Hello and welcome back to the latest edition of “The Silent Protagonist” my little corner of cyberspace where I get to rant and rave about my favourite genre of gaming. For those of you new to my series, I talk pretty much about Role Playing Games, mostly ones that come out of Japan, minus a brief stint on Mass Effect…

Anyway – as I promised in my last blog, I’m going to talk about Final Fantasy VI.

 Kefka and Terra

I first had the pleasure of playing Final Fantasy VI in 2002, when it was ported onto the PlayStation, random note as usual here’s a random fact you didn’t want or need to know; my parents bought it for me as a congratulations on getting into “big school.”  Also. Urgh. That was over a decade ago.

Because every game needs an insane, magic wielding antagonist

When I first played Final Fantasy VI, I found it extremely difficult, so much in fact that I never completed it until a few years ago. Who knew it was just a matter of grinding and patience?

The story follows Terra, one of my favourite characters across the Final Fantasy series. Due to a near cataclysmic war a thousand years ago, magic has been extinguished from the world. Eighteen prior to the beginning of the story, the Empire managed to capture beings of magic, known as Espers. The Empire then used the Espers as an energy source, which enabled them to create “Magitek Armour,” giant mechanical machines that are able to use Magic. They also infused humans with magical energy from Espers; the first experiment resulting in Kefka. While the experiment was a success and Kefka was able to use magic, it made him insane. Because every game needs an insane, magic wielding antagonist.

However, Terra can somehow use this mysterious force naturally. Just who – or what – is Terra? What craziness does Kefka scheme?

Final Fantasy VI boasts many things, having the largest roster of playable characters in any mothership title, the most difficult (for me at least anyway) and also quite possibly the longest as well. Again, maybe I was just really slow at this one. I just booted up my PS3 and my current save is at fifty hours and I’m not even half way yet.

Despite having the largest roster of characters, some of them are quite possibly the worst characters I’ve seen in any game. Gau, who only learns new abilities in one particular area of the world, known as the Veldt. When you select his ability “Rage” he uses a selection of abilities he’s learnt from monsters. Sounds awesome? You can’t control him – or the abilities he uses. Chocolate teapot right there folks. Relm, is an artist whose special ability is “Sketch,” and most of the time, her ability fails as the enemy is too difficult to draw. An artist who can’t draw, that’s just fantastic! Gogo, a mimic who can only use the “Mimic” command – however he has rubbish stats! And Umaro, a yeti who is under the permanent “berserk” status. Who wants a character you can’t control in your team?

Everyone

Anyway, like some of the other titles, magic isn’t exclusive to certain characters. At the start of the game it is, with only Celes and Terra being able to cast.  However, once you find some Espers, you can equip them as “Magicite.” Each Esper has a set of spells that every character can learn, and once you equip them, you’ll start earning “Magical AP” at the end of battles, as well as EXP and gil. Each spell has an “Acceleration Rate,” which determines how fast your character learns a particular spell. For instance, Ramuh teaches “Thunder x10, Thundra x2, Poison x5” so for every AP point you earn in battle, you’ll earn 10AP for Thunder, 2AP for Thundra and 5 for Poison. Once you earn 100AP for any given spell, that character learns the spell and can use it, regardless of the Magicite equipped.

Long story short, Final Fantasy VI, is awesome and you should play it.

In other news this week, both Tales of Symphonia Chronicles and Final Fantasy X & X-2 became available for preorders! With release dates being February 28th for the former, and March 21st for the latter.

Anyway, have a good couple of weeks folks and when I come back I’ll pick on another Final Fantasy… I guess I’ll have to choose VII…

…To Be Continued…