Final Fantasy V

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Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V Box JAP.jpg
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Hironobu Sakaguchi
Designer(s) Hiroyuki Ito[1][2]
Programmer(s) Ken Narita
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
Composer(s) Nobuo Uematsu
Series Final Fantasy
Platform(s)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Final Fantasy V (ファイナルファンタジーV Fainaru Fantajī Faibu?) is a medieval-fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in 1992 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game first appeared only in Japan on Nintendo's Super Famicom (known internationally as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System). It has been ported with minor differences to Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. An original video animation produced in 1994 called Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals serves as a sequel to the events depicted in the game. It was released for the PlayStation Network on April 6, 2011 in Japan. An enhanced port of the game, with new high resolution graphics and touch-based interface, was released for iPhone and iPad on March 28, 2013 with Android released on September 25, 2013.

The game begins as a wanderer named Bartz investigates a fallen meteor. There, he encounters several characters, one of whom reveals the danger facing the four Crystals that control the world's elements. These Crystals act as a seal on Exdeath, an evil sorcerer. Bartz and his party must keep the Crystals from being exploited by Exdeath's influence and prevent his resurgence.

Final Fantasy V has been praised for the freedom of customization that the player has over the characters, achieved through the greatly expanded Job System. Despite being released only in Japan, the Super Famicom version sold more than two million copies. The PlayStation version has earned "Greatest Hits" status, selling more than 350,000 copies.

Gameplay[edit]

Final Fantasy V includes many standard role-playing elements as well as renovated features introduced in earlier Final Fantasy games. Players navigate from a top-down perspective; a traversable overworld connects the various towns, dungeons, and other points of interest. The player can traverse the overworld by foot, Chocobo, hydra-guided ship, wind drake, or airship, depending on the situation. Most towns contain scattered inns for resting, shops for purchasing equipment, and people from whom the player can gain information. The player may also embark on several side quests that become available as the story progresses.[6] Characters grow in strength by gaining experience points from random encounters with monsters on the overworld or in a dungeon. Experience culminates in a "level up", in which character attributes, such as hit points or magic power, increase. A menu-based management system allows the player to equip, heal, and change each character's selected job outside of battle as well as to save the game's progress.[7]

Final Fantasy V is the second Final Fantasy game to use the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, in which time flows continuously for both the player and enemies during combat.[7] This system was first established in Final Fantasy IV, but in that game there was no way to visibly anticipate which character's turn would come up next.[8] In Final Fantasy V, the player can see which playable character's turn is next in battle, in the form of a time gauge—or "ATB Bar"—which fills according to a character's speed. When the selected character's turn arrives, the player can execute one of several commands, such as attacking the enemy with an equipped weapon, using a special ability or item, or changing the character's row position.[9] The ATB mechanic with a gauge, as seen in Final Fantasy V, is used in four of the following titles in the series.[1]

Job System[edit]

The Job System is a defining feature of Final Fantasy V

The main feature of the gameplay of Final Fantasy V is the Job System. Players can freely select jobs (also called "classes") for their characters to master, allowing each character to gain special abilities and potentially master all 22 jobs (26 in the Game Boy Advance version). Each character begins with only the "Freelancer" class; to gain access to new jobs, players must acquire crystal shards.[7] This system is basically an improved version of the one in Final Fantasy III; several older jobs were either reused or revamped for Final Fantasy V, such as the Black Mage and Thief. The game also introduces several classes to the series, including the Blue Mage, Time Mage, and Mime.[10] Each of these classes has been featured in numerous Final Fantasy installments since.

Once the player gains access to the job system, characters begin to earn a separate form of experience—Ability Points—in conjunction with regular experience points.[7] Characters gain job levels after accumulating AP; as with regular levels, the required amount of experience increases after each job level. AP and job levels do not transfer from class to class. As job levels increase, new skills become available for the character to use in a new form of customization; characters learn job-specific abilities that may be transferred to a new job. For example, a character with the Knight job who has also earned job levels as a Black Mage may set Black Magic as a secondary command, enabling both Black Mage and Knight abilities in battle. The nature of these abilities varies; while some serve as special commands in battle, others may be innate to the class or activated automatically when conditions are met, such as the Thief's "Caution" skill, which prevents rear attacks from enemies.[11] This system allows for deeper customization of characters.[12]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The backstory of Final Fantasy V is revealed in phases through cutscenes and interactions with non-playable characters. One millennium before the events of the main story, a powerful mage named Enuo imperiled the world using the power of an evil entity called the "Void". The people retaliated by using twelve legendary weapons to vanquish Enuo; however, the Void itself could not be destroyed. Consequently, the people split the world's four elemental Crystals into two sets, effectively creating two worlds. The Void then became sealed in a dimensional cleft between the two worlds.[13]

