When it comes to classic Final Fantasy games, there are many different ways to play them. The retro gaming community has had a thriving modding community for years, with virtually every popular NES and SNES era game receiving some love in the form of hacks, redesigns, or mods.
Final Fantasy has some of the biggest mods of any other RPG franchise, and they add a lot to already memorable video games. I’ve spent years on Twitch playing these Final Fantasy mods, and here’s a collection of some of the best that fans of the franchise should consider trying.
What makes a quality Final Fantasy mod?
Some Final Fantasy mods are simply better than others. There’s nothing wrong with simpler ones that change small things like retranslations or minor balance changes. It is not uncommon to see these styles of mods, which fit perfectly. But I prefer something a little more in-depth.
When I look for a mod or a hack of these games, I want a huge and radical new adventure. Many of them are also more difficult than the original versions. Not all Final Fantasy mods need to change the story. In particular, two of them retain the original story but make some changes to make the game more enjoyable, in their own way.
5 Interesting Final Fantasy Mods
- FFT: Cerabow Mod
- FFVII: Children of Advent
- FFVI: Eternal Crystals
- FFIV: Ultima Edition
- FFVI: T Edition
It’s also important to note that I can’t tell readers where to find the ROMs or ISO files to modify.
5) Final Fantasy Tactics: Cerabow Mod
Final Fantasy Tactics, while an incredible story of religion, betrayal, and political upheaval, had some pretty significant balancing issues. Some classes were incredibly weak, and others were so overpowered that they absolutely had to be deployed.
This is one of the big targets for FFT mods. Cerabow’s Mod is a rebalancing patch, and a major one at that. The idea behind it is that weaker skills have been buffed, overpowered skills have been weakened, and easy bosses have been made harder.
One of the best things about it in my opinion is that it requires a lot less grinding. The JP costs of abilities have been reduced at all levels, making skill acquisition much faster. Zodiac compatibility has been removed, removing a layer of in-game complexity. This means players don’t have to play with their entire party for one star sign to make or break a fight.
Some of the more frustrating things about Final Fantasy Tactics happen less frequently now, like one-hit knockout moves. It is also much more common to need healers and be able to restore MP.
I don’t want much from an FFT hack except for the game to be enjoyable. While I love the game on a personal level, there are so many frustrating battles or job classes that are obviously pretty weak.
This also goes for enemies. They have access to a greater range of abilities, and cheap tactics like spamming status issues won’t work as easily this time around. This is easily one of my favorite FFT mods and adds a lot without changing the core gameplay experience.
4) FFVII Advent Children
Many demakes or mods come from a team of fans of a game who are simply looking to create something new. However, the Final Fantasy VII demake was created by a Chinese company, Shenzhen Nanjing Technology. It was designed for the Subor, a clone of the Famicom console. Unfortunately, this game did not perform well and was criticized by fans and critics.
Nonetheless, it was an ambitious project that faithfully recreated Final Fantasy VII as best it could for an NES. Then came Lugia2009, who took on the task of fixing the game. He was going to create FFVII in RPG Maker originally, but when he found the Chinese bootleg, it became the project: fixing this game.
Slowly but surely Lugia2009 went screen by screen, and fixed the game. I wanted to include this FFVII Demake-Remake for the amount of work it took. Is this the most fun version of FFVII to play? No, it’s probably going to FFVII REMAKE. It’s fascinating how far someone can extend the capabilities of the NES this far.
It’s a faithful recreation, and while I haven’t completed that particular mod, I’ve spent time with it and watched quite a few streamers tackle it. Kudos to Lugia2009 for taking a game that barely worked and making it something special.
3) FFVI: The Eternal Crystals
Final Fantasy VI may have the most fan-made mods and hacks of any other game in the franchise. There’s so much that can be done with the game, and it’s evident from the sheer number of builds available.
One of the most interesting to me is Final Fantasy VI: The Eternal Crystals version X. This is a newer version of an older hack, which uses the foundation of Final Fantasy VI to create a story built around a group of Light Warriors instead of the characters fans are initially familiar with.
Many boss sprites have been changed, with classic sprites and palettes, as well as new combat/AI scripts. FFVI was amazing in that every character could become a powerful magician with enough work. In this case it has been changed, not all characters can have magic powers to use.
Espers are still there in the game, but the original locations have changed for some of them, and several items have been reworked. It’s a huge mod, and it brings together elements from FFIV and FFVI, such as the characters.
I love the little touches in this game. Cyan is still in FFVI, but now he’s a paladin and uses a similar palette to paladin Cecil. It uses FFVI’s story as a base, but takes it in a whole different direction.
There are new skills to use, skills to use, and like others, the difficulty is increased. It’s not as difficult as T-Edition, but damn it, gamers get what they pay for. Perhaps my favorite part, though, is that it changes the World of Ruin map! It’s like a whole new experience, and it’s one I can’t wait to go back to. It’s not a huge change from the original game, but it’s still worth experiencing.
2) FFIV Ultimate
Now we are looking at a big time when it comes to Final Fantasy mods and hacks. The last two are the crème de la crème. Courtesy of 8bitfan, comes FFIV: Ultima. It’s one of many projects the modder has created, but it’s by far the best. It still receives semi-regular updates and is one of the best mods I have personally completed.
Now there isn’t much to do with FFIV in the modding world, but he did exceptional things with the gaming world. There are of course more events, quests, bosses and story-based hidden areas. There are even ultra-challenging Superbosses! This was one of the only things I didn’t particularly care about, as some of these final bosses can get extremely difficult.
That’s okay, there are ways to beat them all, with the right party and the right strategy. There’s even a wiki with optimal gear, level recommendations, and strategies for some of the toughest bosses in the game. I could have used it when I first played.
FFIV characters were pretty straightforward in the original game, but they’ve changed in a lot of little ways. Kain has magic now, Dark Knight Cecil can wield two weapons, Rosa has combat spells too! In general, each character has been improved and updated.
There are secrets to uncover, and so many new weapons, bosses, spells, and summons. It’s brilliant work, and as one of my favorite games in the franchise, I can’t stress enough how good this game is. It’s another fine example of how a classic game can be stretched and update.
1) FFVI T-Edition
Full disclosure, I have never beaten FFVI T-Edition. Due to technical difficulties, the game was never defeated and the save file was lost.
Originally developed by Tsushiy in Japan, a few developers have come over and translated/updated it for US audiences over the years. Mato, perhaps best known for the fan translation of Mother 3, is one of them, along with KainStryder and many others.
For the most part, the story is intact in FFVI T-Edition, but it has been extensively expanded. A costume system has been added to give characters new looks and adjusted stats, as well as dozens of new side quests. Areas from classic Final Fantasy games return (Matoya’s Cave, Eureka) and there are new summons, items, spells, and balance changes.
The difficulty of the game is similar to the original at first, but slowly increases. Things get really tough in the World of Ruin. Many bosses from other games appear, such as Cloud of Darkness and Ultimecia. This is the hardest but most rewarding mod I have ever played.
It’s satisfying to defeat a boss with new gameplay mechanics, like having to fight Seraph, Catoblepas, and Carbuncle Espers.
FFVI T-Edition is a tribute to the Final Fantasy franchise in general, and also has its own list of bug fixes and game updates.
Final Fantasy has dozens, if not hundreds of mods that vary widely in scope. While this list only covers five of them, there are so many more worth trying, like the wide variety of randomizers and difficulty mods that have been created for games. Some are better than others, but all are great deals for fans looking for something new.