Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster Review
We’ve had a bit of a Final Fantasy resurgence leading up to Final Fantasy XVI, starting with the fabulous Theatrhythm Final Bar Line celebrating the well-documented and acclaimed music of the series. After quite the wait since it was first released on PC and mobile devices, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster has finally made it’s was to the PS4 and Nintendo Switch!
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster collects the original mainline Final Fantasy games from 1 to 6 and takes players over the course of its storied beginnings before the revolutionary Final Fantasy VII, which takes the franchise to the 3D format it’s become renowned for throughout gaming history.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, with not just one, but six mainline Final Fantasies with improved graphics, newly arranged music, and much more!
Classic vs Modern
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster collects all six titles which players can purchase as a bundle or per game, allowing you to pick and choose between the six classics. While the franchise has been remastered or re-envisioned to death (looking at you Final Fantasy IV) with varying degrees of changes, this Pixel Remaster could be the ones fans have been waiting for.
It feels like a breath of fresh air when Square Enix does their best to preserve the original source material, but also adds a few tweaks to cater to modern sensibilities. It really depends on who you ask, but if you ask me, it’s a welcome adjustment… within reason.
The obvious changes are the improved visuals, especially with the 8-bit selections (Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, and Final Fantasy III) where the pixel art definitely sees an improvement in color and contrast compared to the yellowish appearance of the NES (or Famicom) experience. I understand that there are some retro enthusiasts out there that would prefer the original look and feel, and Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster addresses this.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster allows you to pick and choose what type of visuals you wish to experience. You can set it to classic visuals, where the screen emulates a CRT-style grain that enables you to see how the pixel art is meant to be seen. While it feels a little jarring at first, especially when you are used to HD and 4K fidelity, after a while, your eyes will adapt to it.
Personally, it took a while for me to find a preferred setup, but unless you have the classic consoles and a decent CRT TV lying around, you would either have to choose between the emulated CRT or the HD pixel remaster. I don’t like the visual fidelity of the HD remaster, but in the end, it really falls under preference. My issue is that the 16-bit pixels are a lot grainier, especially with Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.
If you check out the screenshots below, we’ll let you make your judgment. The same goes for fonts as well. I personally started my Final Fantasy journey with 1994’s SNES US localization of Final Fantasy VI that I have a soft spot for, and I admit, I can be a little too precious with the IP.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster also allows players to choose the original MIDI music or the new arrangement, but I like my Final Fantasy VI as close to the original experience as possible, so the original music really works for me. I’m a little less precious with Final Fantasies 1-5, so I didn’t mind either way, especially after experiencing them in full glory with Theatrythm Final Bar Line.
Unless you’re married to a particular localization (I’m really partial to Ted Woolsey’s translation of Final Fantasy VI), the translation will be closer to the original source material. What I appreciate is that you’ll be able to experience the previous unreleased Final Fantasies if you haven’t already. So it’s a great way to complete your backlog.
At the end of the day, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster allows you to pick and choose how you wish to experience the franchise in its various configurations, which is great for players that want options.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster also boasts a lot of quality-of-life features that offer better accessibility to the games. Since the classic turn-based format isn’t for everyone and random encounters can be a bit tedious, players can toggle random encounters at will, which allows them to choose how you want to explore dungeons.
The Quick Save and Autosave option also allows you to save your progress without losing it all when faced with tough opponents. The Boost option allows you to reduce the grind, because who has time to grind the old-school way these days?
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster really does its best to preserve the experience all across the six Final Fantasies, and everything else will be dependent on the player’s personal tastes. While I do have my personal opinions, objectively, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster delivers the trip down memory lane as best as you can get with the source material.
What We Liked:
- A preserved experience for the first six Final Fantasies however you want to play it.
- Improved quality-of-life features allowing better accessibility for some dated gameplay.
What We Didn’t Like
- Depending on who you ask, mileage will vary on how much each player is willing to let go of their nostalgia.
- Classic display is a must for the 16-bit titles, especially Final Fantasy V and VI.
Verdict: Buy It!
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, while having its issues that would fall under personal biases, is a fantastic collection to experience the original mainline titles on. You’re able to toggle your experience, whether it’s closer to the original visuals, sound, and gameplay or to allow it to cater to modern-day quality-of-life sensibilities.
For the sake of convenience and accessibility, I would argue that it’s the closest you can get to the original experience without sacrificing your comfort and playstyle. It’s obviously the cheaper alternative to purchasing retro consoles and a CRT TV (or securing the NES and SNES mini consoles) for a dose of nostalgia.
As we get closer to the Final Fantasy XVI launch, it’s a great reminder that without these originals, we would not be experiencing this storied history of RPGs. Whether you experience everything in its full glory or purchase each individual title as you need it, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster gives you the freedom to pick and choose.
*Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.