Is this classic RPG worth the price of admission?
The first thing most gamers think of when reminiscing on Final Fantasy V is the iconic “job system.” While the idea of jobs and classes wasn’t new in Final Fantasy V, this game emphasized the player’s freedom to change characters’ assigned jobs with impunity. In addition to the ability to change jobs, the player can also retain abilities from other jobs, affording the creation of hybrid classes. The inclusion of the job system put the spotlight on the gameplay mechanics in Final Fantasy V, a slight change in course from the heavily emphasized story in Final Fantasy IV. Story still plays a role in FFV, but the job system is the defining feature.
I do not mean to imply that one cannot enjoy FFV’s story, the game has a typical setup- a party of unlikely adventurers are thrust into a mission with the planet’s fate hanging in the balance. While the story is campy, it is well executed, and this version seems to be the improved translation that was previously released on the Game Boy Advanced.
FFV is a port of a port, and is by no means a new game. Square Enix have done a good job in cleaning up the graphics for high definition displays, backgrounds and characters are all crisp and pleasing to the eye. There has been some controversy over the redesigned character sprites in FFV for iOS. The art style for the new character sprites is similar to that in Final Fantasy Dimensions, and the character portraits during dialog are closer to the Yoshitaka Amano style artwork from the GBA version. The two look nothing alike, and I would have hoped that a complete overhaul would have resulted in a more cohesive style. While eventually the artwork becomes unimportant, I can’t help but notice just how silly the barrel-chested main character looks at times.
Not much else has changed in Final Fantasy V’s move to iOS. The game has of course adopted virtual controls, and I think the virtual joypad would have benefited from being anchored to a particular part of the screen, rather than floating to wherever the player places their thumb. Movement isn’t critical to this game, though, and the touch controls work nicely in battle menus.
I also wanted to take a moment to address the game’s price. Unlike many of Square Enix’s recent titles, the port of Final Fantasy V is encompassed under a single purchase price. This means no microtransactions, and a complete game experience that doesn’t ask you to open up your wallet at any point. The price is comparable what one would end up spending for a cartridge version of the GBA release, and it runs on modern devices.
This is an overall well executed port of a great game, a game that would go on to inspire the famed job system in Final Fantasy Tactics. If you’re a fan of the original release or a fan of JRPGs in general, you will likely find something to enjoy in Final Fantasy V.
Final Fantasy V is available on the App Store for $15.99 as a Universal download