 8 8 8
Graphics
6

Authentic, but the GBA can do better.

Sound
8

Final Fantasy VI arguably has the greatest soundtrack in all the series. But, but a few tracks don’t sound quite as good as they did on SNES hardware.

Control
9

The game features the same tried and true controls that have held the series together since the SNES.

Gameplay
8

The game is accessible to anyone, but the lack of difficulty may disappoint hardcore JRPG fans.

Lastability
8

The game has remained popular for over a decade. No game maintains that without a decent level of replay value.

Final
8

Final Fantasy VI is still fun in the age of epic, 50+ -hour, RPG’s.

Summary

Pros
  • Accessible to new players.
  • A great story.
  • Classic 16-bit Role-playing action on the go.
  • New dungeons, weapons, summons, and bosses.
Cons
  • Maybe too easy for hardcore players.
  • Minor slowdown in battles.
  • Sound is not always faithful to the original.
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

/cry at opera scene unfaithfulness

Are the character portraits new or are they based off of FFVI's concept art by... uh... whatsisname... Amano? Yoshitaka?

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

The Amano portraits were already in the status screen of the original. They just show up in dialog boxes now too.

jakeOSXJanuary 03, 2007

i never got to finish this one, so looking forward to it. gotta finish ff3 first (and maybe ff5...)

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 03, 2007

bah, I'm not interested in the changes. I've already got the shoddy PSOne version. I'll wait for it to hit virtual console. Why the crap did my SNES copy have to be stolen? @_@

I'm so far behind on this series, I may never catch up. FF XII is in hand but I haven't played it yet because I didn't bring my PS2 home this year. Then I want to give FF3 a shot because I'm probably hardcore and patient enough to enjoy it. Then I'm finally going to play FFV and hopefully enjoy it after the dreadful PSone version. Maybe then, in 2010, I'll get around to playing through FFVI for the umpteenth time. By then, I may need a refresher on it anyway.

ALSO: I hope this review helps to prove that Ryan W. does not hate Final Fantasy and actually knows what he's talking about with this series. Some people were flinging wild accusations at him after the FF3 review.

Something tells me that SE may NEVER release their games on the VC... they might actually prefer putting them into carts and updating them every once in a while...

Nintendo, knock some sense into their head!

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 03, 2007

No I think Square Enix and Sega are both perfectly willing to milk every conceivable platform. They might wait, but it will be there.

*sighs happily*

Thank you for allaying my fears of actually keeping some of my disposable income Bloodworth.

/happy

~Carmine "Cai" M. red
Kairon@aol.com

Ian SaneJanuary 03, 2007

"The SNES had a powerful and unique sound chip. Emulating it, especially on the GBA’s speakers, is difficult."

Anyone else find it odd how hardware from 1991 can produce better sounds than hardware that came out ten years later? That sort of thing to me always seems so weird. When the N64 came out one thing that I really didn't like was that the music didn't sound as good as the SNES. It was more powerful. It was 64 BIT!! How could it sound WORSE?! I figured if a company nailed the sound chip so dead on on one console they would at the very least thow the chip in the next console and possibly improve on it.

But then the sound chip on the SNES was made by Sony. Now all the pieces fit.

I'd wait for a VC version. Games are often best on their original platform.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJanuary 03, 2007

Actually, the quality of the MIDI in Castlevania64 surpasses what I heard on SNES.

Ian SaneJanuary 03, 2007

"Actually, the quality of the MIDI in Castlevania64 surpasses what I heard on SNES."

I guess I was too busy playing the good N64 games to notice. face-icon-small-wink.gif

ShyGuyJanuary 03, 2007

Oh snap! It's on now!

On the subject When is FF7 coming?

KDR_11kJanuary 04, 2007

Anyone else find it odd how hardware from 1991 can produce better sounds than hardware that came out ten years later?

That older hardware gets connected to large speakers in your living room, that new hardware comes with a speaker that's a few centimetres in diameter and powered by a battery.

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 04, 2007

Nope sorry, I've played my share of GBA games on the Game Boy Player. The system is just not capable of sounding as good as the SNES.

ArbokJanuary 04, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Bloodworth
Nope sorry, I've played my share of GBA games on the Game Boy Player. The system is just not capable of sounding as good as the SNES.


Is that surprising that it doesn't sound any better coming out of a TV set? I don't think any company in their right mind would optimize the audio quality for the Game Boy Player, and instead would focus solely on its use through the GBA's native speaker system. In other words, I don't think that's the best benchmark for the two.

GalfordJanuary 04, 2007

The SNES had a sound that was ahead of it's time.
It wasn't until the Sound Blaster 16 did the PC really catch up to it.
The sound chip in the GBA is AC97ish at best.

I second the comment about MIDI on the N64 Castlevania games.
Hybrid Heaven had good music also.

IceColdJanuary 06, 2007

But that's all it needs for a portable system, like Arbok said..

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Final Fantasy VI Advance Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Square Enix
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Final Fantasy VI Advance
Release Feb 05, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Final Fantasy VI Advance
Release Nov 30, 2006
PublisherSquare Enix
RatingAll Ages
eu: Final Fantasy VI Advance
Release Jun 29, 2007
PublisherSquare Enix
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