Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Review

It’s always funny to remember that when the first Final Fantasy was released in 1987 by Square, it had everything to be the last project of the company, which was in serious danger of going bankrupt. And now here we are, dozens of years and games later, celebrating another relaunch of this absolute classic by Nintendinho, this time in the form of Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster!

Unveiled by surprise at Square Enix’s presentation at E3 2021, the collection Pixel Remaster it ended up polarizing its target audience a bit. Partly because, at least initially, it would only be available for PC and mobile, ignoring consoles, but also because your choice of text font wasn’t the happiest, and the price charged also seemed a bit steep for such old games. .

Putting all these controversies in their proper proportions, it is clear that the successes of the remasters far outweigh their weaknesses, but we will calmly dissect all of this in our full review. Although there are also versions for Android and iOS, our test was done entirely on the PC, with copies kindly provided by the producer. Check out the review below!

revamped origins

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster will include new editions of the first six major numbered chapters in the series. Initially, Square Enix only released the games I The III on Steam at once, with the titles IV The SAW arriving at some as-yet-uncertain time in 2021. From what we could see in this first wave of releases, the same whim was applied to every game.

As the name of the collection indicates, the characters’ pixels and 2D graphics were all redesigned with the goal of faithfully preserving the essence of the work of designer Kazuko Shibuya, who still collaborates with Square Enix and has returned to repeat her work here. With that, the original Nintendo and SNES games now look like something straight out of the beginning of the 32-bit generation, with modern and welcome improvements in quality of life.

It’s very interesting to see the original hexalogy all organized, standardized, and taking advantage of the same improvements and interfaces, especially because Square Enix managed to preserve the original identity of the adventures in the process very well. So everything seems to be part of the same package and equally modern, but without losing sight of the fact that these are self-contained journeys with unique atmospheres and tones.

On the line Pixel Remaster, every game includes extras like an extensive gallery with dozens of original artwork straight from illustrator Yoshitaka Amano’s desk, a music player to enjoy your favorite tracks whenever you want, and the ability to save your progress at any time.

Another really cool addition was the bestiary. There you can check the models of all enemies, which are released as you find them during the campaign. A world map even points out exactly in which areas you can fight them, which even gives a certain Pokédex feel to this charming extra, ensuring more replay factor and making the complementers on duty happy.

pure sound magic

Enter everything that Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster delivers to both old-timers and newcomers alike, nothing is more praiseworthy than its superb soundtrack. Master Nobuo Uematsu’s original work had already marked its epoch with the limited NES sound chip, and no one would complain if the classic material was simply reused without major changes.

Cornelia Fields in the original NES game (left) and in the new PC version (right).Source:  YouTube

However, Uematsu himself returned to work as supervisor of the soundtrack of Pixel Remaster with the goal of both honoring the tradition and evolving the material, all so that the same emotions are felt by players of any era, but now with much more complexity, soundtracks and instruments in action. The work was wonderful and worthy of packing the playlists of any self-respecting JRPG enthusiast!

For Brazilian fans, it is a great joy to note that the games were translated into our Portuguese with great care. The localization is very faithful to the original texts and applies to every menu, interaction and dialogue of the adventures, allowing many more people to fully enjoy the story and democratizing access to some of the most epic narratives in video games.

Pravoka's pirates in the PSP remake (left) and the PC Pixel Remaster (right)Pravoka’s pirates in the PSP remake (left) and the PC Pixel Remaster (right).Source:  youTube

But what about the games themselves?

It’s a bit tricky to evaluate works released more than three decades ago, as your enjoyment of them will inevitably revolve around very subjective factors, such as how much you can put up with or appreciate naturally dated designs. The first three games of Final Fantasy was still laying the foundations of the classic formula that would only reach perfection in the acclaimed Final Fantasy VI, so you must always keep this in mind.

These are pretty punishing games, although the new feature to record progress at any point makes the quests a lot easier. At various times you will be forced to grind fighting the same enemies over and over again, and even backtracking in big dungeons. Even the process of using and improving spells is much slower than what you see today!

To fully enjoy these games you need to either be able to transport yourself really well into the 1980s mentally, and then break into the world of Final Fantasy as a legitimate gamer of the time, or else to use the lens of a historian and see the product as a chance to study the past and understand where and how various characteristic elements of the franchise and the JRPGs as a whole emerged.

In any case, just don’t expect the addition of automatic battles, reworked audio and HD visuals to completely modernize these titles. If that’s an issue for you, it won’t be this collection that will change your mind about the franchise and the genre. As for the other little problems, at least the font issue is pretty easy to be solved by anyone on the PC.

The fight against iconic boss Astos on PS1 (left) and PC (right)The fight against the iconic boss Astos on PS1 (left) and PC (right).Source:  YouTube

Worth it?

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is an excellent option for those who have never played the first six chapters of the series or are willing to revisit them in HD properly located in Portuguese. The art direction did a good job of preserving the aesthetics and atmosphere of the original adventures, but it was in the sound department that Square Enix really shined, as Nobuo Uematsu’s supervision made the songs even more exciting! Although the rather high price and the disturbing choice of text font somewhat tarnish the collection’s potential, this is the best way to enjoy the original hexalogy today.

“Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is an excellent opportunity to get to know the origins of the series”

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