There are very few things that I love more than Final Fantasy, so when I heard that Square Enix was releasing updated ports of the original six titles on mobile many years ago, I patiently waited and prayed that we’d see these ports get thrown together into a collection and released on other platforms without goofy touch controls or those obscene price tags. Fortunately, I got part of my wish and now the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Collection is here. Originally released on mobile and Steam, the collection finally released this year on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation, and as I’m a guy who is an avid platinum trophy collector, I have been chomping at the bit to add these to my collection.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Collection
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Windows PC (Steam), PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, iOS/Android (Mobile)
Release Date: April 19, 2023
Price: $74.99 USD
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, except for when it isn’t. For many of us, we’ve likely played at least one of the six games in this collection – and it’s Final Fantasy VI for a majority of those folks – so while the appeal of having them all here together in one collection is super convenient, the absolutely appalling price tag for this collection makes it extremely hard to recommend in spite of how good it is. There’s no doubt there are six absolutely fantastic titles here, but they’re not the greatest versions of each of these games that have been made available.
In fact, these versions are more “passable” than they are “complete”, as Final Fantasy II is missing the Dawn of Souls chapter, and Final Fantasy VI is missing a bunch of easter eggs and things found in other versions. On top of this, while the environmental art looks greatly improved some of the sprite-work found in this collection pales in comparison to the original PlayStation or even the Gameboy Advance versions.
The Warrior in Final Fantasy is missing a ton of accoutrements that really make his armor pop, while the Knight in Final Fantasy III looks a lot closer to what the Warrior should have looked like minus the helmet. Dark Knight Cecil’s dragon armor is also quite dull in comparison to the GBA version, which is a shame since you’d think nailing the glowing yellow eyes on his shoulders would have been easy to pull off.
If you can look past minor gripes and the obscene cost of entry, there’s still a fantastic collection of games to be had here. Final Fantasy’s original story is the shortest of all of the franchise entries, and perhaps maybe even the most simple.
It’s also the one that really makes you appreciate just how much this game was able to accomplish compared to other games that existed in its time. Sure, you can point to Chrono Trigger gold Earthbound as being the pinnacles of RPG greatness in the SNES era, but would those have ever dared to exist had Final Fantasy not paved the way?
Revising these games really are like going back and watching the original series in order to appreciate that rebooted movie that came out many years later. Thankfully, Square Enix knew this and these games somehow manage to hold up exceptionally well with the addition of RPG staples that came much later in gaming.
These included in-game maps and acceleration boosts for experience and gil earned per battle. In the case of Final Fantasy IIyou finally get a bar to show you how far along your weapon and spell progression is instead of blindly guessing how many more fights it’ll take to get to level 16, and that’s a much welcomed addition.
The boosts are a double-edged sword, as you can use them quickly power level yourself and avoid any real challenge these games offer aside from not knowing what to do or where to go, but you can also savor how much time you can save by not having to grind 9001 of the same enemy type trying to level up enough to not get one shot by a single Fira as you enter the mid game.
Whether or not you choose to use them is up to you, as these games will still take quite a bit of time to master and obtain 100% even if you follow a walkthrough due to the size and the amount of grinding the game originally requested of the player. Seriously, Final Fantasy VI’s story alone is longer than both Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II combined.
As it stands, I think this collection is fantastic for anyone who wants to revisit or even experience the original Final Fantasy sagas in a way that holds up for modern gameplay standards. Fans of Final Fantasy XIV will love seeing discovering the origins of things like Carbuncles and raid bosses like Doomtrain, Cloud of Darkness, and Diabolos.
At the time of writing this review, I’m about 55 hours into playing the collection (platinumed 1 and 2 so far) and almost midway through Final Fantasy III. It’s weird seeing the original Onion Knight version of Final Fantasy III make this collection instead of the re-told story of Luneth in the gang which showed up on Nintendo DS, but it’s kinda neat to see the original version that never came out here included instead of the one that had characters I was only familiar with due to my time playing Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.
Either way, this collection SHOULD have easily been a 10/10 but due to an absolute blatant cash grab, in good consciousness, I can’t recommend you buy it until you see it on sale for about half of what they’re asking. It ain’t perfect, but if this collection leads to more classic Square/Enix RPGs resurfacing, such as the Illusion of Gaia trilogy, then I’m all for it – just not at the $75 price point.
I might feel a bit differently had this also contained both the original games (even if in Japanese for titles that didn’t come state-side) as well as these remasters so you could compare and contrast, but as it stands, there’s still so much potential that could have made the asking price worth it – but it sadly wasn’t capitalized on.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Collection was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a copy provided by Square Enix. Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found here. The Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters Collection is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4/5, iOS/Android, and Nintendo Switch.