Backlog Report – May 2022

Holy Mayflowers Batman! What the hell happened to May!? One moment I’m celebrating that it’s finally May, and the next thing I know June is here. I swear the moment you finish grade school or college, time means nothing anymore and everything becomes a standard affair until something life changing happens that slows down time again. I’m still searching for my next big life changing moment; but I have a feeling that something will shake things up next year.

While May was a blur to me, there are some blog related items that I did accomplish. For starters, the blog has a fresh new coat of paint on it. I was growing tired of the old look for a while and wanted to make things more “pleasant.”  The only thing that I’m meh about is that I can’t change the background color to a slightly less bright white. Despite there being a setting to change the background color, it doesn’t work for me for some reason. Other than that, the banner is temporary until I get off my lazy arse and create one myself. I appreciate any feedback.


Finished This Month

Final Fantasy V Advance

Didn’t have my capture device set up

Continuing my playthrough of all the mainline Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy V is the newest title to graduate from the backlog. Final verdict. It’s not one of my favorites. There was a lot with this game that did not intrigue me to pay attention half the time. The story is basic and only has a few standout moments. The job system in this game is fine, but once you know what skills you want each character to have, there is little point in trying out other classes if you are trying to master the ones you need. It’s not that long of a game, so grinding job points could be seen as a way to pad the game out. If that is the case, then it only makes the game even more boring since the focus is on the job system and not the characters or story. I will congratulate FFV for being so bland that it made me appreciate FFIV way more than I ever had (it was originally one of my least favorite FF games).

Elden Ring

Rise ye Tarnished. I’ve gone from maidenless to Elden Lord in record time for one of these games. I thought this game would take me months to finish based on my track record from Bloodbourne and Dark Souls. I think my play style and familiarity helped carry me through all the new challenges in this stupidly big world. Playing this alongside a friend was also the drive that kept me playing for weeks. I didn’t realize how much fun I was having with this game until I beat the final boss and my friend asked if I wanted to create a new character and play it over again. Elden Ring is the type of game that you can replay multiple times since there are so many character builds that you can experiment with and items to try out. You can even be like me and explore places that you completely missed on the first journey! So far this game is tied for my game of the year, and it’s going to be hard to decide which one will come on top.


Added and Finished This Month *New Section*

*I needed a new section for games that I buy and actually finish in the month I purchase it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does find it in this section!

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

Have you played anything that sounds ridiculous on paper, but actually works in some crazy manner? Well I played Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin so that you don’t have to. Silly jokes aside, I found myself enjoying this game even though I had no idea what was going on half the time. SoP takes aspects of the Nioh games and Dark Souls by making the combat all about action while having the punishment and patience to learn the mechanics. The game attempts to fill in the holes to its story by finding lore orbs(?) in the game and put the pieces together about how the Luferians are assholes and reset the world for their pleasure. I would be upset with their explanation on how Garland came to be, but then I remember that the original Final Fantasy had the flying tech fortress and time travel to defeat Chaos. The series has always been weird so just embrace the weirdness from time to time. I want to get the platinum trophy, but it requires a second playthrough on Chaos difficulty and I only have time for so much patience these days.


New Additions This Month

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

I have always wanted to join a tabletop RPG game. It has been an interest for some time, but living in an area where no one hosts games is an issue (I would have to travel at least an hour away). Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is far from a compromise, but so far it has highlighted what makes TTRPGs so much fun to play. The quest lines, unexpected twists and turns, and having a good time with the people you are playing with is what makes these games entertaining. The Borderlands formula also complements TTRPGs to the point where nothing feels out of place despite being based around a fantasy game. Kat and I have been streaming this game over on her Twitch channel every Wednesday. Just excuse us for being rusty at the whole streaming thing.

Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 2

This is a collection that I’ve been waiting for. Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 2 contains two games: Makai Kingdom: Reclaim and Rebound & Z. H. P.: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman. I remember really enjoying Makai Kingdom even though it is a bit dated these days. That doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable game and funny writing as you watch the strongest being in the universe defend his title while stuck in a book. Z.H.P completely missed my radar when it first came out, but I was hooked after the tutorial. It is some of Nippon Ichi’s best comical writing with a premise that makes fun of the whole Super Sentai/tokusatsu genre. I didn’t know before playing, but the game is actually a rougelike RPG that uses the same tactical grid set up from the Disgaea series. I will have to sit and finish this game since it is too funny and stupid to not finish.

Cruis’n USA

Oh look. More N64 games. Acquiring Cruis’n USA completes the racing N64 games that me and my brother enjoyed playing. It has been a while since I’ve played this game, but nostalgia is a terrible disease and I’m sure I will enjoy this game again nevertheless.

Kingdoms and Castles

Now here is a surprise. I felt the urge to boot up my PC after what feels like a three month hiatus from it. While deciding on what to play on it, I discovered this game on the Steam store page. It has been a while since I’ve played a strategy, city building game, and this was charming enough for me to investigate.

I have become addicted to this game. There are so many mechanics in this game that keep your attention busy at all times. Peasants are needy peasants who need everything from you and the world. Dragons and Vikings will attack your village at certain times and will always outsmart you depending on where you set up your defenses, and the Witch will be your best friend if you tell your peasants to work harder! And this is only on the beginner difficulty! The Kingdom of Dommy has seen lots of hardship in the 100 years, but has sense sabled itself to a functioning city. With the acquisition of the Isle of Mommies, the kingdom is starting to grow exponentially and we are better prepared for Viking attacks. I have no idea what other ordeals are waiting for us, but it is equally exciting and terrifying. I know at higher difficulties there are A.I. kingdoms that you can interact with and could work with you or invade you. I’m serious when I say that this has become one of my favorite games that I’ve played this year.


Currently Playing

I am currently in the flux of deciding what I should finish next. Trails of Cold Steel IV is the obvious choice since I have been pushing that aside for a while now. I may have to strap myself in and just finish it once and for all. My problem is that I’m trying to accomplish as much as I can on the first playthrough so that my list of tasks are simpler during the Nightmare runs. I am on act three part 1 out of 4, with two shorter acts afterwards. I know I should just focus on the story and do all the quests in another playthrough, but when the side content does a lot to flesh out the world and characters, it is hard to ignore them sometimes.

Kingdoms and Castles will be on the daily rotation. Since it does not demand a lot of resources, I can easily play this on my laptop and continue the harvest wherever I go (now I have to consider a SteamDeck). Elden Ring isn’t quite over yet since another friend has the game and we will be cooperating to help him get through it. Like I said before, Tina Tiny Wonderlands will be every Wednesday until we finish that game. The only other thing calling me at the moment is my DS/3DS collection. It has been a while since I’ve finished something on the handheld, so maybe that time is now. I don’t know. Something will come along.


Blog Update

By my records, I managed to post at least one item per week. This is a goal that I’ve been trying to work myself up to, and I think it wouldn’t have been possible without the many topics that I’ve started and slowly worked on. I have nine finished games that I still need to talk about, some fun posts that I’ve wanted to write, and more stories about certain games in my collection. I hope I can keep my productivity high while still improving my writing. Be on the lookout for two new Backlog Tales, a post about some of the games announced over the month, and a special post for a special day.


And that is all that I have for this month. Thank you for reading and your support!

Name That Tune! – EXP Share #7

Music is an important factor of my life. I started playing music at age nine in my fifth grade band and stayed in the music program up to my senior year. I remember in my junior year of high school, I told my mom that I had no interest in becoming a doctor anymore, and wanted to go to college to study music instead. A normal parent might have said that was a terrible idea, but my mom is super cool and always supportive of my decisions. So after high school, I went to college to study music full time…and quickly noticed that I was unlike most of the other students. As a music major, it was expected that you would be familiar with classic composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Scarlatti, Chopin, and current composers. Everyone also had their favorite genre of music from rock, pop, jazz, etc.; and our professors would expect us to know different aspects of each genre even before coming to college. That is where my oddity came in as my favorite music didn’t come on the radio or featured on top billboard charts that everyone was familiar with. My favorite music came from video games.

