Dearest Final Fantasy VI, you may not know who I am, you might not remember me. Many have coveted you, many have written about how amazing you are and I know you will long endure after I have gone! Many will desire you, many will claim they love you as I do, and though I do not question their devotion to you! There is one thing you must know! You are by far my Favourite Final Fantasy game! While I may look at other games and even enjoy spending time with other games a tiny bit more.. Know that while I may prefer to play Chrono Trigger over you.. You would be the game I say I LOVE more. And since It’s Steampunk month.. and you the correct setting.. I can write you this letter.
Dearest Final Fantasy VI, We have met so many times before! That time I rented you as a little kid, back when you were still called Final Fantasy III, that time I emulated you to be able to finish you for the first time when I had no other means. Back when you finally came out on GBA and I went through an ordeal to be reunited.. and when that Game Boy with your cartridge got stolen.. I downloaded you again to complete the story one more time. Then I finally downloaded you on PC as well, hoping I could see some cutscenes to no avail. We have met many times, on many platforms.. but somehow we are star crossed lovers. Each time you get closer I tend to lose you again.. such was the case when my laptop screen cracked. You are the game I had to restart so many times over.. I played the early areas of the game so often I can almost dream them. Yet I never felt any regret. Every battle we fought… every boss and every dungeon , no matter if I progress or not it is always a delight to be with you.
Having a caster as the game’s main character, was the breath of fresh air we needed in this series.. NAY! In the genre! Little games mirrored this, always favouring the humble knight. Yet by offering us the amazing Terra Bradford you have offered me my favourite protagonist in an MMO. Both in Gameplay and Story we can sense her progression in so much more than just damage numbers or her saving the world. Yet you also introduce us to a concept that no other Final Fantasy ..or other game did AS well as you. You make this a story about the entire cast.. and we can even choose who we think is worthy to accompany us to the end! Never felt so in control of my choices in a JRpg and few have rivalled you since! Your gameplay has been the most enjoyable in the franchise for me, every character feeling completely unique and I’ll even forgive you for Gau. Your gameplay is challenging but fair, requiring player interaction that involves more than switching one’s role.. and pressing X in time.
You managed to shape your gameplay around the story you wished to tell.. as a prelude of what is to come. You manage to caption personalities through gameplay.. like making the fist fighter.. feel like a character from a fighting game, making the wise and old samurai patient waiting for the perfect chance to strike and making the thief feel wiley and clever. The fabulous king works best if he has plenty of treasure.. and even…that wild thing gets stronger by spending time in the wild.. but let’s forget about him! Your narrative driven combat system, as a sign for what’s to come.. when we learn something about a character because you tell us.. we know this is correct because you tell us through gameplay. We know what characters are like.. because we feel what they are like.
Under Martial Law
My dearest game, one can not talk about you, without talking about the Steampunk esthetics you have, your worldbuilding filled with these wonderful gadgets. Once more brilliantly used to enhance your story. Where the level of technology offers us interesting abilities in Edgar’s class as a Machinist.. but also where the tech level offers us interesting dungeons and daring escapes. We follow the Story of Terra who is the last known mage. Magic has died because mankind has tried to encapsulate it within the technology of Magitech. To give us a feeling of grit and this technology you let us start the game with Terra enslaved by a crown that suppresses her free will.. powering a giant steampunk mech called Magitech armor. Without even playing as the real character yet.. we feel what type of world you are trying to build. The town of Narshe made of pipes and gears show us how this world is tied to the theme we are discussing this month. Enemies using hounds, shotguns and flying machines and these giant mechs do not only offer a great challenge that scales with us as we grow and let Terra join the resistance against the corrupted rulers of this land.
A journey that involves finding the spirits of the Espers.. an ancient race of powerful beings.. from another world close to the one we spend most of our time in begins. We discover more on how Terra has gotten her amazing magic powers.. at a price.. Yet for all magic, there is a magitech, for all creatures we fight there is a robot or a magitech armor.. a steampunk soldier. For every forest there is a factory and we visit cities where everything is in balance.. but we also visit places that lean more into magic and places that fit more into Steampunk.. there is balance.. but by having a world in balance we can also feel it when the story makes that balance shift. Our characters experience not a journey of just victories.. no Final Fantasy let’s us experience losses just as much.. maybe even more! In fact this game lets us experience the ultimate loss. This game let’s the bad guy win! However.. just because the bad guy wins does not mean we have lost! We do not only win, we also lose. So in a single game you manage to pack both ends of the gaming experience.. winning and losing.. but unite them as one!
You truly create an oppressed world.. but also a world we can rebuild… a world where our heroes desire things that have nothing to do with the fate of the world.. accept they do.. Later in the game our heroes have to choose between their personal lives.. and the fate of the world.. and you as a player have to steer their destiny so sometimes both can be an option. And while I wish I could leave Gau out of the story even the character I really dislike.. is someone I care about! I wish he wasn’t in the game.. I wish I did not have to care about him.. but yet I do! In a master stroke you even manage to make it arguable who is the main character of the game.. luckily both of the characters are among the top 5 female Jprg characters. So you have done so well in telling their tale and making this insanely balanced world.
