‘Final Fantasy VI’ is a classic, but not on smartphones

Android
Android

Title: “Final Fantasy VI”

Platform: SNES, PS1, GBA, Android, iOS

Developer: Square Enix

Release Date: Oct. 20, 1994 (Jan. 25, 2014 for Android)

Rating: 5

Super NES
Super NES

 

Make no mistake: “Final Fantasy VI” is a landmark of the gaming medium. Its characters had unprecedented depth for the time, the soundtrack blows the minds of all who hear it even today, and the tale is a classic, cautionary story of mankind ascending into godhood. Many fans even rank it among the best in the “Final Fantasy” series, or even among the best games ever made.

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It’s with a heavy heart, then, that I recommend against picking up the recent re-release on the App Store and Google Play. The release is littered with bugs, typos and new artwork that is detrimental to the experience as a whole.

The game’s famous story takes cues from diverse sources such as “Star Wars,” “The Legend of Zelda” and even the biblical Book of Genesis. One thousand years after the War of the Magi, a fierce war that robbed the world of all magic, the Gestahlian Empire seeks to restore magic again. The story, at first, revolves around Terra, a mysterious girl with magical powers as she is juggled between the Empire and a rebellion crew known as the Returners. Both forces of this political struggle fight on, unaware of the consequences that magic will bring to the world.

It’s a timeless tale, but it’s the characters that bring it to life and give the game its own identity. They were fleshed out, played off of each other well, and brought enough levity with them to make the game’s drama more genuine. When the game was first released in 1994, a story and cast as deep as this was never seen before, and it was one of the first games to be on par with novels or operas in terms of emotional depth. Even today, it still remains a masterpiece.

However, the Android and iOS versions muck it up with issues like new translations (which result in obvious typos), ugly new character sprites and the worst sin that any mobile developer could commit: always-online digital rights management.

That’s right: if players don’t have a reliable 3G or higher connection, and aren’t connected to Wi-Fi, they won’t be able to continue their adventure. That means players who don’t use mobile data must be tethered to Wi-Fi hotspots as they play, which is a death knell when it comes to portability.

There are better ways to experience this title, even on the go. For those with PlayStation Portables or PlayStation Vitas, the game is available at a lower price with better graphics, a better translation and the ability to play offline. And for players with hardware old enough, there’s even a Game Boy Advance version out there.

If a smartphone or tablet is your only gaming device, then by all means, pick up “Final Fantasy VI,” because it’s a masterpiece of the gaming medium that no game enthusiast should be without. But for those with any other gaming system, there are better versions out there for lower prices.