Terra Cognita: Final Fantasy VI PC Release

One of the most beloved Final Fantasy games is finally coming to PC! Yay. It’s arriving on the 16th of December, just in time for Father Christmas to send a Steam gift code to you by email from the North Pole’s premier internet cafe! Hurrah. The Steam release appears to be using the crappy new graphics seen in the iOS and Android versions of the game! Fiddlesticks.

I’m immersing myself in JRPGs at the moment and Final Fantasy VI is high on the list of recommendations. This version really does look ugly though. I don’t mind the graphics in the PC version of FFIV, although the changes might bother me if I’d played the original, but this doesn’t even look bad in comparison to anything – it just looks bad.

FFVI is the game originally released as FFIII in the west. I always think of it as the operatic Final Fantasy because when I watched a friend playing it one night many years ago, I remember seeing an opera house and an airship. Quite why it became ‘the operatic Final Fantasy’ rather than ‘the Final Fantasy with an airship’ I couldn’t say for sure, although I assume there are airships in every JRPG. Airships, giant swords and ‘…’.

Besides, Skies of Arcadia was the airship game. So FFVI is the operatic JRPG and shall remain so. And unless I manage to dig up a Gameboy Advance or SNES, my first playthrough is going to be in the company of these uggo new characters.

44 Comments

  1. Ohmz says:

    The GBA version is good but it mangles the audio a bit which is a shame as it’s got a wonderful soundtrack.

    There is a version on the PSN, but it emulates the PS1 version, even down to the disc load times before every battle, which is a little tedious but bearable.

    • lowprices says:

      Seconded. If you’re one of the three or four people that got a Vita, you’re much better off getting FFVI on that, even with the aforementioned problems.

      • KenpoJuJitsu3 says:

        Yup. My Vita is essentially my Final Fantasy machine / PS4 remote player. All FFs from I through X-2 on it.

  2. Ohmz says:

    Also every Final Fantasy has an airship, only VI has the opera scene.

    • GameCat says:

      Oh, come on, main hero of FF9 belongs to group of thieves/actors who own flying theatre ship.
      Although they stage the drama, not opera.

    • Merlin the tuna says:

      Yep! Although it’s fair to refer to FF4 as “The one with like 7 or 8 different airships, goddang.”

  3. dethtoll says:

    Never was a big FF fan, but 6, 7 and 9 were definitely my favorites.

    • wisnoskij says:

      4 has to be the best. All the others have some weird unique gameplay system, 4 is just normal. Also not too long, too open, to confusing. You don’t have to be really dedicated to get through the whole thing, there is not a ton of grinding.

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        Waltorious says:

        My memory of Final Fantasy 4 (Final Fantasy 2 in the United States) was that it involved a lot of grinding. Not nearly as much as Final Fantasy 4, but still a lot; I had to stop and fight monsters to earn money for new gear at each new town. But you are correct that it was not too heavy on systems to learn; the espers in Final Fantasy 6 confused me when I was young, leading me to not enjoy it as much as Final Fantasy 4.

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          Waltorious says:

          Ugh. Meant to say “not nearly as much as Final Fantasy 1”. And yes, whatever black magic is required to bring back the edit button, please perform it.

  4. Xiyng says:

    Well, looks like I’ll be happy emulating the GBA version then. That font and mobile menus (which look like a pain to use with a keyboard) make my eyes bleed. I’m not much of a graphics person, but when something is ugly (artistically), it’s ugly and I won’t be able to touch it. Wolfenstein 3D is OK because even though it looks old, it doesn’t make my eyes bleed. This does.

    • Ohmz says:

      If you are going to emulate, emulate the SNES version, the sound on the GBA one is wonky.

  5. Viroso says:

    Emulate the SNES version then look up this mod called Brave New World, then uh play that. It’s prolly the best version of FF6.

    FF6 is great but, like every FF game, the balance is all off and the game lets you too easily become too powerful in a way that ruins the combat because it renders 80% of the options available useless.

