Mark Marrow
13 Aug, 2007

Final Fantasy VI Review

GBA Review | Like RPGs? Buy this game.
Forget your Final Fantasy VII's and X's, any real Japanese RPG fan worth their salt would say Final Fantasy VI was the most pivotal inclusion in the now world-famous franchise. There are many reasons why such a statement is a bit more than fanboy talk - the game was ahead of its time graphically, it has one of the finest musical scores in terms of both composition and variety, and it's probably the most complex and story-driven title of all Final Fantasy games. It steered the franchise beyond its previously stale formula with raw emotion and depth of character. Regardless of which you find the best, Final Fantasy VI is both a very important game, and still easily one of the best Japanese RPGs you can play; making this GBA remake a fairly obvious choice if you have still yet to jump on the bandwagon.

Final Fantasy VI has two previous releases – on the Super Nintendo and the PlayStation, but this Game Boy Advance re-make is better then either. While is over ten years old now, it still holds up remarkably well even when compared to many newly released Japanese RPGs that struggle to maintain the same level of emotion and character throughout the entire game. Final Fantasy VI oozes flair, and has a captivating story that is not only emotionally deep, but engaging from start to finish. The basic premise of the game is that a group of rebels called the Returners are seeking to overthrow the Empire, which is trying to take rule over the entire world. That’s the fairly clichéd part, but the game continually delivers twists and interesting plot elements, and these really help Final Fantasy VI to have one of the best storylines in Japanese RPG history. Probably the most attractive part of Final Fantasy VI is the way the game involves new characters, and then detaches them and forces split stories to evolve, allowing players to play back and forth between multiple points of view. Most characters are involved in the the plot game in some integral way, and this helps give each character a bit more personality and meaning to be there then we usually expect from the genre.


Gameplay is pretty much the same as most Final Fantasy games, with battles taking place in the traditional turn-based style. There are random battles, dungeon crawling, overworld traveling and the same old 'buy and equip items' formula. Combat is slightly different to previous Final Fantasy games. The game uses the Active Time Battle system that was introduced in Final Fantasy IV, which means there is a small bar beside each character's name in the menu that indicates when they can attack. Instead of assigning classes to each character like you do in some other Final Fantasy games, in VI each charatcter has a pre-determined class. Some characters will be efficient with summoning and magic, while others will be thieves, warriors or monks. The great thing about Final Fantasy VI is that over the course of the game you’ll run into a huge number of characters, which means you’ll have the opportunity to experience the different abilities of each of the characters' style.

New features added to the Advanced version of Final Fantasy VI include the traditional Advanced modes such as a bestiary, music player and a quick-save, but also a few other game extending inclusions. The most noticeable inclusion is the two new dungeons called the Dragon’s Den and the Soul Shrine. Neither of the two adds anything to the game’s story, but are worth diving into for fans. Smaller inclusions for this re-release include a few new spells and items, and four new espers – Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Cactuar, and Diabolos. Those who have experienced Final Fantasy VI in some form in the past will also notice a few other subtle changes made to the game. The game script has a noticeably better translation this time round, having been revised in a few areas to make more sense. It also has added character portraits for key characters during text discussions, making it easier to follow and to identify who's saying what.

From the first moment you turn on the game, the graphics really stand out. There are titles with better visuals on the GBA, but it's still probabaly the best looking version of an already great looking SNES game. The game has a much more vibrant look to it compared to the SNES and PlayStation versions, and just appears much cleaner, and a few areas have been touched up. The style used throughout the entire game is a treat, from locations to character designs. The only real downside to this version of the game is that the limitations with the Game Boy Advance hardware can cause the game to slowdown during some sequences of animation, although it's mostly limited to a few town scenes.


The soundtrack is probably one of the best from any Final Fantasy game in terms of variety and quality. And what's more, all tracks are up to standard, with none sounding out of place. Everything is well composed, and as a whole the soundtrack creates the perfect atmosphere for the story. As expected, the excellence of the original SNES soundtrack is slightly marred by the inferior sound hardware of the Game Boy Advance. But if you have a good pair of headphones, it can improve the experience significantly compared to using the speakers of either the Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS.

Simply put, this is a great version of a brilliant RPG. Fantastic character development, a fascinating and downright addictive gameplay structure, and one of the best stories ever. Highly recommended for JRPG fans – one for the ages.
The Score
The game that changed a series, and this GBA remake is near perfect. We went close to giving it a higher score, but if you like RPGs at all you really should buy this game. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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6 years ago
Has this just been re-released in Australia or is this a retro review?
6 years ago
The article is reviewing the GBA remake. It needs to be clearer what console it's for (in the interface, not the article. Great article BTW Mark). I've read some reviews that haven't even said what console the review is for within the article, you have to look up top with the colour coding header thingy. But GBA doesn't have one?!

Somebody please think of the children!
6 years ago
Yes GBA has none as the reviews are few and far between for the GBA.
6 years ago
Oh you're right. Yup, that solves the problem. No need to change anything here. Nope.
6 years ago
Awesome review. I didn't even know FFVI was out on the GBA. I'll have to hunt that down, what with FFVI being my favourite FF and all!
6 years ago
Heard lots of great things about FF:VI (the previous versions at least) and it has definitely gotten me interested in picking up the game.

Good to read that this version does indeed hold up to the older releases.
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