Final Fantasy VI

In 1994, Japan and North America saw their respective releases of the sixth main entry of Square’s Final Fantasy franchise, although due to the absence of the second, third, and fifth installments of the franchise in English, Anglophone gamers received the sixth title as Final Fantasy III, a name that would stick until North American gamers became more aware of gaming worldwide and the sixth game saw a rerelease years later on the Sony PlayStation both in and out of Japan. Final Fantasy VI would subsequently see release on the GameBoy Advance and afterwards Android and iOS devices with a visual upgrade, proving to be the game’s definitive version.

Like prior versions, the sixth game features randomly-encountered active time battles with four active characters participating, with every ally having a unique skill such as Sabin’s Blitzes (which are much easier to input in the iOS version) and eventually able to learn any kind of magic through the equipment of espers, each individual spell having a learning speed based on the esper. Death results in a trip back to the previously-used save point with only standard experience retained and everything else acquired since then, including playing time, lost. The gameplay serves the sixth game well for the most part, although there are occasional annoying boss battles and rare points of no return where the player can’t return to town to heal or upgrade equipment, but otherwise, there isn’t a terrible amount of room for improvement.

The iOS’s movement controls take some getting used to, and there are some other shortcomings such as the inability to manage specific characters not in the player’s active party and cutscenes the player is unable to skip, with the pre-final boss scenes taking some time to get through, and save points could have used better placement at times, but there are definitely some highlights of interaction such as an easy menu system and shopping, and even the ability to check the current objective when on the overworld. This is perhaps the weakest area of the iOS port, but again, not a whole not else leaves room for betterment.

The narrative is still as good as it was in the original Super NES version, with a likeable cast of characters with plentiful development and a rewarding ending that gives closure to all acquired allies, with only some minor plot holes. The translation is also good, based mostly on the GameBoy Advance version’s, although there are some lines that were better in Ted Woolsey’s localization such as a description of Shadow in the SNES incarnation of “He’d slit his momma’s throat for a nickel” which is in the latest iteration “He’d kill his best friend for the right price.” There are some other minor characters such as an overworld objective referring to Vector as a “he” instead of a town, but otherwise, the plot and translation definitely help more than hurt.

Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtrack is also a solid as it was in prior ports of the sixth entry, with each character having a central theme, although there are some occasional soundless points and the opera scenes early on still feature asinine “vocals.”

As mentioned in the introduction, the biggest change in the iOS version is the visual upgrade, specifically to character sprites, which have more detail than in prior incarnations and still show plentiful emotion, the monster designs, in spite of inanimation and occasional palette swaps, appearing nice as well. There are also changes to the overworlds such as some towns and other buildings like towers represented in actual three dimensions, and overall, the visuals are great.

Finally, completing the main storyline will take players somewhere between twenty to thirty hours, although there are things to boost lasting appeal such as a postgame dungeon and iOS achievements.

In the end, Final Fantasy VI for iOS devices is undoubtedly the ideal way to experience the Square-Enix franchise’s sixth installment, with plenty going for it such as a solid battle system with diverse characters and abilities, good control, a superb narrative and translation, an excellent soundtrack, fresh visuals, and plenty lasting appeal. It doesn’t have much going against it other than some interface issues, although those that missed out on prior versions of the game will definitely find something to celebrate in the latest iterations, and for those yearning for a full remake, it’s pretty much as close as its developer will get.

The Good:
+Solid gameplay with diverse characters.
+Good control.
+Superb narrative and translation
+Excellent soundtrack.
+Nice revamped visuals.
+Achievements and bonus dungeon add lasting appeal.

The Bad:
-Some interface issues.

The Bottom Line:
A classic made fresh for iOS devices.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: iOS
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 9/10
Localization: 9/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Varies
Playing Time: 20-30 Hours

Overall: 8.5/10

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