When you compare Final Fantasy IV and VI, you could say that the characters in FFIV could have used more work. It seems that Square, the company that developed the series also wanted to improve on character backgrounds and depth and I feel that they achieved that in FFVI.
FFVI was released on the SNES in 1994, one year before Chrono Trigger, which is another classic. The graphics were much improved since FFIV, the animations were better, the music was better, well pretty much most things were better. Kind of interesting story because I was actually in New York on holiday and I saw this game at a game store for 70 bucks. Yep, games back then cost that much. My dad was leaning more towards Romance of Three Kingdoms 3 but I managed to convince him to buy FFVI. My dad never touched the series, which is a shame.
FFVI puts you in charge of a party made up of a rogue, artist, gambler, magic users, assassin, moogles among many others. The intro talks about a great war of magic in the past that nearly destroyed the world, it also says that magic itself has all but vanished. The few magic users left are mostly controlled by the evil Empire and are used to capture Espers within magicites (imagine a magical entity trapped in a crystal). This magicite is used to power his factories and virtually give the Empire all the edge it needs over other kingdoms. The Empire is ruled by the Emperor Gestahl who in turn is assisted by clownish-looking general Kefka. Gestahl wants to find and re-open the gate to the world of the Espers and thus gain total dominion over the world.
Our party is always on the run from the Empire and quickly joins a resistance movement called “The Returners”. Eventually, the adventure will lead us to an opera house where we have to memorize a short script for the performance. When it ends, the lead singer is taken by Setzer, a very rich gambler with an airship. This, of course was a trap set up by the party to gain access to the airship. With Setzer’s help, the party is able to reach the Empire and infiltrate the Emperor’s palace. Upon defeating it, the Emperor calls for a truce and throws Kefka in jail though it is all just a ruse to buy more time.
The Emperor is in turn betrayed by Kefka who uses the power of the Sunken Continent to reshape the world quite literally. Continents move, massive earthquakes ensue, tidal waves (I guess) etc… When it is over, FFVI begins stage 2 with a reshaped world to explore. Though some places are still there, many new ones are present. The main theme here is despair and finding renewed hope to fight for a better tomorrow. In this new world, Kefka sits atop a high tower, which is accessible only via airship (oh and of course the previous one was destroyed) and uses a powerful magical beam that splits the earth itself to destroy all those that do not worship him. For me the best parts in this world are convincing Terra to rejoin the party as well as getting the new airship.
Eventually the buffed up party is able to gain access to the tower, climb all the way and defeat Kefka, thus ending his reign of terror. What I love about FFVI is the depth of the characters’ backgrounds, the animations, the music and of course the story itself (I mean where else do you have a castle that sinks in the desert and pops up in another place?). The game was re-released on PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, Android and iOS, though I only played the SNES version to this day. I still recommend starting with FFIV, possibly going on to FFV before playing FFVI, just so you get used to the controls, the names of items/magic spells etc… but make no mistake, this is an awesome game with composer Nobuo Uematsu at his best.
Graphics and Audio 20/25