Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster review: Classic JRPG collection delivers nostalgic fun

Sam Smith
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster bundles FF1 to VI and updates them while still retaining what made the original six games special. Here’s what we thought of each Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster.

The first six Final Fantasy games seem destined to be remade, remastered, and re-released until the end of time. This is okay because technology advances and new generations of RPG fans will want to experience the series’ origins on their chosen hardware, and Square Enix has really nailed it with the Pixel Remasters.

Each game is one of the original six Final Fantasy games in all their pixelated glory but spliced with some of the modern trappings from previous remasters, such as the ones released on iOS, Game Boy Advance, and more. Here’s what we thought after spending some time with each on the Nintendo Switch.

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster key details

  • Price: £54.54/$74.99 (£12-8.99 – $17.99 individually)
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: April 19, 2023
  • Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster trailer

Final Fantasy 1-VI: Pixelated Nostalgia

Those who’ve played any of the first six Final Fantasy games will be instantly at home when they start playing one of the Pixel Remasters. Each game has been lovingly recreated in its original Super Famicom or SNES style, hence the name, ‘Pixel Remasters’. The remasters have been designed with these fans in mind, those who want to lose themselves in the nostalgia of an early Final Fantasy game and really feel like they’re playing a retro classic on a modern console.

Seeing each of the first six games beautifully rendered in their original styles, but looking fresh while borrowing some of the updates each title has gathered over the years is a joy to behold. To long-time fans who love and appreciate the classic Final Fantasy feel, the Pixel Remasters may represent the very best version of them yet. Playing the PS4 versions through a PS5 made them look like they belonged on a widescreen TV for the first time, rather than feeling stretched out and dated as other versions have.

Playing each game on the Nintendo Switch was also a huge improvement over the Game Boy Advance versions. Each game offered a new level of immersion with updated visuals and features that we honestly feel cement the Switch as the best place to experience retro Final Fantasy while on the go.

Final Fantasy 2
Final Fantasy 2 has never looked so good.

Remakes vs. Remasters

However, each game in the Pixel Remaster collection is going to inevitably be compared to the iOS and Nintendo DS versions of certain titles.

For example, both Final Fantasy III and IV received full from-the-ground-up 3D remakes on the Nintendo DS. Think Bravely Default only without many of the bells and whistles that make that series what it is on the 3DS. To many, these versions of FFIII and IV will always be the preferred versions to play, especially if you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy XI style that these two remakes emulated. It’s important to point out that the Pixel Remasters are updated versions of the original FFIII and IV, not the DS remakes.

Final Fantasy V and VI also received rather stunning versions on iOS that offer a smooth, not-so-pixelated remaster of each game. While admittedly gorgeous with its redesigned art, cutscenes, and character models, these versions didn’t quite capture the nostalgia factor that the Pixel Remasters nail. Instead, their aim was to adapt each game to match 2010’s Final Fantasy Dimensions. The good news is, the Pixel Remasters retain many of these game’s improvements while opting for a more retro and authentic feel.

Gilgamesh in FFV
Gilgamesh is still a fan favorite today.

One complete retro package

Each game has various updates that were associated with other past re-releases, such as battle speed options, retro filters, the ability to move diagonally, and quality-of-life changes that make each game easier and less buggy to enjoy. They are mostly the same games you remember, just tweaked to make the experience fun and less frustrating.

For example, you’ll be able to skip each game’s lengthy cutscenes. We find Final Fantasy 6’s opening march to Narshe as iconic as any cutscene, but we don’t want to sit through it every time. The same can be said for many other moments we’ve experienced lots of times in over thirty years of enjoying these games and we welcome the new functions.

Be warned though, the battle speed options can also be viewed as a differently-labeled difficulty slider. Enemies will often feel the benefit of a faster battle speed more than you, attacking more frequently and allowing their status effects to take hold sooner. So, while it may be tempting to switch to the very fast speed in order to blitz through the game quickly, you’ll effectively be making tough enemies even tougher, which could slow you down in the long run. Although, it’s still helpful when grinding levels.

We’d also like to draw attention to the score of each game which has never sounded better. Each track has been individually updated to not only sound reminiscent of the original score, but modernized into something that would have been well beyond the capabilities of the Super Famicom or SNES. If you enjoy the music of early Final Fantasy games, you’re going to be in retro RPG heaven.

Final Fantasy 6
Final Fantasy 6 is where the series’ evolution into sci-fi.

Chaos and Crystals

The story of each game is relatively simple and is similar to how Final Fantasy games function today in lots of ways. The first five games see several Heroes of Light thrown together by circumstance before embarking on a quest to save the world, defeat an aggressive evil entity, and overcome their own personal struggles. Each is set in a fantasy world that borrows from medieval Europe and world mythology. So there are swords, shields, magic spells, and dragons aplenty.

Final Fantasy VI is the first to be set in a darker, grittier, more futuristic steam-punk setting, something which Square Enix has expanded on in later titles, or attempted to blend with more classic Final Fantasy. Terra’s mission to destroy the maniacal killer clown Kefka is still one of the most iconic stories ever told in a Final Fantasy game, and the Pixel Remster of Final Fantasy VI might be the best version of this yet.

Final fantasy pixel remaster gameplay
The art style is vibrant, fresh, and still manages to capture that retro feel.

Verdict 4/5

There’s a lot to love in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters package, while not perfect, each remaster is absolutely going to be considered the best version of each game yet – especially by fans of the series looking to play an updated version of an experience they treasure.

However, those who don’t feel or benefit from the massive dose of nostalgia these remasters offer may struggle to see what all the fuss is about, especially when the iOS remasters and remakes also exist, offering a less pixelated package. Although, these remasters are primarily for long-time Final Fantasy players who want to fall in love with these stories all over again.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

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About The Author

Sam is a Senior Games Writer for Dexerto specializing in Survival Horror, Diablo, Final Fantasy, and Soulslikes. An NCTJ accredited journalist, Sam also holds a degree in journalism from the University of Central Lancashire and has many years of experience as a professional writer. Being able to marry his love of writing with his addiction to video games was always one of his life goals. He also loves all things PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo in equal measure. Contact at