Review by shallow man
"Shallow's unbiased and fair review!"
Final Fantasy V: one of the unsung heroes of the series. This game has done so many things right and is one of the best, yet you rarely hear much about it when a Final Fantasy discussion occurs. Perhaps this is because it's only US release was that of the PS1 rendition, and to be honest, it always seemed to me that Squaresoft (at the time) spent more time on VI from the Anthology than V. However, this new remake on the GBA gives it a lot more attention that it deserves. If you haven't given this game a chance, then allow me to explain why you should.
The graphics may be a bit archaic looking, but you have to consider that this game was released over 10 years ago. Most of the graphics on the field aren't very impressive at all, but inside battle, things are amped up a bit. The monster art looks very well-done, and you can tell they took their time when they were created. The characters look pretty good also, and switch costumes whenever they switch jobs. The spells are simple, but effective. Just don't expect the summons to blow your mind. You may also hear about how Square-Enix re-did the graphics, but to be honest, you could play all versions of the game and not even notice. Don't get me wrong, the backgrounds are colorful, but they aren't something that's going to catch your attention. There are also character portraits for your characters when they talk. Some of them may take a bit of time to get used to (ahem, Faris), but they are a most definite change against the constant anime we see all the time. Considering this is mostly an exact remake of the game, the graphics weren't too shabby for their time.
A surprising feature of the game is how well this department does. The sounds, though simple, are wide and varied, and the music is very memorable and catchy. Not that this feature is an exact necessity to any game, but it most certainly helps improve gameplay, and this game delivers in that department. Though most of the sounds are the exact same from the past versions, some have been slightly altered. You'll hear some people complain about this, but in all reality, it should have no effect on you whatsoever.
The main battle feature that this game introduced is the very same feature that makes it so much fun to play. FFV was the very first to introduce a class system in which you could become a multitude of job classes outside of battle. You'll start off with none, but get a few about 15 minutes in, then more and more as the game goes on. The classes themselves are varied and every one has each own little niche that makes it useful. Some classes, like Dancer, appear useless. However, dress one up in the right equipment, and it'll be able to perform Swords Dance, which inflicts 175% more damage on a frequent basis!
The best part is the fact that you can gain abilities with each class, then transfer them over when you switch to another. After each battle, you gain ability points (ABP), and after gaining a certain amount in a class, you'll learn a related skill. You can take these skills, and use them as another class. So, for example, you can use Black Magic when you are a White Mage. Very handy!
This is also good news for completionists, like myself. There are so many jobs and so many skills to learn that they will spend many hours trying to master them all. Plus, Square-Enix added in 4 new classes. While you'll hear arguments that some completely make the game cheap and others are completely useless, you should be able to find a use for all of them.
My only real complaint is the lack of any REAL sidequests. Sure, there are some things you can do, but most of them don't take much effort or time. A bonus dungeon has been added, however, so that should keep you busy for a little bit longer than the normal game will.
A bestiary has also been added for completionist, which is fun and helpful, but can be a real hassle when you found out you missed a monster permanently. You'll constantly feel like having a checklist beside you if you want to complete it. A nice feature, though.
Another minor bother is the fact that sometimes you may feel a little lost, or are unsure of where to go. This will usually result in you coming here for a guide, which is nice, but it can be annoying not being able to do this alone and the fact that you may have to resort to the internet more often than you might like.
There's also the fact that players who don't spend much time levelling up may find themselves struggling against later bosses of the game. While this isn't a problem for me (since I like mastering jobs), it may be for those who play the game more for story than anything else.
Unfortunately, Final Fantasy suffers from having cliched stories that you've only heard a million times. Once again, you must save the world from an evil force and once again, you must use the power of the crystals to help in your endeavor. That isn't to say that the story is bad by any means, it's just that it's so unoriginal that you may even be able to predict what happens at times. One good thing, however, is that the dialogue has been greatly improved. While you'll hear some people praise the game for this, it isn't THAT big of a deal. It does make the game easier to play, however. Oh, and the little internet culture jokes are a very nice surprise as well.
This is one area that could have improved, but is just enough to encourage you to finish the game.
Overall 9/10, Not an average:
To summarize, if you've never played this FF before, but are a fan of the series, definitely pick this one up. You won't be able to imagine how you went without playing it. And even if you've played the other versions, this one is definitely worth it to pick up again. It's not as complex as the more current FFs, but it will definitely keep you busy for a good while.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/06
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