Square Enix, known for its enduring commitment to re-releasing classic Final Fantasy games, delighted fans with the initial announcement of the re-release of Final Fantasy I-VI for iOS, Android, and PC. Unveiled during E3 2021, this release features pixel-art graphics for in-game character sprites, faithfully replicating the original visuals of these beloved titles. Unlike previous re-releases that introduced additional content1 these versions aim to remain true to the originals, focusing solely on graphical and audio upgrades.
For fans like me, this presents a long-awaited opportunity to experience the original games as intended, now enhanced with upgraded graphics and music. Since the arrival of Final Fantasy on iOS and Android, I had hoped for precisely this type of re-release.
Instead, the versions of Final Fantasy V and VI on these platforms were visually underwhelming, with poor character designs that resembled designs made in tools like RPG Maker, rather than what was expected from Square Enix’s considering their reputation.
Among the updated versions, Final Fantasy VI stands out, showcasing subtle yet impactful improvements. Details that were previously overlooked become more prominent, such as the introductory scene where two Imperial soldiers and Terra scale the mountains surrounding Narshe. In this version, you can now clearly see the town of Narshe below, which was present in the original but not as noticeable.
However, one aspect that puzzled me in this release was the reimagined opera scene from Final Fantasy VI. It adopts a style reminiscent of Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy, featuring a blend of 2D and 3D elements. Additionally, Square Enix took a unique approach by enlisting actual opera singers to perform the vocal part of this scene, adding a touch of authenticity.
This re-release also marks the first time that Final Fantasy III has been made available in a form that closely resembles its original incarnation, as the only version we had previously received was the 3D remake that introduced a lot of new content to the game.
Despite its exciting features, this release does have a couple of downsides. Firstly, it took nearly two years for the version to be available on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles. To make matters worse, the physical version was exclusively sold on Square Enix’s online store and sold out within minutes of its pre-order availability.
Another drawback is the difficulty level of the games. For some reason, Square Enix chose to make this version of the game relatively easy before considering quality of life improvements, such as disabling random encounters or providing increased experience points.
As a long-time fan, I can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment each time Square Enix re-releases classic Final Fantasy titles, and although it received some love in this release, Final Fantasy VI seems to be left behind when it comes to receiving a proper remake. While Final Fantasy III and IV have been remade, Final Fantasy VI remains overlooked. The presence of the upgraded opera scene raises questions - is it simply fan service or a teaser for something more to come? Only time will tell.
Some of the content added in previous re-releases of these games:
Final Fantasy I - Soul of Chaos, four additional dungeons that are thematically tied to each of the four elements, each cave has bosses that are from Final Fantasy III through VI.
Final Fantasy II - Soul of Rebirth dungeon where you can play as the characters that passed away during the events of the original game culminating in battling a different shade of the final boss.
Final Fantasy III - The entire 3D remake added personalities to the main cast which was not present in the original.
Final Fantasy IV - The extra dungeon on Mount Ordeals where youcan unlock the final weapons of the other characters (Edward, Yang,Palom, Porom, Cid) that can be used. The 3D remake also introduced new bosses such as a more difficult Giant of Babil or Geryon (the manifestion of the four fiends’ malice).
Final Fantasy V - The Sealed Temple which houses Enuo, who is alluded to as being a warlock who tried to harness the power of the Void and was defeated a thousand years prior to the events of Final Fantasy V. This area also features harder versions of Shinryu and the Omega machine. There are also 4 additional jobs that be gained here.
Final Fantasy VI - Dragon’s Den and Soul Shrine, the former is a new dungeon where you can acquire the final weapons for specific characters, for instance Save the Queen is a weapon that only Celese can equip. As part of this dungeon the player faces off against strategically more difficult versions of the 8 dragons (for instance one of the dragons cannot be defeated using conventional means and you have to drain it of MP to defeat it) culminating in facing the Kaiser Dragon and eventually the Omega Weapon who is the most difficult boss in the game. The Soul Shrine is pretty much a challenge where you try to complete 128 battles with pauses in between. ↩︎