Review by Watcher19
"The best available version of this Final Fantasy classic"
Final Fantasy V has tripped over a few hurdles when it comes to an American release. It was originally released in Japan in 1992, and didn't come over here at all then, instead passed up for Final Fantasy 6. Another attempt to release it failed, and then another planned for the PC was canned as well. Eventually, some kind souls did a fan translation for those who wished to play it. Finally, it came out on the Playstation in 1999... with an absolutely terrible translation. The fan translation was better by leaps and bounds. It would be 14 years before English-speaking gamers got their hands on a good translation of it. Final Fantasy V Advance is, simply put, the definitive release of this RPG classic.
The plot revolves around four heroes; the wanderer Bartz, the princess Lenna, the mysterious Galuf, and the pirate Faris. Their quest involves stopping the four crystals which control the world's fire, wind, water, and earth from shattering, thus plunging the world into ruin and decay. As the Crystal Warriors, they harness the power of the crystal shards to fight against the evil who threatens the crystals. The plot is wonderful, especially thanks to the new translation, which keeps all the original content in the game.
Onto the gameplay. It's classic Final Fantasy fare, with exploring an overworld map, town, or dungeon, along with random battles and big boss encounters. The Active Time Battle system returns, and you now have the visual aid of a little bar next to each character's name that shows you when their turn is coming up. The game's best addition is the Job System. Returning from Final Fantasy III, you basically select a class from a multitude of options, including Knights and Mages among many others and battle with them. As you win battles, you earn Ability Points. Earn enough and you learn a new ability, which you can set to any class you choose as a sub-ability. This allows for several interesting combinations, like a swordsman who can heal party members with White Magic or a Black Mage who can deal massive damage with his fists using a Monk's Barehanded ability. As you go through the game, you'll pick up lots of ways to travel, including dragons, boats, and airships. There are also many sidequests you can go through to claim powerful items which will be helpful for the final battles. Many new things have been added to the GBA re-release, including four new classes and an extra dungeon with its own new boss inside to best. All in all, the gameplay is pure old-school Final Fantasy, and will please many.
The sound and music are exceptional, even on the GBA. The sounds are simple things like sword slashes, blazing flames, or explosions. The music, however, is spectacular. Don't be surprised if you catch yourself humming tunes from the game sometime; they have a way of getting in your head, especially Gilgamesh's theme or the Prelude of Empty Skies. A music player is unlocked once you beat the game, so anytime you want to hear your favorite, just pop it on and enjoy.
Final Fantasy V was the second of three Super Nintendo Final Fantasies, and it stands as one of the finest. The Job System is incredibly fun to play around with, and is very flexible in letting you choose what sort of character you'd like to build up. It's an incredibly addictive game, too. Being portable is a plus, too, as you can play it anywhere you'd like.
This is the best version of Final Fantasy V available currently. If you like JRPGs at all, you definently should pick this one up. It's one of the finest GBA RPGs that's out, and has an incredibly deep Job System for the ultimate in character customization.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/24/07, Updated 09/26/07
Game Release: Final Fantasy V Advance (US, 11/06/06)
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