Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI is considered the first major breakthrough Final Fantasy game that excelled in storytelling, character development and overall customizable options and extras. The game was also the first in the series that was not directed by the producer and creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Yoshinora Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito were the two who took the respective roles and in return released a game that is still viewed as a masterpiece.
Main Article: Plot (FFVI)
One thousand years have passed since the War of the Magi, the ancient power of magic laying dormant with no one able to use it. Technology has usurped magic as the guiding force of the planet, however, Emperor Gestahl, leader of the Empire, is looking for a way to revive this archaic power by searching for an ancient creature, frozen in the depths of a mine in the small industrial town of Narshe. Sending two soldiers armed with MagiTek combat armour, and a mysterious young woman with a slave crown upon her head to retrieve it, the mistakes of the War of the Magi are on the verge of being made once more...
Final Fantasy VI takes place in an unnamed fictional world. The world experiences plenty of landscape changes as the game progresses, and access to certain locations are gained and lost due to plot purposes. Unlike its predecessors, the story unfolds into two worlds, so to speak. While the world is the same throughout the course of the whole game, it experiences a large reshaping halfway through.
During the first half of the game, the world is separated into two major continents, and the party must travel across both in order to advance the story. This world is referred to as the World of Balance, as everything is peaceful and it serves as great foreshadowing of things to come. During the second half of the story, the world's geographical layout is drastically and permanently changed. The two continents split into several islands, town locations have moved, and other locations have disappeared altogether. In order to reach the widespread locations, it becomes necessary to ride an airship. This new and permanently altered world is known as the World of Ruin.
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 Battle System
Final Fantasy VI's uses the Active Time Battle system, or ATB, created by Hiroyuki Itō. The way the system works is fairly simple. Once you enter a random battle, your characters have a bar next to the right of their names that slowly fills as time goes on. On average, it takes between 3-5 seconds for the bar to fill up. Once the bar fills, you have the option to enter any battle command pertaining to that respective character. You can input anywhere from a normal physical attack, to casting magic, or even summon Espers and use items. The rate the bar fills up can be affected in multiple ways. One of them being negative status ailments such as Stop, or Slow which affect the course of the battle. Another way is with Time Magic, such as Haste. The bar also fills up faster depending on that particular character's Stats. The higher the Speed stat of a character, the faster his bar will fill up, the more commands you can input before anyone else has a chance to attack you. Once a battle ends, you gain a certain amount of Experience Points, and money rewards called GIL. Your characters level up and obtain stat increases after obtaining a certain amount of Experience Points.
The numbers in between the character's names and the ATB bar are the HP numbers. Each time you receive damage, that number is subtracted from the maximum HP, that character has. Once a character's HP reaches 0, he becomes unconscious and won't be able to battle until he is resurrected via Magic, Items, or resting at an in. Once all 4 character's HP reach 0 during a battle, it's game over and you have to start from your last save point. You can replenish HP in multiple ways. The two most common are curative Magic spells, such as Terra and Celes' Cure and many different variations of it, items such as Potions, Hi-Potions, or simply paying a small fee in a town and using their Inn facilities. Battles also and the game ends if all 4 of your characters become immobilized with status ailments such as Stone, which can again be cured with items and restorative spells. If a character's HP becomes too low in approximation to his maximum HP, there is a scarce chance that the Attack command will be replaced with a Desperation attack which causes heavy damage. Each character also has their own unique desperation attack.
You can have up to 4 characters in battle with you at one time. Each character has a special ability exclusive to his or her own unofficial class. For instance, Locke has the innate ability to Steal items from other monsters, where Celes's Rune Sword ability allows her to absorb any Magic attack cast on the party, into MP. Each of the 14 different characters has a special ability that makes them unique in their own way. Experimenting around with different Esper combinations also gives you more freedom to create the ultimate party. Esper Magicite can be attached to any character for optimum customizability.
FFVI is unique in many ways. One of them being the fact that there is no proclaimed main protagonist to the game. There are many reasons to believe the story revolves around Terra Branford as she is your first starting character, and the first portion of the game revolves around her in the World of Balance, however as soon as you enter the World of Ruin, the baton seems to be passed down to Celes Chere. It is argued that the whole cast are meant to be main characters due to the fact that every playable character has a side-story pertaining to them, that is revealed throughout the course of the game, not making one particular character stand out more than the rest. Terra's involvement in the story is a lot heavier than any of the other cast characters however, and more often than not, she is labeled the main character of the game.
The other unique thing about Final Fantasy VI is the fact that it has the largest cast of playable characters to any Final Fantasy game, past and present. Not including temporary playable characters, the list is at 12, and each one brings their own unique aspect to the story. Whether it's the betrayal of Celes by the Empire, the haunting past of Shadow, or the dilemma's Edgar has to face when it comes to royalty. Each character interacts with each other perfectly and plays just as vital of a role to the story as the other. Final Fantasy VI is the only game in the series that almost requires you to level up your party at the same time, due to the fact that you don't have full control over party organization until late in the game, and the final assault on Kefka almost has to include a 3 man team consisting of 4 characters each.
 Additional Information
- 14 Playable Characters up to a team of 4 characters each with their own special abilities
- Ability to Summon Espers
- Use Magic in battle
- Ability to ride your own airship! and travel everywhere in the map
- Enhanced graphics breathe new life and detail into all game elements, from deep dungeons and vast worlds to menacing creatures and wandering heroes.
- New opening theme songs and improved sound quality immerse the player even further into the game experience.