Nearly a thousand years passed without incident, and both worlds prospered due to the powers of their Crystals of Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth. New kingdoms and towns flourished, and travel by ship acted as a critical means of commerce and communication. However, a sinister force was stirring in the second world—ever since the Void incident, malicious demons had been sealed inside a tree in the Great Forest of Moore. The corrupted amalgamation of spirits emerged as Exdeath, the game's primary antagonist. When Exdeath attempted to claim the world for himself, a group of heroes called the "Four Warriors of Dawn" (Galuf, Xezat, Dorgann, and Kelger) sealed him within the first world using its Crystals, and peace returned for another thirty years.[14]

Characters[edit]

Concept art of the playable characters of Final Fantasy V by Yoshitaka Amano; from left, Bartz, Krile, Lenna, and Faris

Final Fantasy V features five player characters, though only four of which are playable at a given time. Bartz Klauser is a traveling adventurer who becomes involved in the story when he investigates the site of a meteorite strike. Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is a princess of Tycoon who follows her father to investigate the Wind Shrine's Crystal. Early on, Bartz finds her unconscious and saves her from goblins. Galuf Doe is a mysterious old man who was discovered unconscious near the meteorite with a case of amnesia. Faris Scherwiz is a pirate captain who captures Bartz, Lenna, and Galuf when they try to steal her ship; she is revealed to be Sarisa Scherwill Tycoon in disguise. Krile Mayer Baldesion is the granddaughter of Galuf who journeys with him to the planet and receives his abilities.[15]

Most of the main characters were involved with or related to the original Four Warriors of Dawn, such as Dorgann Klauser (Bartz's father), Kelger Vlondett, and Xezat Matias Surgate; Galuf was the fourth warrior. The game also contains several supporting characters, including engineer Cid Previa, his grandson Mid Previa, and turtle sage Ghido. One of Exdeath's henchmen, Gilgamesh, is a recurring mini-boss in the second half of the game. Gilgamesh has also appeared in newer Final Fantasy titles, such as Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy XII,[16][17] Final Fantasy XIII-2 as downloadable content, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Concept art for the characters was designed by Yoshitaka Amano; he has offered such artwork for every main Final Fantasy installment since the original.

Story[edit]

Final Fantasy V begins on a day when the world's wind currents begin to slow and stale. Deeply troubled by this occurrence, the king of Tycoon makes ready to travel to the Wind Shrine on the back of his drake, quelling the worries of his daughter, Princess Lenna. Upon arriving at the Shrine, the king bears witness to the Wind Crystal shattering before his eyes.

Meanwhile, a young traveller named Bartz, resting in the woods near Tycoon, witnesses a meteorite plunge to the planet's surface just outside the castle. Bartz promptly investigates, discovering Lenna lying unconscious from attack. After rescuing her, they discover an old man in the debris with partial amnesia named Galuf. Lenna explains that she had been on her way to the Wind Shrine after her father. Galuf suddenly recalls that it was his original destination as well, opting to accompany her. Though the trio part ways, Bartz soon encounters Lenna and Galuf again assaulted by monsters in a quaking valley. The three travel together, finding all land routes blockaded by the upheavals caused by the meteorite's fall. Exploring an underground cavern, they encounter a den of pirates and their leader, Faris. With the help of the pirate captain, the group makes its way to the Wind Shrine to discover the shattered Crystal, but no sign of the missing king. The shards react to their presence, however, and an image of Tycoon appears, explaining to them that they must protect those Crystals that yet remain.[18]

Eventually, the party comes to discover that the Crystals formed a seal upon Exdeath; with them destroyed, not only would the dark essence be released, but over time the planet itself would become uninhabitable.[19] The party attempts to save the crystals of Water, Fire, and Earth; but by the machinations of human folly or the influence of the sealed Exdeath, they fail. Having been freed, Exdeath defeats the party and returns to his homeworld. Galuf's granddaughter Krile arrives by meteorite, restoring Galuf's memory completely; he recalls he originated from the same world as Exdeath, pursuing him back home with Krile. Bartz and the others resolve that the fight is not Galuf's alone, together traveling to the distant planet world, where Exdeath is already wreaking havoc in pursuit of that world's Crystals. The trio is captured, but Galuf rescues them and defeats Exdeath's lieutenant, Gilgamesh, in the process. They are blown to a distant continent when a magical barrier is activated during their escape, but make their way to Val Castle, Galuf's kingdom.[20]

