| Story/Plot |
The wind is weakening, and the King of Tycoon suspects something is amiss, so he takes his Dragon to the Wind Shrine to investigate. A meteor has fallen from the sky and crashed near the castle of Tycoon, and Butz, with his Chocobo, decide to check out what happened. There, he meets a pretty, young lady named Lenna, and a mysterious man named Galuf, who has amnesia. Both are on their way to the Wind Shrine, and decide to leave together. Returning to his Chocobo, Butz heads away from the Tycoon Meteor. Shortly after, he finds Galuf and Lenna unconscious on the ground, grabbing them before they can be hurt, he sets up a camp. They awaken, and the next morning, Butz decides to accompany them to the Wind Shrine. Heading through a nearby cave, turned pirates' hideout, they meet Faris. Revealing herself to be the Princess of Tycoon, Lenna asks the pirates to help her reach the Wind Shrine. At the Wind Shrine, they find the King of Tycoon, and the Wind Crystal shattered. The crystal tells them to find the remaining three crystals and to stop them from shattering. The King disappears, and the 4 Warriors of Dawn together. Adamant to do as the crystal wishes, they leave the Shrine.
As you can tell from that, it is another Final Fantasy game which has a plot that revolves around the crystals of the world (like FFIV, for example). I found the plot to be very interesting, with some nice twists later in the game, a number of which greatly surprised me. No complaints at all about the story, though it is a little on the simple side.
| Characters |
Now, unlike the previous Final Fantasy game, the characters aren't given specific classes that they keep (for example: Rosa the White Mage), instead, a more effective version of the class system of FFIIIj is used, but I'll discuss that later. There is only a relatively small number of playable characters in this game (five), but they are all rather interesting. There are some twists with all the characters, some a lot more hard-hitting than others. Whilst one of the earlier "twists" might not seem like much at the start, it will develop into something much more meaningful later in the game, which I loved. It's not just the playable characters that get development either; some of the support characters are very interesting. One complaint is that the support characters will often have nothing more to do with the plot once you leave the village/town/whatever, which can be a shame. The ones that do keep coming up are very well done for the most part.
| Music |
Like the plot, the OSV of this game is another part that makes it truly a memorable game, in my opinion. The Dragon Spreads It's Wings, The Evil Lord ExDeath, The Land Unknown and Nostalgia are all brilliantly put together. Nostalgia and The Day Will Come both add to the general sadness of the scenes that they're played in. One particular part of the game plays Nostalgia, in what was an already moving scene, and it was one of the saddest moments I've ever experienced in a video game. Almost as much as a certain scene from FFVII, I might add. The most memorable track from this game, has to be Battle With Gilgamesh/Battle On The Big Bridge, which has to be one of the greatest non-Final boss battle themes ever. I found myself returning to the Big Bridge in game just to listen to this track. Absolutely wonderful OSV that compliments a wonderful game. I might add that the track What does tend to annoy me after a bit, though.
| Graphics |
The graphics in this game aren't that spectacular, to put it bluntly. I prefer the graphics of Final Fantasy IV myself, but they're decent enough. The sprites in battle are nice enough, and the job class sprites are different and colourful (I liked how each character looks different in each job class. E.g. Faris the Knight looks different from Lenna the Knight). The boss sprites can look pretty impressive though. One of the bosses later in the game, Atomos (who you may know from FFIX) looks threatening and challenging. Could be better, but they do exactly what it says on the tin.
| Battle System |
If ever there was a feature that set FFV apart from the other Final Fantasy games, it just has to be it's battle system. The job class system gives you a total of 21 classes to play with. Whilst some maybe more useful than others (compare say, Black Mage and Bard), they're all useful. When a class is mastered, you'll be able to use all the skill from a class (provided you equip them) and you'll also get a stats boost. The mere ability to have so much freedom when choosing classes makes this game fun. It adds a lot of replay value as you try different combinations of classes on different characters. I really cannot find any real faults with this battle system.
| Overall |
FFV is probably my third favourite (after VII and IX) Final Fantasy game, and it's certainly one worth playing, even if you aren't a fan of the SNES quality graphics and sounds. Whilst things could be improved, many of them have been in the PSX re-release of the game (I was basing this review on the SNES version which I've played on emulator. I prefer the SNES version over the PSX, because of the sheer annoyance of the loading times. Not the worst I've seen, but having to wait every single battle does tend to grate a bit). And when you can probably pick up the Final Fantasy Anthology version of this game for only �20 new you can't complain at all. So, without further ado, play the game if you haven't.
Its difficult to write a review of a game that is essentially a port of a game. Its difficult cause for the most part, it already has an audiance and they will most likely buy it regardless. Those who didn't like the original will not find anything here that will change your mind cause its simply a "port". Yet here is where the Advance series has triumphed...
