Gaming was a lot different when I was growing up. Graphics were more straightforward, and there was no guarantee of a story, with various walls created to increase playtime. These were often a challenge to overcome; something players often failed to do for one reason or another.
As a result, revisiting these experiences can be rather tricky. Not only have the concepts aged poorly, but many of these games have also lost their spark. This has caused companies to offer different approaches when bringing these experiences forward. Square Enix added a lot to their early Final Fantasy titles, including Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster. With so much changing and these experiences different, should you try the original adventures out, or are Final Fantasy VII and later the only ones that matter?
Since Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster includes the first six experiences, it offers a lot of content. Of the includes titles, Final Fantasy VI is probably the most well received. However, thanks to Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, there is likely renewed interest in the first two adventures.
That being said, the experiences are still good. Despite so many things changing since they originally released, the experiences are still enjoyable. This is important, as so many of the characters have endured, even if the experiences have not.
Who Doesn’t Love a Quick Grind?
One thing I applaud Square Enix for doing is creating an experience that is reasonably accessible. There is an auto-battle, increased/decreased battle speed, additional/decreased EXP/Gil (cash), plus encounter toggles. These little changes make it so anyone should be able to experience these titles on their terms fully.
In addition to modernizing the experience, various other quality-of-life features are included. In the image above, you can see what the “original” text looks like, with the image below showcasing the modern look. Both are readable, though the contemporary one looks better and is easier on the eyes. These can also be free changes throughout any title, so don’t be afraid to swap if you’re looking for a different feel.
Simple Controls to Learn
While some elements were improved, many titles still show their age. Certain cutscenes have terrible frame rates, encounters are not as smooth as expected, and even fights have room to improve. It sucks starting Final Fantasy and having the first fight against nine enemies.
Later titles are understandably better at this, though creative use of the boost system can circumvent it. Once you have a slight buffer, these longer or less enjoyable fights can be far more manageable. It also helps create a situation where you won’t need to worry about a random death. Worst case, you make a quick save to be ready regardless of the outcome.
Another exciting aspect is seeing how quality-of-life features impact later titles. For example, you can skip cutscenes in Final Fantasy VI but not in Final Fantasy III. More vivid and complicated art starts to appear as you get later in the series, along with a distinct shift from a standard fantasy adventure, to something that resembles the Final Fantasy of today.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Review Verdict
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster: Despite the shortcomings, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is a solid experience. It preserves the original adventures in a way that doesn't prioritize one type of player for another. There are elements to make it easier or harder to recreate the incident. This makes the collection a slam dunk, especially since so many quirks are inherited from the authentic experience. So, if you're on the fence or want to get your friend into these games, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is well worth giving a go. – Mark