Title: Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: February 23. 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster is a new edition of the sixth game in the Final Fantasy series now available on PC and mobile systems. Not only is it the last of the Pixel Remaster releases, but it’s also the most anticipated release as the game (originally released in the west as Final Fantasy III) is largely considered to be one of the franchise’s biggest classics.
The story in Final Fantasy VI starts as a mind-controlled Terra and two Imperial soldiers invade Narshe. Using powerful machines based on a technology called Magitek, the three are strong enough to take down armies. This early event already tells us enough about how scary the militaristic power of the Empire is.
Afterward, we learn that magic has pretty much disappeared from the world after a large conflict called the War of the Magi. This new technology and the aggressive posture of the Imperial forces are rekindling the flames of tragedy that threaten to affect the whole world.
While Final Fantasy VI came out for the SNES in 1994, its narrative is still a modern, compelling piece. It discusses themes that never grow old, such as the impact of war, and provides complex human relationships in a very memorable fashion.
This serious tone does not mean it doesn’t have some silly antics here and there, of course. Like Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VII, it has many situations that are not as serious as the main plot’s harshest beats. While the serious themes are more likely to stick with players, the smaller moments are also important to show their human sides.
Battles in Final Fantasy VI are turn-based and follow the ATB (active time battle) formula. Taking too long to pick actions will mean more time for enemies to act. In this new edition, players can choose their battle speed. Besides making it faster, it’s possible to use auto to repeat the last choices for each character, which further speeds things up and is an excellent option for grinding.
Each character in Final Fantasy VI has unique skills, just like jobs in other Final Fantasy games. One example of those special abilities is Sabin’s Blitz, which allows him to use martial arts by doing commands like a fighting game. His attacks were streamlined, allowing players to pick any skill and showing the correct command on-screen. Picking incorrectly won’t count as an error unless the player pushes enter before inputting all the commands shown.
While each character has unique properties, there’s also a customization element to their builds, thanks to the Magicite system. After some events in the story, players will get those magical stones from creatures called Espers, and equipping them works in a slightly similar fashion to Final Fantasy VII‘s Materia system.
Each character can equip a single Magicite, which allows them to learn various magic skills. The rate at which they are learned depends on the Magicite used, and there’s some overlap between different stones. Some also offer stat bonuses on level up, improving strength, magic, and other skills. As such, the ideal strategy is to avoid grinding to stay as low-leveled as possible at first, which will make characters much stronger.
As with the previous Pixel Remasters, this edition does not include any content from the previous rereleases except for the English text improvements. By playing this version, you’ll be missing a few dungeons and Esper Magicites from the Advance edition.
Besides the auto mode and battle speeds, players can also use a basic scanline filter. As with previous Pixel Remaster games, Final Fantasy VI received a remastered soundtrack which completely revamps the original music. This is one of the best features in the games, offering a fascinating new feel to these classic tracks.
What sets Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster apart from the previous games is the masterful new rendition of the Opera Scene. One of the most emblematic moments of the game is now portrayed through the HD-2D style. The event is also voiced, and altogether, it offers a more dynamic and inspired direction to it that helps turn the performance into the truly magical moment it should be.
Keep in mind, however, that there are a few issues with the Pixel Remaster as well. As I mentioned with Final Fantasy V, the game only features the Bestiary as part of the initial menu, reducing its usability. There are also weirdly long loading times any time the player starts the game.
Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster is the return of a classic any fan of the RPG genre should experience at least once. While these remasters still feel like the bare minimum that such classic games deserve, this is an excellent opportunity to feel the magic of Final Fantasy.
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