The pacing of the story is well-done, with very few sequences that drag on, and the dialogue has just the right mix of drama and humor. These were things that made the game such a breakout success in the first place, and they continue to impress to this day.
Unfortunately, the passage of time has also exposed the game’s flaws, many of which we were blind to thirteen years ago. Character development that used to be leaps and bounds above the bland archetypes of its day now seems a bit lacking. The story’s got bizarre leaps of logic and plot holes big enough to drive an airship through. The game’s second half feels somewhat disjointed and unfocused. And, despite the many near-useless skills and items FFVI contains, it’s still stupidly easy to turn your party into nigh-unstoppable damage-dealing machines.
So how does the GBA version stack up? We’d say it’s not quite as sloppy as FFIV, but not quite as solid as FFV, either. Though overall, it’s pretty darn good. Despite some issues with slowdown, the graphics are faithful to the SNES original. And the game’s revised translation, while being mostly the same as the original release, brings to light several new story details.
Extra content, which includes new dungeons, monsters, and magic, are welcome additions that add some much-needed challenge. Notorious bugs and exploits, such as the lethal Vanish/Doom one-two spell combo, the once-meaningless Evade stat, and the (literally) game-breaking Sketch command glitch have all been fixed up. Perhaps the only really negative aspect of the GBA version is the sound, which is noticeably different (and generally worse) from what we’ve heard before.