I remember my high school band director always turning down my pleas for playing band arrangements of popular game tunes. Their obvious response was that we did not have the instrumentation to play some of the things, but the harshest response they ever gave me was that video game music wasn’t “real” or good music. It wasn’t an uncommon thing for someone that old (I think they were in their 30s) with no concept of video games outside of the “beeps and boops” to say something like that. That comment made me upset (as it should have) to the point I wanted to question their music degree since they must have missed the lesson that all music is music regardless if you like it or not. This mindset didn’t end for me in high school. While my collegemates would talk about their favorite artist and music they listened to, some would raise an eyebrow when I would mention that my favorite genre were soundtracks from video games. I couldn’t begin to tell you who wrote some of the most well-known music out their, or who is currently trending. What I can tell you however is when one song plays at a particular part in a game just by listening to the first few notes of the song.

Video game music is my forte. What makes these soundtracks so great is that they come in various genres and follow the same basic music theory principles that all music follows. Take Final Fantasy XIII’s soundtrack for example. Most of the tracks follow the form of theme and variations (you establish a main theme and then create different variations around that theme). Even before that, the Tetris theme A-Type is taken from a Russian folk-song that originated in 1861. To say a folk-song is not music because you only recognize it from a video game does not invalidate itself from great music (augh those old farts!).

But this post is not about proving to my music teachers that video game soundtracks are great (I’ll do that another time). This post is about how good I am at identifying music from different games. I by all means do not know every single song written for every video game out their, but I am good enough to listen and make a good guess to where they come from. At this point, I can almost guess correctly every track from every mainline Final Fantasy game and almost distinguish them if they are arranged differently. Nobou Uematsu will always be one of my favorite composers since he knows how to turn the music into art. Even composers of the series after his departure like Hitoshi Sakimoto (the god behind Tactics and XII‘s soundtrack), Masayoshi Soken (XIV), Yoko Shimomura (XV and Kingdom Hearts), and Kumi Tanioka (Crystal Chronicles) have shown time and time again how their music can stand tall as modern classics. I think it is a combination of listening to each game’s soundtrack countless times and playing through the games that it has left a big impression on me. Even for some of the games I haven’t played or finished yet, I can at least tell you which game it comes from just from listening to the style of the track and comparing it to the rest of the games soundtrack.

A fun game that Kat and I play when we are on long car rides is to guess music tracks. For her, it takes her maybe a moment to guess it correctly if she is really familiar with it. For me, it sometimes takes hearing the first few notes in the first measure for me to know exactly what it is and where it came from. This infuriates her. When we are doing Final Fantasy music she will try and trip me up by playing the Dissidia arrangements of songs, but I can for the most part distinguish those as well. Outside of Final Fantasy, I am working on other series that I’m familiar with like Persona, Tales of (which is hard since Motio Sakuraba contributes to a lot of other series), and others that I can find on Spotify and YouTube. Another weird thing that I can do but don’t understand is telling apart each sound of a chest opening from each Zelda title. I haven’t played most of the Zelda games, but for some reason I know the chest sound from each game.

I’ll end this post with places where you can listen to some great soundtracks. Spotify and other music streaming sites have been adding a lot of video game soundtracks lately, which is great for someone like me who likes listening to them all day. There is also this website that plays video game music all day called NoLife-radio. If you have the Tunein app on your phone you can find their channel through that and listen to it on your phone. If you have other places that you like to listen to your favorite video game soundtracks, tell us about it in the comments. Tune in next time when I go to my old high school band director’s house and have a debate over their opinion of video game music.

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX

Reflections on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered

I had to find time to write this and get this off my mind. I am normally someone who can look past faults and enjoy something for what it is. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered took a game that I enjoyed fondly, and somehow turned it into something that killed my excitement in an instant. I decided to ignore the comments surrounding the game at launch and play it for myself to form my own opinion. As of writing this, I am halfway in Year 4 and I think I can finish this game by Year 6 (years go by after you finish 3 dungeons).

