Final Fantasy VI

Genre: RPG
Developer: Square
Year: 1994

Rating: 10

Review: I’ve spent a lot of time gushing about this game here. I ranked it my second favorite RPG I’ve played and my friend nibbish and I counted down the Top 20 moments. So this review will have a bit of a different flavor.

When COVID-19 hit in March, I started craving nostalgia and comfort. I decided to play this one more time but experience it in a whole new way. I downloaded a ROM and hacked it with the Ted Woolsley Uncensored Edition. This is a highly professional hack that not only restores much of the original Japanese flavor, it keeps some of the more delightful Ted Woolsley translation (Wait, he says. Do I look like a waiter?) while punching it up with the needed fierceness of the original script (You vicious bitch!) while also fixing all of the major bugs.

And then I committed to playing each character to their uniqueness. As any fan of this game knows, once you reach a certain point you can homogenize the characters to game-breaking levels, creating nothing but Ultima gods. This time, I forced myself to explore Final Fantasy VI to its fullest.

Locke: I decided to steal every special item I could get my hands on.
Celes: I learned where Runic can be really helpful
Strago: I learned all of his Lores (it’s just too bad he comes to the party so late)
Setzer: I got the Fixed Dice early and enjoyed the hell out of them
Relm: I used the fake moustache quite a bit, just for the fun of it
Edgar: Turned him into a dragoon and eschewed most of the tools after a while
Shadow: Took advantage of the throw command
Mog: Also turned him into a dragoon
Sabin: Lived and died by the damn blitzes
Terra: Used morph whenever I could
Gogo, Umaro, Cyan: Yeah, they still suck, but I did try to play with them more often for variety

And finally we have Gau. I had made several attempts in my teens and twenties to get a full rage list, but I always ran out of steam. This time I motivated myself by actually using Gau whenever I could and learning his rages beyond just Stray Cat. I never appreciated he’s one of the game’s strongest characters. In the battle with Ultros in the Opera House, I laid waste to him in two rounds with Gau at the helm. And in the World of Ruin I got the Tyrannosaur rage early and used that to plow through many battles. But I also played around with the list, learned some support rages, and just had fun trying out the whole character. I do have to admit I didn’t complete my rage list; I was seven short when I gave up and just decided to win the game. But my desire for a full rage list has finally been sated. And then at the end of the game I turned Gau into a wind god because I had never done that before either.

Beyond that I committed to getting every item in the game. I accomplished all of that with the exception of the Cursed Helmet, which requires insane luck using metamorph which I didn’t have the patience for. The fun part of this quest was using the coliseum ten times more often than I ever did before. I attained weapons and armor I never used on any playthrough and it was a blast to pimp out my characters in different ways.

I committed to only having Terra and Celes learn Ultima (and most of the powerful spells) and also used more support spells than I ever have before, strategically planning out battles rather than just use elemental spells every time. I also was more intentional about relic use, focusing more on defense than offense.

Of course, with all this preparation and grinding I was able to breeze through the game without much difficulty, though I did die a few times (including twice to the damn Tonberry). But with the exception of my first play back in 1995, I enjoyed this run more than any other. I immersed myself in the music and fully appreciated Fierce Battle and Dancing Mad. And even with all the preparation, I still lost several character battling through Kefka’s tower. I was at no huge risk of dying, but it was nice to actually have to try.

One thought on “Final Fantasy VI”

  1. This is one thing I especially love about this game. You can adjust your play style to do pretty much whatever you want. Have the characters play their roles, or turn them into am invincible wall of death. If you really want to be gods, equip four flame shields and cast merton!

    I also find the pacing to be a bit off with some of the characters and items. So much stuff either arrives too late in the game to be useful, or you have it for such a short time, before it’s upgraded, it’s hard to appreciate it. But, because you can very frequently do what ever you want, much of the game is a playground.

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