The party meets Xezat, one of Galuf's companions and a former Warrior of Dawn, and learn that Bartz's father was part of their group. Joining forces, they deactivate the barrier around Exdeath's castle, but at the cost of Xezat's life. They then learn of Exdeath's origins, traveling to the Guardian Tree to dispel the seals. Exdeath anticipates the party's actions and torches Moore Forest, ensnaring the group. Krile arrives to help, but is herself trapped by the warlock's powers. At the sight of his granddaughter's capture, Galuf frees himself and battles Exdeath to the point of death, refusing to fall until the creature flees. Collapsing from his wounds, Galuf dies despite the party's efforts to save him, imparting his abilities to Krile.[21] The party pursues Exdeath to his tower and defeats him, but the remaining Crystals shatter and the worlds are reunited.

For a time, it seems Exdeath has been truly destroyed, and the party celebrates in Tycoon. Bartz, however, is contacted by the sage Ghido. Meeting with him, a thorn suddenly leaps from Faris' palm, manifesting as Exdeath, now resurrected and fully in command of the Void. With it, he removes entire towns and kingdoms from existence, tossing them into a tear in reality.

Fortunately for the party, the reunification of worlds has opened the pathways to ancient sites where weapons and powers used to quell Enuo's rise a thousand years past lay in wait. So armed, the party enters the Rift, seeking out Exdeath at the center of the inter-dimensional nexus where they, too, fall prey to the Void. With help from their fallen allies, the party survives and is returned before Exdeath, now manifested as a demonic sylvan, battling him until he weakens and is swallowed by his own power. He then transforms into Neo Exdeath, intent on destroying the very essence of reality, himself with it.[22] Exdeath is ultimately defeated, and, using the power of the Crystal shards, the heroes seal the Void once more and restore the reunified world and its Crystals. The game's ending varies based on how many party members are still alive at Neo Exdeath's defeat, detailing the events after the world's resurrection. At the end, the remaining group visits the Guardian Tree, and find that the fallen party members have returned to life.[23]

Development[edit]

Final Fantasy V was directed by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi who, prior to the release of Final Fantasy IX, called it his favorite Final Fantasy game.[24][25] The character, image, and title logo designs were created by series illustrator and image designer Yoshitaka Amano, while the actual character sprites were designed by Kazuko Shibuya.[26] The monsters were designed by Tetsuya Nomura.[24][27] Amano has stated that he counts his depictions of both Faris from Final Fantasy V and Terra from Final Fantasy VI among his favorite Final Fantasy designs.[28] The writing of the scenario text was a collaborative effort between Sakaguchi and Yoshinori Kitase.[3] Sakaguchi conceived the plot and was in charge of it, while Kitase tried to include more humor to lighten up the relatively serious story.[3][29] The Job System was designed by Hiroyuki Ito, who worked on the game as a battle planner alongside Akihiko Matsui.[1][2][24] Mode 7 effects were used in the airship sequences, which moving in the airship would cause the planet to rotate on its axis. In total, Square employed a team of 45 people to create the game, and 16 MB of space were used to accommodate for the sprites, animations, and detailed background. According to GamePro in a May 1993 issue, the Japanese authorities had asked Square not to release the game during a school day because schoolchildren would skip class to wait in line for the game.[30]

Final Fantasy V was one of the first games to be fan-translated in its entirety

The official English translation of Final Fantasy V began shortly after the release of the Japanese version. The game was to be titled "Final Fantasy III" in North America, but the project fell through.[31] Square then announced that due to its differing tone and much higher difficulty from the rest of the series, they would be releasing it in North America as a standalone game with a yet-to-be-determined title, rather than part of the Final Fantasy series.[32] This plan was quickly aborted. Translator Ted Woolsey explained in a 1994 interview, "[Final Fantasy V is] just not accessible enough to the average gamer".[33] Rumors circulated that a second attempt at localization would be made and that the game would be titled Final Fantasy Extreme, but this attempt was also canceled. A third attempt was made to port the game to Microsoft Windows-based personal computers for North American release by developer Top Dog Software, but this was canceled.[31] Another attempt to port the game to Windows for North America was "handled by Eidos Interactive" circa 1998 (but it is unclear whether this is the same version Top Dog Software was working on or an actual fourth attempt).[34] The continual canceling of the localization angered fans and led to Final Fantasy V becoming one of the first games to receive a complete fan translation.[31]

