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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.4

Final Fantasy VI is the game that turned the whole franchise from "just" one of the better JRPG series around to arguably the vanguard of the genre, the one pushing it to greater heights, a status the later games would eventually cement. For many years, for better or worse, where Final Fantasy went, others would follow. Every new entry carried heavy expectations to push the genre to the next level in one way or another simply because it was the biggest series of its kind.  Fortunately, for quite a long time the series was in top form, capable of shouldering those expectations, and as far as I'm concerned the streak of exceptional games started here in Final Fantasy VI.

Earlier games in the series had contained various elements that approached greatness. Final Fantasy IV had pushed the storytelling and character arcs to the forefront, but overdid the dramatics a little, as several times throughout the game a character sacrificed themselves in a heroic effort to save the others, only to get resurrected with little to no explanation somewhere down the line. Final Fantasy V had further developed the job system introduced in III to great effect, creating what is still one of the best gameplay systems in the whole series, but on the flip side the story and characters were much more straightforward and simple. Both games had some truly great elements, but fell short on others. Final Fantasy VI marks the first time in the series when just about every element came together to create something genuinely fantastic. 

The storytelling was more mature and felt more logical despite the increased complexity brought by the large cast, the characters had far more depth and felt more relatable, the music remains one of the all-time great scores in video games, as Nobuo Uematsu pushed  the SNES soundchip to its limits with massive tracks like Dancing Mad and the opera sequence, and it features one of the best storyline twists of all time, when the villain effectively wins halfway through the game. Visually it has naturally aged somewhat, but much of the pixel art is still gorgeous today, and what few other shortcomings the game has can generally be attributed to the limitations of the technology. Final Fantasy VI is the best game on the SNES, and one of the best games of all time regardless of genre.

My full list so far