Review by xenogears06

"Final Fantasy V Advance contains some kicks, but the weak plot and repetative game play makes this game dull"

I remember importing Final Fantasy V for my SNES several years ago, and felt that it was not a very good game due to its several faults. I eagerly purchased the import for a mere $15, and found that the game was well worth the price. I played it, beat it, and bought the PS version only to find unbearable loading times and a downgraded soundtrack. I admit that I never completed the PS version of the game, but honestly, beating it once in a language you don't understand very well is good enough. Here's the breakdown of this mediocre game.

Story/Characters: 3/10
One major aspect of a good RPG is its story and cast of characters. The two should go hand-in-hand, and should work together to make players want to keep going on. Final Fantasy V does a horrendous job of doing this, as it creates characters that are dry at best and try (poorly) to make almost all scenes either humorous or serious with nothing in between. The story is basically this: an evil entity that was sealed up long ago is on the brink of being released from his prison. It's up to the party of Butz--yes, Butz (he's now called "Bartz" on the GBA) and the rest of the Crystal Bearers/Light Warriors to stop the vile Ex-Death and his evil plans. Yes, you read correctly: EX-DEATH. What were they thinking? If knowing the names of the main hero and villain aren't enough for you to know the story has major problems within, I don't know what is. I barely understood the Japanese copy I picked up so many years ago, but the fact that I was able to understand the plot entirely with the limited knowledge I have shows that the plot's far too weak to be considered good. I'd seriously give this game a far lower score, but at least they TRIED to make some sort of coherent story that has a few twists and turns in it. This is easily one of the worst stories in the history of Final Fantasy games, though it's not as bad as Final Fantasy X-2's or FFVIII's.

Sound/Music: 7/10
Sound is a fairly important element in any RPG, and FFV Advance's sound is pretty good. The music's worse than its SNES predecessor, but not much worse. My main problem with the sound is that it screwed up one of the only GOOD songs on the game, which is the sad melody that you hear whenever a character dies. The sound is roughly the same, but it's definitely not as good as the SNES version. Overall, there are some catchy tunes that make the game far more tolerable than it otherwise would be.

Game Play: 5/10
The game play is the main piece of Final Fantasy V Advance, and the key reason anyone would like this game; however, I don't really care for it too much. The battles are turn-based in which your party of 1-4 characters fights an enemy or group of enemies. Once your party is victorious, your characters gain standard EXP (Experience Points) and Gil (the currency of Final Fantasy games). Eventually, your party encounters crystal shards, which allow your characters to take on "Jobs." These "Jobs" give your characters extra abilities, varying stats, and new skills, and all "Jobs" can also be leveled up by gaining AP (Ability Points), which start to accumulate at the end of battles along with EXP and Gil. Along with equipping "Jobs," each character can equip one or two of these abilities depending on what "Job" they have equipped. Novel as this may sound, there's a big downer to the game play overall.

Maybe it's the game's age that's making me give this score, or maybe it's the fact that there are far too many battles that you must endure, but the game play quickly becomes very boring. The reason the game's boring is that the game's battle system is just too customizable. Customization usually helps RPGs flow, but in FFV Advance's case, it's the customization that really kills the fun factor. Instead of having a game where all team members can have the same exact skills, the creators should have instead given specific classes to each of the four crystal bearers (i.e., each character gets their own set of four-to-eight different classes with some potential overlap of classes between two characters). Having everyone the same leads to no differentiation of skills, which is a problem that is familiar if you've played Final Fantasy X and/or X-2.

There are also a few extra bonus areas and classes, some of which are a plus because they make battles a bit more bearable by increasing the amount of AP and EXP you gain.

Conclusion: 5/10
Despite Square bringing Final Fantasy V to America twice (PS and now on the GBA), it was still easy to see WHY Square never bothered releasing it and skipped straight to the golden (aka Final Fantasy VI/III in America), as it is inferior to Final Fantasy IV and VI in every way. The music on this version of Final Fantasy V is weaker than the SNES or even PS versions, and the game play has shown a lot of age. If you've never played this game before and just feel like an entertaining game for your GBA or just want to complete another Final Fantasy, I would recommend picking up either FFIV or FFVI. If you have both or have played all other Final Fantasy games (except FFVIII and FFX-2, those games is utter garbage), you may want to wait for the price to go down. Final Fantasy V Advance is definitely worth $15, maybe even $20, to own, but paying more isn't really worth it.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 03/05/07

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