So we've hit another big one.
Final Fantasy VI.
Often claimed to be the best numbered game in the franchise. This game featured a staggering cast of playable characters. Over a dozen unique characters will join your party. Unlike previous games though, you will be able to switch them out almost at will. (whereas in previous games your party was pretty much locked in as the plot dictated).
No normally this many characters can seem overwhelming or even excessive, but this game weaves them all into the narrative well. Each individual character has their own personality and backstory. This was a pretty impresive feat to accomplish without voice acting to give you a distinction between them.
Starting off as a pawn for the Empire, Terra, a strange girl who can use Magic, an art lost for ages. This sets up a story touches on the topics of knowing who you are, the burden of free-will and expectations, and a little bit about family values.
The infamous Kefka is the primary villain in this game. He's a psychopath who holds no qualms about doing anything for power. Seriously, the lengths this man will go to is sometimes startling. Everyone around him are his pawns in his eyes.
If you take one thing away from this, it's this: Play this game. Shut up, listen to me. Play this game. This game is a piece of work. This is the type of game that makes me play games. I can put up with the endless re-releases of games, yearly Call of Duty, and flops like Duke Nukem for a game like this.
Seriously, do it.
Also, the soundtrack is one of the best in gaming. The melodies fit very well with the game. Very memorable.
Final Fantasy VII
Hoooo boooy, what have we here. The game that brought the series in full force to America. The first Final Fantasy to go into depth (graphically)
Final Fantasy VII builds off some things that Final Fantasy VI brought into the fold. The Magicite system from VI for character improvement returns revamped as the Materia system. The desperation limit breaks from VI become more common as Limit Breaks become their own meter to fill. And Kefka is renamed Sephiroth. I kid I kid.
This game was so huge, it spawned at least 4 spinoffs. The first one that comes to mind is Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, a delayed sequal to the original that has you play as Vincent in a Third-Person Shooter/action game. The CGI Movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is another sequel to the game. Then we have Crisis Core, a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, that puts the player in the head of Zack Fair, the main who helped shape Cloud into who he is in the base game. Another one that gets an honorable mention is Last Order, an anime short that takes place before the events of the game.
So yeah... the game is popular.
The thing is... I don't think it's as good as Final Fantasy VI.
I kind of want to replay it to see if I can notice some extra subtlety in it, or something. But for now, it's not as good as VI to me.
The story is good. A heroic sacrifice or two never hurts. It's always nice seeing a villain descend into madness though. And boy, does Sephiroth have that in spades. It's great that's he's just not balls-out crazy right away. Well, he is a little crazy, but he gets even more so as the game proceeds.
Also the game has some of the more notorious optional bosses. Ruby and Sapphire Weapon can either be a pain in the ass, or easy, depending on if you know how to abuse the system.
We're getting to the point where I would recommend the games I'm writing about, so I don't want to type too much about the plot. So go play these two... Do it.