Let’s Play #34: Final Fantasy VI (Blind)

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The party interrupts the opera show before the octopus Orthros can ruin it.

 

I need to be honest with you guys here: I’ve known Final Fantasy VI for a long time, but never actually played it. I had played Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX and even V but never played VI. I actually started it a couple of times, but I never got after the first save point in the mines because the game didn’t interest me a lot.

But I knew that Final Fantasy VI is great. I knew it because many people say it’s one of the best titles in the series, probably even better that VII, so it had to be great.

That’s why I decided to Blindplay it. One, to force me to play it and go on and second, to get better reactions to the plot’s events since that’s what viewer expect in Blindplays: the reactions when playing games for the first time have no equals.

As I expected, the game gradually became better and better as I progessed. Even though the battle system is basically the same as Final Fantasy V (ATB, cast spells, use items, and so on…) there were mainly two factors who made the game really enjoyable.

1) Characters and abilities. Final Fantasy VI has a total of 14 playable characters, which is the most playable characters a Final Fantasy game has ever seen. Every one of these character has his own personality, way of speaking, backstory which are all well developed. Battle-wise, each character has one unique ability that only they can use. I’ll list them all here (in the parentesis I’ll show the name I’ve given to the character in the LP):

Locke (Duster) has Steal. With Steal you can attempt to steal an item from any enemy/boss.
Terra (Cinzia) has Magic in the beginning and later on she gets Transform which allows her to increase her magic abilities for some time.
Edgar (Bart) has Machine which allows him to use different tools with many effects.
Sabin (Micky) has Deathblow with which you can input a sequence of buttons to make him perfrom special moves.
Shadow (Edge) has Throw which allows him to hurl items at the enemies.
Cyan (Dunban) has Sword Skill which grants him special moves at the cost of waiting longer to execute them.
Celes (Celica) has Magic in the beginning and Soul Blade which makes her absorb the next magic spell.
Setzer (Erik) has Slots with which he can spin three slots for various effects.
Mog (Mogchi) has Dance which lets him enter a “berserk” state in which he uses some special moves based on the Dance he chose.
Strago (Galuf) has Memorized, which is a list of special magic spells he learned because he saw certain enemies using them.
Relm (Krile) has Sketch which lets her “copy” an enemy’s ability.
Finally, Gau (Walter) has Rage which we’ll talk about in a second.

This is the main cast over here. Two more characters can be recruited who are Umaro (Jacob) who you can’t control, it acts on his own; and Gogo (WhoIs?) which can use the Mimic command to copy the last action taken by the party free of charge.

Speaking about Gogo, I discovered something after finishing the game which made me pull my hair out. When you first recruit Gogo, the only battle command he can use is Mimic. While Mimic is good and can be used for some cool strats (You can copy spells, or even thrown items without using another one, or you can use Edgar’s Drill to do high damage and Mimic it for even more damage and so on…) I thought that having a character only with Mimic was bad because that means one less character who can use Magic, Items and Attack. Turns out that Gogo can “Equip” other characters’ abilities to fill the 3 missing commands that he has. Infact, the Gogo I have in the GBA version has Mimic-Magic-Tools-Rage. So in the LP I basically ditched a character with lots of potential 🙁

Among all the unique abilities though, my favorite is definitively Rage, the ability of Gau. You see, Gau doesn’t have an “Attack” command like anybody else does, he has the “Rage” command instead. When you use rage, you get to select the name of a monster (the avaiable monsters can be increased by using another ability Gau has, Leap, while playing in certain area of the game). After selecting the monster, Gau enters a berserk state where he gains all the attributes of that monster and every time he gets a turn, either uses a physical attack or a spell/ability tied to the monster being raged.

The Rage command in Walter/Gau’s battle prompt.

 

This allows Gau to perform an incredible amount of actions and cast some spells long before the party gets them. A few good rages I’ve discovered thorugh my LP were Templar (casts Fira and is always under Protect status), Stray Cat (uses Kitty Kick a really strong physical attack), Behemoth (casts Meteor) and finally Sleeping Lion (casts Fusion, always under Float, Haste, Shell, Protect, Invisible, absorbs all elements and is immune to all status ailments and to instant Death).

I’m sure that there are more powerful Rages out there, I’ve still got to do some research about it, but even with the afromentioned rages you can tell why rage is a powerful command.

2) Non-linear plot. I’ll try to avoid spoilers here, but Final Fantasy VI doesn’t have a really linear plot like games like other RPGs like Grandia do. I mean it does have a linear plot for a good half of the game, until a certain famous event happens. After that, you have to explore a couple of new cities, after which you could go immediately to the final boss, even though it would be almost impossible due to your team’s state. But you can freely explore the world to increase your team abilities via side missions until you feel strong enough to take on the final dungeon.

Cefca, one of the main villains of Final Fantasy VI tries to control the three Gods Of Battle

 

This second half of the game feels more like an open world RPG were you are given the freedom to explore and hardly anyone tells you what to do next. And I like that, felt even more open then Golden Sun: The Lost Age was when it tried to give the player more freedom by opening up the entire world map for free exploration.

Overall, Final Fantasy VI was a great adventure in the universe of Final Fantasy and while you all know I’m more into the “Earthbound-style” RPG rather then “Medieval-style” RPG, to me Final Fantasy VI was a mix of the two, taking some elements form both to create something new, yet with some old fashioned elements. If I had to make a remark about this game, it would be about the ending which didn’t satisfy me at all.

If there’s something about Final Fantasy games that I don’t like is their endings. I’ve played V, VI, VII, VIII and IX and the only one that fully satisfied me was IX’s. In Final Fantasy VI I was expectin either a very dark ending or a way more epic ending like IX’s. The final boss was indeed fun and felt like an epic fight, but then the ending wasn’t really what I was expecting to see.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it, on the opposite, I rank it my 2nd favorite after Final Fantasy VII.

Let’s Play’s stats:

-First episode aired on: Dic 6, 2016
-Last episode aired on: Jun 16, 2017
-Number of episodes: 62
-Total time of Let’s Play: 34 hours