The Best and Worst: The First 10 Final Fantasy Games

5: Final Fantasy V

The series' fifth entry, Final Fantasy V, refines many elements from the earlier games and is a solid game all around. Carrying on from Final Fantasy IV, the game expands the crystal concept further by giving them a more practical purpose -- preventing the evil Exdeath from returning to power and, as all good Sauron-like sorcerers do, creating a world of darkness and fear. There's the usual amnesiac theme with Ganulf, though it too serves a story-related purpose, even if Ganulf isn't too far removed from Tellah.

The job system is one of the game's key highlights, however. It improves on Final Fantasy III in multiple ways, including introducing a new job, skills, and the ability to retain skills learned from previous jobs, which the remake of Final Fantasy III would incorporate as well. Not only does leveling up jobs provide a reason to engage in all those random battles, it also allows players a tremendous amount of freedom in crafting and shaping their party, which, in turn, allows for greater replay value as well.

The game also introduces a number of recurring themes, from mini-boss Gilgamesh to the idea of the power of the Ancients and the evils associated with meteorites that would be seen again in Final Fantasy VII. Yet for all its strengths, the characters themselves end up being less than central to the story for the most part, with Bartz, in particular, being pretty flat overall.

Published Aug. 27th 2017

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