Review by jedy567

Reviewed: 09/22/02 | Updated: 09/22/02

I love you Square, and yet I hate you for not bringing the best Final Fantasy game in the series to America sooner!!!!!!!!!

I don't know why they didn't bring it to us. They brought Final Fantasy IV, but why not V? Why skip the best game in the series? Oh well, what's done is done. My cousin introduced me to this game a few years ago, translated and all. I swear, the reason why emulation was invented was to play this game. This monster of an RPG has so many great qualities, and once you start playing, you'll know. Let's review, shall we?

Concept - An RPG with one unbelievable twist. The class system. So many classes to choose from! Dancer, monk, white mage, caller, samurai, ninja, dragoon, archer, and it just goes on. Each class has a special ability to start with and several levels (anywhere from 3 to 7 for any class, and you need AP to gain these levels, which you get after battles, just like you get experience) and each level you gain grants you another ability. So, you could level up a white mage until it learns Level 1 white magic, and then turn that character into a knight. A knight that excels in fighting AND healing! How much better can it get?! The possibilities are endless. A white mage that uses both black and white magic. A caller who can use a sword. And, if you're good enough, a character who can jump, use magic, and evade physical attacks. Anything you want to do, you can. The new ATB gives you an exact idea of who gets to attack next, so you can plan out attacks in any order. Also, call espers to deal massive amounts of damage. The class system lets you customize every single thing about all your characters, and it's a shame they don't use it more often in other games. 10/10

Graphics: Good for that time. Some great Mode 7, especially near the end of the game. The character models aren't bad, most of the game is about the same as FFIV, but there are some enemies and places that simply shine. The environment sets the mood, and most of the game happens to have a very dark mood. As you can imagine, the levels are large and eerie. There are some bright and colorful areas, but because most of the game is drenched in evil, you'll learn to appreciate dark, dreary, evil places. The magic spells are pretty good, and the espers are magnificent. 9/10

Story: Although most people call it cliched, it's not. It's quite original. The main character is just a wanderer, and he soon finds a meteor has crashed. He goes to investigate and finds a young woman and an old man there. The young woman's father has gone to the wind shrine because the wind has stopped. Our heroes go as well, and the rest is history. I can't spoil it for you, that would be so mean! Let me just say that this game has the best villain in any RPG, and without a doubt, the funniest ''villain's right-hand man (Gilgamesh)''.

Music: Best. Music. EVER! This game has the best music in any Final Fantasy game, any RPG, and any game ever! Every song enhances the game to a point that it sends chills down your spine. This game is Nobuo's finest achievement yet! Some REALLY good songs among the rest (which are already amazing enough, by the way) are ''Battle with Gilgamesh,'' ''Main theme,'' ''Music Box (village of Lix),'' and most of the town songs. If you've played through this game and like the music, then the Official Soundtrack is just what you need (Check eBay). 10/10

Gameplay: As I already stated in the concept section, this game uses the class system. Not only does this make endless possibilities, but another very useful (even though you might not think so) feature is the ''optimize'' option. This automatically equips your character with the most useful armor, weapons, and accessories that that particular class can wear. I hated having to manually equip everything in FFIV, so this was a big help for me. This game is pretty hard, especially the dungeons. Sometimes there's a fork in the road, and if you pick the wrong way and keep on going, you can forget about saving in that dungeon. The random battles are just right, not too many, not too few. There are many dungeons, but luckily, they never get tedious or boring. There's always a new location (underground, mountain, castle, etc.) and new puzzles which keep you playing. There are only a few bosses which pose as major threats, but when they do, they really do. You'll need to level up A LOT, so don't be afraid to! Every ability you gain puts you one step closer to beating tough enemies and surviving through the winding dungeons. Then, there are a few places where you'll just about go insane trying to get through (Phoenix Tower and the final dungeon of World 2). This game is divided into three chapters, or worlds. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll say that it is a long game, and it'll take you quite a long time to get through. Buying magic is a great regulator to your strength, so you know when you're supposed to have what magic and when. There are also so many secrets: secret espers, secret weapons, secret armor, secret items, secret caves...if you can completely 100% clear (including all treasure chests and all classes mastered for each character) this game, consider yourself a king among kings. And if you managed to do that, then you've probably spent several hundred hours just leveling up. In short, this game gives, it gives some more, and then it starts to give. It's challenging, touching, dark, encouraging, and the gameplay is outstanding. 10/10

Replay: Very high. Repeatedly playing through this game is normal. I see nowhere in this game where replay is lowered. All I see is beating the game, then starting a new one. There's so much that you'll never uncover, even if you've played through two or three times. There are so many secrets, and so many great moments, so many fun battles, so many fun dungeons. It's so much fun to try a low level game, or a no class game, or a single class game, or just play around with different classes. This game will never get old. For anyone who reads Game Informer, ''You'll still be popping this game in five years from now.'' I say ''Why stop at five?'' 10/10

Overall: This game is a masterpiece. The best music of any game, the graphics are awesome, the gameplay screams perfection, and the story is engrossing and amazing. It's safe to say that with this game, Square saw perfection and hit it head on. So, what are you waiting for?! Go find Final Fantasy Anthology for PlayStation! Or, for a real challenge, go find the Super Famicom version. I hope you can read Japanese! Do anything, but somehow, just play this game. You will not be disappointed. Sure, Square made it hard for us to play this game before Anthology, but now, there's no reason not to.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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