Review by xcamel24
"Better than the original"
Final Fantasy 5 Advance is SquareEnix's second entry onto the Gameboy Advance platform, and it delivers. Unlike its previous brother, Final Fantasy 4 Advance, Final Fantasy 5 Advance truly does "Advance" the game, while the Final Fantasy 4 Advance game added hindrances.
Game play: 9/10
When it was created on the Super Famicom in japan, it was only the second Final Fantasy to use the Active Time Battle system (ATB). But whereas Final Fantasy 4 had different characters with different classes, Final Fantasy 5 went back to Final Fantasy III's method of interchangeable classes. So basically, Square took the good things of FF3 and FF4, and put them together in a new game with a new story. And this game play works well. The battles are exciting, and you can control their pace with the battle speed in your configuration menu. But what keeps the fighting fresh is your ability and control to customize the characters the way you want them. It doesn't take long to have access to a variety of classes, each with their own special abilities. With each class comes Levels to each class as well. Once you level up a class, you get to keep a new ability that comes with that level. So you can then switch into another class- and carry your newfound ability over to the next class. Also traditional leveling is part of the game as well, but for the most part that just increases stats minimally- its the jobs that really make a difference in your battles.
They aren't the best on the Gameboy Advance, but they are better than the original game. This game came before the days of FMVs- so don't be to expectant on the game. Graphically there are no glitches, and the sprites are colorful, as are the towns and environments. Everything is quite detailed and drawn well. Character portraits have been added to make dialog more interesting as well. All in all, although they aren't ASTONISHING or AMAZING by today's standards, they truly aren't really important when it comes down to it, because they are good enough to keep things rolling, and let the game play and story do the rest.
The story isn't exactly original, but it IS an original take on it. Take your 4 warriors of light, with the job of protecting the crystals of the world, add an alternate dimension, and history connecting the past warriors of light to the present, and add in a ruthless villain and you have the story of Final Fantasy V. While it doesn't make you go "OOOH" or "AAAH" it does keep the game moving at a constant pace, and makes you feel the emotion of the characters well, something Final Fantasy is well known for. One thing that has changed about your 4 warriors though is their personalities, the characters have seen a major overhaul in comparison to the first 3 Final Fantasies. Also, there is one villain in particular who has become Final Fantasy Legend because of his great character.
The game controls quite well. D-pad to move, A to confirm, B to cancel, start for menu. L and R for shortcuts. Very simply put. Also, the game has a great learning curve. While it starts out simple to let you get a hang of using the classes, it starts to become increasingly difficult especially if you don't use the right abilities against the right monsters. It also is very customizable, with Battle Speed, Message Speed, and the selection of "Active" or "Wait" for your battles makes the learning curve go very well for the average player. Now some players think that the small screen size and small speaker on the GBA are going to hinder them. Well. If you're playing on the Classic GBA model- you may have trouble. However, if you play on a GBA SP, GB Micro, DS, or DS Lite, your experience will be good one. All of these offer clear and concise picture- and the display ratio is perfect so that you will not be hindered from the small size of the screen.
Anything that has Nobuo Uematsu's name on it is quite good. Uematsu is brilliant, with your pleasant town themes to your haunted ship themes, from boss battles to regular battles, and from scenario's where you're escaping for your life, the music is always in the right place, always helping convey the emotion on screen to the player. Also, there is a special character and track in this game that has become famous to the gaming world, while I won't say what here, that track is one of the best tracks in all Final Fantasy's, numbered, Tactics, Crystal Chronicles, or otherwise, it stands among an elite crowd. While its not as revered as the music in FF4, FF6, or the later PS1 and PS2 games, it does its duty very well.
Will you want to play this game again? Yes most likely. But wait, what if I already have a copy of the PS1 or SNES versions of this game? You will still want to play this again and again. Again, this comes back to the classes. Did you enjoy making your character into an elite fighter who can attack 8 times in one turn with his bare-fists and inflict more damage than most bosses can? Now lets make him into a super mage elite who can dual cast spells and summon fierce creatures against your opponents. There are so many possibilities with one character, let alone your entire party (over 400,000 different party potentials) that you can always have fun creating your character and molding him/her in different ways. Not only that, but this is the ADVANCED version, and it has new stuff. If you have played the PS1 or SNES versions, you got the lame excuse for a translation. This version is fully translated, properly. Also, the load times are gone, as this is a cartridge, so PS1 owners who complained about that before need not worry. But the even better story is the extra bonus dungeon at the end, much like Final Fantasy IV Advance had. Once you complete the regular story campaign, you can access a new dungeon afterwards to extend your quest and find even a greater challenge. Not only that, but 4 more classes have been added since the PS1/SNES days, so you can test out even MORE combinations of parties and characters, and try out new abilities.
This game is worth most people's time. If you don't already own a GBA, GBA SP, GB Micro, DS, or DS Lite, I'd recommend buying one as there are many great titles along with this one for Gameboy Advance. If you can't stand ATB, than this game isn't for you. But if you're looking to have something fun yet enthralling at the same time, then pick up this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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