Review by NWalterstorf

"Kweh!"

WARNING: You about to encounter a lot of exclamation points as I explain to you, in the most ecstatic form possible, the greatness of this wonderful port. If it becomes overbearing, please avert your eyes or darken your monitor. I will not be held liable for retina strain.

Just kidding. My explanation won't quite be as over-the-top as the warning tells you. But I will be praising this game for it's brilliance. Yes, I said it; brilliance. Now, FFV is not my favorite FF title. FFIV is, but that's besides the point. I haven't written a review this energetic since writing about the FFIV port for the GBA.

When FFV game to the Playstation one, it was great, though it was coupled with FFVI, so many people would opt to play FFVI as opposed to this little nugget. Now for the GBA, FFV has been ported and released by itself so those of you who may have overlooked the PS-one compilation (or simply don't have a Sony game system) may play it; or if you're a fan of this series, you can also have it on the go.

The first hour of game play…

The first hour of game play let me know, right off the bat, that I was into a great title, once again, and that the port was handled well. I found myself knee-deep into one of the greatest ports of any FF game. From the graphics to the script to the port editing in general, this game was treated like a million dollar baby. Rightly handled, the port is good, fixing the bugs of the original while updating the script. Sure, there are some bugs here, but nothing serious. Simply put, it runs well.

I've played the original FFV several times, but the re-scripting of this game give it a sense of new. People often overlook FFV for the other FF's and frequently miss out on just how expansive this story line is. Different summon monsters, the various dungeons and even a few bonus dungeons with extra loot to strengthen your characters. It's a large game with a great set of protagonists.

Bartz is the young hero who travels with his Chocobo, Boko. Lenna, the princess. Galuf, the wise-cracking older dude. Faris, the pirate (yarr). Each character is unique and adds a little extra something to the storyline. Not only that, but their graphic appearance in-game is good. When you change class to a Knight, you don't just get a common knight; just as with the earlier versions of this game, the characters all have a distinct appearance of that class. That means that if Bartz is a knight, he will look different than if Faris is a knight, or if Lenna is a knight, or even Galuf. Same with every class. It's a graphical touch which really adds something to this title.

Concerning the graphics…

Concerning the graphics, everything looks nice, much of the graphics the same as the Playstation version, along with the inclusion of character portraits. Love them or hate them, they're here. Also, the music of the previous title is present. Nothing real new, only minor updates; but they sound good. While pretty much everything graphical and musical hasn't changed from the previous entry, the game play itself has made a fine transition.

That leads me immediately into discussion about the game play.

Let me place this in the most simplest term possible: “this game are fun”. Unlike the Playstation release of this title, the GBA port's random battle system is actually likeable. I'm not kidding you. While load times and slower game play littered the Playstation version of this title, the cartridge instant access of the GBA hardware makes random battles load without a moment's hesitation. Instead of selecting an attack and waiting for the system to carry it out seconds later, the GBA port executes the attack immediately. As opposed to hesitation between complex magic spells and summons, the GBA hardware executes the complex spells and summons with little or no hesitation. Chalk it up to the advantage of the cartridge versus the cd.

Instead of cringing and having to trudge through every battle like most games, I actually looked forward to the battle as it offered me a chance to test out my customized characters, as well as earn valuable Ability Points, allowing me to level up my character's job classes.

The job classes of this game are the greatest aspect of the title's battle system. Knight, Blue Mage, Black Mage, Time Mage, and so on are just a small portion of the entire game's expansive list of job classes. Also, FFV: Advance brings to the table more classes than before. Not only does each class have good aspects, but each class offers the player the ability to customize their character's abilities.

For a brief illustration, imagine I just turned on my GBA and introduced you to my low level party (they're all around level 10). I'll be using my low party for the sake of just how much you can customize your characters even with the first class. Now, imagine I just entered a battle. My Knight Bartz could attack, or he could use White Magic to heal Lenna; this is the typical Paladin approach. Now Lenna, on the other hand, is a White Mage and is placed on the front row. But instead of casting a spell, she unleashes a dozy of two un-armed attacks which severely damage the opponent. A white mage! Galuf, my Black Mage, decides to cast a Healing Spell on Faris. Faris, my Thief, casts Fire on an opponent. Crazy, huh? Yes; crazy spectacular. By utilizing the job system, you can have character use aspects of the numerous available classes in order to come up with an entirely complex character. A Mystic Knight who can Summon? Power house. A Red Make who knows Time Magic? Amazing. A Monk who knows Monster Abilities? Do I have you tell you how sweet that is?

So all in all…

So all in all, FFV: Advance is an amazing title which is bound to give you hours of quality blah, blah blah (insert clichéd statements here). The replay-ability is not the strongest point due to the linearity, but the bonus dungeons (as well as post-game dungeon) give it a bit of replay-ability, and if you love customizing your characters, there's plenty of value to be had.

While FFV is commonly underrated while seated next to it's big brother FFVI or FFIV, FFV: Advance will show you just how fantastic old school games are. FF does not have a fan base centered around nostalgia: playing this title will show you just how tremendous these old school titles really are.

The Good:
+ Excellent Story
+ Excellent Characters
+ Excellent Game Play
+ Great Sound and Graphics
+ Fantastic port

The Bad:
- No tremendous updates to graphics and sound
- No seriously humongous content added
- Minor bugs

The Heart-Warming:
+ Kweh!

Final Fantasy V: Advance for the GBA.
Rated: 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/28/06


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