RPG Hack Showcase: Final Fantasy 6: Divergent Paths (SNES)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to hack updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Created by PowerPanda, this hack changes a number of story elements for FF6 including the 3 scenarios arc, the events at Thamasa and more. General Leo is a main character now and can be recruited along with a special 16th hero. Many parts of the plot have been repurposed and rearranged for the new content along with many other surprises! This hack is more story and plot based, rather than changing different gameplay elements, making it harder or easier, and so on. Gameplay is about the same as in vanilla, as is finding the Espers and learning magic for all your team members. Play this and you could fall in love with Final Fantasy 6 all over again.

SO HOW IS IT? PowerPanda and his team did an amazing job with this and it shows why it took so long for a full release of this to come out. The changes with the 3 scenarios fit right into the story and don’t feel like any kind of an afterthought and they’re changed enough to keep them fresh if you know your way though them from playing vanilla ff6. You’ll find parts of the 3 scenarios changed around and part of another one, and some parts just plain shortened. I do love the dialogue with Banon, Terra and Gau and it has more feeling and emotion then with Cyan and Gau’s “I’m not Mr. Thou!’ conversation. Making Terra and Banon’s run longer by adding the Veldt and Serpent Trench helps too. Locke and Celes and possibly Shadow heading up to Narshe makes more sense instead of just ending his scenario after defeating the Tunnelarmor. Shortening Sabin and Edgar’s run without the stuff on the Veldt and being able to talk to the next town after the Phantom Train stuff is a welcome change seeing how long the Phantom Train stuff can go for. New dialogue added to these segments fills in a lot, as does dialogue you may remember from the original, just said by someone different. You’ll find new dialogue in many places especially when the Espers come into play later in the World of Balance and most of the big story changes occur when you get to the Sealed Gate arc.

The other big catch to this hack: General Leo. He comes complete with his own storyarc in the World of Balance and Ruin, skill set, and a new theme was composed for him as well! He doesn’t feel at all like a last minute addition to the team when he joins, even if you think its temporary, at Thamasa, and players will know he’s important later when they first meet him and get the chance to name him. Of course he runs like everyone else in the game, seeing how all heroes can equip most or all weapons and armor and learn all the spells from the Espers. In vanilla the short time you use him he has his Shock ability, in Divergent paths, it’s replaced by Celes’ Runic ability.

Speaking of abilities, some members of the cast have their special abilities switched around, along with a way to give it to them permanently, including a way to obtain Leo’s Shock ability. Celes now has the Dragoon jump ability for example, which will change your strategy for fighting the TunnelArmor for sure. Later in the World of Ruin the important named NPCs can be recruited to join the crew of the Falcon to provide different jobs for your main team, such as healing, shopping, unequipping members and more. This hack has a total of 16 heroes to recruit, and that’s including Gogo and Umaro. The game patch comes with a number of tips and hints as to how to recruit the famed 16th hero, along with a listing of how big of a change some story elements were for this game.

As mentioned before, this is more of a story-based hack than changing a lot of the gameplay features. No additional superbosses here, no changes were made to the Espers and magic system except for new Espers and spells added from the GBA port, and no enemy rebalancing. Dummied content was restored to this hack and you’ll find encounter rates were reduced and the Espers give better bonuses, so your level growth may be less than that in vanilla. You can find though, through a special game in the Beginner House in Narshe, items to increase the encounter rate, and one to bring the encounter rate to 0. With the new encounter rate lessened and leveling growth reduced, you’ll find the game more of a challenge unless you grind, and this may provide an easier time if you decide to keep your levels low until the Espers come into play to take advantage of the level up bonuses.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this hack if you want to play FF6 with General Leo and a new setup for the 3 scenarios portion of the game. You’ll have a great time and find that everything was incorporated seemingly and doesn’t feel like it was phoned in.

I GIVE DIVERGENT PATHS 5 OUT OF 5 ESPERS!

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:

LINKS:
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5997/ – link on RHDN

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