View Full Version : Oh FF5, why does your story bug me?

05-15-2014, 11:48 AM
I can't quite put my finger on it, but somehow the "minimalistic" nature of the storyline in FF5 just gets on my nerves. The characters come across as mere functionaries in the over arching plot, and the villain doesn't come across as having a clear-cut, ballsy motivation to do anything...well, villainous. I realize there are examples and such, but...

FF5's story just doesn't 'do it' for me, and I'm having trouble figuring out why.

Wolf Kanno
05-16-2014, 08:14 AM
To quote myself from another thread...

The plot is kind of a re-hash of the plot of FFIII to some degree. Four heroes tasked by the crystal to save them from destruction before they unseal the terrible Void, job classes are involved. Granted FFV's plot is far more robust and it actually has a cast of lfeshed out party members but it does feel like FFV could be a re-imagining of FFIII. Granted, I don't think this is a terrible thing. I love FFXII but even I'll admit it re-hashed FFII's plot.

The other issue here, and the reason why I feel V gets hit with the weak story angle is that it is a very plot-driven game. The FFs which are said to have best stories tend to be character-driven. This is the big difference between FFIV and FFV for instance. Even though both games deal with crystals, the plot in IV is largely there to explain why the various characters meet each other and have their drama, but it's the drama which is the important part of the story. V has it's dramatic moments but let's face it, FFV is not the story of Bartz or any of the other party members. We learn interesting things about the characters that flesh them out as characters, but the story is not about these characters dealing with some personal struggle and reaching an epiphany. IV is about Cecil and his struggles to redeem his past actions, about Kain's jealousy, about Rydia's hardship, Edward mourning Anna's death and Tellah foolishing pursuing a path of revenge that kills him. V? Well Bartz is afraid of heights and learns his father was a Dawn Warrior.

There are some character building moments for the cast but FFV downplays them whereas FFIV and FFVI play them as the main attraction. Lenna has her reunion with her sister, her father's death, and the story of her and the Wind Drake, but the first element is largely played for laughs than as a real character building moment for either her and Faris while the second is thought about for two seconds before the plot interrupts the reflection to bring you the next stage of the story. The last part is a real character building thing but it's less of Lenna overcoming a struggle than her remembering a time she did so in the past. Great character development but it's not something dwelled upon afterwards very much. The whole cast kind of falls into this, FFV is not about these characters and their personal dramas, it's about a colorful cast of characters going on a fun-filled journey of peril and danger across alien worlds and conspiracies. Yet, it's not like the more character-driven stories where it really is about the cast.

If you tried to describe the plot of FFIV without going into any detail about the characters, it would be very difficult and feel disjointed because it's the character-driven elements that move the plot along and are the most interesting. Try the same with FFVI and you'll see it's plot is rather simplistic and the WoR is largely non-existent. This is because the game is really about the cast of characters and the whole deal with the Empire, Returners, Warring Traid, and Espers are just an excuse plot so we can meet the colorful cast of characters and watch them overcome their personal dramas. VII is the same way and so is FFX and XIII.

FFV on the otherhand, you could describe its whole story in detail without losing much by ignoring the party details, and in fact it would probably take longer to describe it's events than some of the other games. I'm not saying that this approach to storytelling is bad but looking at the fanbase, it seems obvious they prefer a character-driven piece. This is made clear when you look at FFXII, another plot-driven game which the fanbase often decries for its weak story, but in reality FFXII has a great story, it's just not character-driven like the rest of the series.

05-17-2014, 12:07 PM
The storyline is a bit silly, though it makes it fun, outgoing and entertaining. It does have it's dark moments, though the game is never afraid to be always too serious, even during serious moments.

Bartz - " Holy Christmas, it's a talking turtle " !