Review by evilynxis
"Solid but not without flaws."
Final Fantasy 5 was never my favorite FF by any means. You control Bartz who is joined by Lenna, Galuf and Faris in an attempt to save the crystals which uphold the elemental balance of the world, while an old, powerful enemy tries to break free of it's prison.
The story is as contrived and cliche as it gets, not to mention shallow. The only real saving grace for the story are the humorous moments of the characters and Gilgamesh. You try to save the world from the old, evil warlock who's trying to get ultimate power so he can destroy everything.
On the upside, the new translation isn't bad. A definite improvement over the PS release.
Game play: 8/10
The game play is probably the best part of this game. FF5 was the first one to implement the ATB Gauge as it was in the subsequent installments. The ATB in FF4A was tacked on specifically for that release.
I found that the ATB was glitching or something. Even in active mode, it would pause a lot for no apparent reason or instead would instantly jump up to full. If this is by error or by design, I can't really tell but it's distracting anyways.
The Job system is back with 4 new additions, 3 of which aren't available until end game and the last one isn't available until after you've beaten the game. Each job has it's uses but a lot of them just go unused. I never once used the Dancer or Bard classes for instance.
Sporting completely revamped sprites and background graphics as well as the character portraits, the games graphics are quite good for the GBA. Everything is very detailed and also retains the old-school look I love. Above all else, FF5 is definitely the link between FF4 and FF6 in terms of graphics so it sits between them.
Negatively speaking though, I've noticed what looks like slowdown during certain things. The Meteor spell looks like it slows down and just attacking during the final battle sometimes sees some obvious slowdown. Animations for some spells, especially Holy, aren't particularly smooth.
Like the previous ports on the GBA, all the music is faithful to the original games it's based on. All the tunes are good with plenty of memorable tracks like Battle On The Big Bridge and X-Death's Castle. All the sound effects sound as expected.
Only complaints I have are that the quality of some of the samples seems to be low, especially on the sound effects but that's fairly minor. They sometimes just sound scratchy. The crappy GBA SP speaker doesn't do justice. I highly recommend using a DS or headphones.
I've found I tend to like games which are challenging but don't require an added time investment to get through to the end. Thankfully, FF5 delivers on this front. Less experienced players may have some difficulty with the game if they don't power level but veterans shouldn't have much trouble.
Like the previous GBA remakes, this version sports a new optional dungeon. Unlike the previous remakes though, this dungeon doesn't really add anything new to the game. Some new equipment and revamped bosses from the same game. Compared to the previous efforts, this feels lax.
After you've completed the optional dungeon, there isn't much point in picking the game up again except for completions sake.
Overall, a solid remake with some minor slowdown, scratchy sound samples and ATB weirdness. I'm looking forward to Final Fantasy 6 Advance.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/21/06
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