I greatly enjoyed FFV when it was released in Anthology. Despite its awful translation and slight sluggishness, it was a fine game. The GBA port on the other hand brings forth quite a few new elements to act as an incentive to buy it. Its most promising being four new job classes, an optional dungeon and a Music Player. What was never really stressed was that the game also received a new translation and localization. These elements, as well as a few minor changes present to those who can't speak Japanese, the true Final Fantasy V experience. The way it was meant to be and in some ways better. Story:
The story begins with the Wind Crystal shattering, four heroes band together to investigate why the crystals are weakening and what connection with the recent fall of four meteors onto the planet. Things eventually escalate when its revealed the crystals keep a great evil sealed away in the form of Ex-Death, a former sacred tree, twisted and given a humanoid form by the evil forrbidden magics sealed with him. He hopes to un-seal the ultimate forbidden magic, The Void.The party travels all across several different worlds and unlock the secrets of a far gone past. Many friends are made like Cid and his grandson Mid, as well as many enemies like the comical and fan favorite Gilgamesh.
The story is fun and rather interesting with many different locations and events transpiring. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels like events happen to keep the story interesting rather than express an overall narrative. Despite this, the story tells several deep messages in the background of the story like "man' misuse of limited resources" and "our history of covering up our mistakes for later generations to clean up". Oddly enough, FFV also may win the award for "funniest Final Fantasy" despite the many terrible events in the title, the party always seems upbeat and are always stooping to humor. It helps make FFV's cast be one of the most likable in the series. The new localization helps cement some of the events better than the PSX version but it still has a bit of a "randomness" to the plot. The events feel disconnected at times and background information from the NPC's always hint to something grander about the world and mythology but story never really delivers. Characters:
There are five main characters in FFV. Bartz is the leading man of the team. After his parents death, he struck out and began to wander the globe with his best friend Boko, his Chocobo. Bartz is a free spirit and eternal optimist who is pretty handy with a sword. He's a little dense at times and a bit of a flirt but is overall very likable and very different from the brooding protagonist of later FFs. Lenna is the daughter of the King of Tycoon and is an incredibly gentle and head strong woamn. despitsolving the weaening of the crystals. She is linked to her Father's dragon after a traumatic event in her childhood. Galuf is the amnesiac old soldier Bartz and Lenna discover by the first meteor crash. He's dedicated to protecting the crystals despite not remembering why and is a wily and fun old coot. He's a bit of a perv like Bartz and loves to pick on Bartz for being a bit slow. Their banter back and forth is hilarious and brought to life in the new translation. Faris is the Captain of a pirate crew that uses a ship that doesn't use wind to sail. Its powered by Faris' pet Sea Serpent. Faris' holds a secret he would rather not talk about and has a special connection with one of the other characters. Cool, calm, and fearless, Faris is the most serious of the team. Krile is a mysterious girl connected to Galuf and his past, she has a mysterious power that allows her to speak with animals and like Galuf is rather wild and unpredictable. She has a pet dragon and Moogle.
For villains, we have Ex-Death, spawned in an ancient forest where forbidden magic was sealed into sacred trees. He has inherited the wicked will of Enuo. Enuo was an immortal sorceror who created the Void in the distant past. He could not control the dread power and was instead swallowed by its power. The Void was eventually sealed by the power of the crystals and its Ex-Death's goal to reawken the power and use it to plunge all existence into nothingness. Ex-Death is a pretty evil and ruthless villain and unique by today's standards as he is evil for the sake of being evil. He has no motive, he's just the way he is caue its his very nature One could argue he holds symbolic meaning as he was inadvertedly created by man trying to seal away dangerous powers created for nefarious purposes. That he in turn is a physical embodiment of man's evil and bloodstained past. Whichever you believe, he's a pretty damn good villain who probably got closer to achieving his goal than any other viallin in the series.
The other villain worth mentioning in the game is the wonderfully hilarious Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is a flunky of Ex-Death who thinks of himself as a "true warrior". Like Bartz, he's a bit slow and tends to botch things up. He's rather honorable and as time goes by, he begins to think of your party as friendly rivals. He hjas some hilarious lines and introduces the infamous FF in-joke about Excalipoor. Gilgamesh truly steals the show in many ways and its not surprising he becomes a recurring figure in later FFs. Gameplay:
FF uses a revamped ATB system that was introduced in FFIV. V's system will pretty much become the standard for all the later FFs until X. It introduces a time staus bar so the player can see how much time is left before their next turn and actions are done immediately after being inputted in rather than waiting for a secondary bar to fill for some of them, which its predecessor did. The game brings back the Job Class system used in FFI and III and adds a new twist in the form of sub-jobs. As your battle using various jobs, you gain AP which eventually allows you to learn an ability associated with that class. You can then switch to another job and and have these abilites you learned equipped as a sub-job. You can create interesting combinations like a Knight that can use White Magic or a Black Mage that can wear heavy Knight armor or even teach Red Mage how to use Ninja skills like Throw or Duel Weild. The game allows for a massive level of possibilites and you can use sub jobs to either cover a jobs weakness or boost their strengths. The game also debuts several job classes that are FF staples like the Blue Mage, Chemist, Samurai, and Mime class.
