Released in 1992, Final Fantasy V rocked Japan. Sadly this was yet another Final Fantasy game to not be released outside of Japan. Originally planned to be released as Final Fantasy III in the US, Square decided to pass up on it, as it was considered too difficult for the American gamer. Luckily thanks to the massive popularity of Final Fantasy VII, Square decided to re-release most of their back catalog on the Playstation, and Final Fantasy V was ported alongside Final Fantasy VI as Final Fantasy Anthology. This collection is pretty much a direct port with added FMV cutscenes for the opening and ending of the games. This review is based on the Anthology version.
You play as Bartz Klauser, an adventurer who sees a meteor crash near him. At the crash site, he discovers an unconscious girl. The girl awakens and says her name is Reina (Lenna in later versions of the game), and she says she was on her way to the Wind Shrine, as her father has taken off to it, and hasn’t returned. They run across an old man named Galuf, who has amnesia thanks to the crash. All he knows is that he too has to visit the Wind Shrine. The three take off and explore a nearby cave. They run into a gang of pirates, and the captain Faris. Faris offers to lend them the pirate ship, and accompany them to the Wind Shrine. After reaching the top of the Wind Shrine, they come across the Wind Crystal, and Reina’s father tells them to save the other crystals, or else the seal on the evil Exdeath is going to be broken. They set off on their adventure.
Compared to the other SNES Final Fantasies, FF5 is a bit lacking in the story department. It’s reminiscent of the FF1 and FF3 where your goal is to protect the crystals and the story isn’t much deeper than that.
In the gameplay department, FF5 hasn’t necessarily progressed much from FF4. Battles are basically the same, except the ATB has a bar to see when it’s your turn. This will be a standard for future installments. What this game is famous for, is its class system. In some ways, it’s similar to FF3, but with a much larger roster. Also you can equip two abilities, so when you level up your job class to a specific level, you can equip that ability when you change classes. So you can start off leveling up a black mage, and then change to a white mage, and have a white mage who knows level 3 black magic.
For an early SNES game, it’s pretty decent. While not a drastic difference in FF4, there’s still improvements. When you’re walking through the trees, you can at least see your character’s feet behind it. In FF4, your body was just cut in half.
FF5 has a pretty good soundtrack, and has some of the best songs for towns. The more relaxed pieces are probably the highlights of the OST.
While FF5 is weak in the story department compared to FF4 and FF6, it makes up for in gameplay. If one enjoys a game that focuses on adventure, then this is definitely one for you. Also it’s a great addition to anyone who loves 16 bit RPG’s.
Visuals (Or Graphics): 8/10.