Review by Arkturus
"A Remarkable Remake"
Final Fantasy. A series that has, for more than 15 years, been one of the most successful and well-received. There have been 12 games in the main series and a large amount of sequels, spinoffs and related titles. Final Fantasy V Advance is a Gameboy Advance remake of Final Fantasy V, which has previously been released on the Playstation, as part of Final Fantasy Anthology, and on the SNES. Like it's predecessors and descendants, Final Fantasy V was an RPG with a great storyline, complex gameplay and innovative features, this new remake adds new features never seen before, and they shall be looked at, along with the rest of the game, in the following text.
Like all Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy V Advance features a fantastic, epic storyline. It all starts off when the Wind Crystal, one of four crystals that power the world, shatters, stopping all the wind, Butz, a loner who travels with his chocobo, teams up with a forgetful old man named Galuf, a princess named Reina, and a pirate called Faris, to travel the world and save the other crystals, using the powers of the shattered crystal to give them strength, along the way, they fight enemies and meet a large cast of characters in their epic quest to save the world...
Like many of the earlier Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy V had good graphics at the time, but by todays standards, they are of a low quality, the graphics haven't been improved in the remake, with the world still being a 2D place inhabited by sprites, that said, the menus look nice enough and the attention to detail is rather good, but things like character animation and cut-scenes are below par, all in all, graphics are lacking in quality, but they don't affect things like the gameplay.
Final Fantasy V Advance is part of a series of games known for their excellent musical scores, the compositions featured throughout the game are theme-fitting and very well done, ranging from royal themes in castles to dark themes in dungeons, there are no particularly memorable tracks like there are in some of the other games, but there are no tracks that can really be criticised either, all in all, sound is a good area of the game.
This is where it starts to get good, the gameplay in Final Fantasy V Advance is out of this world, there hardly anything negative than be said about it, yet there are so many positives. The controls first of all, they are very easy to use, probably due to the fact that the Gameboy Advance only has a few buttons compared to systems like the Playstation 2 and Xbox. After that we have the menus, there are only a few menus throughout the game, but each one is easy to navigate and use. Then we have the game itself, you control a party of four people as they travel the world, you move in between field areas on the world map, where you can be engaged by enemies, Final Fantasy V Advance has a very unique battle system, outside of battle, characters can be assigned jobs, the party is given new jobs as the game progresses, each job has its own abilities that aid the party in battle, for instance, mages can use magic whilst thieves can steal items, as the character gets stronger through battling, more abilities are learned until the class is mastered, at which point the character can start over as a new class and retain the abilities of the old class, other than jobs, the player can also attack and be attacked, the strength of attacks is based on the characters weapon, which can be upgraded throughout the game, whilst how much pain the character can take from attacks depends on armour, which can also be upgraded, they can also use items in and out of battle, each with their own unique purposes, the player can also shop with money dropped from monsters, get stronger by levelling up, and eventually, proceed through the game and complete it, unravelling the mysteries of the plot along the way. Are there any negatives about the gameplay? Well, sometimes, aspects of the game can be hard to get into, tutorials are hardly ever given, often leaving players thrown in at the deep end, clueless about what they should be doing next, also the Quicksave feature, like the ones that have been featured in some Final Fantasy games before, is pointless. All in all, gameplay is rather marvellous.
Because there are so many ways of playing Final Fantasy V Advance, it's hard to say how long it takes to complete, some players, like me, like to get absolutely everything out of the game, whilst others like to complete it as quickly as possible. After that there is always the bonus completion content and the option of replaying the game in a different way.
The remake adds several extras, a Bestiary of all the monsters you've fought is available, as is a music player. There has also been new gameplay content in the form of new items, new jobs and new areas added since Final Fantasy V was released on the Playstation.
I highly recommend the purchase of this game, it's not too expensive, it lasts you a long time and is fun to play, if you're going on a long journey, it will seem like a short journey once you get playing, just remember to save the game before you run out of batteries...
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/06, Updated 12/04/07
Game Release: Final Fantasy V Advance (EU, 04/13/07)
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