Review by YSF

Reviewed: 06/13/00 | Updated: 12/16/02

Quite Possibly One Of The Best Final Fantasy Games Ever!!!

Introduction

Final Fantasy V was released on the Super Famicom in Japan in 1992. There's definitely no doubt that part V in the series is easily one of the best Final Fantasy series. Following the success of Final Fantasy IV [II in the US], it was thought that Square would bring Final Fantasy V over to the US. However, Final Fantasy VI [III in US] was in production at the same time and as a result, plans to bring over Final Fantasy V to the US had to be cancelled. On hearing this news, it saddened many Final Fantasy fans.

Various rumours about bringing Final Fantasy V over had also arisen, including a deal with Eidos to release Final Fantasy V on the PC, but none never came to pass until Final Fantasy V was translated and released on the PlayStation as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology package.

Meanwhile, a group of Final Fantasy fans called RPGe decided to do the job themselves so they did their own translation, using rom images of the Super Famicom cartridge and hacking in the English text. Thanks to them, many RPG fans were able to play Final Fantasy V in English using their SNES emulators on their PCs. But if you are observant, you will realise that some of the names in the English translated rom and the Final Fantasy V in the Anthology package are different.

Story

Final Fantasy V sets in a medieval era. The power of the Wind crystal has started to fade and to investigate the problem, King Tycoon embarked on his scout mission to the wind shrine. Worried about her father, Reina [or Lenna if you are playing the rom translation] left the castle to search for her father. On her way, she met Bart [Butz] and Galuf and they then became good friends.

Together, they inadvertently stumbles into a disaster that is waiting to happen. Once all the seals of the four crystals, Wind, Water, Fire and Earth are broken, an evil, powerful black mage called X-death [Ex-death] will be revived and he will bring about destruction to the world. And, to avert this horrendous disaster, the party has to travel to different planets or be more specific, three different worlds to stop this black mage. A truly intriguing plot! Cool, right?

After the success of Final Fantasy IV, with its large playable cast of characters, Square decided to twist it around and just concentrating on 5 characters. Majority of the time, you can control 4 players and towards a certain point of the game, the fifth character will come and join you by replacing one of the characters. [As to who is the fifth character and who is the one being replaced, I guess I will leave you to find out to prevent spoilers.]

The characterisations are good but it often deals as a single entity rather than as 5 separate characters, so some probably think that there is a less of interest in the way individual characterisation develops. On the other hand, their strong group spirit makes up for any individual characterisation. Also, it's quite wrong and bias to say that Final Fantasy V has no character development as all the characters have some of their own personal and memorable scenes.

Graphics

The graphics, in my opinion, are pretty good for a game that was made in 1992. Don't you think so? The sprite-based characters are pretty well animated as the artworks are all done by the legendary artist, Yoshitaka Amano. Cute sprite-based characters. I really like the graphics in the ocean world and it simply reminds me of the awesome underwater world in Final Fantasy VII.

Music and Sound

The tunes were composed by the greatest musician and he is none other than Nobuo Uematsu. I love the crystal theme and quite a couple of the tunes like the Gilgamesh theme etc are my favourite. The battle theme is easily one of my favourite themes. As for the sound effects, they are generally quite good. Pretty majestic, especially during battles when you cast spells or use special attacks.

Combat

Yes, the graphics aren't as spectacular as compared to 16-bit games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI or even modern games, and it hurts the eyes sometimes to look at such small sprite-based images, but the gameplay is far superior than many other RPGs.

Square took the best concepts from the past Final Fantasies and modified the Job system. Some diehard fan called it the Ability Point system instead of the Job system. There are over 20 different types of jobs that your characters can choose from and each job has different levels too. Basically, let the character choose a job first, obtain ABP by winning fights, and when that particular job gains a level, you earn a new ability. This new ability, which your character has just learned will be able to be equipped at anytime.

Don't look down on this job system! There are over 100+ abilities that the characters can learn and the amount of flexibility for strategy is so vast that it even exceeds that of Final Fantasy VI. [Also, do you remember that Final Fantasy Tactics borrowed the job concept too?] There are countless unbeatable boss and a variety of strategies that your characters can use. Which job should you learn first? Having a balance ability ranging from physical attacks, magic, summons...? Or let your character concentrate on one particular job until he has reached 'Master' for that job?

Magic could be classified into White magic, Black magic, Blue magic, Red magic and Time magic. [No other games have classified magic like that!] Other classes include Bard, Knight, Monk, Dancers, Dragoon and so on. Once you get used to it, you will discover that the job system is very useful that allows for many incredible possibilities.

Other Innovations

Final Fantasy V has enough challenges to keep even the diehard RPG veterans to be satisfied. Some of the dungeons are really hard and you may take hours to clear it. Also, there are quite a number of tough bosses too. And then, don't forget about the powerful Omega weapon, the legendary weapons and so on. Yes, some of the dungeons are even harder than those you have seen in Kefka Tower and Phoenix Cave in Final Fantasy VI. I'm not joking! It's true!

And, that's not all! There's submarine, airships, flying black chocobo, and even dragons. This is the ultimate fantasy world which you can expect of.

Conclusion

Overall, Final Fantasy V is a great masterpiece and looking at the awesome job system and the widest variety of challenging and an intriguing storyline, it makes sense why there are some groups of people who believe that Final Fantasy V is the best Final Fantasy series. [An example is Dingo Jellybean!!!] Now, what are you waiting for? Hurry and grab it now! If not, play the Final Fantasy V in the Final Fantasy Anthology package. Final Fantasy V, without a doubt, is a gem and a classic too.

Story : 10.0/10.0
Graphics : 8.0/10.0
Concept : 10.0/10.0
Control : 9.0/10.0
Music : 9.5/10.0
Sound : 9.0/10.0
Gameplay : 10.0/10.0
Replay : 10.0/10.0
Challenge : 10.0/10.0
Overall : 10.0/10.0

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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