Initial release date: April 2, 1994
PIXEL Remaster Release: February 23, 2022
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Artist: Yoshitaka Amano
Series: Final Fantasy
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
Designers: Yoshitaka Amano, Nobuo Uematsu, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Takashi Tokita, Hiroyuki Ito, Akihiko Matsui
Developers: Square, Square Enix, Tose, Sting Entertainment
"Review Copy Provided By Square-Enix"
One of my all-time favorite Final Fantasy titles is Final Fantasy VI better known in the west originally as Final Fantasy III. It was a game that was far and above nearly any and every JRPG that had released at that time and was one of the very reasons I came to not only learn English but also to work through my battles with dyslexia and fostered my love of reading that I still have some near 30 years later. The game was also one of the first Final Fantasy entries to start the trend towards a steam-punk dystopian world which would continue onwards in the following entries VII and VIII before returning to a fantasy world in Final Fantasy IX. With Square-Enix having decided to remaster their classic entries pre-Final Fantasy VII under the Pixel Remaster banner (for many of these entries this is a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th revision or remake/remaster), they have completed this project with the release of Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster. Compared to the original 1994 release, PSOne port, GBA port, and mobile/Steam (delisted) ports; how does the Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy VI hold up? Let’s find out!
From a visual perspective, this is probably the most beautiful that I’ve seen this entry ever look. Sure, you could say that the SNES original has a more gritty and detailed look and definitely has the better font in comparison to what we get with this version which can be hard to read at times, but I still favor this one because of not only the visual enhancements to the original sprites to keep them true to their original looks but also upgrading the backgrounds to make them look substantially better while also adding one thing that I find to be an absolute godsend for those of us playing on PC and that’s ULTRA-WIDE SUPPORT! This game looks absolutely STUNNING on an ultrawide monitor and really brings the game to life with the added details that it showcases.
Compared the GBA version of the game this is a visual improvement as you don’t have to deal with the terrible screen crunch that is inherent in nearly all GBA ports of SNES games. In comparison to the new defunct and delisted mobile and Steam version of the game that redid all the games art style, this is can be a toss-up as I didn’t mind the way that one looked although at times it did leave a lot to be desired when it came to how in many ways it was overly simplistic and lacked a lot of details in the character sprites compared to the original and the current Pixel Remaster. All in all, the Pixel Remaster, sans the font issue, is a winner through and through!
Now when it comes to the gameplay, it’s the same old faithful that many of you may know and love and for those who are diving into this entry for the first time then you’re going to find a lot to enjoy with how deep the combat system and character classes can be. Battles play out in the typical turn-based fashion with you having the ability to decide on if you want to have battles play out with the ATB turned on or off giving you the ability to have time to breath and strategize your moves without the CPU attacking you or having it flow in real-time and you having to be on your toes with what your next move or set of moves will be. How is the difficulty you ask? Well FF VI has never particularly been a difficult game as so long as you engage in the random battles and continue to upgrade your equipment then you won’t find yourself ever at a disadvantage. This isn’t anywhere near how ridiculous FF II was with its very experimental system and steep difficulty spikes so you can breath a sigh of relief.
When it comes to the OST, it has been greatly enhanced in more ways than one and breathes much vigor into what is one of the most timeless and cherished OST’s in the franchise’s history. There is even additional vocal lyrics when you get to the opera scene which wasn’t there before and yes Nobuo Uematsu remastered his masterful tracks here and I love the man all the more for it. This is a substantial upgrade over what we had in the GBA port of the game which really condensed the music in a grating way.
When it comes to the actual content in the game, you get the original game as it was meant to be played. Nothing more, nothing less. Now that can be annoying for the simple fact that when you compare this entry to the GBA version you do lose out on the extra gear and dungeons and super boss fights that you had in that entry making that one a bit better in regards to content (even if the added content wasn’t properly balanced and felt thrown in without forethought). Given my indifference to that GBA entry, I would put this entry over that one.
Which entry is the definitive version of this classic? That’s honestly down to personal preference as each entry offers something unique over the other yet for the sake of being easily accessible on both mobile and Steam makes this one have a leg up over the others especially considering the GBA port can run you anywhere from 100$ alone for just a loose cart.
Final Fantasy VI is a timeless classic that I honestly wish got just as much if not more love than the later entries and I even wish it would get the full 3D remake that others have gotten as the story and characters are al just that good. If you’re looking to dive into a new (or old) JRPG with a great story and memorable characters, then Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster should be at the very top of your list with how excellent it is. Get this game today!