The streamlined battle system and deep character customization system makes FFV one of the best games in the series in terms of gameplay. Its easy to gleam dozens of hour from just the gameplay alone. Music:
FFV has a gorgeous soundtrack and was one of the largest and most varied in the series at the time it came out. I personally feel FFV is where Nobuo started to release one smash hit of a soundtrack after another. Its one of the first titles where you just magically find yourself humming along with the tracks and its one of the first games in the series that used music to set mood and emotions for its story. Wonderful tracks like "To My Dearest Friends", "Battle on the Bridge", "Distant Homeland", and "Legend of the Deep Forest" to name a few. The music is simply gorgeous and can be seen where certain musical stylings and ideas from later FF titles first took their root. Graphics:
By todays standards, FFV is truly the middle child between IV and VI. Its backgrounds and battle sprites are far more detailed than IV's but still not up to VI's level. Its truly a look at evolutionary step in technology. Overall, the graphics are really good and V does more to express emotion and movement for the sprites so they don't feel as static as previous entries. The sheer detail in the different battle sprites is amazing as each character has their own distinct outfit for each job class. The enmey designs are also much more detailed and are definetly more sinister in looks and feel. Ex-Death and Gilgamesh especially have wonderful and outstanding designs. Extras:
As part of the Advance series, FFV had a few new things thrown in to please the old time fans. Most notable is the new localization and translation that really help the story and cast. Seriously, playing the PSX and the GBA version back to back, you feel like you read two different stories. Out of the three Advance titles, V gained the most from the new Localization.
The game also recieved four new Job classes: Gladiator, Oracle, Cannoneer, and Necromancer. Although the classes are fun to play with I'm afraid they are not terribly useful in of themselves. Gladiator is a mix of Knight and Samurai, he has an elemental attack that has a chance to do max damage on eneimeis. It also misses alot. He has a few decent abilties to learn but they arrive too late in the game. Cannoneer is similar to the Chemist. He combines items with the new Cannon ball items to create various offensive based effects. He's got weak HP but does learn a few skills that are useful even at end game. Oracle is the most experimental. The class fortells a fortune and after a few turns the effect comes into play. Unfortunately, battles tend to end before the spell works. The class has a few other noteworthy abilites to learn but most of them also have large consequences that make their usefulness questionable. Necromancer is incredibly broken, its similar to Blue Mage in that it can only learn certain spells by defeating certain foes. They can also summon weak monsters to fight for them do they are also similar to the Tamer class. Their Dark Arts spells are incredibly powerful and may be illegal in some RPG circles. The main problem that all four classes have is that they become available very late in the game. Basically before you go to the final dungeon and by this point, most players may have better options and configurations by this point. Most of them alos don't feel as well balanced as the other job classes. Necromancer's saving grace is that its your prize for beating the new optional dungeon and by the time you finish that; nothing can really beat you. Speaking of which...
FFV also has a new optional dungeon *surprise* its a massive puzzle with several souped up versions of classic FFV bosses, including Neo Shin Ryu and Omega Mk. II. It also has a new surprise Final boss that makes me truly enjoy this games optional dungeon only cause it actually fits in with the story somewhat. It feels less tacked on than IV Advance's dungeons did and the challenge makes it more rewarding. You can net several awesome items and the Necromancer jobclass. Overall, it was a rather fun go through, even if a few of the puzzles and boss fights were incredibly frustrating.
The game also brings in a Bestiary and Music Player that are far more enjoyable and useful than one would imagine them being. I especially liked to know what enemies carried what loot and the Music Player allowed me to hear some of the more overlooked tracks like the Opening theme and Ex-Death's theme. Overall:
FFV has always been considered one of the best games in the series and is generally one of the most overlooked. Especially when II and IV are getting fancy DS remakes and VI and VII have rabid fanbases its sad that this title gets overlooked so much. The GBA port, is the true definitive FFV experience. If you didn't care for the PSX version, give FFV Advance a shot and see the world of difference. If you loved the original and the rom versions, also check out the GBA advance version cause the extra content is pretty good and the new translation may surprise you.
I give FFV a 8.5 out of 10 and I give the Extras an 4 out 5 with a banana. -Wolf Kanno