A little background about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. When this game first came out on the Gamecube, it was a fun game that you could play solo or with friends via a complicated co-op method (I’m starting to believe that I was the only poor person who played this with no friends who had their own GBA and link cable). While the game is enjoyable playing by yourself, the game shined when playing with friends. What made this feel different from other games at the time was the concept of working with your friends to protect your village throughout the years together rather than joining up like random adventurers. Remember this point, as I will refer to it later.

The main premise of the game is that you have to collect myrrh to power up your village’s crystal within the year, or it would die out and kill everyone via the miasma. To accomplish your mission and protect you from the miasma, you are given the crystal chalice to collect myrrh at the end of each dungeon. This leads to one of my favorite game mechanics, as you and your group have to stay within the radius of the chalice and take turns carrying it. It gives the game charm and adds to the fact that everyone needs to work together to get through each dungeon; adding to the stakes everyone shares.

Single player in the remaster is mostly the same. Since this is the mode that I am more familiar with, it was nice to see familiar locations and take my time to explore each map. The music is still one of my all time favorite OSTs, and I can’t help but to whistle along with the music. They did include a new mimic mechanic to the game that allows you to dress up as an NPC from other caravans. You unlock these by visiting Moogle house and collecting stamps. Get all matching stamps, and you unlock a new costume. Another new addition is voice acting, which is hit and miss for some NPCs. Moogles in this game sound weird since I’m used to them having high pitch voices and not sounding like a PR manager. For everything that single player has, I couldn’t help to notice that I felt like I was not enjoying myself. That feeling mostly comes from the other play style of the game and the main draw of the game, multiplayer.

This dungeon and quote summarize my feelings.

After pondering and thinking over it, I finally came to terms with my thoughts about the multiplayer. Multiplayer in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered is terrible, and it ruined the main reason why I was excited to play this version. I will stand by my belief that this version is still the most accessible way to play this game with friends. I know people were bummed about there being no couch co-op for the game, but I believe that it is hard to do without having your own screen with the number of times you go in and out of menus. You can play the remastered version on PS4, Switch, or with your phone and still play with anyone due to cross-platform support. When I first heard about that, my excitement jumped through the roof, as I was finally going to be able to experience multiplayer to its fullest. I was asking friends if they wanted to join me in this game, as it felt solely unique and the shared progress.

Instead what we got was a drop in multiplayer set up that takes away everything the original was. I didn’t mind not having couch co-op if it still meant that I could form a group with my friends and progress through the story normally. What happens instead is that before you enter a dungeon, the game asks if you want to play multiplayer. You are then thrown into a lobby where you can either host a party or join one. This means more than likely, you are playing with random people who can drop in and out during any part of the dungeon. You can meet up with friends, but you have to go through a friend code system in order to start together at the beginning. You could find some work around this and still enjoy the multiplayer experience, but then the developers decided to do something that makes no sense at all. Even if you form a group with just your friends and start from the beginning together, only the host of the session will get the drop of myrrh and progression in the main story.

Why did the developers think that was a good idea? That destroys the entire concept and theme of this game. Remember my earlier statement about how you and your friends were a group working together to protect the village that you come from? That does not exist in this game. There are no stakes when playing multiplayer since the people you play with are just trying to protect their own village. There is no sense of comradery as everyone just feels like a random adventurer that assists you on your quest. That is not what multiplayer in this game is about. The whole idea of being part of a crystal caravan is the idea of working in a group with a common cause. There is no point in using the term “caravan” if it is only a group of one. This decision alone made my excitement and recommendation of the game to drop significantly.

I am still going to play the game for what it is. I’m used to playing this game solo, so I still have that going for me. I found that a real challenge is to play solo in multiplayer mode just for the extra challenge. Playing through this again is motivating me to go back and finish the original. This is still one of my favorite games of all time, and I wished the remastered version elevated it even higher on my list.

