Final Fantasy 5

Final Fantasy 5

Title: Final Fantasy V
Company: Squaresoft
Genre: Traditional RPG
Console: SNES/PSX

When American gamers received the game Final Fantasy VII, they had reason to be confused. The last Final Fantasy game they had played was Final Fantasy III, an SNES game. Where were Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI? Eventually it all became clear: Final Fantasy II was actually Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy III was really Final Fantasy VI. The numbering was Squaresoft's way of covering the fact that they never translated the true Final Fantasy II and III, both NES games. However, there was still one lost game, a game considered to be one of the best overseas, the game with the legendary job system, a system copied in Final Fantasy Tactics. With Final Fantasy Anthology, American gamers got the chance to play this game for the first time. This masterpiece is known as Final Fantasy V.

Early Squaresoft games didn't have story lines as complex (or as confusing) as later games. Before Final Fantasy VI, the Final Fantasy games had relatively simple plots. Like the Final Fantasies before it, FF5 has a more complex storyline than other games of its time, but is nothing compared to games like FF6, FF7, and Xenogears. Still, the plot is nothing to laugh at, since the story of the Light Warriors, while cliched, is more than enough to hold the gamer's attention. The ending is good, but not wonderful. After a game this long and difficult, I've come to expect more from an ending sequence. Another interesting note: the legendary crystals are present in this game.

Final Fantasy V's characters are a pretty lovable bunch. From the cross-dressing Faris to the amnesiac Galuf, FF5 has interesting characters. Although they aren't as developed as those in later games, there is enough development to keep the gamer happy. Also the lack of characters keeps the gamer's attention focused on who's important. There aren't any boring characters like in FF4 and FF6, though none of FF5's five characters are as interesting as FF4 or FF6's best. NPC's are also a highlight of this game, with the Four Warriors of Dawn (three of which are NPC's) and one of my personal favorites, Gilgamesh. Unfortunately, Exdeath is a boring villian, only slightly better than Zemus and Necro, and nowhere near the complete excellence of Sephiroth and Kefka.

Graphically, Final Fantasy V is pretty similar to other SNES Squaresoft RPG's, that is, rather impressive for 16-bit pixellized sprites. Amano's art is beautiful, showing its majesty in the enemies during battles, especially Shinryuu, Gilgamesh, and the final battle. While the sprites themselves are rather unimpressive, the gamer must remember that this is an SNES game. Asking for FF10's eye candy would be ludicrous.

Final Fantasy V has good music, with an excellent battle theme and a particularly ominous theme song for Exdeath. Another wonderful piece of music is the Hiryu's theme when it travels on the overworld map. Other than those songs, none really stand out, but the music is nothing to complain about.

Gameplay! This is where Final Fantasy V shows its superiority! There is no other system like the job system! The customization is endless, and there is an amazing amount of strategy necessary to correctly use this system. Want a knight who can weild two heavy swords? Master the ninja class and equip 2-handed on a knight. Miss the paladin class? Master the white mage class and give a knight the power of white magic. Want a character with amazing HP to attack 8 times in each turn with Excalibur in one hand and Brave Blade in the other? Master the ninja, monk, and archer and give a base character the X-Fight command and 30% HP (2-handed will automatically be passed to a base character). The possibilities are endless, and if you're the perfectionist type of gamer, you'll likely spend hours upon hours trying to master every class to create the ultimate character. Final Fantasy V is a pretty tough game too, with quite a few boss battles that may give the gamer trouble, and two "ultimate bosses." If you've played FF8, you may be familiar with the name Omega WEAPON. Well, Final Fantasy V has the original Omega, as well as Shinryuu, the dragon who makes FF7's Ruby and Emerald WEAPON look easy. My only gripe is it is pretty linear, but when a game is this good, you hardly even notice.

While Final Fantasy V is a long game, easily 50 hours without trying to master every class or do every subquest, but there is not very much replay value. There's not that much of a draw to play the game again, other than to try to get a more powerful Brave Blade, maybe get all the summons, and pick up the Mimic class if it was missed. Still, the hardcore gamer will get more than one play out of it.

Final Fantasy V is definitely a game worth playing. Even if you've already played Final Fantasy Tactics, it's worth it to go back and learn the origin of the job system (although I believe there was a game before it that had a very early unrefined job system...FF2 or FF3?). This game has one of the greatest gameplay systems in the world of RPG's and no RPG collection is complete without it.

Storyline: 8.0
Characters: 9.0
Graphics: 8.5
Music: 9.0
Gameplay: 10.0
Length: 10.0
Replay Value: 7.0
Reviewer's Tilt: 9.5
Overall: 8.9

Dark Mistress' Reviews
Final Fantasy 5 Reviews

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