- Brand new, high quality CG movies and stills visually enhance the storylines in dramatic fashion.
- A new bestiary contains detailed descriptions of all monsters to assist players in battle.
- Access to art galleries featuring beautiful illustrations
- "Memo File" function added for quick, convenient saves.
The official soundtrack of Final Fantasy VI was written by the famous composer Nobuo Uematsu. Each track has become a nostalgic icon for future Final Fantasy games. Uematsu has composed music for every Final Fantasy game to date, and during his earlier work, he foreshadowed his great success. Final Fantasy VI is famous for it's constant use of Leitmotif, which is a recurring musical theme associated with a person, place or thing. Terra's theme is a good example of this, as it plays everytime you are on the World Map, and whenever a defining point in the story occurs. Uematsu knew of the audio limitations the original SNES megabit cartridge had, and wrote many songs that would have had vocal tracks with either synthesized digital harmonics, or took them out altogether.
The original soundtrack was released in Japan on 3 Compact Disks under the name Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version. At first, the CD was exclusive only to Japanese audiences, however North America got it's chance with a localization of the soundtrack under the title Final Fantasy III: Kefka's Domain. The only way you could get your hands on a copy was through a mail order from Square at the time. Additionally over the years, there have been multiple re-releases of the the soundtrack, with the original tracks arranged and played by multiple orchestras such as Ensemble Archi Della Scala, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra with different composers, such as Shiro Sagisu, Tsuneyoshi Saito and Reiko Nomura.
There are three versions of the game, and each one with a vast difference in the audio tracks. The game doesn't boast any voice acting, however the GBA and SNES cartridges affect the quality tremendously. The PlayStation version of the game has superb audio and crystal clear harmonics and ambient tones, however due to the limitations placed upon the GBA, and with the added extras, the audio took a major hit and the tracks sound nothing more like MIDI quality tunes. The SNES version of the musical score is much better, but still doesn't hold up to par with the PlayStation's CD-ROM format.
Final Fantasy VI's character's were designed by none other than Yoshitaka Amano. The character sprites were somewhat of a collaboration between Amano, and Tetsuya Takahashi, the graphic chief editor at the time. Essentially Amano drew rough sketches of the characters, and Takahashi digitized and transformed them into their corresponding sprites. Freedom was given to the sprite editors, and changes were made that opposed the original appearance of some characters. Some of the changes were the color change from Terra's hair from blonde to green, and even a total revamp of Celes' outfit. Some other graphic designers that added their talents to the sprites were Hideo Minaba, Kazuko Shibuya and of course Tetsuya Nomura. In the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VI, the ingame Full Motion Videos stayed true to Amano's original character art.
There is virtually no difference in terms of graphics amongst the 3 versions of the game. The PlayStation version does have something the SNES and GBA versions do not, and that is a couple of CGI scenes recreated from the original. Unfortunately the cartridges were not enough to hold the FMV scenes, and were left out of the GBA port. Final Fantasy VI utilizes Super Nintendo's Mode 7 graphics which gives the illusion that more freedom is granted. For instance, while riding a chocobo, the map will change the perspective the camera is held, in order to achieve a 3 dimensional aspect on a 2 dimensional game.
The unique thing about Final Fantasy VI is its customization factor. There are a near thousand ways to create the characters whichever way fits your needs. Each character can equip a number of items in order to change their fighting style. Alongside the equipment, each character has 2 Relic slots in which accessories can be equipped to add further development to the persona. Each Relic is embued with a beneficial factor, ranging from stat boosts, to permanent curative spells, or permanent status inflicting damage.
With the addition of Espers, the customizable factor goes through the roof. You originally start out with only 2 magic users, but by the end of the game any character can learn any magic spell. With the help of Magicite, characters can learn magic spells and obtain stat boosts upon level up, depending on the status the Esper has. After each battle, Ability Points are granted and dispersed to each character, and those points are used to learn spells. Each spell requires a certain number of AP points for the character to learn. Some Esper Magicite may have no spells to teach, but instead it could have a valuable stat boost upon level up, such as Bahamut's HP+50%.
 Remakes and Ports
The game was originally intended to be solely on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, however due to the translation error in the name, it was rereleased on the PlayStation. It was released with a demo of Final Fantasy X as Final Fantasy VI in Europe (its first release outside Japan and America), and as part of the American version of Final Fantasy Anthology.
 Final Fantasy VI Advance
A Game Boy Advance port was also released in America. The additions were welcomed and gave fans of the original a reason to pick up the game once more and fully enjoy it in all its glory. The sprites have been retouched, and the text has been polished. Some of the new Espers include Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Diabolos, Cactuar, and there is a bonus dungeon added after you complete the game, known as the Dragon's Den which is home to the original Czar Dragon, renamed as the Kaiser Dragon. The Kaiser Dragon was originally meant to be in the original SNES version however was never added. Some of the censor jobs are still present, such as the coverup on Siren, and the scene where Celes gets punched by an Imperial soldier and is chained to the wall is completely removed, as well as her suicide attempt.
The only drawback the GBA version of Final Fantasy VI is the lack of the FMV sequences the PlayStation version had, and the audio had to take a turn for the worse due to the GBA cartridge's restrictive nature.
 iOS and Android
Final Fantasy VI will be released worldwide on iOS and Android devices in Winter 2013-2014. It is essentially a remake of the original SNES version of the game with sharpened 2D graphics optimized for mobile devices. In addition, the battle system has been slightly revamped to adjust the distribution of XP points to reduce the need for grinding.
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