So to wrap this up and give my final thoughts, I can’t really recommend buying the remastered version. There is a free version if you want to try it out and see if it is something you will enjoy playing. The great thing about the free version is that if you play with someone with the full game, you can play all the dungeons with them. I have a feeling Square knew some would not like the direction they were going and offered a free version for those on the fence. I’m not afraid to hide my disappointment with this version as it had so much potential and could potentially revive the series. I hope by some miracle in the world (haha miracles happening in 2020?), a future update will address the online issue. But as of now, I will stick to my original viewpoint that the series hasn’t been good since the original came out on the Gamecube (sorry fans of the sequels).

DanamesX

My Entries For The Great JRPG Character Face Off!

Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) are an all-time favorite genre of mine. I didn’t discover my love of the series until my teenage days. My love for reading and storytelling captured my interest in the genre and has kept me satisfied to this day. The most prominent games that come to my mind are Tales of Symphonia, Final Fantasy VI, and Trails of Cold Steel. While I could go one about each individual game, this post is focused on the characters from this genre. 

The dynamic duo of Pix1001 and Winst0lf has asked the community on who are our top 5 favorite characters from any JRPG. To take a look at their choices, you can find Pix1001’s here and Winst0lf’s here. If you would like to participate as well, feel free to write a post about it, or let Pix1001 and Winst0If know via social media or in the comments.

With that out of the way, let us get to the difficult part; selecting characters. Choosing from all of the JRPG games that I have played, I had to ask myself why did I like this character to begin with. It became more difficult to define my reason why I liked them based on their character, personality, and significance to the story. There is a good chance that I missed someone while thinking things over, but I am satisfied with my choices. So without further delay, here we go (by the way, none of these are ranked in any particular order).

  1. Elliot Craig

At first glance, there is nothing really special about Elliot. It is strange that this fragile good boy is enrolled in a military academy, but has no intention to harm anyone. Being the son of a famous lieutenant-general also doesn’t help his awkward predicament. So why do I like him among his fellow classmates? Two reasons.

One, he is the best white mage that I have ever played as. The Master Quartz that he is given at the beginning sets him up for greatness as his healing arts have greater potency and cost less. If his quart is leveled up all the way, he can easily fully heal someone with a single Tear (beginning healing art). His crafts can also heal and buff characters and normally cover a good area to include everyone in one go. Finally, in the heat of the moment, his S-Craft ability, Remedy Oratorium, lets you not only revive everyone, but fully restore them, replenish CP, and gives them regan for 2 turns.

Second reason, he is a man of music. As a fellow musician myself, I appreciate his philosophy of healing the world through song. Not everyone his stature can find the strength and courage to meet danger head-on, but Elliot doesn’t let his weakness bother him in order to protect his friends. His mission in life is to heal the world through music and I greatly appreciate that.

  1. Magilou

Mazhigigika Miludin do Din Nolurun Dou (or Magilou for short) is a funny and annoying character. While her character can be seen as a comic relief to balance the team out, she also carries a dark, unfortunate side to her. She’s not afraid to stare death or Velvet in the face, because she is that confident/cocky in her abilities. What made her really stand out for me was her gameplay in battle.

At first I was hesitant to use her because she felt slow. That was until I learned how to play her and discovered that she is a bane to all spellcasters. Magilou has the ability to siphon her opponents’ magic while they are casting, and then use it to unleash powerful spells of her own. I immediately jumped on the Magilou train afterwards and would immediately switch to her if I noticed any pesky spellcasters out there. Plus, she has a belt made out of books. How badass is that!

  1. Dhaos

Dhaos was one of the first antagonists to make me feel two things at the same time; fear and sympathy. He is introduced in the very first scene of Tales of Phantasia dominating over his opponents. He is only defeated when he is sent back in time and imprisoned on arrival. About two hours in, he is freed from his tomb and proceeds to one shot everyone around him; including his lackeys and your best friend. You are then left to wonder how you will defeat someone who can just travel through time when defeated, can only be harmed by magic (in a world with no magic), and can kamehameha his way through people.

