Review by chandlerbing
Reviewed: 07/30/01 | Updated: 07/30/01
Perhaps the most underrated of all Final Fantasies...
Final Fantasy V was the game that was not originally released on the SNES and came between Final Fantasy 2 (US) and Final Fantasy 3 (US). Many people did not understand why this game, as great as it is, was not originally released on the SNES in the US back in the early parts of the 90's where FF2 and FF3 thrived. What had been said was that the western audience would not understand or appreciate the story and the slight variation in the battle system. Fortunately, this game has been revived for the US market and people can experience this classic game.
Final Fantasy V introduces a very affective system to incorporate and compliment the classic Final Fantasy battle style. This system is called the Job System and allows you to train up your characters in various jobs to gain new skills to master. What makes this unique is that you could give each of your characters different number to jobs to change the way you approach the game. For example, you could have an all-physical fighter's party in which you could make 4 knights or 4 monks. Or you could make things challenging for yourself by creating 4 white mages. The possiblilities are almost endless. You will start with a limited number of jobs (from the crystal), but You will find new jobs on the way and each one unique and different.
There are so many skills that can be learnt from all the jobs and these can be combined to make your ultimate character. Want to create a Knight that can cast black magic? You can with this sophisticated system and is something that you couldn't do before in other RPG's before it.
Apart from the new job system, the basic battle system is identical to its predeccesor but this is not at all a bad thing. Battles are quick, fluent and do not drag on pointlessly. The summoning time is short too, something that people had complained about in the PSX Final Fantasies.
Storywise, some people may argue that the story is full of cliches because it involves the over-used sense of young adventurers battling against a dark foe to save the world. But I argue against this case because what RPG has NOT had a impending evil threatening the safety of the world? The story in FFV may follow traditional styles of RPG stories, but the story is incredibly in-depth and engaging all the same.
The graphics are just as simple as Final Fantasy 2 but on NO ACCOUNTS should you let this put you off. Some people may prefer the old-school graphics rather than fancy, flash graphics in many of the present day games. There is certainly a nostalgic charm in the graphics and this is certainly a good point.
It should be noted that the music is superb! In particular, the general battle music which is very addictive and upbeat just like the other Final Fantasy games in the series and ranks alongside FFIX's battle music as some of the best in the whole series. The sound effects in FFV are not spectacular by any means but does serve its purpose very well.
GAME LENGTH: 8
Quite obviously, the length of this game is not as long as its PSX brothers but this game is not short either. There are optional quests that you can embark on that adds to the length of the game. FFV is the first Final Fantasy to introduce what is to become FF trademark of future Final Fantasy games, the Super-hard optional bosses, one of which may be familiar to those who played FFVIII, Omega Weapon. Fighting these bosses and more likely losing against them may make you persevere and alter your strategies. In this sense, the game length is dramatically improved and enhanced. On your first game, you may find over 20+ hours of gameplay.
The game is not difficult but it is not easy either. This makes to game very accessible and ideal introduction for beginners. And veterans won't breeze through this game on the first go.
REPLAY VALUE: 7
There are no secrets to gain from completing the game and is applicable to the majority of other Final Fantasies and non-Square RPG's. However, this does not stop you from enjoying the game if you play it again. As mentioned in the Gameplay section above, giving your characters jobs in different combinations and situations makes this game very fun as you can create your characters how you want them to be.
Here's a quick breakdown of the pro's and cons of Final Fantasy V:
Job system enhances gameplay style.
Endless skill combinations to suit personal style of play.
Story engaging with plot twists.
Likeable characters each with a deep and interesting history.
Larger variety of weapons than FFII (US).
Perhaps not as long as it could be.
The random battles may annoy some players.
RENT OR BUY?
By all means, buy it. This game is now accessible to the public now and is packaged with FFVI in the Final Fantasy Anthology on the Playstation. So don't miss out... buy the game and play it. If you still own a SNES and somehow you find a rare copy of this game in Japanese, buy it to play it in its original format.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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