Riddles’ Relapse Part 1 – Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VIAs promised, here I am, live from my magical couch here in Murfreesboro, TN.

I know it’s fairly late in the day at this point, but I have all night – so let’s do this.

I just played about an hour of Final Fantasy VI. I’m almost ashamed to say, it’s the first time I’ve played the game since I beat it all those years ago.

How did it feel to go all the way back to 1994? Pretty damn good, actually.

Final Fantasy VI makes better use of its limited technology than any other 2D game I’ve ever played. The opening scene does a brilliant job of setting the mood, with its chilling musical score and surprisingly crisp and attractive 2D visuals. Nobuo Uematsu really is a god amongst men, and what he managed to do with the limitations of the SNES’s hardware is mind-blowing; after sixteen years, Final Fantasy VI remains one -if not his best – soundtracks.

JRPGs, and games of all genres, really, should take lessons from the opening of Final Fantasy VI. There’s no town-crawling, fetch-questing, or needless, wordy story exposition in the game’s first hour. Instead, the game offers the perfect amount of foreshadowing, character development, and intrigue – while remaining in constant motion. ¬†For example, Terra’s fevered flashbacks ensure that you’re immediately interested in her as a character. In fact, every character is likable and interesting from the moment you meet them – be they hero or villain. Kefka’s introductory scene is classic. Final Fantasy VI really does feature one of the best character ensembles in the history of JRPGs.

After an hour of playing, I really didn’t feel like stopping. As I’ve said in the past, Final Fantasy VI is one of those revered 2D classics that actually lives up to all the nostalgia the surrounds it. It’s a game I’d really love to see remade on more modern hardware – such a classic, character-driven tale deserves to be retold for the ages, with some more competent technology behind it.

But now it’s time to skip ahead a console generation… though, I’ll be remaining within the confines of the same series.

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