Whilst the most prominent releases from across the Final Fantasy series have been available for some time on the PlayStation platform, some of the earlier (and more beloved by some) titles haven’t been so easy to access. That’s all changed now with Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series, a collection that brings together Final Fantasy I through VI into one epic package. Whilst the titles have been available on PC for some time, this console release brings with it some fancy bells and whistles to ensure that it stands out as one of the best ways to experience the iconic RPG series.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Whilst the titles included in Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series are available separately for purchase, our review covers the collection in its entirety as opposed to focusing on individual titles. My personal opinion on my favourite and least favourite inclusions? Final Fantasy VI is STILL the best release in the series, and Final Fantasy II still feels as cryptic as ever to play (even WITH a walkthrough). All of the releases are still quality RPGs though, and whilst they do show their age, it’s tantalising to see how much the series and the genre have evolved between each release.
So, what extras does Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series bring to the games? One of the most significant are the remastered visuals, which ensure that even the older releases look sharp and detailed on modern platforms. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t full-blown remakes so you shouldn’t expect huge differences across the board, but plenty has been updated to ensure each titles looks better than ever – all whilst maintaining the nostalgic vibe of the original releases. It’s arguably more apparent across the original NES trilogy of titles, but work has gone in across each release to ensure they all look great.
Oh, and remember that font controversy when the titles were released on PC? Well, there’s a MUCH better-looking font to use this time around that fits the series perfectly, so the text is a lot less jarring to read. It might sound like a peculiar complaint, but it was something that goes a long way in authentically capturing that classic Final Fantasy vibe.
“I haven’t completed every game in the collection (yet), but it’s clear that a lot of love and care has been put into ensuring they stand the test of time for both newcomers to each title as well as those who’ve already poured in hundreds of hours already.”
The soundtracks have also been revamped to offer a more orchestral take on the classics, which certainly ups the quality of the experience. It was refreshing to hear some of the more recognisable tracks in a modernised form, with each offering a more grandiose sense of atmosphere befitting of the epic journeys you’re embarking on. And if you prefer the original versions of the songs? You can switch back to the classic soundtrack. Going in, I expected to want to play with the classic soundtrack (I’m a sucker for nostalgia), but the rearranged pieces were so good that I found myself enjoying those more instead.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series looks and sounds great then, but it was some of the other extras I found myself appreciating more. The quick save function that allows you to save your game at any time is PERFECT for the older titles, especially with their unforgiving nature that could see you lose a ton of progress with one ill-timed battle. Fed up of random encounters when you’re just trying to progress? You can turn them off, making exploration a breeze. There are experience point and gil modifiers too, allowing players to earn up to 4x the standard amount – it makes levelling up more streamlined and eliminates the need for constant grinding when facing a tough encounter. Whilst some of these features may be off-putting to purists who want an authentic experience, they go a long way in making the older releases more accessible and appealing to new players who didn’t get to experience them the first time around. And, if I’m being honest, I found they made the earlier entries way more fun to play.
There are some other little extras that makes life easier too, whether it’s with the maps that help you know where you are, the auto-battle that repeats the last-used command, or just the fixes that help balance out the difficulty of the older titles. These aren’t just fancied up remasters that have been released, but an effort has been made by Square Enix to ensure they bring with them genuine quality of life improvements to make the experience better than ever for players. The only caveat? They’re based off the original releases of each game, meaning you don’t have some of the extras brought with later editions. You shouldn’t expect to see some of the extra dungeons, story content (such as ‘After Years’), or FMVs found in re-releases, which may be a little disappointing to those who want the ‘full’ experience.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Despite this, I really think that Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series offers the best way to experience each of the games. I haven’t completed every game in the collection (yet), but it’s clear that a lot of love and care has been put into ensuring they stand the test of time for both newcomers to each title as well as those who’ve already poured in hundreds of hours already. And, if anything, it gives gamers the chance to experience Final Fantasy VI, which is a PERFECT RPG made even better with some of the improvements seen here. I know, I know, I’m meant to be reviewing the collection as a whole, but I’ll never not spread my love for Final Fantasy VI…
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series Review
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series is an excellent collection that truly revamps the classic releases in Square Enix’s most iconic series. Each title feels great to play, and whilst there’s no doubting that some are better than others, even the original release from 1987 has stood the test of time. Of course, it helps that the visuals and music have been revamped (whilst the extra features make it more accessible), but it’s still a really good game to play now. Whether you’re a returning Final Fantasy veteran looking to re-play some of your favourite RPGs or experiencing these timeless classics for the first time, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Series is a wonderful collection of titles that every RPG fan needs in their library.
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PC