Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Final Fantasy Anthology
Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:
Well, these graphics were state of the art on the SNES. Beyond state of the art, actually -- a lot of us boggled that FFVI could really be on our little 2mHz machine. But it was. Nowadays, the graphics seem rather outdated, but who cares? You don't play Final Fantasy V and VI for the little sprites. And the games will surprise you nonetheless with beautiful scenes. They may not be rendered, but they're still gorgeous. The FMVs are really nice, but really serve no purpose other than eye candy. The sound, however, is wonderful. The music is the same great music from the SNES (well, let's cut to the chase, so I don't have to repeat myself -- EVERYTHING is like it was on the SNES), and FFV and FFVI have had some of the best soundtracks of any game ever made. Period. You'll be looking for the little symphony orchestra hiding inside your PlayStation at times, especially in FFVI. The sound effects are cheesy at times, but more than passable. But remember, folks -- these games are pretty old. It's not about the graphics, right? It's about the...

My God, my God, do these two games have some gameplay. The first is Final Fantasy V, never before released in North America. It's a pretty standard fare from the plot side, with the rather typical team-saves-the-world schtick (although no other schtick has ever had such a cool guy as Gilgamesh, but I digress...), but where its strength lies is in the class-based gameplay. Your characters can be assigned different 'classes,' which they train in and learn the abilities of. You can have a Black Mage that can also use swords, or a Fighter that can heal. It's a wonderfully complex system, one that makes random battles all the more rewarding, and something I've tinkered around with for hours on end. Coupled with great gameplay and, well, Gilgamesh, Final Fantasy V is worth the price of this set alone.

And then there's Final Fantasy VI. Often lauded as the best RPG ever made (a distinction I have to give to Final Fantasy IV, but FFVI is number two in my book), gameplay has never got as engrossing as it did in this game. It is the story of a multitude of souls, from a young girl whose paintings come alive, to a randy king; but in truth it is the story of Terra, a girl with an unknown past and a cloudy future. The story will engross you for more than 30 hours, easy. The gameplay will suck you in, with the Esper system of learning spells one of the most interesting ideas ever (and one widely copied by almost every RPG after FFVI). And the graphics are gorgeous in their own right. I worshipped this game back on the SNES, and it's fully worshippable now.

One of the excellent additions to the games is a Memo Save slot, which doesn't save to the memory card, but which stays after a soft reset. This allows you to try out things and quickly reload your position if it doesn't work out, such as going inside the Zone Eater in FFVI, or the Sunken Tower in FFV. Good job, Square! And damned good job, for daring to bring these games over anyway.

Oh, yes, I'd also like to mention that Ted Woolsey's translation of FFVI is inarguably one of the tightest RPG translations ever made. Period. Read it and wish that all other recent Sony/Square releases were that readable.

And then there's a music CD chock full of groovy tracks from the games. Not the best tracks, but still, it comes with it, for free! How can you resist?

Well, if you're a classic RPG fan and you level build like a mad bastard, these games are pretty easy, FFVI more so. But, like all classic RPGs, you get what you put into them. Spend hours building levels, and you'll be able to breeze through the game. Don't, and you have considerably more of a challenge.

Game Mechanics:
The controls are just as tight as they were on the SNES, which was plenty tight. There's really nothing that can be improved here -- the menuing system is at its pinnacle in these two games, with maximum information and minimal clutter. I can't rate this Anthology highly enough, really. FFV's translation is a little weak at times, and for that I dock it a percentage point or two, but if you've ever loved RPGs in your life, or want to see a piece of video game history, or own a PlayStation at all, get this Anthology. You will never, ever regret it.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.