Final Fantasy VI

Written in 2019, updated in 2023

Final Fantasy VI is a landmark in the history of Final Fantasy. It was the last part of the successful series before Square Enix and Nintendo parted ways (for a limited amount of time), it coverd a serious and compelling storyline, epic music and a modern, dynamic Active Time Battle system.

The original version was called "Final Fantasy III" in North America (it never got a release in Europe, we had to live with Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest) but was later renamed to the correct version within the Final Fantasy Anthology that was released on the PlayStation in 1999.

The versions

SNES original

The original game released in 1994. It was famous for its dark steampunk theme, the famous and epic scenes (like the opera - we've got some moments covered for that game), the music and the story.

Gameplay is roughly the same as in its predecessor, with an ATB battle system, random encounters, and lots and lots of status changes during battles. The game was highly successful and is seen by many as one of the best Final Fantasy games.

A huge downside of Final Fantasy VI on the SNES is the translation. Cartridge sizes were limited back then and the extensive text shown with japanese signs had to be shrunk a lot since memory usage of japanese text is lower than latin letters. So some of the story seems to be told in a rather primitve way, even if it wasn't intended to be so.

Final Fantasy Anthology

This collection of Final Fantasy V and VI contains the SNES version with an added intro, but it is basically the same as the original game - except that it has some of the worst loading times that I've ever seen in such a game. Every battle takes seconds to load.

GBA version

In 2004, Final Fantasy VI got a release on the GBA. This game was completely re-translated to cover the story as it was meant to be told in the original game. Aside of that, due to the similarity of the GBA and the SNES, many things remained the same.

Visuals are almost identical (but slightly brighter) compared to the SNES version, the soundtrack did not suffer as much as it usually did when a SNES game was ported to the GBA, but other than that, nothing much was added.

Steam / mobile version

Another good ten years after the GBA release, the game was released on Android and iOS phones and subsequently ported to Steam. This version had a huge shift in art style and redrawn sprites. The basic game remains the same.

Other than the obvious changes, many things remained. The soundtrack is still the one used in the SNES, so is the gameplay. The translation is the one used in the GBA version and not the one used in the original "Final Fantasy 3" version.

Technically, there are some glitches and bugs, but nothing too severe - although in some especially touching scenes like the opera, some errors occur.

Pixel Remaster version

In 2022, Square Enix released the "Pixel Remaster" versions of all 2D Final Fantasy games on Steam, and in 2023, Playstation 4 / 5 and the Nintendo Switch followed.

While the older Steam and mobile versions tried to smooth the pixels and make the game look a bit more like a modern 2D game, the Pixel Remaster series celebrates the pixel. All of the artwork as it was in the SNES version is restored to its pixely glory, with some modern effects and a widened screen to fit 16:9 screens.

The Pixel Remaster games contain the GBA text, an optional remastered soundtrack and art galleries. They've been made from the ground up (so no emulation). Pixels are mostly displayed correctly scaled, but the game suffers from some stuttery scrolling, even in the PlayStation versions.

The Nintendo Switch version has improperly scaled pixels in handheld mode, and all of the versions lack the bonus content (i.e., bonus dungeon and espers) from the GBA version.

Which version to choose

The SNES version offers the smoothest visuals, but the worst translation (Although there are some people who like it because it feels a bit more light hearted than the more extensive translation). The GBA lacks sound quality, but has the comprehensive translation and the original art style as well as the most bonus content, but it's hard to come by. And the new game versions have a different art style and some technical problems.

The Pixel Remaster versions also suffer from minor technical difficulties, but offer almost pixel perfect visuals, a good remastered soundtrack, and a faithful adaption of the original and the better translation, but lack the GBA bonus.

We recommend picking up the Pixel Remaster version, preferrably not for the Nintendo Switch, unless you really need the handheld option. It's just the best of all versions. If you like a bit more light hearted tone and love smooth scrolling, try picking the SNES version.

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1999 - 2024 Florian Auer. Contents written by me CC-BY-SA 4.0. Details: Copyright / Impressum. Version 13.3

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