Review by AnalyticalGamer
Portable version of a serviceable fantasy
Story: Final Fantasy V Advance adds a superior translation compared to the original. However, the game still holds a lackluster story in comparison to other games in the series. In FFV, you must restore the crystals and stop Exdeath from wreaking havoc upon the world. Its a relatively simple plot, which I could excuse considering the original release year (1992), but considering how FFIVs plot was better than V, theres no excuse. What further hurt FFV are the characters, which are the shallowest excuses for characters Ive ever seen. The main characters get little to no development, while the main villain is cliche and literally monologues and has a cheap evil laugh. There actually is a meaning behind FFVs plot, but its hidden behind cryptic metaphors. This isnt enough to keep me wanting to continue the plot, and makes a lot of the game miserable. 3.5/10
Gameplay: The Gameboy Advance version of Final Fantasy V adds new jobs and gameplay mechanics. The game holds surprisingly decent gameplay. While the battle system is the typical ATB system used in FFIV-IX, remember that it was still relatively new at the time. The method in which you fight is through the job system, which has been improved from FFIII. You can mix and match jobs, and create characters with unique fighting abilities to match each unique situation and battle. However, FFV is not without its gameplay flaws. The encounter rate in the GBA version is still horribly high (Something that would be so easy to fix!), to the point of being worse than Pokemon. This makes a lot of the game annoying and some parts unbearable. FFV is also one of the more difficult fantasies, with some surprisingly difficult enemies. While this is a welcome challenge, its also detrimental to the gameplay in a certain aspect considering how long the jobs take to level up. And with the combination lot of jobs, a high encounter rate, and difficult enemies brings the bane of an RPG gamers existence; grinding. While grinding is to be expected in a lot of older RPGs, Final Fantasy V just takes the concept and throws it out the window. Youll have to grind for hours on end to get strong enough to move on in the story at certain points. If youre willing to take the plunge and grind, FFV has a really unique gameplay experience, but its not for the weak of spirit. 6/10
Soundtrack: Unfortunately, the Gameboy Advance version cannot keep up with the sound quality demands of the original SNES soundtrack. Although there are a lot of great tracks in the game such as Home, Sweet Home and the theme for the battle with Exdeath, the quality definitely suffers when playing the portable version. While there are a lot of fantastic tracks in the game, I dont think FFV lives up the bang of FFIV and VI, which had a whole fantastic soundtrack. All in all, its an absolutely astounding soundtrack; it just doesnt meet the same levels as its predecessor and successor. 7/10
Graphics: The Gameboy Advance version of the game is basically a direct port from the SNES version, but the graphics are still very impressive for the system. The graphics stack up very well on the GBA, looking as good or better than most games for the system. All of the sprites look fleshed out and awesome, and everything is colorful. Everything here just looks alive! The only minor gripe I have with the graphics are the menu screens, which have a stale, yet piercing blue with white text that just digs into my eyelids, especially at night or when playing for a while. While you can change this in the menus, it still doesnt fix it completely. Overall, its a nice looking game, even for the GBA. 9/10
Replay Value: FFV Advance boasts quite a few number of things to do, and many reasons to keep playing after you finish. You have all of the jobs to master (The GBA version of the game adds several new Jobs to use), which can take a lot of time, and a few optional bosses to tackle. I believe theres some optional weapons and summons you can go after as well. However, the ultimate glory is to tackle the superbosses: Shinryu and Omega Weapon. Some of the hardest bosses in Final Fantasy history, youll be grinding all the way to the max and have to employ a certain degree of strategy if you want to beat them and obtain your glory. Theres also two different endings, though they dont vary that much. Its still worth your time if youre interested, though. While all of this is amazing, it is up to the player to decide if any of this is worth doing. 8.5/10
Overall: Final Fantasy V Advance is plagued with a mediocre story and characters, but supported by decent gameplay that has some annoyances. The soundtrack is decent despite quality issues, and the graphics are still excellent. Theres plenty of stuff to do after the game is finished, so you wont grow bored after finishing it. Overall, FFV is a serviceable game with many flaws.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Final Fantasy V Advance (US, 11/06/06)
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