Music[edit]

The game's soundtrack was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and consists of 56 tracks.[35] A two-disc album was released alongside the game totaling 67 tracks.[36] Uematsu had originally calculated that the game would require more than 100 pieces of music, but he managed to reduce the number to 56.[37] The song "Dear Friends" would become the title piece in the 2004 concert tour Dear Friends -Music from Final Fantasy-, chosen to reflect Uematsu's appreciation for his music's worldwide fan support.[38] The song "Clash on the Big Bridge" would later be arranged by Hitoshi Sakimoto for the Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack in 2006.[39]

The album Final Fantasy V: 5+1 was released in 1992 and contained five songs from the original score as well as a previously unreleased Super Famicom version of "Matoya's Cave" from the original 1987 Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System.[40] A collection of arranged tracks, Final Fantasy V Dear Friends; a 13-track disc, Piano Collections Final Fantasy V; and a short series of remixes, Final Fantasy V: Mambo de Chocobo, were all released in 1993.[41] Finally, many of the original songs were included on the North American Final Fantasy Anthology Soundtrack, together with the two-game compilation.[42]

Ports and remakes[edit]

Final Fantasy V was ported by Tose to the Sony PlayStation and re-released in Japan on March 19, 1998; it was included in the 1999 release of Final Fantasy Collection, alongside Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI.[43][44] The PlayStation version boasted two new full motion video opening and ending sequences and a "memo-save" feature, but the game otherwise remained unchanged.[7][45] Square released 50,000 limited edition copies of the collection which included a Final Fantasy-themed alarm clock.[44] In the same year, Square released the PlayStation compilation Final Fantasy Anthology in North America, which included Final Fantasy V, as well as the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VI. This would mark the first time the game was published outside Japan, nearly seven years after its initial release.[46] In 2002, Square released this version of the game in Europe and Australia, this time alongside Final Fantasy IV.[47][48] The English version of the game received changes from its original format - most notably, Faris was given a Cornish "pirate" accent and there was a different interpretation of character names, such as the names "Bartz" as opposed to "Butz" and "Gill" as opposed to "Guido", the official romanizations in Japan.[49] On December 18, 2012 the port was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.[50]

Following the release of the PlayStation 2, Sony reported that the new system had compatibility issues with the Final Fantasy V half of Final Fantasy Anthology.[51] The game experienced a bug where if players attempted to save their games, a graphical error would occur.[51] Square then released a statement that only the look of the save screen was corrupted, and saving was still possible, and if players wished, repeatedly going into and out of the save screen would make a normal screen eventually appear.[51] This incompatibility was fixed for the PAL and Greatest Hits releases of Final Fantasy Anthology.

Final Fantasy V was ported a second time by Tose to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance as Final Fantasy V Advance, which was released on October 12, 2006, in Japan, November 6, 2006, in North America, and April 20, 2007, in Europe.[52] Similar to the Game Boy Advance re-releases of its predecessors, this version features updated graphics, though the changes are very subtle.[53] Additional features include four new jobs (Gladiator, Cannoneer, Necromancer, and Oracle), a new dungeon called "The Sealed Temple", and a new optional boss from the back story of Final Fantasy V, Enuo, which was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the monster designer of the original game.[53][54] In addition, the game included a bestiary, a quick save function, music player, and additional equipment in the style of previous Game Boy Advance re-releases.[55] Like the remakes of its predecessors, Final Fantasy V Advance featured a new English translation.[53]

The original version of the game was released on the Virtual Console in Japan in January 2011 for the Wii and in March 2014 for the Wii U, and the PlayStation version of the game was re-released on the PlayStation Network as a PSone Classic in Japan on April 6, 2011, in Europe on April 13, 2011 and in North America on November 22, 2011.