Then you learn about him. Originally from the planet Derris-Kharlan, Dhaos is a benevolent prince that goes on a mission to save his planet after a war destroys their Mana Tree. Using their life to teleport Dhaos to the planet Aselia, Dhaos tries to plead with the king of Midgards to cease their development of magitechnology to prevent what happened on his planet. Used as a martyr by the king’s closest advisor, Dhaos is seen as a demon who will destroy Midgards. With little choice and power, he makes a contract with the demons of Daemonium to force Midgards to stop their research and the firing of the Mana Canon. His efforts are in vain however, as the canon is fired and kills Aselia’s Mana Tree in the process. With no way to germinate a new Mana Seed, Dhaos loses his mind as he feels he failed both worlds. He then starts killing humans so that no further catastrophe can happen. This is just an abridged version, as the full story makes his story more tragic.

Dhaos’ character shows that anyone can reach a breaking point. Everything that he sacrificed seemed pointless at the end when he gave up trying to resolve things peacefully. It makes the opening statement of the game even more haunting; reminding that if there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.

  1. Zidane

The last entry was dark, so let’s try to lighten things up! Zidane is a lovable playboy thief with a monkey tail. His charisma and willingness to help anyone makes him more of a burden than helpful. Nevertheless, he is seen as trustworthy on a number of occasions and will go out of his way to see his promises through. His character never cracks until he discovers his origins. He goes from friendly and optimistic to harsh and distant. He loses himself for a while, but his friends get him out of it and he goes back to being the protector he is. Without the help from his friends, he could have forgotten who he was and find the resolve to stay true to himself. I admire that and hope that I have his strength when/if the time comes.

  1. Towa Herschel

Towa is best girl and must be protected at all time! No scratch that. This confident and capable women don’t need no knight in shining armor to get what she needs done. The amount of work that she juggles while attending Thors Military Academy would make anyone exhausted. Due to how badass she is, she casually lead an airship full of military students during a civil war like it was f***ing nothing. Towa shows that strength can come in many different sizes and it is one’s commitment that can accomplish anything. She is a normal human being with no special powers, but has one of the biggest hearts I know.

So those are my choices. Who are your favorite JRPG characters? Feel free to share your favorites with Pix1001 and Winst0If!

Final Fantasy VI: Advance – #MaybeinMarch #EndingtheJourney

Hey you! This is a part two to a post that was posted along with this one. If you have not read part one about the history between me and this game, go over and give it a read! If you purposely skipped part one just to read my reflections on it then enjoy! I won’t be upset that you didn’t read the first part. There will be some spoilers mentioned in this post.

Final Fantasy VI: Advance is a Gameboy Advance port of the same name that was released on February 5, 2007. I don’t remember the exact date I got my copy, but it must have been soon after release since it was not difficult to find. Final Fantasy VI: Advance was the same game that players enjoyed the first time, but with an extra dungeon and a polished translation. The sprite work resembles the original and all the familiar sounds are there. I haven’t played the original SNES version of the game, but minus the names of spells and lack of multiplayer, this is still pretty much the same game.

Booting up this game always gives me a shiver. The dark ominous clouds with lightning dancing around them with the angelic 16-bit choir never fails to get me in the mood. From the very beginning, the games states it’s story and atmosphere and never lets up minus some humorous moments that come at appropriate times.

Who Are You People?!

The game has a total of 14 characters, not including four that you can control but are not permanent stays. While you quickly figure out who your favorites are, each character has their own strengths, weaknesses, and complete story arc. You start off with Terra who has been controlled her entire life and questions her free will when she can finally make her own decisions. This complicates things when she discovers she is half human and esper; and makes her question if she is able to live a life as a human or esper. Locke is a thief treasure hunter who has a habit of protecting any woman that he comes across. It is revealed later that his failure to protect someone close to him leads him to this bad habit. Edgar and Sabin are twin lords of the kingdom of Figaro. After the death of their father, Edgar succeeds the throne while Sabin leaves as he views everyone’s reaction as heartless. You soon find that both brothers never stopped caring for one another and each of done their part to help the other. Cyan is a samurai of Doma who loses everything during an attack on Doma. He continues to be plagued by the thought of not saving everyone including his wife and son. Cyan is one of the characters that is inspiring since despite all that he is going through, he still has the will to fight and carry on.

