Despite its long lauded history, there are several titles that seem to define Final Fantasy. While the others are by no means slouches in the writing or gaming department, VII, IX and X all seem to be held up as pinnacles of the series, but even beyond them we have VI. As the last hurrah of the SNES era, it was fitting that it ended on one of the biggest, broadest stories of the entire franchise, and arguably one of the best told. With that in mind however, it’s a damnable shame such a classic has been resurrected in half-baked, poorly programmed port, which pales before even the most basic ROM-hack.
The story here is one of defiance, loss and sacrifice, following the story of Terra Branford and the war, which would ultimately shatter the very foundations of the world. Despite Square’s almost chronic obsession with tinkering with past stories, this thankfully remains unchanged, but nearly everything else here has been tampered with, weakening this great classic. The most prominent among these hits you right out of the starting gate, as your ears start to bleed from the shrill cacophony blasting out of the speakers. Poorly optimised and amateurishly translated, the game’s melodies are not only badly balanced but have picked up some bizarrely shrill notes, which transforms its soundtrack into an endurance test. This is to say nothing of the visuals. While it touts the re-drawn sprites as a selling point, many prove to be remarkably ugly, lacking the same pixel charm of the older generation.
The problems don’t stop upon getting into the mechanics. While the basic stats, systems and levelling system has been adapted without any problems, the interface was never made with keyboard or controller in mind. No, instead apparently Square has opted to simply re-use the mobile port’s interface, a cost cutting measure which leaves you stumped trying to navigate clunky and ill-suited menus intended for touch screens. Top this off with no options to configure controllers, a launcher prone to crashes and visuals that can’t even reach 1080p, and it’s easy to call this one blight upon the franchise.
There is still a good Final Fantasy game somewhere in here, but you have to squint pretty damn hard to see it. For a story as great a VI’s, all of this might have even been worth stomaching, but given the multiple remakes bereft of these problems, this is simply inexcusable. Avoid this one at all costs and stick to the Gameboy Advance port, folks.
FINAL FANTASY VI (STEAM VERSION) / DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX / PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW