Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Final Fantasy V (1992)

I played through the Android version of Final Fantasy V over the last few weeks. Clocking in at 30-40 hours of main-story game play, I found the game light-hearted, fun, having a well paced story teamed up with an interesting job mechanic and usually interesting boss fights. From my perspective, this was the most fun that I had playing these older-versioned Final Fantasies. Much of the game hit my sweet spot.

A meteor lands, uniting four unlikely companions, who gain powers from the shards of a destroyed crystal. What's destroying the great crystals? This can't be good. It's an adventure that leads across three worlds, and in the end, battles to save existence itself.

For the most part, game play went smoothly. I figured out the jobs. I found many interesting little things along the way, but also missed quite a few. The money managed out reasonably. I rarely had to grind for more than a short while to cover my gear or gain a few levels. Most of the time, I didn't need to grind at all, but generally, grinding a little is a smart thing to do in these early FF's. The auto fight mode worked acceptably, repeating your previous commands, easing the oppressive weight of ordinary fights. The spells and items all work like you'd expect in the Final Fantasy genre.

I did have some difficulties with the game. I had a tendency to hit plot points where I couldn't figure out where to go, so I wandered around until I got lucky. On a few levels, I couldn't quite figure out the dungeons, but my 9 year old daughter proved invaluable in helping me. The final battle proved difficult until I read about how the boss functioned, then I was able to beat it handily.

As a complaint, the end credits went on forever and a day.

The fight system itself was timed, which is a type of fighting that I dislike, but turning down the speed aided me greatly. I vastly prefer paused-time combat. Even so, I found it tolerable and not too annoying in this iteration. At times, I did get frustrated as time was supposed to stop as I picked spells (I picked that option), but on many boss fights, my character died while I was in the spell menu. That's a big no-no. That's why I dislike timed-input fights.

All in all, I do recommend this game for the RPG aficionado. It's good fun with a light heart and an optimistic tone. That's how I like my games.