Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square and released on 1992-12-06 for the Super Famicom. It is the fifth game in the Final Fantasy canon. The game was later ported to the PlayStation and given an English translation, and later revamped for the Game Boy Advance both ports were made by Tose. In the game's story, a wanderer named Bartz investigates a meteor that has fallen near him and learns that his world is in danger of being destroyed. A vicious sorcerer named Exdeath was sealed in his world ages ago and kept imprisoned with four crystals, but the people of Bartz's world are using the power of the crystals for their own greed, and causing them to shatter. If they all break, Exdeath will be released and rain chaos on their world.
Like most Americans, I did not have access to this game when it came out or even know of its existence. However, many years after its release, I found a translated ROM hack and began playing it. I played the game about half way through and enjoyed it, but the job system was very difficult for the completionist in me to take, and I became bored constantly trying to level up all my characters. At some point, I lost my save game file and gave up on it. After several more years, I restarted the game with the Final Fantasy Anthology version for PlayStation and beat the game.
I do not own this game, but I beat the Anthology version on 2019-11-10.
Best Version: Game Boy Advance
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The job system is pretty cool. I like the idea of being able to progress with a class and permanently have access to that class's abilities. The custom character sprites for each character in each job are really cool too.
- The graphics have really been improved since FF4, especially the monster graphics and scenic backgrounds which take advantage of a larger color palette.
- Nobuo Uematsu once again delivers a fantastic soundtrack.
- There are a whole bunch of items, songs, spells, and various other things to discover throughout the game. It adds a lot of replay value.
- The lever puzzle in the fire ship was pretty enjoyable.
- I like how the N-Zone revisits various parts of the map, but in a more dangerous light.
- The fade out of slain bosses is really cool looking.
- I love the head-bob of Boko the chocobo.
- The Game Boy Advance port adds a graphic upgrade, new jobs, more dungeons, and player portraits, but the screen resolution and audio quality is reduced.
- The job system ultimately hurts character development. In games like 4 and 6, the fact that a character is a mage stays with them for the whole game. You're constantly reminded they're a mage because they're unable to equip powerful weapons and armor, they're physically weaker, and you frequently use them for magic. This puts a certain depiction of them in your head that matches how they're depicted in the story. However, with the job system, every character can change roles all the time, so it's only the story that gives them stability. Of course, when your supposedly delicate princess is fighting as a berserker, it ruins that depiction of her in your head.
- The classes are terribly unbalanced. For example, monks completely dominate over berserkers, and, since you get the monk earlier in the game, the berserker starts out particularly under-powered and you have no incentive to develop it. Another example is the black mage versus the sorcerer. To use a sorcerer's magic you have to spend a full turn casting a spell on your weapon and then attacking with it. However, a black mage can just cast a mass bolt/fire/ice against all enemies every turn. The weaker classes can give you an added challenge, but advancing them won't make your party any better.
- Most of the job abilities you learn are very under-powered, too erratic to be reliable, or are rarely useful throughout the game. You'll make faster progress by sticking to the fighters and standards mages.
- I wish you could hold off on a character's action in combat like you can in FF6. Being forced to take your turn takes away a strategic element.
- The game is every completionist's nightmare. Not only do you level up the players, but you also have to level up all of their classes. This wouldn't be that annoying if ability points were increased significantly with harder enemies like experience points are, but even late in the game, the average battle only yields a few ABP! This takes forever to reach those 999 levels. Thankfully, hitting level caps are not necessary at all.
- The bone mail, thornlet, and Excalibur have their uses, but I hate that they equip as optimal gear because then I have to keep unequipping them.
- Many of the learned skills (summons, blue magic, songs) are only available at a single point in the game and, if you miss them, you can never go back and get them.
- The shops often sell that same weapons, armor, items, and spells for a long time through the game's progression, which is annoying. Even late in the game, after the worlds are recombined, they still only sell low-level equipment. The game should have included more upgrades and spaced them out further.
- The numerous modes of transportation you keep gaining throughout the story, and then losing before you can exploit them, are pretty contrived.
- Late in the game, when your characters have thousands of hit points, enemies still reward you with tonics and similarly useless items.
- Dialog boxes are a little better than the previous game, so you don't accidentally skip them with the D-pad, but you have to let off the D-Pad before you can hit any of the other buttons which is annoying to talk and walk at the same time. An, when a thief is in the party, the dash is too fast too accurately control.
- Since I run far more than I walk, I would rather have to push a button to walk rather than run. However, the run speed when there is a thief in the group is too fast to be easily controlled.
- The PlayStation port has increased loading times at the start and end of combat, and when entering and exiting menus. It's only a couple seconds extra, but, in a game where you'll have thousands of battles, it really drags on.
Nintendo Player's Guide, GBA.
|English (SNES)||Final Fantasy V|
|English (GBA)||Final Fantasy V Advance|
|Japanese||ファイナルファンタジー||Fainaru Fantaji V||Final Fantasy V|