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'Final Fantasy VI' is the definitive 'Final Fantasy' game


Last year, the video game maker Square Enix began releasing remastered versions of the early installments of their Final Fantasy series. The first three were upgraded from the original Nintendo, while the remaining three came from the Super Nintendo entries in the series and have all now been released.

Final Fantasy IV was the first game in the series originally built for the Super Nintendo, and so it is a giant leap forward from its predecessors in the scope of its storytelling, having a number of characters that join your quest, leave it, and sometimes even come back again in the course of the game. Final Fantasy V’s story takes place over multiple worlds, but it feels smaller and more intimate, spending more time developing its smaller roster of characters.

And then, there was Final Fantasy VI, held up by many as the pinnacle of the series. The game took the grand scope of the fourth game, and the focus on character from the fifth game, and synthesized it into something that is both wonderfully personal, and has a grand, sweeping story about a world that feels real and lived in, with conflicts that range from petty political infighting to the planet being torn asunder.

I’ve played through each of these remastered games as they’ve been released, and it really does feel that Final Fantasy VI is the culmination of the entire 2D era of Final Fantasy games. Most everything about it is something that had been tried in a previous game, but here it is refined into one of the purest distillations of the genre. And the soundtrack in the remaster - originally one of the best examples of music on the Super Nintendo - has been lovingly and masterfully arranged into its best version yet.

These Pixel Remaster releases of the first six Final Fantasy installments are the definitive versions of these games, and of these, Final Fantasy VI is perhaps the definitive Final Fantasy game.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.