I've never been one for hard games. If you read my post a few weeks back, you know that I also don't 100% games much, and I think these two things might be related? See, since I was young, I've been worried about my temper. My dad had a horrible temper, one that would go off at the most minor things, that infected every inch of the houses where I grew up. I knew I had it a little bit too. Whether just from learning it by example or some genetic thing, I've always gotten frustrated easily, and when I get frustrated I get mad. It makes me feel ill, when I'm in a state like that. One time I blew up at one of my friends over KIRBY AIR RIDE and pretty much destroyed our band (not a big loss, that dude was kinda unpleasant to be around, but still). So I've spent most of high school and all of my time since then learning and trying to not get frustrated, mostly by putting (psychological) distance between me and experiences that I'd get too into, or by keeping myself out of situations that I know would get to me (as well as finding healthy coping methods for when I do get frustrated, and taking anti-anxiety medication like most kids my age). A big part of that includes just stepping away when I notice myself getting frustrated, which makes it kiiiinda tough to play the kind of hard games that require endless amounts of failures before even the most meager success. It's why I'm only just now getting into dark souls, and why I'm gonna be taking breaks to play trials of mana pretty constantly.
At the same time though, I like it when games feel difficult. Otherwise how would I have gotten into Shin Megami Tensei last year? The opening hours of SMT 4 are PUNISHING, and the even the easiest entries in the series aka Persona are often played through gritted teeth (though it's really just the boss fights in persona that are tough). I guess I like feeling like I'm losing, but somehow pulling a victory when I'm on my last legs, preferably only the 3rd or 4th time I've tried that fight (in smt at least). In this aspect, Final Fantasy VI was made for me.
I've always heard that Final Fantasy VI is an easy game in an easy series, especially compared to its brethren on the SNES (SMT 1 & 2 in particular), so I was expecting a walk in the park, but that's not really what I got. Instead, it felt like the difficulty was perfectly tuned to keep me on my last legs pretty much the entire game, without getting to the point where I even died all that often. It was perfect! I got to feel like I was on a blockbuster adventure agains massive odds without ever feeling like I was rewinding the movie to catch something I missed. It's the perfect difficulty through the whole game, with no grinding required, save for maybe the super bosses and one other boss (the dude at the top of the cultist's tower ending with an ultima is just mean).
Beyond the difficulty, this is a great cinematic rpg with a fantastic story and perfect, if a bit quick, pacing. I know I compared the last Final Fantasy game I played to star wars but damn this one's also just like star wars. Maybe a bit less overt, but it just kinda feels like it? Lol if I knew final fantasy felt so much like star wars I woulda played it years ago! It's an adventure that spans multiple continents, about a dozen cities, one opera house, and so, so many characters. Everything about it feels Big and Fast and Loud in the way a Hollywood movie feels, and it's great! I've genuinely never played any other game that just moves like this while still feeling organic, like I'm the one making the decisions and I could decide to dick around in the desert until the war is over and the world is ended thrice over.
That organicness (organicity?) eventually takes over the whole game in the second half, where it almost feels like I'm playing Fallout, specifically New Vegas's small town, errand running, story-light first act. After a little bit of guided story the game pretty much just says "here's a broken version of a world, go get to know it" and I was pretty mixed on it. My favorite part of the first half was the tight pacing, clear signposting, and clearly told story that
nearly never made me feel lost, and now the game is saying "yeah you can fight the final boss whenever, go get lost until you're strong enough to actually do it". But now, a few days removed, I fully get it and LOVE it (even though I had to use a guide for a good amount of it). That first half is really a tour of the world, letting you get to know all the people, all the landmarks, all the geographic features and rocky outcroppings that are important to you, just to crush it all in front of your eyes. It's the same thing as a party member dying , except you have to walk around in their chest cavity magic school bus-style for 15 hours aftwerwards, and it's genuinely affecting beyond any of the story moments could ever hope to be. Honestly it might be one of the best uses of video games as a medium I've ever played.
I think that's all I really want to say about it. Final Fantasy VI is a beaultiful piece of art that marries blockbuster pacing to the kind of exploration that only really got fun in the PS1 era, while still being a pretty standard RPG at its core. I get why it's such a stone cold classic now
Anyways, like I said above I'm struggling my way through dark souls and breezing my way through Trials of Mana, both of which will last me for the forseeable future, so who knows what my next post will be about?????? Tune in next week on D R I F T I N G I N T E R E S T S to find out!!!! Bye!