"Not the best of the 16-bit Final Fantasies, but still one of the series greatest"

This Final Fantasy is considered the best by many die-hards. Well, not me. I am a die-hard, but FF 5 is my favorite. Anyway, it's not hard to see why everyone loves this game: It defines all that is cool...almost...well...okay...maybe that's a little over-stating it, heh. But the game rules never-the-less.

STORYLINE:
Magic is a thing of the past. A thousand years earlier it almost destroyed the entire planet. Out of the ashes, civilization picked itself back up and technology began to spread. In a world where magic once was a driving force has been changed to a world where technology is the 'modern magic.' But someone craves to unleash the horrific power of magic by use of espers (beings with the ability to use magic). However, a small rebel group (known as the Returners) fights desperately against the empire. And somewhere in between the empire and the rebels lies a woman with the gift of magic and the ability to speak with espers...Okay, so maybe it's not as melodramatic as I make it sound, but the story is well-presented and unmatched even by today. Plus Kefka is the ^coolest^ video game villain ever...a lot cooler than Sephiroth in my opinion. Sephiroth wanted to basically become a god and be in control of everything (which is kinda cool), but Kefka actually ^becomes^ a god (sorta) and wants to ^destory^ everything (which is a lot cooler than wanting to be in control). Like I said, the storyline is unmatched (except for Xenogears...maybe). I mean, Kefka...best villain ever, the cast is one of the most real and believable in video game history, and the plot is brilliantly presented.
- Overall 96% -

GAMEPLAY:
Remarkable. Every character has their own unique abilities which add to the gameplay. This is nice because you actually have to put thought into who is in your party since everyone is different. Of course, this makes a lot of characters more useful than others (I doubt anyone will be using a character like Relm more so than a character like Cyan). The esper system is quite nice as well. Think of it like FF7's materia system only not as cheap, hehe. You equip an esper, fight around, get MP (magic points) after a battle, when your MP gets to 100 on a particular spell, you learn that spell. However, some spells are faster learnt by different espers (example, Ifrit teaches you Fire x 10 where as Bismark teaches you Fire x 20, so you could learn Fire twice a fast by equipping Bismark than you would by equipping Ifrit). And FINALLY there are relics. Relics alter your characters performances drastically. Some give your character super-human abilities (cough, cough...Gem Box + Economizer..cough...Genji Glove + Offering) which is fun to play around with (although cheap as well). With all this elements, the gameplay is unrivaled. HOWEVER, the major downfall of this game is that it is too damn easy. It's so easy at times the game becomes a bore. Honestly, the game is just too entirely easy, and that seriously hurts the overall fun. Aside from the lack of challenge, the gameplay is - as I said - remarkable.
- Overall 75% -

(would have been a 90% or so if the game wasn't so easy)

GRAPHICS:
I'll keep this short and sweet...the graphics rule. This could have been a Play Station game (the graphics look lot better than some PSX games graphics in other words). They characters look nice, the battle effects (spells and abilities) look nice, the espers look nice, the backgrounds look nice, the enemies look nice...everything looks nice!
- Overall 100% -

MUSIC:
The music in this game is (in my opinion) the best in a game..EVER! The music is without flaw. The Opera House scene is one of the most memorable parts in video game history and the music is some of the most memorable as well. From the very beginning to the very end, the music is amazing.
- Overall 100% -

REPLAY VALUE:
The replay is high as there is a lot (I mean A LOT) of optional side quests to do. Plus if you jumped the gun a little on the Floating Continent you might (and probably will) want to replay the game once you realized what you have done. The unique characters also help the replay. If one game you feel like using an all-out war party, you might go with Sabin, Cyan, Shadow, and Umaro as your most-used party. Another time you can mix it up with a magic party (Celes, Terra, Stargo, and umm...a fourth character), and yet another time you might want a cool abilities party (Locke, Edgar, Gau, and Setzer), etc. Then you could always teach your favorite characters all the spells, make sure Sabin/Cyan/Strago/Gau get all their abilities (well...maybe not Gau's..learning ALL those 255 or 256 rages will take a long time..), and crap like that. Then there are those who would want to replay the game just because the great story and fun. As you may have guessed, there is a lot to do in this game... Really the only thing that could keep me from constantly replaying this game is the challenge. As I said earlier, challenge is one thing this game lacks, and therefore the replay value drops with it.
- Overall 80% -

OVERALL:
Without question, this game is a modern day work of art, but Final Fantasy 5 still is my favorite. With all the characters, abilities, relics, and so on, the game is really fun and unique...hard to believe it's been six years since I first played it. The only major thing this behemoth of a game lacks is challenge.
- Overall 97% -


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/17/01, Updated 09/22/01


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