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There's been a lot of butthurt about the Final Fantasy VI port released on Android and iOS this year. And granted, it has its problems. But wouldn't you rather play FFVI—a true classic—again, even in imperfect form, than suffer through another Final Fantasy XIII or FFXIV?
I get it. You don't like it when developers mess with the classics. But isn't that better than Square Enix perpetuating the downward spiral of a once great series by releasing yet more terrible new Final Fantasy games?
The mobile port of FFVI has some bugs, though they already fixed the big one that was preventing players from progressing. There was a typo in the opening scene, though that's fixed too. The game crashes sometimes, but at least it auto-saves often. Walking around with touch screen controls isn't great. And a lot of players prefer the old, 16-bit Super Nintendo character graphics to the new-fangled redesigned ones. They do look pretty ridiculous on the world map next to those silly-looking pop-up town models. OK, and yeah, at $5.99, this 20-year-old game is way too expensive.
But so what? All those problems take away very little from a game that's ultimately still amazing. Whether you're an obsessed fan, you haven't played FFVI in two decades, or you never played it at all, this port is worth experiencing. After a few hours I stopped worrying about the new graphics and controls and just started enjoying myself, and now that I'm almost halfway through the game I can confidently say that the changes really don't matter.
Look at the last few new Final Fantasy games on the other hand. Final Fantasy XIII has its fans, but the majority of players recognize it as the series' first major dud. And they've pretty much all been duds since then.
FFXIII is now infamous for being one long hallway with little actual gameplay or interaction. It's probably the most egregious example of an FF game that pretty much just plays itself. Its sequels, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, don't seem much better. And even if they are, these games take a huge investment from fans; why would anyone play those if they didn't even like the first FFXIII?
The massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Final Fantasy XIV was so bad they had to shut it down and redesign it completely. But wait! Final Fantasy XV looks really awesome! Well, so did FFXIII before it was actually released. Don't forget that.
You can even take a look at the spin-offs and sequels they were releasing in the mid-2000s, like Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus and Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core. The former was panned while the latter was enjoyed by some and derided by others; hit-or-miss, in other words.
Meanwhile the lauded DS ports of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV, which gave those old games great new 3D graphics and a new lease on life, were liked by fans and critics alike.
I'd love for Final Fantasy to be great again, but it seems like Square Enix just doesn't get the heart of the series anymore. Wouldn't it be better for them to keep revisiting the classics in new forms and on new platforms than to continue dragging the series through the mud with ever-more-ridiculous spin-offs, sequels and MMOs?
Final Fantasy fans love to complain—that's a fact. But it would probably be better if we stopped complaining so much about the re-releases of old FF games. Because it's better for Square Enix to expend its resources on ports of the classics than for it to keep trying to rekindle the series with more linear, half-baked games full of shiny cut scenes and not much else.
And hey, maybe then we'll finally get the fancy FFVII remake that everyone actually wants.