Review by Falsiloquos

Reviewed: 04/06/00 | Updated: 04/06/00

The muddled Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy V does most everything right. There's a lot to do, to see, and there's a genuine sense of challenge in this game that you don't find in either the previous Final Fantasy or the next one. Although the graphics aren't that improved over IV, the character animations were greatly enhanced. Square added an intriguing class system, previously seen in FF3j, and some interesting subquests as well.

Yet, to me, this game never really came together. I suppose it didn't help that this was the ''lost'' final fantasy, and had been heavily hyped for its originality. Everything in this game, I'd seen done better in other games, but we'll get to that in a moment.

Let us start at the beginning. You start the game as Butz (or Bartz if you are playing Anthology) an adventurer with a Chocobo. But then, a meteor falls nearby, and you investigate. Inside is an old man who has lost his memory. You also meet a girl who wants to head to the Wind Shrine to check out whether her father is alive or dead. After going through some Pirates, you make it to the Wind Shrine, to find that the Crystal has shattered. The rest of the adventure goes around watching crystals shatter, only to realize that it is all the mad plot of one ExDeath, a Bad Guy (obviously) who plans Bad Things (also obviously). I would guess that he was created to do nothing more than evil. But more on ExDeath later.

The plot seems entirely too typical. Bad Guy doing Bad Things must be stopped. Didn't Square just do that exact plot in FFIV? Oh, wait this is entirely different because ExDeath isn't seen until later. And he was sealed away by the Crystals, he wasn't stealing them. Yes, the differences here are endless. (by which I mean that they are all superficial differences) ExDeath, in fact, could be called Generic Supervillain for all the difference it makes. He isn't a character, he's a plot device. He gives your heroes something to hero themselves against. ExDeath doesn't have any purpose to his evil, he's just evil. Which is why I think ExDeath is the worst villain in any Square game.

The ''Star'' of the game is, of course, the Job Class system. Basically this allows your characters to mix and match abilities with their current class to create new classes, such as a Knight who can Summon, or a Mage who can run fast. And although this system is interesting, it doesn't really fit into the game. FFV is a simple game, really. It has a simple villain, and a simple plot with a few small twists. Jobs are not simple. They require that you pay attention to small details, and that you know which abilities everyone in the party has to have at any moment for maximum effect. This way you can spend a lot of time between battles just thinking over how best to move your Jobs around. This worked in FFTactics as you needed to plan things out, but in FFV, I would have appreciated the simplicity of FFIV.

And that brings me to my other point, FFV feels completely unoriginal. The graphics are pure FFIV, the plot is FFIV, and the Jobs are from FFIIIj. This game comes off as a pure transitional game, much the same way as FFIIj did. It isn't a great game on its own, because it feels too much like a second effort. They simply reused the FFIV graphics, and didn't spend that much time creating a good villain, or an interesting situation. However, the individual levels are quite well designed, Square did seem to put some thought into that. Some of these areas are the best designed in any FF game, especially the last area leading up to the final battle.

The pacing in FFV could have used a little work. You just feel like you are starting something, when it rushes you off to something else. This gets better near the end of the game, but gets pretty bad in the beginning, where you are just starting out, it rushes you along rather quickly.

Anyway, my favorite thing of FFV is the music, which I have the Original Soundtrack to, as it just rules.

I gave FFV a 7 as it really is a good game, but I felt that it had some fairly serious flaws in it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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