Celes is a former general of the imperial army. Her amazing scene at the beginning of the second act shows how desperate the situation has become. Up until this point, she has had trouble convincing everyone that she is on their side, but then becomes the one to reunite everyone at the end. Gau is a boy raised on the Veldt after being tossed out as a baby. There is a scene that I had never seen before when he reunites with his father that made me both laugh and get emotional in a quick span of time (just another good example of balancing humor and tragedy). Setzer is the gambler in the sky with his flying casino. Setzer felt like a plot point just to get his airship at the beginning, but his determination at the end to keep sailing the skies helps brings his character full circle. Shadow is an assassin who quickly became the most tragic of characters in the party. I won’t spoil his entire story (you have to go out of your way if you want his whole story), but resolution at the end made me happy and miserable. Strago and his granddaughter Relm live in the village of Thamasa and have the ability to use magic. While Strago felt like the less develop character in my opinion, Relm would have been a close second until you learn about her backstory. Both characters are good with magic, but were underused in my playthrough. Finally, there’s Mog, Gogo, and Umaro. They were there and I only used Mog at the end. Nice extra characters to have, however they just join you if you find them.

Final party and order for final boss

Just going to fight this boss….and they’re dead!

The game was easier than I remembered. It is surprising what happens when you fight every battle and not run away from everything (glaring at my younger self). The first part of the game was never an issue getting past, but I always dreaded going to Zozo. Zozo is a town of jerks and giants that pop up everywhere. Dealing with the enemies here was always a pain, but now that I am older and wiser, I teared through the town. From that point on, nothing felt like a challenge. Boss fights were never an issue since I knew what to expect and I could plan ahead. The few deaths that I did encounter were mistakes on my part. The floating continent was were I got my first game over in the game and quickly became my first trouble area. This is also the first site where I had to stop and grind for a bit. Grinding doesn’t fell necessary in this game, but is a fast and easy process if you go to the right areas.

A few other difficult spots I encountered was the fights with Leviathan and Gilgamesh. Leviathan took two attempts while Gilgamesh took about three tries. Out of all the esper (minus Diabolos whom I did not fight), these two were the hardest for some reason. Leviathan was easier when I switch out some characters and gear, but Gilgamesh had to be dealt with after a second grind session. The last area that I had a bit of difficulty was the Cultist’s Tower. You can only use magic in this area, so I had to change my play style a bit since I relied mostly on physical attacks to this point. It is much easier than I gave myself credit for with the right set up. Have your party equipped with Reflect Rings and have the spell Osmoses and you have a nearly indestructible team. I only wished I learned about that soon rather than when I was fighting the boss; or that you can cast Berserk on someone for them to use melee attacks.

Not even the eight dragons, which I thought was going to take a while, were a challenge. I purposely left them for last since the last two are found in the the final dungeon. Even the one in the Cultist’s Tower posed little threat to me. It might have had something to do with the set up I went with and how overpowered I was.

Customize To Perfection

Party stats are determined and influences by several factors. Each character’s individual stats give you a general idea on each character’s focus area (ie. Terra, Celes, and Relm have higher magic stats than most, while Sabin, Locke, and Cyan have high strength). The beauty of this game is that you can change the way characters improve stat wise if you choose so. That comes from the beauty of the magicite system. Magicite are espers in their pure form. Assigning magicite to characters allows them to learn magic. This makes it possible to have all your characters learn all magic and form a league of superhuman spell casters (if you so desire). Whats more, some magicite will increase a stat for each level that character gains. The stat increases cover HP, MP, Strength, Stamina, Magic, and Speed. Stronger espers will reward higher stat increases if you have them equipped. So if you are worried one character has less HP than the rest, equip them with an magicite that increases their HP when they level up. I enjoyed the magicite system since it is simple to understand and does not require any special gimmicks except you have to have it and equip it.

