Review by UltimaterializerX

Reviewed: 05/26/05 | Updated: 09/27/10

Square manages to nearly ruin one of the best games ever made, and tries equally hard to ruin a title we've never seen before

As the Playstation was nearing the end of its lifespan, Squaresoft decided to release a wave of remakes for those of us unlucky enough to have missed playing some of the more classic titles in their Final Fantasy series. The first such release was Final Fantasy Anthology, and Square couldn't have started off on worse footing in terms of setting the tone for future remake releases.

To put it simply, both games are damn near unplayable. They're an absolute travesty to the games they they represent, and the only redeeming factor in either of them are the bonus movies and the fact that we've never seen Final Fantasy V officially released in the United States. Other than that, the only reason to play either one of these games is if you have zero chance of getting access to the originals.

Though Final Fantasy V was never released in the United States, if this is the only way we were meant to have access to it, it was probably better left alone in the first place. Unlike the future success that would be Final Fantasy Chronicles, Square looked like they had no clue what they were doing when they translated and rewrote this game for an American release. Part of this was likely due to there being no true English release of the game beforehand, but most was likely due to idiotic translators who make the Final Fantasy Tactics team look like Mensa members. The script and story of Final Fantasy V are fairly bland and linear enough as is, but a bad job in translation makes a lot of bad characters even worse. Bartz comes off as one of the worst leads ever made, and his running mates don't look a whole hell of a lot better. Horrendous job on the game script all around, though Final Fantasy V does redeem itself somewhat with some very good gameplay.

The script of the game may be deplorable, but everything else about FFV remains in tact, specifically the gameplay and job system. There are over 20 job classes in Final Fantasy V, and they make FFV's battle system one of the better systems in the series. As big a joke as this game's script is, at least FFV is strong in other areas that makes the game playable. It has the standard lag that comes with a cartridge to CD switch, but nothing overbearing. Overall, though neither game is particularly enjoyable most of the time as you play the game, if there is a bright side, it would be Final Fantasy V. Most people have never seen the game before, and if you're able to look past the joke of a translation and the linear, boring plot, you leave yourself with a battle system that is almost worth the price of admission.

However, the same cannot be said about Final Fantasy VI's remake. Seriously, the remake of this game is such a god-awful joke that if you somehow manage to clear the game, you deserve a purple heart. It is that bad. The first thing you'll notice is the horrible lag in nearly every part of the entire game, but to be fair, this is expected on SNES to CD remakes. The problem is that in all four games remade in Final Fantasy Chronicles and Final Fantasy Anthology, Final Fantasy VI's lag is by far the worst and most noticeable. There is lag before battles, lag after battles, lag in the menus, lag when leaving and entering towns, lag when entering commands in battle, lag when watching commands in battle, as well as lag in nearly every other part of the game to such a high degree that the game becomes less of a game and more a stress test as you go along. You can read this review in the time it takes for a battle in this version of FF6 to load.

Oh, but it gets worse. As bad as the lag in the game is, the audio is even more of a joke, specifically in battle. There are a ton of battle commands that come from both ally and enemy that you'll either barely hear or not hear at all, and when this is paired with the game's lagging, you're left with a version of Final Fantasy VI that isn't even good enough to be called a shell of its original form. There are a couple of bright sides to the game, but not nearly enough to warrant playing through the game in the first place. If a couple of bonus movies and extra features after the game's completion are worth it to you, then by all means, play your heart out. However, I maintain that you'll have more fun in a dentist's office than you will playing this monstrosity.

The truly sad thing is that Final Fantasy VI is one of the greatest games ever made, but you wouldn't be able to tell by playing Final Fantasy Anthology. Final Fantasy V winds up being the high point of FFA's release, but it's by default more so than actual quality. Both games are a giant disappointment all around, and you're honestly better off getting the SNES versions of the game; granted this requires you to spend years learning Japanese, but even that's more appealing than playing this.

Since the release of Final Fantasy Anthology, both of these games were ported to the Game Boy Advance. GBA games are easily accessible, so just get those if you must play these two titles and forget FFA ever happened.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Product Release: Final Fantasy Anthology (US, 09/30/99)

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