Review by AChilds
"The Most Fun RPG Ever"
Final Fantasy 5 is, without a a doubt, the most fun RPG I've ever played. While that seems to change QUITE often for me (AGFFers DEFINATELY know this... also, I'm sure on this site I've proclaimed several games as being best), I can easily say that FF5 is the most fun, rewarding, varied, and overall fun RPG I've played so far. I'll go through the different catagories an RPG is judged by, and tell what what I think of the game in each, saving the most important, gameplay, for last.
Graphics - While Final Fantasy 5 doesn't shine in graphics, they are certainly better than Final Fantasy 4's (our Final Fantasy 2). The sprites are the only bad part, to be honest... the battles, overworld, castles, towns, dungeons, etc. are all very impressive, actually. But, I don't judge any game by its graphics, unless they REALLY add or REALLY subtract from the gaming experience, so I'll move on to...
Music - My opinion with FF's music is that Nobuo Uematsu (the game's composer) has been equally talented all along, but the amount of time and technology he has had to work with has proven how nice the soundtrack ends up sounding. FF5's is amazing. Although only about 1/3 of the songs are amazing (which is, outstandingly, poor for Uematsu), there are NO songs that I don't want to listen to. I can't say that about FF4, FF7, or even FF6's soundtracks. I highly recommend a purchase of this OSV to any game lover.
Characters - By FAR the best in any RPG to date, in my ever so humble opinion. While recently characters have become more complex, such as Cloud, Sephiroth, Fei, or even Terra or Locke, I believe FF5 is where Square truly showed their talents when it comes to characters. Each one is very unique. While there aren't many playable characters (5), there are loads of NPCs, and they are all ALMOST as good as the player characters... so, that brings up my opinion alot here. Although Exdeath is a cliche, he is scary, and Gilgamesh is a hoot. Once again, I believe this is the game in which Square upped the ante for not just FF games, or even RPGs, but for games in general. Great job!
Story - Final Fantasy 5's story is considered a failure by many... but I strongly disagree. I believe that this is a statement made by gamers who don't want to give up their precious FF4 as their favorite game ever... While FF4's gameplay was inferior to FF5's, they can make that up proclaiming FF4's story was better. BUT, FF5's is MUCH less cliched than FF4's, and the characters add to that alot... FF5 doesn't use sappy romances or cheesy death scenes to make the plot shine, unforunately, unlike FF4. FF5's story is much better paced than not just FF4, but most RPGs in general. FF5's story is also the first RPG story that I can safely say has depth to it, possibly not including FF4, but I honestly feel FF5's story is superior in absolutely every way, plus FF5 came out only a year and two months after FF4 (in Japan), so I prefer to think of FF5 as the pioneer of meaningful and deep stories in video games! :o)
Gameplay - Wow. This is wear Final Fantasy 5 truly shines... I can't tell you how great the gameplay is in this amazing game. This is the first RPG that is honestly fun. One thing I LOVE about FF5's gameplay is the HUGE amount of control you have over your characters' growth. This also GREATLY adds to replay value, as there are 23 classes, and characters only master about 2 of them throughout the game... PLUS, you can try beating it with different combonations (try beating the game with all White Mages... VERY tough). Thus, the game is never the same each time you play! Then, there's the amazing new EXP system... while the system is actually the same, it involves basically no levelling up... it challenges the player, not the characters in the game, which is something almost ALL NES and SNES RPGs lack... only newer RPGs have this EXP system (without levelling up) but that's basically because they are really easy. FF5 is extremely tough, BUT, it doesn't get all that easier with levelling up (unless you do it to extremes, like level 99). Thus, FF5 adds fun, reasonable challenge, replay value, LOADS of secrets (this is the biggest game of the early 90s, when it comes to secrets and shear things to do), and super-deep customization into the RPG genre, while it was previously lacking all of the latter elements.
Overall - The only RPG that competes with this is Final Fantasy 7, and possibly FInal Fantasy 6... however, when I find myself getting board with FF6, FF7, or any other newer RPG, I can always return to FF5 and enjoy it again and again... even if you don't know Japanese, PLEASE get this game... there are lots of translations all over the net, and you REALLY don't want to miss out on this amazing RPG experience... please get it now!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 02/22/01
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