"The best Final Fantasy of the 16-bit games, heck the best of the entire series"

Final Fantasy 5 is really a unique game in the series. This game is available in two formats: the crappy translation of Squaresoft's Final Fantasy Anthology, or the more ''official'' sounding (and better translation) RPGE fan translation. Whether you play the Anthology version or the RPGE ROM version, you basically get the same game. Although the ROM overall is a lot funner due to the better translation and no load times. I'll refer to the ROM translation in this review as I feel it is the better of the two.

STORYLINE:
The storyline of Final Fantasy 5 is a little weak compared to those of Final Fantasy 4 and 6, but it is generally well done. The four elemental made their final appearance in this game (well, at least until FF9 comes out-it is supposed to have the crystals in it as well). This is good and bad: the crystals were in the first five Final Fantasies (hey, that's alliteration right there) as well as Mystic Quest so the whole crystals thing was a little cliche and this point, but the crystals were almost legendary in the FF series. So it was a little disappointing to see them go. Anyway, an evil being from another planet (as most evil beings are) is threatening to destroy the world (again, as most evil beings do). A hero buy the name of Butz (why I do not know) is aimlessly wandering the world with his faithful companion, Boco. He's a chocobo by the way and a rather cool one as well. A meteorite falls, a king disappears, the wind crystal shatters, a young woman is attacked by Goblins, an old man is unconscious on the ground, and all these within the first ten minutes! The story builds from that. The story is all-right, but like I said, the crystals are a little too stereotypical in a Final Fantasy game by this point. Plus the story resembles Final Fantasy 3j in a lot of ways. The biggest comparison of FF3 and FF5's storylines are 1) the crystals (and how they teach you jobs), 2) the Void, and 3) the Dark Warriors/Warriors of Dawn. For these reasons, this Final Fantasy game ranks the second lowest (Final Fantasy 8 being number one) on my favorite Final Fantasy (more alliteration right there) storyline list...It just has been done too many times in Final Fantasy 1-4.
- Overall 70% -

GAMEPLY:
The storyline isn't the only thing that resembles too much like Final Fantasy 3 in the game. The gameplay and ability to choose your classes is also taken from Final Fantasy 3. Much like in FF3, after you visit a crystal, that crystal bestows you with a different set of classes depending on what crystal. However, the gameplay is a lot better since FF3. In FF5 you can learn abilities (in the form of ABP after battle). The more ability points (ABP) you get the higher the class level you gain. This works much like the experience does. Say you have a Black Mage who is at level zero (job level, not experience level). After a couple of fights, your black mage will have earned 10 ABPs and become a level one black mage. He/She then learns the level one black mage ability, which happens to be the use of level one black magic. Then say you turn him/her into a knight and equip black magic as a secondary skill. You know have a fighter who can use level one black magic! Whereas in FF3 after you switch to a knight, you have no way to use black magic. Period. This is really the best feature of Final Fantasy 5 right here, the gameplay.
- Overall 95% -

GRAPHICS:
The graphics have improved quite a bit since Final Fantasy 4. The graphics are really good. The graphics are also varied. In the first world, the graphics are bright and sunny and all, but in the second world, they are dull and gloomy. I think this is really cool. The spells, for the first time, really looked cool. The spell effects were alright in FF4, but in FF5 they are really something. The graphics are crisp and the enemies look well done, as do your party.
- Overall 95% -

MUSIC:
This is another category that has improved since Final Fantasy 4. I can't say much else that I haven't said in my other Final Fantasy reviews. As always, the music is good and it flows very well with the game.
- Overall 97% -

REPLAY VALUE:
Even if the story is a little old, the ability to change jobs/abilities really makes this game enjoyable. I really think it's real fun. Each time you play through it you can focus on different jobs and different strategies (depending on what classes). It has a high replay value in my mind.
- Overall 90% -

OVREALL:
Sure the story isn't great and the elemental crystals have been done to death. But this game is still nothing short of amazing. The variety of jobs and abilities makes up for the somewhat dull storyline. The story, while good, seems to be a rip-off of FF3's story. But Exdeath is one of the better FF villains in my opinion (very destructive, much like Kefka), so that makes up for it. But even Exdeath is a little stereotypical. A little too ''MUHAHAHA!'' for many.
- Overall 97 %-


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


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