  6. RuySan says:

    I loved this game at the time. Story was good, and the soundtrack was fantastic. Unfortunately the character system and combat are just too shallow to play this nowadays instead of many other superior options.

  7. Stepout says:

    One of the best games I’ve ever played. Not a fan of what they’ve done with the character sprites, but at least it’s on Steam so more people can experience it.

  8. malkav11 says:

    I wanted to like FFVI a lot but the random encounter rate was WAY too high. I gave up on it after I hit a warehouse or something that had loot everywhere but gathering it meant wandering around a maze getting attacked by completely unthreatening enemies every 2 to 3 steps, which just drove me spare.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yeah. I kind of wish there would be remakes of all the classic JRPGs with a vastly reduced random encounter rate, or maybe an auto-resolve button, that just assumes that every character just attacks every turn.

      • SomeDuder says:

        While I get what you are saying, that’s not the point. These games are made with random encounters in mind, that’s the whole point of the games.

        Western sensibility dictates that, having defeated the same composition of monsters once or twice in an area, you’ve run the well dry and can just move around the area without the screen twisting in on itself and an aggresive soundtrack replacing the BGM, but hey, it’s a JRPG!

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          Bluerps says:

          Yeah, it’s possible the games simply wouldn’t work that way, because they need (all of) the combat to feel right.

          I don’t know – one day, I might like to replay one of these games, but I think I’d prefer to do it without a battle every twenty seconds which I can win by choosing “Attack” five times.

        • malkav11 says:

          There’s nothing inherently wrong with random encounters, but a lot depends on the frequency. FFVI’s is turned up so high you can barely do anything between fights. And they certainly don’t define the JRPG genre, as Final Fantasy games have historically given you ways of turning them off altogether, and various franchises (FF included) have in more modern times either made enemy encounters visible on the world map, eschewed separate combat arenas altogether, or given you finer control over the encounter rate (e.g. Bravely Default).

      • MikoSquiz says:

        What would you have left if you took out the random-encounter grinding? Just the cut scenes, then? They’re not very good, you know.

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          Bluerps says:

          In Final Fantasy VI (and other classics of the time)? Well, I disagree.

          I think the repetitive, grinding combat against random encounters was the weakest part of these games. Only the story and characters motivated me to play to the end.

          Not that I think the combat was entirely bad. Only the high frequency and lack of challenge ruined it. The first couple of random encounters in a new area, the boss fights, those were great. Everything else was something to be endured, not enjoyed – for me.

    • pepperfez says:

      The feeling of relief when you finally get the accessory that turns off random encounters almost makes it worth the suffering to get there.

    • ansionnach says:

      Could you run from them easily? I’ve played I-IV, VII & VIII. Took me several tries over years to complete IV because it’s pretty terrible. When I did finish it I ran from every battle and only played the bosses. Was very easy and only had to grind for the very last boss. The others just needed some sort of strategy but the last boss had loads of HP and one very damaging attack that almost killed everyone.

      Running is good!

      • malkav11 says:

        I have no idea at this point but I don’t think running was meaningfully faster than just murdering the enemies and the frustration comes from being jolted out of whatever you’re doing in the game world to fight some random saps, not in the actual fighting of them.

        • ansionnach says:

          I get you. I did find that in the long run skipping battles meant the minor enemies chipped at my HP a lot less, especially where the enemies would get in one attack round anyway. I’d only use magic to heal outside battle. Battling gets you levels and money and neither are needed in games you can finish at very low levels like these, where the best weapons are found in chests. I often found that I could wander through a dungeon relatively unharmed, then heal up at the save point before the boss, using minimal resources. Perhaps it’s a more fun way for people who hate the game to play, but it was quite an eye-opener as to the extent of the needless busywork games like this put you to (all those battles; grinding for unneeded levels and saving up for junk weapons and items).

  9. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I think FFVI is may favorite FF before FF’s Sony era. Maybe even my favorite overall. The mechanics of FFV are more interesting, but VI has the better plot and characters, I think.

    Also, should you get this far, you should know that Shadow doesn’t have to die.

