Upon first picking up Final fantasy VI, I thought it to be a rather boring game. The opening scenes in Narshe were anathema to my 12 year old brain, the dialogue a lullaby. I set it down and forgot about it for four years. The next time I picked it up, I realized what a fool my younger self had been for setting it down so soon.
The battle system, while simple compared to today's paradigm shifts and quick time events, is utterly enthralling, especially when compared to the messy job system of V and the simplistic, straight forwardness of IV. Each character was unique in terms of gameplay, ranging from Cyan the Samurai to Gau the feral child, Locke the thief to Shadow the assassin. Once espers and magic come into play, a bit of preparational thinking is needed for each level gained, which only adds to the depth of the system.
In terms of storyline, each character (excluding the bonus characters) recieves a good deal of attention, with the game having no one true main character. Every character is allowed to grow into themselves, to live and breath as their own individual person, not serve as some cookie cutter stereotype of a character.
It is with kefka, however, that the game finds it's true representative. Kefka is homicidal, crazy, heartbreaking, and laugh out loud hillarious. Long after the credits roll, one will remember his distinctive cackle , his truly epic battle music, and his Joker like attitude. Above all, he is a villain who managed to over come his flaws and succeed in his goal, with the player only being able to defeat him after the world is turned into a fire charred wasteland by his nihilistic point of view and his infinite supply of magic. He is a villain to truly remember.
The game's crowning achievement is in it's music, especially its extensive use of leitmotif. Every character has their own motif, with Terra's serving as the main theme of the game. Wonderfully scored, the music truly makes the game. The game even includes an Opera scene, complete with a beautiful aria by Celes that serves as her theme. it is a truly heart rending scene, one of the most memorable in gaming history.
The storyline itself is epic in scope, dealing with such isses as teen pregnancy and suicide, unrequited love and parental abandonment, all while keeping the focus on the main plot. It is a true gaming masterpiece and a pleasure to play.
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