Review by IamtheRevan
"Proof You Don't Need A Story To Have A Good Final Fantasy, But It Hurts."
Final Fantasy V Advance, I'll give you this: you certainly try to act funny.
Out of the Final Fantasy's I've played, Final Fantasy V Advance has the weakest story a Final Fantasy has ever had. The main protagonist (sort-of), Bartz, is the cliche hero who just doesn't have what it takes to be endearing. The main antagonist, ExDeath, is the villian with a horrible name (ExDeath?), who doesn't seem to have much of a vendetta other than that his name sucks so horribly bad, the whole world (or three) must suffer.
So what makes it get an eight out of ten? Well first off, the rating system doesn't allow for fractions (otherwise, 7.7 out of ten). Second off, there is a kick-ass job system waiting for players with the patience to read through (or repeatedly tap the "A" button through) the badly written story, and just get on the random and boss fights.
The story starts with the dork protagonist Bartz (personally, I think Butz is more fitting) meeting with Lenna, a princess who is searching for her lost father, or something like that. They soon meet Faris, a (tomboy) pirate with a drake, and Galuf, an amnesiac man who remembers things at the most untimely moments (such as minutes before the end of the world). Eventually, you get access to jobs, and that's where the fun kicks in.
You start off with Knights, Black Mages, White Mages, Blue Mages and Monks. Each set of classes gets more diverse, and soon enough you'll have access to jobs such as Samurais, Ninjas, Rangers, and even fancier ones like Beastmasters and Geomancers. Each Job has useful abilities, though some get eclipsed later in the game (why would you use !Guard when you have !Image?). As you master abilities, you can give them to different jobs. For instance you could have a Black Mage throwing gil at monsters with the !Zeninage ability, or a White Mage wielding swords instead of a wussy staff with the Equip Swords ability.
Modes of transportation include: Chocobo, Ship, Black Chocobo, Airship, Submarine, and eventually Airship with Ship and Submarine capabilities. Usual Final Fantasy Fare. Isn't it amazing?
Life is all and well, you advance the story pretty much to get to the next cave or event, and everything seems to be going all dandy (except for the world balancing crystals shattering, no worries, mate), until Galuf remembers that, oh yeah, Exdeath is back and trying to kill everything by gaining the power of The Void.
So from there you actually start fighting against the real antogonist. The story wraps up cleanly, though bleakly. The end of the world didn't ever end, everybody's safe and sound, and you get to save CLEAR data, which opens up a few extra dungeons, provided you did some extra questing, and allows you to repeatedly defeat ExDeath over and over and again. Or you could level up and try fighting enemies like Shinryu, Neo Shinryu, Omega, Omega MkII, or Enuo, all of who are much tougher than the last boss in the game.
Soundtrack wise, Nobuo Uematsu's work is well-done, as always, and the remastered music can be played in an unlockable music player (via CLEAR data). Charming in all respects, even old timers of the old-school SNES and PSX days will enjoy it, for what it's worth (people will think you're wierd if you carry a Gameboy Advance SP to your ear like a boxy cell phone so you can listen to the music).
Graphically speaking, this is the Gameboy Advance we're talking about, so don't expect FMV or lack of slowdown during areas with a lot of background action. The effects are bright and fun to watch, and show the artistic spritey side of Final Fantasy in its finest.
Gameplay is what you'd expect of Final Fantasy games. ATB, White Magic, Black Magic, Blue Magic, Phoenix Downs, so on. Where it really shines is the Job system, allowing you to craft your characters the way you want them. Not much new here, but this is a remake of an older Final Fantasy, cut it some slack, would ye?
The story, may not be as bad as I think it is, but don't expect any real twists here. When one character doesn't make it, it's kinda predictable, and you kinda scoff at it. Nothing new here, nothing heartbreaking. While there are some funny moments of dialogue, it's mostly lackluster humor that would appeal to the little kids.
The replay value isn't much. Once you beat the game, which should take around forty hours, you're most likely to continue leveling up and mastering jobs and stealing rare stuff and collecting blue magic in preparation for the Sealed Temple, where you'll find enemies so strong they would make ExDeath piss his armor. Once that's done, you might want to start over, or you may just be too sick of the game's incessant random encounters to care.
Total: 77/100 points, or 8/10, according to GameFAQs.
This is a buy for people who want an engaging battle system. If you're looking for a good story, this isn't it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/18/07
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