Another helpful tool are relics. Each character can equip two relics. The abilities of relics come in a wide range from the Hermes Sandals that increase your movement speed to Ribbons that negate all status effects. Simple relics can be bought in relic stores, but the more game breaking ones can only be found in dungeons. There are even relics that certain characters can only equip that changes their commands, stats, or grant buffs. For example, equipping the Brigand’s Glove to Locke will change his Steal command to Mug. With the combination of weapons, magicite, and relics, the player is able to create interesting and devastating teams.

Here are some examples of the setups I would employ:

Sabin: Tigerfang – Dragon Claws (Holy) + Genji Glove (Equip weapon in both hands) – Gigas Glove (increase physical attack by 25%) + Raiden/Gilgamesh (Strength +2)

Shadow: Ichigeki (occasional one-hit kill) – Kageuni (can cast Stop) + Genji Glove – Master Scroll (allows person to attack 4 times; with Genji Glove equipped, person will attack 8 times) + Raiden/Cactuar(Speed +2)

Terra: Zantetsuken + Ribbon – Gale Hairpin (reduce MP cost by half) + Valigarmanda (Magic +2)/ Crusader (+50% MP)

Locke: Gladius + Thief’s Bracer – Brigand’s Glove + Cactuar/Lakshmi (Stamina +2)

Everyone else I mixed and matched to fit needs during the final dungeon. Celes and Relm mimic Terra a lot when I was switching them out. The sheer power of Sabin and Shadow carried the team when I was grinding everyone to level 50 and when I had to split the group into three teams. Shadow’s multi hit set up helped with quick dispatching of enemies. The downside was that his attacks were weaker due to the multiple hit, but once he hit level 60 he was hitting for around 1,500 per hit. Due to Sabin’s set up, he was hitting around 6000-8000 per hit. This made leveling up the rest of the team a breeze.

“There is a reason why oppose rhymes with dispose”

I’ve talked this entire time about the game and never mentioned Kefka! Okay real quick. Kefka is one of the most evil, twisted villains in video games. He destroys the world just because dislikes life and hope in the world. No grand scheme or mommy issues, just pure chaos. Not even Chaos from Final Fantasy I was this chaotic and his name is freaking Chaos! The closest that come to him made are the Cloud of Darkness and Exdeath since they wanted to return the world to the void. While they planned and schemed, Kefka was just like “Imma destroy everything because why not.” I know that it is not the full reason why and it could have been because of his mental stability due to the magical experiments done on him. Since he was the first one to undergo the magical experiments, his humanity was shattered due to the process being incomplete. Even with that tidbit of knowledge, you never feel bad for him and the player’s feelings toward him remains constant throughout the game. Maybe they wanted to create a villain with no redeeming qualities to add to the bleakness of the narrative. His final boss fight and music accompaniment are works of art. Dancing Mad will never cease to be amazing.

Kefka’s Pecking Order

Final Fantasy VI is an amazing game that’s only challenge is how prepared you are. I had the advantage of playing this game over and over to know what I was expecting and how to deal with it. For newcomers, the choices that you can make can feel overwhelming due to the number of characters at your disposal. Every character counts since you need to use 12 out of the 14 for the final boss fight. Every playthrough is never quite the same since the player has the ability to main different characters and utilize different strategies. That is one of the main reasons why this game is regarded as a favorite among the fans. To wrap this really long reflection post, I was going to leave a video of me fighting the final boss, but the audio got unsync during recording. I’m still debating if I will put this game over Final Fantasy IX, but for the time being they will both share that number one spot.

Final Fantasy VI: Advance

Developer:
TOSE

Publisher:
Nintendo

Genre:
JRPG

System:
Gameboy Advance

Date Started: 2/15/2020
Date Ended: 3/5/2020
Total Playtime: 50 Hours
Difficulty: Normal
Number of Game Overs: 8
Magicite Obtained: 30/31
Dragon’s Defeated: 8/8
Friends Reunited: 14/14
Items Accidentally Bought at the Auction Because I Fell Asleep: 2

My Personal Rating: S

Thanks for reading!

DanamesX