Review by hecktic00

Reviewed: 06/05/06

Flawed, but still good.

Final Fantasy V was never released in the U.S. as far as the Super Nintendo goes. It was only released in Japan and, therefore, the original doesn't exist for us Americans. Be that as it may, we've managed to get our hands on the game one way or another.

This game, being released after the wonderful Final Fantasy IV, had my hopes hanging up in the sky. While they weren't exactly shattered by its conception, they weren't really justified either. The game is good in all aspects except for the all-mighty Gameplay factor.

Gameplay:

The gameplay in FFV is similar to that of FFIV in most ways. Being that it is a JRPG, you'll find yourself running into random encounters, pressing single buttons to commence attacking, and leveling yourself up with experience points. But that's just the start.

The battle system in FFV is based on ATB. Instead of turn-based combat, you'll find yourself fighting in the order of speed. A little bar will be present next to your character's health that will tell you when your turn is coming up. This is a huge improvement over FFIV by itself because you can actually plan your attacks more due to prior knowledge of when you'll be able to attack.

You'll get plenty of customization options in the Config menu that will allow you to set the battle speed, the message speed, and even configure multiplayer. You'll also be able to set the battle for real "ATB" or a semi-ATB/wait system where the counter won't be going if you're selecting an item or selecting a spell.

Final Fantasy V brought back the class system, which was introduced in Final Fantasy III (NES). While this was a step forward as far as customization and FFIV(which had 0 customization) goes, it brought a whole new series of problems. You see, the whole system isn't exactly up to par, and it's flawed.

You'll get several different classes throughout the game that you can change into. Each one has its own abilities and can wear their own certain types of weapons/armor. This gives the game a great sense of customization and really spices things up.

The downside to this Class System is that it renders the game WAY too easy. It also disables the point of items to a great degree. You don't really have to buy Potions or Ethers, all you'll need is about 10 cottages every time you set out to conquer a dungeon. Why? Because, ANYONE can change into ANY class that they want whenever they want! That is, if you've beaten the story part that gets you the classes of course.

This means that if you're hurting for some healing but have no items and your main white mage has no mana, you can just change your ninja into a white mage... Poof, tons of mana, all the spells accessible, etc. Just heal with him and then put him back as a ninja and move on. Once you come to a save point, pop out a cottage and replenish everything. Problem solved.

The classes in the game are WAY too easy to change into. All one would have to do in order to understand this is compare it to something like Final Fantasy Tactics. Unlike Tactics, it requires absolutely no pre-requisites in order to change classes, and the game suffers because of it.

It also makes some of the bosses extremely easy. Having trouble with a boss because he has high physical defense yet is weak to lightning? Just change all your characters into Black Mages, put them in the back row, and spam Bolt over and over again. He'll die in one or two rounds, easy.

All in all, this game relies way too much on the Class System's basic purpose(changing classes) and provides little to no extra tweaking. It leaves a very stale taste in the mouth and becomes boring after a while.

Cosmetics:

Being that the game is the 2nd release on the SNES, it has its ups. A lot of the game does actually look a lot better than FFIV, but there are a few things I felt were particularly terrible looking. The main over-world battle backgrounds looked honestly like something off a NES game. I could actually imagine an 8-bit mario running up and jumping over the little tree images in the backgrounds.

However, the graphics are still pretty decent and I enjoyed most of them. The character sprites and enemy sprites all look pretty decent. The weapons still change appearance in battle, and that's great. The characters still don't jump up and attack the enemies up close though... >.<

The music in the game is super. No complaints here. It sounds like something you'd hear in any Post-NES FF game and you can tell it's leading closer and closer to what was found on FFVII and VIII. Slowly but surely, it's getting there.

Storyline:

While your main character has no definite name, most people refer to him as Bartz. Bartz is a traveling guy, being accompanied by his Chocobo, Boko. You're resting in a forest area when you hear a big crash.

You set out to see what the noise was and you stumble upon a meteor that landed in between two mountain ranges. Out pops Leena and Galuf and your journey begins. You'll come to find out that the crystals that guard the elements of the world are in danger of being destroyed and you must save them.

Honestly, the game follows a lot of the story elements of the past games. While it isn't really bad, and they caked it over enough to not show so much... It's still not that different than some of the previous games. Oh well.

The characters are fresh and exhilarating usually. Bartz resembles that of a caring yet gawking young lad who just finished puberty (this is a good thing actually) Galuf didn't really amaze me considering he looked about 25 years older than Bartz but still gawked at girls all the time. The other characters are pretty well developed though. I'd say more, but spoiler free is the way to be.

Overall/Explanation/Recommendation:

You know, I do enjoy this game. I think about anyone who's into RPGs could enjoy it. It's an "everyone" type of RPG... But I just don't think it's worth anything greater than a 7/10. The gameplay was screwed and the storyline just wasn't that amazing to me. It felt like a "meh".

I haven't played the PSX version so I can't really comment on that, but if you want this game you're probably going to have to emulate it. I suppose you could import it if you know Japanese, but emulating a translated version works just as well. Then again, there's always the PSX version.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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