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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Final Fantasy V- First Impressions

Final Fantasy V is one of the 'lost' Final Fantasies, one of three other games in the series that weren't localized when they first came out (the others being II and III). 16 bit RPGs are among my favorite games to play, so expiriencing the 'missing' counterpart to Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI (two of my all-time favorite games) is a real treat. The game has a few flaws, but so far it's very fun.

The story is pretty standard for the series- four warriors are chosen by the cystals to save the world from an evil force, so far so basic, but the story goes a bit further than usual for a game with this type of story. The main characters (Bartz, Lenna, Faris, and Galuf) are all very likeable and full of personality, making them far more fun to travel with than the cookie-cutter characters from III (the DS version). The game's writing is also very good, as well as quite humorous. The adventure is lighthearted, but so far hasn't degraded into complete silliness as many lighthearted RPGs so- it still is telling a good story, but the characters seem to be having fun with their travels, and so it becomes fun to experience their story. The game also looks and sounds great, as 16 bit games usually do to me.

Also very cool is the Job System, a class system that was introduced in III, but arguably perfected in V. In Final Fantasy V, characters can choose any of the Jobs currently available to them, and select one ability to use as well as the default ability the job has. Characters gain Job levels in battle, earning new abilities with each level and eventually mastering the Job. The great thing is, not only is there no penalty for switching Jobs, any ability learned by levelling up the Job can be selected for use by a new Job. For example, switching from a White Mage to a Black Mage doesn't mean you can't keep using healing spells- just have the Black Mage select 'White' as his skill, and he'll be able to use both 'Black' (his default ability) and 'White' magic.

One thing that I have noticed is that the game's battles have a LOT of lag. Usually the more enemies you're fighting, the more the game will lag- the ATB bars have frozen for almost twenty seconds once. I'm not sure if this is a result of the port to GBA or not, but it is a noticeable problem.

Final Fantasy V is so far a very enjoyable old-school RPG. I'm about halfway through it right now. More on it later!

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