  10. onodera says:

    Gah, the new sprites are TERRIBLE! Back to Snes9x for me.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s really shocking how bad they are. I understand their cynicism in putting ugly garbage on mobile, but it’s disappointing on PC.

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      gritz says:

      It’s pretty galling considering we’ve been in the middle of a pixel-art renaissance for the last 2-3 years. There’s so much talent out there, but Square/Enix are content with making a once-beautiful game look like muddy dogshit.

      • pepperfez says:

        Especially when the superior original version is easily played for free with additional features.

      • Philomelle says:

        It’s even more galling because the credits and interviews confirm that the artist for the new sprites is the same guy who drew the original version. You’d think the guy would improve over the two decades he spent in the industry, not the other way around.

  11. Synesthesia says:

    Oh! If you are diving into JRPGS, do try Final Fantasy Tactics. Some of the best writing of the lot, there.

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    DantronLesotho says:

    FF6 is definitely my favorite, and although a large part of it has to do with nostalgia, I think it’s one of the most interesting worlds that’s been created thus far. I think it’s because it has a much more “dark fantasy” vibe than the rest of them, which I gravitate towards. Now if only they would have applied a good set of fixes to it rather than the mangling like they did to FF5.

  13. 0positivo says:

    Call me silly, but I really liked the Android port of this game

    • wilynumber13 says:

      The story, game mechanics, music, and so on are still solid enough for you to enjoy these versions, but it’s essentially like watching the old cable network Turnerization version of a black and white film instead of the original. A misguided attempt to “correct” something that never needed correction in the first place, out of fear that new audiences won’t like it.

      • 0positivo says:

        That’s what I’m saying though, I really enjoyed the artstyle of the port, much more than the original pixel graphics.

        I never played the original, maybe that has something to do with it?

  14. ulukinatme says:

    “Besides, Skies of Arcadia was the airship game.”
    What? Did you play games prior to the Dreamcast? Final Fantasy made airships famous going back as far as the first game on NES. There may have been games that used them prior to that, but if they did they’re not coming to mind. While I agree that the Steam release seems to be using the crappy newer graphics and not the original, the rest of your article was a poor description of the game and failed to do it justice. FFVI is one of the greatest RPGs ever made, the opera was a fairly small part of the entire game.

    • Dugular says:

      It appears that you didn’t understand the article. He was describing his memories of the minimal contact he had with the game, not reviewing the game or trying to explain it to others.

      Just like King’s Quest V is “the first adventure game” in my memories, which would cause all sorts of text-adventure enthusiasts to quiver.

    • Chillicothe says:

      No, he meant “Skies of Arcadia was THE airship game”, which is true.

      • ansionnach says:

        It’s amazing how Sega releases some of its games on everything… but not some of the ones people really want. Have fond memories of Skies, although the PAL version was one of the few Sega games for Dreamcast that was 50Hz-only (and ran a little too slowly as a result). If they never port it to the PC I’d definitely recommend the US version.

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    zapatapon says:

    I played this on my PC around 1999, using snes9x. Had absolutely not the faintest idea what a JRPG was, this had been just been vaguely recommended by a friend. So it was totally unprejudiced that I watched this intro sequence, the snow falling, the long walk towards the far down city, and the tune, oh god this tune! Frankly, independently from the rest, the intro is one of the most perfect mood setters that I’ve ever experienced in a game. Instant hook.

  16. aozgolo says:

    I don’t really dig the pre FF-VII Concept Art style, and pushing it into the games they’ve been releasing doesn’t really improve them in my opinion.

    I’ll always be a fan of the original sprites.

  17. Risingson says:

    Wasn’t there a patch for the GBA version that changed the music to be more like the snes one?

    Anyway, frustrating games. The random-encounters design is crap, and I considered it crap already back in the 90s (pure lazyness in design). The world building is incredible in mist of the saga, but then the game mechanics and the narrative kill the games. I’ve played 4, 5, 6 (near to the end till I decided “no more time wasted on this”), 7 (up to having escaped) and a bit of 8 and 10.