On April 27, 2010, Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto stated that the development of a remake of Final Fantasy V for the Nintendo DS is at present "undecided" due to "technical issues".[56] However, on June 24, 2010, he added that a remake for the Nintendo 3DS is being considered, but he would first have to "look and see how 3DS does, how it evolves, and then make a decision". In December 2012 Square Enix announced that an updated version of the game will be released on the IOS AppStore.[57] The enhanced port, which was developed by Matrix Software, was released on March 28, 2013 on iOS devices, with an Android release on 26 September.[58] The game features new high resolution graphics with sprites designed by Kazuko Shibuya, who did the original game's artwork, new gameplay features such as movement in eight directions and auto-battle, and contains the Sealed Temple and super-boss Enuo from the Game Boy Advance release.[58]

Sequel[edit]

In 1994, Square released an original video animation sequel to Final Fantasy V, simply titled Final Fantasy. Produced by animation studio Madhouse, the anime was released in four 30-minute VHS tapes in Japan and was set two hundred years after the game.[59][60] The story focuses on four warriors, one of them the descendant of Bartz,[61] protecting the Wind Crystal from the villain Deathgyunos, who pursues it to achieve godhood.[62] It was localized by Urban Vision in 1998 and released in two VHS volumes for North America under the title Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals.[63]


Reception[edit]

Reception[n 1]
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings GBA: 82.45%[64]
Metacritic GBA: 83/100[65]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com SFC: B-[25]
GBA: A[66]
AllGame SFC: 4/5[67]
Electronic Gaming Monthly GBA: 8.8/10[68]
Famitsu GBA: 34/40[69]
GameSpot GBA: 8.5/10[70]
IGN GBA: 8.5/10[53]
GameDaily GBA: 7/10[71]
Awards
Publication Award
Famitsu 15th All Time Best Game[72]

Final Fantasy V has sold 2.45 million units on the Super Famicom,[73] (including 2 million copies during its first two months of release[30]) while the Japanese Game Boy Advance version has sold nearly 260,000 copies as of December 2007.[74] Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st best selling release of that year in Japan.[75] The North American release of Final Fantasy Anthology sold 364,000 copies as of 2004.[72][76]

While not initially released in North America, the game received mixed reception from import reviews. 1UP.com's staff stated that while the game's story was very weak, the gameplay was "another story", heavily praising the job system and the feature to combine abilities from different job classes, and gave it a score of B-.[25] Allgame's review shared similar sentiments regarding the storyline and job system, adding praise for the addition of hidden events and items for players to search for, giving the game a score of 3.5 out of 5.[67] RPGamer found that the game improved on the visual presentation, menu system, and overall field navigation of Final Fantasy IV, but the "maddeningly high encounter rate", "average sound selection", and "washed out" color palette hurt the game's presentation, giving it a score of 5/10.[77]

Critics likewise gave mixed reviews of the Anthology version of the game. GameSpot criticized the game for having "paper-thin characters" and a cliche plot, augmented by a lack of character development during the game's fetch quests. They went further to say that the translation was terrible and overshadowed by the two previous fan efforts.[12] IGN called Final Fantasy V's graphics "dated" but cited "incredibly engrossing" job system as the game's highlight and praised its music.[78] Electronic Gaming Monthly repeated the sentiments towards the job system, adding that while the game suffered from long load times periodically, Final Fantasy V was the main reason to buy the collection.[79]

In comparison, reviews of the Game Boy Advance re-release of the game were mostly positive. GameSpot's review regarded the game more favorably than its PlayStation counterpart, calling it "better than ever" and citing the strong localization of the script and extensive special features. They further stated that while the game's characters seemed unlikable and that the plot felt "predictable or trite", they felt the game was still more sophisticated than most games at the time, giving the game a score of 8.5.[70] Nintendo Power stated that "while playing Final Fantasy V is a chore on the PlayStation, it's good fun on the GBA because of the vastly improved translation and new features", further calling it the "definitive" version of one of the series' best titles.[80] IGN gave the game a score of 8.5, calling it a "must-own" for the portable system and describing it further as always an "entertaining and surprisingly deep role-playing game".[81] 1UP.com stated the port of the game from the Super Famicom to the Game Boy Advance was "rock solid", and added that while the game's story started off at a slow pace, it gradually improved. The review further praised the addition of features and removal of questionable ones that had been added to the Anthology version of the game.[66] GameDaily gave the game a score of 7/10, noting that while enjoyable, the high encounter rate, the necessity to constantly engage in battle to gain abilities through the job system, and other aspects made the game feel repetitive at times.[71]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Unless otherwise noted, review scores are for the Game Boy Advance version.

References[edit]

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