Thoughts on Final Fantasy VI – Balance and Ruin

The year is 2019 and I have finally completed Final Fantasy VI.

Was it worth the fifteen years of hype?

(Note: Even though this game is pretty old, this post does not include story spoilers, but does discuss the second half of the game).

I really enjoyed the first half of the game in the World of Balance. Prior to playing the game, I did find it a bit odd that there wasn’t a main character or main protagonist, but it works out really well. I loved the branching story lines and seeing what all the characters were doing in different parts of the world. It feels more interesting than having a whole bunch of characters in one party that move as one whole without ever splitting up.

This game has a lot of characters. I’m not sure if I can really think of another game with this many playable characters. There’s 14 characters, each with their own little gimmick. As far as I can tell, three of them are conpletely optional and you can go the entire game without ever encountering them once.

To be honest, there were definitely parts where I felt like there were too many characters. Some of the gimmicks felt useless.

I rarely ever used Cyan’s Bushido past stage 1. Relm’s Sketch/Control was fun to play with, but was very useless in comparison to just using raw magic. I felt the same way with Strago’s Lore as well.

I found magic to be really powerful and it was fun playing around with and collecting espers.

The World of Balance has a relatively linear storyline. There are parts where you have several options to choose from, but you have to do each of them eventually. So you’d have three parts but you can pick the order to tackle them in. I really liked the World of Balance. The story is a major highlight. The characters and their interactions are interesting and endearing.

I still enjoyed the World of Ruin, but I felt quite underwhelmed.

The World of Ruin is very open ended. Once you get the airship back, which happens fairly early on, you can go almost anywhere. The World of Ruin doesn’t have much of an overarching story – it instead revolves around a large pile of small stories and quests.

You get to go around the world and re-recruit each party member. You get to learn about what they were doing during the timeskip and for some, you learn about their past and motivations.

However, since your party can consist of any four characters you want, the dialogue you have with the to-be-recruited character is done with generic party quotes. As above, there’s not really a character talking with Cyan, it’s just a generic statement. So for the most part, all of th character interactions are gone. There are still some moments here and there that shine through but for the most part it seemed lost.

Since there’s not much of a overarching story, you don’t really see the main villain until the very very end once you’ve finished exploring the world. However, when you finally do, it’s amazing.

That being said, I did really like all the individual quests while going around recruiting everyone and becoming really overpowered. Terra became an absolute beast by the end of the game.

I think I’d slot this as my second favorite Final Fantasy game (first being FF9). However, I’m not sure how much of that favoritism is based in nostalgia.

Th soundtrack is stunning and A+ all around. I ramble about the music of Final Fantasy in this blog post.

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