- Final Fantasy Anthology -
-= Overview =-
First of all, this is a review of FF Anthology, not FF V and/or VI. I wanted to review Square's conversion of the games to PlayStation, and not actually the games themselves, which I will do seperately. I know few people have actually played the original FF V, and some have not even played the original VI (which everyone should know is known in the US as FF III). However, I have played both outside of FF Anthology, and I have come to a few conclusions about it. I think they were good to bring them to the USA, but the whole thing was only meant to rake in money for Square. The games are nevertheless enjoyable, but not as playable as their Super Famicom/Nintendo counterparts.
-= PlayStation Conversion =-
: Rating :
Usually, this is where we review the story, but since that does not apply here, I decided to review Square's port of the games to the PSX.
First of all, you want to look at loading times. Since they're on CDs, you expect them somewhat, but I never thought they would be this bad. The loading times can go from about 4-7 seconds, and if you count 4 seconds in your head, and imagine that every time you enter a battle, exit one, enter a new screen, open the menu screen (yes even the menu screen), this gets irritating. It may not be Square's fault entirely, but I think they could have done a better job with this.
Second, you should know about the translation. FF VI's is the same (almost) as FF III's, but FF V's is something never before seen to Americans. It's actually pretty good, and aside from some strange name translations, does not have major errors in it. It is quite old I believe, which may account for this surprising amount of quality. FF VI's is pretty much the same, with things like Vicks changed to Biggs (I think), to make the game match the next two in the series.
Finally, the game also had some extra features, which are kind of nice. The memory card access, while slow, has a temporary memo file to save to, faster than the 5 seconds to save to the mem card and back out of it. FF VI also has some new features, like a bestiary, a movie player, and other stuff to use up the CD space. While these are nice, they don't really add anything major to the game, and don't make it worth re-buying alone. There's a music CD, which is quite nice, even though I don't care for a lot of the music (which was decided on from an online vote). There are also FMVs, which I will discuss later.
Overall, the move to PSX will give the games more life, but is just not a quality port. The games remain unchanged, and run much more poorly than they did originally.
-= Gameplay =-
: Rating :
The gameplay is pretty similar to the originals. The characters seem to have an option to walk faster with the Circle button, though (faster than the original, not just Sprint Shoes and Dash). Also, the controls are unchangeable. You have to use the newer style controls, where X is the confirming button, Circle cancels, etc... Most remember the SNES FF's used tha A button to confirm, as did FF VII (used Circle). So, the controls are kind of different, but otherwise not a big deal. Other than this, gameplay is pretty solid, and responsive. The games remain the same gameplay wise.
-= Music & Sound Effects =-
: Rating :
Well... They butchered them. The music had to be converted to whatever the PSX uses for music, some type of MIDI, and this just ruined them. Most of the instruments sound incorrect in FF V, and sometimes make you want to turn the sound off. Some songs which used sound effects in the music (theme in the void and Lonka Ruins theme) had the sound effects removed from the music. The sound effects also got a somewhat poor conversion. They sound wrong in some situations, or just low quality. In FF VI, some intruments and songs actually sounded improved, but some also got degraded. Honestly, I don't know if better sound would have been possible, but the sound in FF A sure isn't stellar.
-= Graphics =-
: Rating :
The graphics, unbelieveably, got worse. You would think that the PSX would somehow make the game look (not to mention sound) better. Somehow, though, they did not. The graphics and speed of both games (and I am not talking loading times) are seriously dropped. The framerate suffers immensely when two things are going on at once. In addition, frames seem missing, and the graphics does not seem to run as smoothly as the original.
Both movies, however, have incredible FMVs at the beginning and end of the games. They are a nice treat, but don't make up for the poor conversion.
-= Fun =-
: Rating :
However bad the conversion is, it's still two games for the price of one, which makes for a lot of fun, especially if you have not played the games in a while, or ever. Both still have the same appeal they always did, and now will live on, hopefully, to the next PSX, PS2 (assuming it runs all old PSX games). The reason Square can put out this 2 game "Anthology" is because the games are both good, and good games still hold water, even after six or seven years.
-= Last Word =-
There are so many reasons to buy this that I can't even list them all. The games are still fun, and even if poorly converted, they are still very fun. If you are not a fan of the old FF games, or have them in some other form, don't waste your money. But if you feel for whatever reason that you'd have fun with it, give it a rent, and you'll probably end up buying it.
The problem with FF A is that Square chose to slap both games on CDs, add some movies for appeal, and just make the games as cost-effective as possible to repreoduce. I think it's kind of heartless, but what can we do? From what I hear, the new Chrono Trigger remake is using a different type of conversion to PlayStation. Hopefully, Square will have learned their lesson, but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't.
Total Score: 78/100
(Sum of all categories x 4)