Friday, December 9, 2011

Ten reasons why Final Fantasy VI is better than Chrono Trigger

 

The 'greatest game of all-time' contention is something that cannot be taken lightly, and a debate that we have often here at Gamer's Guide to Life.com. Whilst the subject matter can spawn discussion on almost any game ever made, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger always seem to come up toward the top; right where they should be. Now, I'm not here to tell you which is better than which, but I'm fairly certain that Final Fantasy didn't stop at its second game, right?

That's what I thought.

  Back in the nineties - or, as it is better known, the golden age of the RPG - the sheer might that Squaresoft held could not be denied. They were the company which could turn an emaciated goat into a stalwart knight, a rotten pineapple into a succulent steak, a worse-for-wear trainer into a hand-cannon. They were the people who lived in a shining fortress of awesome, surrounded by their unfathomable numbers of die-hard fans. You probably get it, but Square could do no wrong and, thus, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger were born.

Undoubtedly, both titles are known far and wide for their incredible gameplay and unrivaled soundtracks. The art, stories; everything about these games illuminates the darkest of corners, but I'm not here to tell you about how both of these games deserve the spotlight. Actually, I'm here to make a case against my fellow writer, Andrew Testerman, who claims that Chrono Trigger is Final Fantasy VI's superior in every way. 

This view cannot pass. 
 
Final Fantasy VI was a landmark for the critically-acclaimed series, as it's responsible for paving the way for the rest of the games - most notably Final Fantasy VII. While that game garners the majority of popular praise, rest assured that it would never have been the same without the cool-and-collected Final Fantasy VI at its heels. Final Fantasy VI also came out before Chrono Trigger, and still manages to contain depth that the games of today - including Chrono Trigger - struggle to implement. 

Here's exactly ten reasons why the sixth installment of the Final Fantasy name is miles better than Chrono-whatever. 

Espers

 
When there aren't any more Espers to find, Setzer and I have the same expression.

The Espers are the magical entities that make exploring the world of Final Fantasy VI such a blast. These creatures are living and breathing just like any character, but they boast unique magical powers that they bestow upon you by turning into an enchanted stone, called 'Magicite'. Some stones will simply be given to you, but there are plenty of others that must be found and/or earned before you can reap their benefits. It might all sound complicated, but once you get these little stones you can equip one to each character, which will teach you specific magical abilities, alongside providing special bonuses for levelling. With that said, you can also summon said Esper into battle. Depending on which you summon, the creature will perform either a devastating attack or a beneficial power upon your party. 

What can you summon in Chrono Trigger? Not a goddamned thing.

 

The cast

 
Which other character is going to sing in an opera and then slay a God? Yeah, you tell them Celes!
 
Final Fantasy VI has a sprawling cast and is composed of exactly fourteen characters. These characters are all permanent, meaning you have many options at any juncture of the game. More importantly, though, these characters aren't faceless goons with the personality of a piece of sandpaper; every single person on the roster has a history, personality and emotional dialogue that will affect you throughout the course of the game. To this day, there has never been a cast this large in an RPG whilst simultaneously introducing characters you actually care and want to know more about (with perhaps the exception of Mass Effect 2). 

What would you rather have; the measly seven characters that Chrono Trigger puts up? Sure, Frog is an interesting guy, with his heal requiring him to lick his friends and all. That's friggin' gross. Why not trade him for someone like Edgar Figaro, who uses some kind of steam chainsaw that has the ability to insta-kill enemies? Oh, and did I mention that when this chance comes up, he also throws on a Jason Vorhees mask? Final Fantasy VI is the clear winner here

The music

Alright, alright: the music that both games boast is out of this world, but there's only one guy who can make a half-an-hour end theme sound this good. That man is Nobuo Uematsu, and he's responsible for these harmonious noises, and perhaps the best theme song of all-time. No kidding here. I mean, the man has his own rock band - The Black Mages - that recreates the music from the entire series. If you haven't had a chance to check out all three of their albums, I suggest doing so right after you're done reading this here article.

 

The world

Like most RPGs of its time, Final Fantasy VI has a sprawling world available for you to explore, with loads of hidden environments, characters and some unreal super-secret items. The game's steampunk style also adds some flavour that really captivates the essence of that fictional time-period. One should also note that the game opens up even more once you reach the halfway point. I really don't want to spoil what happens, but let's just say that the face of the world changes forever. Regardless, the best part is that there's always something for you to do, and when it's all over or nearing the end, you can go exploring and find hours upon hours of extra content that you never knew existed.

 

Limit Breaks - Desperation Attacks

One of the staples of Final Fantasy is the over-the-top and extremely flashy Limit Break manoeuvres made popular by Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VI pioneered these Limit Breaks, by way of the Desperation Attack. Yeah, it isn't nearly as great as the stuff found in the other titles, but they are certainly satisfying to watch. Unlike the Limit Break systems you might know - getting hit to build a meter - Final Fantasy VI characters only perform these devastating attacks at very low health. There's no prompt or warning, a character will just jump up, perform his insane move, your jaw hits the floor, then you continue playing, wondering what the hell just happened. 

So while you're putting ice on someone's sword or combining some weird shadow magic with rocks, just remember one thing; Final Fantasy VI created these lunatic attacks.

 

Evil enemies


 
The main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI is the psychotic, magic-addict clown called Kefka.

Compared to the Magus and Lavos threat in Chrono Trigger, Kefka quite simply makes them look all sorts of stupid. Much like the Joker in the Batman series, this guy is evil simply because he wants to be; there's no other reason. Poisoning a stream to kill off an entire castle of people because you felt like it? He totally did. Consuming the essence of the Espers, killing them in the process for your own benefit? He's totally there. Once you play the game and see what this 'man' is capable of, you'll have no choice but to agree with me.

The opening scene


 
Watching mech-suit dudes walking toward a town has never been this enticing.

Words cannot describe the (unfortunately, I have to use this terribly trite word) epic nature of this cinematic. One must bear witness to such treasures so that the mind can understand it.

 

Choices

When you're making a difficult decision whilst playing your latest game on your new console, bear in mind that the sort of choices you're making actually came from a game like Final Fantasy VI in the beginning. With such a robust cast of characters, there are times in this game where you embark upon tactical gameplay which consists entirely of you forming up parties and fighting. Who you choose to bring with you, where you go and what you do can - and will - affect the outcome of the scenario and the game itself. If you're not careful, there are characters you'll never meet and people who you've grown close to who might just up and die. 1994 was certainly a good time for video games.

 

Battle Scenarios

Chrono Trigger has the advantage of real-time monster fighting goodness, but there's something about Final Fantasy VI's style that cannot be denied. The way the game sets itself up makes the random combat not quite as frustrating as it definitely could be. Sure, you could find it annoying at times, but the combat itself more than makes up for it. With the host of Relics, magical abilities and powerful weapons available, you can create battle scenarios that your friends might never have even tried. Yes, the monsters are static images, unlike Chrono Trigger's fully-animated monster things. But damn, those images sure do look good.

 

Ultros

One of the most unique 'villains' of all-time.

You know him, you love him, and he's totally an octopus. This guy follows you around for most of the game, causing headaches as well as humour when you least expect it. Man, I love this guy. Who does Chrono Trigger have? Maybe Robo? But I'm not dealing with that Rick Astley theme-song copying mess. Trust me on this one. 

So, there you have it; ten perfectly legitimate reasons why Final Fantasy VI is the superior game. And, whilst I'm an avid defender of the greatness that is Final Fantasy VI, please don't miss out on Chrono Trigger either. The game is damn good. 

Just not as good as Final Fantasy VI.

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