Thursday, April 20, 2023

Game Review: 'Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster'

 As momentum builds toward the June release of "Final Fantasy XVI," Square Enix went back to the series' roots to pay tributes to the early games that laid the foundation for what the iconic RPG series would become.

"Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster" takes the first six games in the series and curates them with delicate care and painterly upgrades -- with the respect and nuance a master would use to refurbish a great work of art or storied piece of architecture -- and gives the creaky classics a spotless sheen.

Originally releases in 1987-1994 and best remembered on the NES, SNES and PlayStation consoles, the spirit of the original games has endured with an enduring sense of simplicity and innocence.

Developers took an impressive amount of meticulous care in making sure the games retain their old-school resemblance and feel, while subtly inserting visual and audio enhancements and quality-of-life improvements to make the games more vital and playable.

Chief among the additions is a makeover of the myriad fonts. The games all involved heavy reading, and the streamlined rendition of the text makes it much more palatable, 

Also added are gorgeous animations that retain the 1980s and 90s feel, respecting the sense of revelatory wonder brought forth by the originals. 

And the most welcome additions are anti-grinding upgrades that allow you to skip irritating random enemy encounters and also fast-forward leveling. The results are streamlined experiences that cherry-pick the endearing moments while brushing aside the dust and debris.

While it remains to be seen whether "XVI" manages to maintain the series' dizzying standards, the OG "Final Fantasy" titles will always stand as grand champions. This collection -- available a la carte for $18 each and together in a $75 bundle -- stands as something of a Mount Rushmore from the series, looking down from their majestic perches with grandiose elegance.

Publisher provided review code.

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