"Final Fantasy V Advance changed my opinion on Final Fantasy V. One of the best remakes to date."

Final Fantasy V completely changed my outlook on Final Fantasy V. Honestly, I was not a very big fan of Final Fantasy V before. I had previously played Final Fantasy V on Final Fantasy Anthology so that might be why I didn't enjoy it that much. For the most part, Final Fantasy V advance is a vast improvement and overall a fantastic remake on the GBA. A lot of times a remake feels inferior to the original version. Not the case here.

Final Fantasy V has a fairly simple storyline but it is arguable that it is a bit more complex than previous Final Fantasy installments. You start as a young wandering lad named Bartz. Of course, his life won't be so simple for long. Soon he'll encounter a princess named Lenna and an old man named Galuf who can't remember anything. Not long after that Bartz and his new companions will come upon the pirate Faris. These four characters are the dawn warriors. They have been chosen to protect the world from impending evil. The antagonist of this game is Exdeath. I still can't get over how ridiculous that name is. Exdeath. Come on now. That's about as bad as being named something like Doom Dude. But whatever, his name isn't that important. The storyline is still classic Final Fantasy with the crystals and the airships and the chocobos and the impending destruction of the world. The characters aren't just empty shells though; there is actually some failry decent character development for all of the characters. Except for Exdeath. Nobody wants to hear about Exdeath's story. Oh, and we can't forget Gilgamesh either. Gilgamesh made his debut in Final Fantasy V although despite how much of a fan favorite he was, he hasn't appeared in many Final Fantasies besides FFV. But despite this, I still feel the storyline could have used a little extra spice to it. Sometimes it felt like I was just going from dungeon to dungeon without any storyline progression in between.

Final Fantasy V uses the Job System. Now the Job System is downright excellent. This is the best aspect of this game. You have 4 characters and you pick out jobs for that specific character. What are jobs you ask? Well, let me tell you. Jobs include Black Mage, White mage, thief, lancer, monk, ninja, summoner, blue wizard and knight plus much more. Each jobs has their own specific weapons to use and abilities to learn. For example, a black mage would attack with a rod and would have the ability to learn black magic such as fire, ice and thunder magic. A monk would attack with bare fists and be able to counter attack. Another spiffy twist is that you are allowed a second ability slot. This second slot will permit you to use abilities from another job. So, you could potentially have a black mage with white magic as well or a knight that can summon Ifrit. Final Fantasy V Advance also has new jobs like Gladiator and Oracle too. I've only really played around with the gladioator but the new jobs are certainly a welcome improvement. The game play is phenomenal and is without a doubt, the best feature of this game.

For better or for worse, several things were retranslated. I guess Square wanted to be “proper” in their translation. The biggest difference is that Reina is now Lenna. I actually do have a problem with that. Final Fantasy Anthology was still a very big selling game and thus many people still got to play FFV via Final Fantasy Anthology. Now when you go and change the name of some bosses and enmies and towns, that's fine. But changing a major playable character? There was no reason to that and it was actually a little hard for me to adapt to her being “Lenna” and not “Reina”. Square should have realized that not everything needs to be “proper”. That's like changing Terra to Tina (Which if that does happen, heads will roll). But translation blunders are something that can be overlooked and the new additions should nullify this. Speaking of upgrades, the game was slightly enhanced in the visuals department. The graphics aren't too shabby. Unlike this games predecessor, Final Fantasy IV, you can actually see the facial expressions of the characters throughout the game. They aren't spectacular mind you but they were a notch up in the SNES era. The creatures you fight are colorful and vivid which is nice and even the regular world map wasn't too bad. They were awesome for its time and even today, they aren't too bad. Of course, Final Fantasy VI comes along and stomps on this game (and stomps on FFIV twice) but oh well. The graphics are still fine and improved in the GameBoy Advance remake.

On the downside, Final Fantasy V does have one of the weakest Final Fantasy soundtracks. The boss battle theme is usually good in FF games but it was almost painful in this game. But on the bright side, a lot of the town themes are good and the major boss battles are really good too. Also, since this was the introduction of Gilgamesh, we can't forget Battle on the Big Bridge either. So I suppose overall Final Fantasy V had a decent soundtrack. Final Fantasy V also can be somewhat difficult. It is easily one of the more difficult Final Fantasies and it is imperative that you train your jobs sufficiently. Levels aren't important in this game but jobs are. During my first play through, I was unable to complete the game due to my poor job training. However, once I applied myself and did a great job using the job system, this game was cake. So this game can be really hard or really easy. Just be sure you're smart from the very beginning, if you aren't, you won't make it through the game. The game also has adequate replay value. There are a few plot twists and legendary moments in this game but when you play this game a second time, it isn't so good. A neat thing you can do to counter this is have different jobs each time you play. Fighting bosses with different jobs (Or no jobs if you want a challenge) can make the replay value much better.

Scoring Breakdown:

Storyline: 8/10
Game Play: 10/10
Soundtrack: 6/10
Graphics: 8/10
Replay Value: 4/5
Difficulty: 5/5

Overall: 41/50 = 82%

Overall I am glad I got Final Fantasy V Advance because it really changed my opinion on it. For people who were already FFV fans, this game has added a lot more. New jobs and bosses are just the tip of the iceberg. And for people who for some reason didn't own a PlayStation and could never play this on Final Fantasy Anthology, this game has still aged quite well and will prove to be an invaluable experience.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/19/06

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