There are many reasons to remake or remaster a game. The most common reason is to adapt a game for a new console. New hardware has new expectations, and software has to be adapted to meet those demands. The Final Fantasy games have been remastered several times with varying degrees of quality. That variance has not gone unnoticed by its fan base. There has been a demand for a proper modern remaster of Final Fantasy VI, and it has now come to be with Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster.
The Role You Play
The main character of the story is Terra Branford. She is a magitek knight gifted with magical powers serving under the control of the imperial army. She also has no memory of how she came to learn her powers or her upbringing. When she breaks free from them, she joins up with a group of imperial resistance fighters called the Returners. Their members include a treasure hunter named Locke and a machinist King named Edgar, as well as his younger brother Sabin who specializes in martial arts. They are among the many characters with diverse abilities who make up your party throughout the game.
One thousand years ago, there was a war between humans and espers known as the War of the Magi. It nearly destroyed the world and led to the extinction of magic. Now a frozen esper has been discovered in the town of Narshe, and the empire is seeking its power. However, the resistance group, The Returners, is doing whatever it takes to stop that from happening and fighting back against the empire. The key to defeating the empire may lie within Terra and the origin of her powers.
Final Fantasy VI uses an active-time turn-based battle system. Players and enemies take turns engaging in combat by attacking, using abilities, casting spells or using items, but it all happens in real-time. Each character has a battle meter, and when it fills up, that indicates when a character can take their next turn. Each character has the ability to attack and use items and eventually learns to cast spells, but each character also has their own unique special ability unique to their own character.
Final Fantasy VI is very story-driven. It takes you through the arcs of nearly every character. Some of them are optional, and some of them are necessary to progress. There are also plenty of optional side quests throughout the game, including a coliseum to fight in and a mission to defeat eight dragons.
There is also a customization feature in which you can equip magicite which lets each character learn magic with each completed battle. This also gives a bonus to a different attribute with each level up depending on the magicite equipped.
Between the side quests and the opportunities for level progression, there is roughly about 25 hours of gameplay.
Of all of the features that have been improved upon in Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster, the music is the most noticeable. The soundtrack has gotten a fresh update with several tracks getting completely reworked. Each song is very melody-driven and you can hear each instrument at the core of the melody. Whether it’s a flute, a saxophone, a piano, or a synthesizer, it’s clean and crisp enough that you can make out each element of its production.
As part of this newest remaster, Final Fantasy VI has gotten a newly updated look and feel. The character sprites have all gotten an updated look and feel that is more in line with the concept art. The biggest and most notable change is the updates to the animations and special effects. The spells are much more detailed and are animated with far more fluidity than the SNES was capable of. It also applies to the cut scenes, giving the entirety of the game a modern feel to a retro classic.
The Talking Parts
Another big improvement for the pixel remaster is the changes to the dialogue. While Final Fantasy VI was innovative for its use of expression and body language to convey the tone of all of the characters, there were still character limits for the text. That’s no longer an issue with the modern graphics and resolution capabilities. All of the dialogue is conveyed a lot more smoothly now that there are no character limitations and there is greater hindsight in terms of any mistakes made in the past.
Additionally, some other features have been added to supplement some of the more iconic scenes. The famous opera scene has been given voice-over so the characters are actually singing the songs during the opera.
Z…We’ve Reached the End. Anything Else?
A lot of the updates to the pixel remaster feel like responses to criticisms of previous versions. The previous mobile version of Final Fantasy VI was met with negative feedback for being overpolished and not paying respect to the original game. This version feels like the response to that. It maintains the integrity of the original by updating the text and the sprites but doesn’t scrub away what made the original good.
Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster feels like what Final Fantasy VI should have always been. It is the definitive version and it doesn’t need to be improved upon any further. It has brought back a lot of fond memories of playing the game as a child and playing this version made it feel brand new all over again. I have no problem recommending this game to anyone.
Final Score: 10/10
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