Hello gamers! Welcome to week 8 of our 100 reviews in 100 days countdown! In case you’re just joining us for the first time; The Ultimate Gamer and Pwnrank have joined forces to bring you this top 100 list of games that you guys are actually talking about. Pwnrank has, in all their wisdom, found a way to scientifically sort out what the most talked about game is out there on the net. We, here at The Ultimate Gamer, have decided to tackle this thing head on and review each title on the top 100 list in 100 days. You’re welcome.
Roleplaying right into the 65 spot…
I have a weird relationship with the Final Fantasy games. I used to love them. Seriously, I was obsessed. The original Final Fantasy for the NES hooked me when I was a kid and I played pretty much every Final Fantasy released in the States up until FFX-2. That game basically killed the franchise for me. Yes, it is absolutely that terrible. Dress Spheres? Seriously, you fuckers? If you’re friends with someone that likes that game, stop being friends with them. Anyway, up until that abomination of a game, the series was always good. Sometimes it was phenomenal. And at its best, it hit heights that only a handful of RPGs could even think about aspiring to, let alone reaching. And Final Fantasy III was absolutely a peak. These days, I’m off the FF/JRPG bandwagon. Western studios are making better RPGs. That’s just a fact. But I’ll always have a soft spot for those Final Fantasy titles from the early 90s that turned me from a casual gamer into a complete convert.
Before we go any further, a quick word about this game’s title. The game we’re talking about here was originally released in the US as Final Fantasy III on the SNES in 1993, after having been released as Final Fantasy VI in Japan. It was later rereleased as Final Fantasy VI for the original Playstation and for Gameboy. Why, you might ask? Because if a JRPG isn’t confusing the shit out of you with its title, the developers apparently aren’t happy, thats why. You don’t name something Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel (and yes, that is the actual title of an actual game), unless on some level you really hate your audience. I’d be less offended if they just called the game “We Hope You Die In a Plane Crash.” At least those are real words. Point is, for the purposes of this article Final Fantasy VI will be called FFIII. That’s what I called it when I played it as a kid, and this is my review so we’re referring to the game my way. Eh? Eh? Eh.
THE JRPG CHECKLIST
Weirdly named characters? Check. A completely nonsensical plot? Check. Vaguely Steampunk-ish motif? Checkity check-check! In all honesty, I’m mostly kidding. I love this game, JRPG tropes and all. I still prefer Final Fantasy II for the SNES over this title, but that’s not a knock on FFIII. FFII is my Citizen Kane when it comes to video games. It’s in a class by itself. It’s not the best game I ever played, but it had more influence on me than any other game. So FFIII isn’t topping that. But that doesn’t mean that Terra, Gau, Cyan, Sabin and Mog don’t have a special place in my heart. FFIII is a top notch example of the Final Fantasy series doing what it does best, and that is taking an absolutely ridiculous plot and making you buy the whole thing without question. If you read this as a book, or someone told you about the plot… If your reaction was anything other than “That is literally the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, now hold still so I can punch you in your face-holes”, I’d seriously question your sanity. I’m not even going to bother trying to describe the plot because I’d need flowcharts, Venn diagrams, a protractor and a map of Portugal. Suffice to say that it’s pretty standard fare for a fantasy RPG. There’s an evil Empire, there are the Returners (rebels, because duh), they’re fighting each other, you’re caught in the middle, and then all the things happen to the stuff and you have to sort out the stuff and the things. What carries you through all of this is the solid mechanics, surprisingly good dialogue, and challenging combat. Sure, the combat is turn-based, but so was every RPG back in the day. We didn’t know any better, so at the time it felt fantastic. I can’t even play turn-based RPGs anymore. Not after Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. But in 1993? You went turn-based or you went home, damn it!
A BEAUTIFUL MESS
I’ll be brutally honest: If this game came out today, everyone would hate it. That’s true for a lot of the games on this list, frankly. Life in the gaming world moves really fast. 21 years is a god damn eternity. If you go back and look at the rave reviews, awards, and critical praise that FFIII received on its release, its praise for its plot, its characters, and its ability to make impactful choices. Well… here’s the thing; on their own, all those elements are awful. The characters are good but nothing too special, the plot is a hot mess, and the impactful choices were an illusion. But somehow, (and the hell if I know how they pulled it off), Square made this game more than the sum of its parts. Maybe that’s the most remarkable thing about it. It shouldn’t work. Yet it does. Should you play it? Yeah, you should. Last I saw you can get it on the Apple App Store for ten or fifteen bucks. Play it on your iPad, just to see this crazy explosion play out in front of you. And when you find yourself getting sucked in to something that you know is completely silly, don’t forget: I warned you. We’ll leave FFIII with a 4 out of 5.