Crafting The Perfect Final Fantasy Game

CHARACTERS: Final Fantasy VI

I often joke with friends of mine about how later Final Fantasy games have all grouped their characters into the same bunch. There’s always the stoic main character (Cloud, Squall, Lightning,) the shy girl that ends up being pretty important (Aerith, Garnet, Yuna, Serah,) the bodyguard for the shy girl (Auron, Kimahri, Steiner, Snow,) the incredibly annoying girl (Rikku, Selphie, Vanille,) and the list goes on and on. So, if the later games all fell into bad stereotypes and the earlier games didn’t have incredibly definitive and memorable characters yet, which set is best? The answer is clearly Final Fantasy VI.

Not only does VI have the most playable characters of any game in the series, it also has the most unique and memorable ones. You have Terra, who’s the half-human/half-esper girl that’s been in captivity for much of her young life as a military weapon. You have Locke, the touchy thief treasure hunter. There’s Edgar, the proper king of Figaro and his unconventional brother Sabin, who’s an expert in martial arts. Then you have the battle hardened Cyan, the rabid child Gau, the hopeless gambler Setzer, the mysterious Shadow, among others. VI was the rare occurrence where I actually cared about every single character. Most other games in the series have at least one or two characters that are completely useless or often ignored. Final Fantasy VI didn’t do that.

VILLAIN: Garland (Final Fantasy)

Now, I know a bunch of you are probably infuriated I’m not picking Sephiroth, Kefka or Seifer, but they all wish they could become as badass and evil as the very original villain, Garland.

Garland used to be a high-ranking soldier in the royal army of Cornelia. After a fall from grace, he kidnapped Princess Sarah and demanded that the king give him control of the land in exchange for the princess’ freedom. Garland was foiled by the four warriors of light, and left for dead inside the Chaos Shrine. Out of pure spite, Garland travels back in time and transports four fiends from the past to the present. In turn, those fiends use the body of Garland in order to resurrect Chaos, the God of Destruction. What results is one of the most amazing final boss fights in the history of video games.

Garland’s pure will for revenge and destruction makes him the baddest guy for the job.

ENVIRONMENT DESIGN: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Now, I realize this is kind of cheating because, at the time of this writing, I’ve played Final Fantasy XIII-2 and you haven’t. However, if you’ve been paying attention to the trailers and concept art that we’ve been posting here, you know that the art direction and the level design is absolutely gorgeous.

What I love most about the setting in the game is its level of variety. Because of the time travel mechanic, you can go from a futuristic city pulled right out of The Jetsons to the trademark idyllic endless green fields with enemies prancing about to ruins of an old civilization you visited in the story six hours ago. It’s a brilliant excuse to see just how creative the level designers can get.

But you’ll have to wait for my full review next week to find out more.

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