For as long as I can remember Final Fantasy VI has been a part of my life. With the latest release of the game on Steam, let’s step into the world of Final Fantasy VI once more to face Kefka.
When Final Fantasy VI released on smartphone devices, the reception to it – namely the graphics – wasn’t that great. Following the same style as Final Fantasy V, FFVI released with a look reminiscent of RPGMaker games. It was a style that was hardly fitting for the game, which now had a brighter, more colourful look. This is the version that made it’s way onto Steam.
The graphics, including the UI (user interface), are very hit or miss in Final Fantasy VI. In most places, these graphics look very out of place, and are sometimes downright terrifying (I’m looking at you, Gau). Then there’s the times where it looks absolutely amazing, and that I actually end up preferring these graphics and UI to the original.
Two of the biggest instances of where I actually preferred these graphics came right at the end – having the ability to see the full art of Goddess, and the character selection screen for the final fight. The odd thing is, while I absolutely loved that character selection screen, I normally despised the party creation screen. It was a bit of a nightmare to control, and more than once I accidentally confirmed to leave that menu before I was ready.
The same type of menuing comes into play with the magic and abilities menu. Instead of scrolling over the blank spaces, the menu would take you to the next valid option in that column. This would sometimes lead to you wrapping back up to the top, even if there was another valid option lower in another column. While abilities appeared spaced out in almost every menu, the one place it thankfully didn’t was in Gau’s Rages menu during battle. It isn’t much easier to scroll through that menu though, especially when you’ve gotten a bunch of the rages.
Speaking of the battle UI, they decided to go with an… interesting… design choice for Final Fantasy VI. The ATBs have been replaced with a creeping up menu – or, as someone told me, it’s the characters slowly asking “Is it my turn yet?” until it fills up. Well, I say fills up, but you can only ever see 2 and 1/3rd of the menu options when it is “full”, leading to your typical scroll bar. This is a remnant of the fact the Steam version is based on the mobile port. While the buttons aren’t as massive as they were in FFIII or FFIV, they are still a bit overly large for a computer screen.
The same is true in the regular menu, where you are left with a scroll bar to see all of the options. In fact, one thing Final Fantasy VI removed that previous mobile-port FF’s had (*I’m not sure about FFV here, as I haven’t played the Steam version yet) is the ability to quick quit out of the game. The only option you have to do so is to X out of the window and then relaunch the game. X’ing out of the game like this can be useful to help save you from going back to your last save (FFVI’s typical “you died” occurrence), instead letting you choose to load your last silent auto save. This save does get overwritten if you choose to go back to your last save though, so be careful if you want to make use of this (especially if you do something like cause yourself to get Joker Deathed from running Auto Battle with Slots selected).
With the regular menu in mind, there are a couple things I truly did enjoy about it. The first was that the Relic menu was abolished, and instead all equipping of equipment and relics are done on the same screen. This made things so much easier to handle fo equipping, especially when you wanted to equip a Genji Glove onto someone. The other thing I especially enjoyed was the revamped Esper screen. Instead of being lumped in with the Abilities menu, Espers are now equipped with a button by the character portraits in the main menu. You can scroll through the espers, see what they look like, what spells they teach, and if they give an ability. The espers also gain a handy gold star next to the name, signifying if you’ve completed all of the magic they have to teach or not.
One of the oddest decisions in this version of FFVI, that I found at least, was the font choice. In particular, the font colour choices that were made for when there’s no text box behind the text. There’s a few places this is pretty apparent, but one of the biggest places takes place in the credits. The font becomes horribly inconsistent, with some lines having a drop shadow, and others (that desperately need it) not having one. I feel like the easiest solution here would have been to just give them an outline, and to make it consistent on just which lines have it or not. There’s also the fact that the credits simply reference the “Smartphone team”, with there being no reference to this being the Steam version.
With the Steam version being the smartphone version, this version was based off of the GBA version. Unfortunately, when they decided to base this off the GBA version, the also brought over all of the glitches that still existed in that version. One in particular that I know about, though it only seems to affect the final boss sequence, is that if you cast Vanish and then move between tiers, it’s very likely that your characters will remain invisible even if they no longer have the Vanish status on. In addition to these GBA glitches, at least one that I know of has been added, though I’m not quite sure what causes it. It appears that sometimes (albeit pretty rarely) when you enter a town, your character model will appear invisible. When this happened to me, I wasn’t able to interact with anything, there were no NPCs, and couldn’t get very far. Luckily I had just saved outside so I hadn’t lose very much due to it.
I would only recommend the Steam version to those folks who don’t have the ability to play either the GBA or SNES versions. In terms of overall quality, those two versions are vastly superior to this one. However, the Steam version of FFVI does maintain a charm of its own, and is a great option for those who might have access to other versions. So long as you can deal with all the issues that come with this version, it’s a worthwhile pickup if you aren’t able to play either the SNES or GBA versions (especially GBA, since it’s the one with the extra content). If there’s any version that this is better than, it’s the PSX version, just because the loading times in that version are horrendous.
Final Fantasy VI (Steam Version) Review Score
Final Fantasy VI is available now on Steam.