Sunday, December 24, 2017

Final Fantasy 6 Review

From Guest blogger Helen Davis

Final Fantasy 6, or known as 3 in North America, is one of the greatest RPGs of all time. It  certainly ranks high on the nostalgia factor, and many iconic moments in Final Fantasy history are portrayed in this game. An unforgettable cast of characters, top-notch graphics for the time, a stunning soundtrack and an intriguing storyline keep the player hooked till the very end.  How does it hold up from a Christian perspective?

Very well, actually.  Though there are some moments that are questionable, mainly that one of the final bosses is based on the Virgin Mary, the plot throughout the game more than makes up for it.  Unlike FF9, which views souls as recyclable and life as meaningless, FF6 seems to incorporate more of the biblical worldview, or at least, not anti-biblical. Many of the characters face losses but deal with them in ways that are more consistent with Scripture—Locke feels remorse over the death of his first love, Rachel, believing he couldn't protect her.   He resolves his guilt at the end and decides to move onto his new love. Cyan loses his wife and child and is nearly destroyed, but receives his courage back, believing he must move on and leave the past in the past.  He later becomes a powerful asset to the party, although the Dreamscape sequence in the World of Ruin with Cyan is somewhat creepy. Celes tries to commit suicide after the loss of her only family member, but regains her courage and gathers the party back together.  Though the reason why she should not commit suicide is not addressed, the fact that she is able to recover, move on, and reunite the party shows why we should not. 

The star of the show, though, I feel is Terra. Terra is, in many ways, quite similar to Christ. First of all, her Japanese name, Tina, is actually a shortening of Christina, a feminine form of Christ's name. She is also half human and half esper, and bridges the gap between them, much like Jesus bridges the gap between God and man.  Terra also desires to learn what love is, and finds it not in a carnal way, but in protecting the children in Mobliz. Terra is also unjustly accused and persecuted during the course of the game. At the end, Terra even offers to sacrifice herelf for the party, but remains on earth as a human, in a somewhat interesting parallel to Christ's resurrection. 

Those who begrudge Final Fantasy females such as Aeris and Rinoa should look to Terra and Celes. Both women are strong female protagonists that overcome personal and exterior difficulties to emerge as leaders, Terra in the first half and Celes in the second.  Both are amazing women that complement each other and even form a friendship.

Kefka is also an interesting counterpart to Satan. Saying he wants to destroy all and create a monument to nonexistence is exactly what Satan wishes to do—in Jesus's words 'the thief comes but to steal, kill and destroy.' What words better sum up Kefka Palazzo?  The first scene of him shows him 'destroying' Terra's innocence and ordering her to 'kill kill kill!' The second scene has Kefka 'stealing' General Leo's authority over the Doman mission, killing many with poision, and 'destroying' Cyan's life. His horrors do not end here, as in the interlude on the Floating Continent, Kefka commands the warring triad to strike down Emperor Gestahl so Kefka can rule- an allegory to Satan trying to usurp God. Kefka is later known as destruction and seems to be completely evil with no redeeming qualities, unlike villians such as Golbez or Sephiroth, who at least showed remorse or motive.

The end of the game shows the cast finding joy in spite of the fact the world is nearly dead. Terra has found love. Locke and Celes have found each other. Cyan carries his family inside of him. Gau has his friends. Sabin and Edgar have each other. Setzer has his dream After threatening to destroy  all their dreams and hopes, Terra counters that life continues and that it's not the end result of life that matters, but the day to day joys of life and love. 

Is FF6 perfect? No. But in comparison to the poison of FF7's recyclable souls and FF9's 'our memories live on', it's a breath of fresh air. Highly recommended.


Unknown said...

Thanks for featuring me!

David said...

There was a lot about FF6 that was well done, including the music and the fact that each character had a theme song. Much of the story was well-done.

However, one of the appearances of Kefka in the final battle mimics that of the Pieta, and I would think this would be cause for great concern. Is Christianity being represented as part of the world's evil here? I have my doubts, but it is possible. I've seen other commentators that said that this is simply Kefka's twisted view of himself. However, something really bothers me about attaching a distinctively Catholic figure. This, and only this, makes me question if I should really play this game.

Miles Mariae said...

I think you may be right in seeing it as kefkas diabolical attack on the blessed Virgin rather than the idea that she is on his side or part of his team.... if you haven't played ff4 I'd play that first though as the review says ff6 has some good points

David said...

I've actually played I, IV, VI, VII, IX, and X but have only completed I and IV. I don't want to touch X again after having learned more about the plot! I played VI in college until Kefka's castle and then just quit. I have thought about taking it back up to see if I can eventually play through, but I don't want to do anything offensive to God.

So, when I read about the phase in the final battle (that I have never played in the game), I was greatly concerned. Having to attack a figure made to look like Mary (some sources say the woman's name is Maria in the Japanese version) is rather disturbing. Would it be sinful to play a game with an element like this, even if the image is used as a disguise or mockery by the bad guy? If so, I'd think this would negate any positive aspect of the game. Then again, I wonder if we have any accounts of any saints to whom Satan tried to appear under that disguise, and if they knew to attack or at least reject. I'd be interested in hearing your take on this.

My other concern is that, while it probably doesn't assume that the Blessed Mother is on Kefka's team, is it trying to say that he has assumed deity and has absorbed all other "gods," who are then destroyed along with Kefka in the end. I've heard that, in the end, magic ends with the destruction of Kefka, and people learn to live without it. Could the game be implicitly saying that people learn to live lives without God and find meaning apart from him? Of course, we know that in real life that, if someone were to somehow destroy God (which, of course, is impossible), we'd have worse than "lights out." There wouldn't even be any lights to extinguish!

However, it's my understanding that the people mourn the loss of magic even as life goes on in the end. It can kind of make a parallel to how people live today. People live their lives as though God did not exist. They claim to find their "fulfillment," but honestly, just look at personal stories from some corporate intranet, and from a Catholic perspective I can often just feel the superficiality. There may be some nice things people are doing, but, to say the least, it pales in comparison with the lives of the saints.

Miles Mariae said...

I hadnt appreciated that with Kefka would come the end of magic, I suppose that makes sense.

I know Satan appeared as Our Lord to St Theresa of Avila but he did not have the wounds of Christ and so St Theresa knew it was the evil one,

ST. Paul adds in Galatians that satan can appear as an Angel of Light, so I think he can understand satan taking the form of holy individuals to tempt them.

You may be right that the game is saying Kefka is absorbing the 'gods'

You are also most certainly right that without Christ and the Life of Grace through the sacraments all happiness is either transient or superficial.