SummaryA Huge Step Back For The Series
The GoodReleased in 1992, Final Fantasy V, was the follow up the excellent Final Fantasy IV. Can it’s sequel live up? You likely know by now that I am not a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, so, here is my unbiased review.
I first played Final Fantasy V, in the late 90’s. I was on an RPG kick. And having just rediscovered many old favorites, and some new ones. I played Final Fantasy V, shortly after playing the fourth(again-MM-). FF V was never released outside Japan, until some 10 years after it’s initial release. So when I played it, it was via the magic of ROMS. This may help explain the confusion of why FFVI is called FFIII in the USA.
The plot of FFV is just rehash of FFIV. Once again, the crystals are in danger, and you must get them back. Blah, Blah, Blah. This time you are a rouge Butz, who looks very much like Cecil from FFIV. When he meets the princess he takes it upon himself, for unclear reasons to help her. And is drawn into a quest to save the world.
The graphics are decent for 1992. It is the same exact graphics engine from FFIV.
The music and sound effects are okay. Some of the music just plain sucks. But what can you do?
The optional boss fights were a neat idea. And they add a bit of challenge to the game.
The BadWhy would Squaresoft do this? Just when FFIV pulled the series out of the gutter of mediocrity, they go and release this game. Which is actually a step back for the series. The plot is too similar, to past Final Fantasies. A kingdom is in danger, because someone or something is trying to claim the elemental crystals. And your ragtag group for unclear reasons takes it upon themselves to stop it.
Seriously enough with the crystals already. How many fantasy worlds have elemental crystals? It’s like if JRR Tolkien kept on writing “Lord Of The Rings” books that involved the rings of power. It’s like the old Super Mario games, in it’s repetitive and lazy storytelling.
Nothing special in the gameplay department. The only new addition is the class change system, which sucks anyway. And is just a knock off Dragon Quest V. But then again that is all that Final Fantasy is. Basically you characters are a blank slate.(Maybe that’s why they have such a plain design.-MM-) And you get to pick what class to train them as. This could have been cooler if it would have been more refined. The game also has you do this numerous times. Is it any wonder that Square never used this system again?
ATB, or Active Time Battle, is back, and one of the biggest pieces of shit to come out of this series. Some zealots would say that it is dramatic. But that is B.S. How can a lame battle system, in which you must wait for a bar to fill dramatic? That is like saying that waiting for a download to finish is dramatic. Give me a break.
Speaking of character design, it is so plain and dull. Final Fantasy has not had designs this bland since the original game. But then again latter entries into the series bring back the boring designs, like FFVII. And they all have ridiculous names. Why are there no James‘, or Anna’s in Final Fantasy’s world. And furthermore the characters themselves have no personality whatsoever. They are for all intents and purposes automatons.
The spell animations are dull. Like watching paint dry. Even the summon spells are not all that they are cracked up to be.
And don’t get me started of the monsters. That are NOT animated. Unless you count blinking as an animation. Seriously, Phantasy Star II, came out in 1989, and has fully animated monsters. And your party just takes one step forward and swings there weapon and that somehow hurts the monsters. What are you doing? Cooling them off with a breeze from you sword?
How could I forget the attack rate. You are getting attacked by monsters every 25-30 seconds. No wonder these games take 60+ hours to complete!
And save points. Yet another dubious contribution from the Final Fantasy series. Why not just save anywhere? No, I have to backtrack to a save point.
Some of the music in this game is a cacophony. The battle music one of these. It is so annoying and repetitive. It could drive one to madness, like in an old horror story.
The Bottom LineIf you are new to the Final Fantasy series, and are curious about, it’s roots, then go ahead and skip this one and play Final Fantasy IV, and VI. Or II, and III, for my American friends. If you are a hardcore fan of the series you likely will think that I am an idiot and play this one anyway.