Final Fantasy VI Advance
2007 (original version 1994)
Game Boy Advance
This is a GBA port of the game that was originally released in the United States as Final Fantasy III for Super NES. As far as I know, the GBA version is pretty much the same game but with a few glitch fixes and changes in the text translation. Anyway, the game . . .
I have previously played through Final Fantasy I-V and I would definitely give FFVI the prize for best 2D FF. FFVI is much less linear than the previous games, resulting in a lot more freedom to do what you want when you want, especially in the second half. The down side to this is that it took me a lot longer to beat than the previous FF’s. In fact, it took about 45 hours of playing time. Considering my short attention span, I definitely didn’t blaze through this one. Rather, I took SEVEN MONTHS to slooooooooowly make my way through although you could probably do it in just a few weeks.
Anyway, there is a large cast of characters that you can rotate in and out of your lineup. They do have specialties but they all have the potential to become good fighters, good magicians, whatever. So, if you want to be super safe in the final battles, you can level everyone up and make everyone a badass and a healer. This is where I sank a lot of my playing time, actually. In previous FF’s, I entered the final dungeons/battles underpowered and usually had to try over and over to beat them. This time around I spent way more time than necessary leveling everyone up and just coasted through to the end.
The music is pretty great and has a lot of variety. The designs are nice but typical 2D FF. The story is pretty detailed, deep and only slightly cheesy. Do it to it.
Conclusion: I can’t believe there are RPGs that are 2-3 times as long as this one.
SUPPOSEDLY, this game is the result of a collaboration with Steven Spielberg, credited as ‘creative director’. I don’t believe it. This game doesn’t bear ANY hallmarks of Spielberg’s past works, sensibilities, style, etc. Regardless, this is a pretty enjoyable game. The game consists of dozens of puzzles and scenarios that require to do various things with various items. Sometimes you throw baseballs or bowling balls, sometimes you fire a gun, sometimes you fling things around on a sticky string. You set off explosions, shoot goblins, collapse towers, so and soforth. As you might expect with the Wii, if you’re throwing a ball, then you use the Wiimote in a throwing motion.
Some of the puzzles are pretty clever and will require a lot of thought while other levels consist solely of reflex-based play. There are “worlds” with themes like “escort the Mitten Kittens home on Halloween without being killed by monsters”. These themes are just pretty ways of dressing up the gameplay to add visual variety. After awhile, things start to feel a bit too similar and interest wanes. There’s a party mode that I haven’t tried yet but this does definitely feel like a social type of game but by one’s self it’s better in spurts.
Conclusion: This is EA trying to be Nintendo/Namco/SEGA/etc.
I recently dug this game out of the closet after years and years of neglect. I used to play this game quite a bit and for good reason: it’s a very fun and challenging simulation of Australian rules football. Aussie rules is one of the few sports that’s as simple as soccer. The game basically consists of punching and punting a ball to your teammates attempting to score goals between giant uprights. Hard tackles are allowed. That’s about it. Sometimes the simple things are easiest to fuck up but this game pulls everything off most of the time. The kicking, the catching and running all work fine. Sometimes the punching (aka handballs) is pretty goofy, though, so I wouldn’t rely on it. Everything is fast and furious and the commentary is even decent for a 1998 game. Some aspects don’t work perfectly on Windows XP or Vista but the main game works fine.
Conclusion: EA should make new AFL games
This game is very clearly a port of a PC game that came out a couple years earlier and it shows. The players are very blocky for a PS2 game. Actually, the graphics look like PS1 but in higher resolution. The gameplay is decent but pretty jerky as the players move fairly unnaturally and take about 500 years to change directions (no Barry Sanders in this game). The breakdowns (the parts where big guys push each other around) are somewhat luck-based and frustrating. The one area where the game really shines is in the running game. If you can get a good series of passes going you can really do some damage. With all the faults, though, EA proved they could do much worse with the following year’s Rugby 2004, which changed everything and was awful.
For those that care, the modes in this game are 6 Nations, Tri-Nations and World Cup (but not the official licensed version of any of these tournaments).
Conclusion: Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.