Aria De Mezzo Caraterre
Oh My hero, my beloved,
I truly love Celeste her Part
This Love Never goes away, forever it is day
The opera scene stole my heart.
I lived in darkness, you were my starlight
Shining brightly from afar
In my time of despair, thank Arceus you were there
Thank you my evening Star.
My dearest Final Fantasy VI if I loved anything more about you then everything else it is your music. I never cry at music.. but when I heard Aria De Mezzo Caraterre be performed in front of me .. I was really happy I did not wear mascara. Celes Chere is a character that gives me goosebumps every time. We see her turn traitor to Emperor Gestahl when they treat her.. one of their generals as a sacrificial pawn. When Locke saves her.. she is empty..she doesn’t know who she is anymore so you decided.. to give her no musical theme. Every character has a musical theme.. but Celes has non.. and then during the Opera scene, where they are trying to draw the attention of an infamous sky pirate to be able to take the fight to Gestahl.. she has to sing about love.. an emotion she is not familiar with..but then her interactions with Locke.. make her find something in herself. After that is done Aria de Mezzo Caraterre becomes Celes, her theme is briljant Final Fantasy VI. I love you for it!
Yet I would not be AS in love with you if this was your only musical feat. After finding her theme Celes theme stays the same troughout her entire journey.. however everyone else theme changes. Locke’s theme ..the thief is upbeat and screams, plucky adventurer.. but when he encounters a person from his path who has befallen a grim faith that same theme is being played as a sad ballad. When Terra loses control over her body and turns into a monster for a bit her theme becomes warped… her theme mixed with something else. Every character has music that changes.. because that is their journey.. yet you make Celes an exception.. she starts without a theme and finds her sound along her journey.. she stays her course.. even if she has sad scenes.. the orginally version is a tragedy.. yet to celes it is also a song of strength.. so the song stays the same.. this is the best sound design I have seen in a video game.. I will admit you do not have my favourite theme of all time.. but you play with it the best. Even the music.. completely reflects the story. Even if your player does not understand the complex story themes.. you will offer them at least an understanding of the emotional load of a situation.. music bends to the narrative.. I love you for doing that.
The Black Mage, The Machinist, The Bard, The Samurai, the White Mage , The Thief and the Monk.. you would be one of the final games that brings so much class to these classes, while they are great in Final Fantasy Tactics and a realm reborn.. you are the game that gave these iconic classes a face. You to me are the pinnacle of what made the old games so great.. and what makes the story of the newer games so compelling. The Locke, Celes romance is my favourite in any JRPG it felt so earned and genuine.. you would e xpect the male lead to end up with the female lead such as in basically every other narative Final Fantasy game.. but no.. you offer us a romance.. that fits the games narrative more. And that is what I love about you so much.. you have interwoven everything in your story. You are not just a bunch of part, everything is at exactly the right place. Edgar would not be as interesting if you could reclass him, Terra’s theme would not be as amazing without it’s many reprises to reflect the story.. it never feels out of place. Nothing does. Not a single boss fight, not a single character that is not Gau. Well there is Setzer! But he is kinda cool as a person though.. just not as a character. Of course I love taking Mog along because I can never have enough cute things, though you might be able to miss him… he is such a good fellow kupo!
You are my pinnacle of Final Fantasy.. with only VII even coming remotely close.. and trust me.. when I say close.. it’s nowhere near still. I love the character designs.. except.. you know who.. I love your graphics.. even that weird cartoony pc look you also used for Mobile is oddly adorable.. and I love your villain. Kefka is such a great villain to top off a game that is already so amazing. His mania.. his evil.. .it hit so much more than say Sin, Sephiroth and Ultimecia combined. I felt like a kid watching a puppet show going … ooooh you get away now from that river… when Kefka poisoned the waters of Doma.. when Cyan Garamonde held the corpses of his family I cried. The only other villian that made me cry was Sephiroth.. but that was because I was sad.. I lost the pinkest playable character and girl. Here I cried because the mean and cruel Kefka was … the pain that so many would feel. His laughing sound….makes my skin crawl.. and not a single 16 bit game ever managed to do that. In fact.. .no game ever did this after…. in such a way. That is also why I love you probably most of any JRPG , you are not my favourite game.
You are a rollercoaster. Everytime I see the Garamonde family die I feel horrible, every time I have to get my party back.. I can not leave a single character behind because I love them all. With Chrono Trigger.. I feel content unlocking whatever end I want.. yet with you.. I need to do it all.. everytime.. I feel obligated.. When I see Celes suffer my heart breaks a little. When Terra is sad I feel sad. Your world is hard and cold, the steel and the factories are unforgiving. The snow, the deserts, the treacherous rapids, you put on an amazing Steampunk world.. but one that like most steampunk it isn’t an easy world to experience. There are moments of laughter, moments of sadness and moments of anger.. you offer the full package.. you feel like a real world.. a world I love.. but for a casual bit of fun.. you are kind of too good! Never will a steampunk game ever take your place.. but who knows.. maybe during Steampunk month you will get some rivals.. I hope you do.. not because I want to see you detroned but I because I love you so.. and I want to experience that feeling once more.