Final Fantasy V Advance

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a game by Square
Genre: Adventure/RPG
Platform: GBA
Editor Rating: 8.5/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.8/10 - 5 votes
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See also: Final Fantasy Series
Final Fantasy V Advance
Final Fantasy V Advance
Final Fantasy V Advance
Final Fantasy V Advance

Originally released on the Super Famicom in Japan, with an international version later coming to the PlayStation as part of a collection, Final Fantasy V was considered, among early international players, to be the weakest of the 16-bit games. The collection version’s shoddy translation detracted from an already simplistic story and its extended load times made for a much less enjoyable experience. It was a bad first impression and it seemed, to all the world, that Final Fantasy V was better left forgotten.

However, everything changed in 2006, when Square Enix released a port for the Game Boy Advance, featuring a drastically improved translation, refined graphics, and additional postgame content. Now, Final Fantasy fans could experience Final Fantasy V the way it was intended. Is it as engaging as its siblings from the 16-bit era?

A Tale as Old as Turn-Based Combat

Final Fantasy V tells the story of Bartz, a young man with a pet chocobo, who is nearly flattened when a meteorite crash-lands near the local Kingdom of Tycoon. Upon investigating it, he meets the princess of the kingdom, Jenna, who is fearful for her father’s safety, and Galuf, an old man with a bad case of plot-induced amnesia. Noting that the wind has started to lose its natural strength, the three eventually decide to travel to the Wind Shrine, where unbeknownst to them, a grand adventure and destiny await.

Where other games from the 16-bit era had a greater focus on narrative cohesion, Final Fantasy V feels more like a series of bizarre adventures. It takes a lot of disparate elements: pirates, elemental crystals, ancient undead sorcerers, turtles... and blends them together in an unorthodox, mostly lighthearted journey. In its own day, this was seen as one of the game’s greatest weaknesses. However, as recent RPGs have grown more and more serious over time, Final Fantasy V’s story is, in hindsight, a refreshing change of pace.

Do Your Job and Do it Right

However, regardless of how one might feel about its story, Final Fantasy V’s greatest strength is its gameplay. Its features the same “Active Time Battle” system as its predecessor, adding a real time element to every battle, but this time, it also features an updated version of the Job System first introduced in Final Fantasy 3. Early on in the adventure, players will gain access to a selection of jobs that they can assign to each of their characters. Each job comes with its own strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. However, this is only the beginning.

Final Verdict

By participating in enough fights, characters can level up their current job, which unlocks additional stat boosts and abilities. While some of these are job exclusive, others can later be combined with another job’s default capabilities, creating a sort of hybrid character. White Mages that can duel-wield blades, Ninjas that can cast powerful Black Magic... the possibilities of the job system are practically endless, and they give the entire game a sense of freedom and progression unlike any other. This is what a quality RPG feels like.

8.5

Though it was under-appreciated back in the day, Final Fantasy V Advance is more than worthy of its place in the series. An evergreen RPG with near endless replayability.

Pros:

  • The game’s ATB system is as sharp as ever
  • Its job system allows for an almost unprecedented amount of character customization
  • Job variety leads to a lot of replayability
  • The game’s music is some of the absolute best in the series

Cons:

  • The story’s a bit simplistic for Final Fantasy
  • A high difficulty level demands familiarity with the job system

Download Final Fantasy V Advance

GBA

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

GBA Screenshots