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When I wrote the Final Fantasy V overview, I constantly stated how SquareSoft was doubling down on storytelling in their RPGs and how this turned the Final Fantasy franchise into the cream of the crop among JRPGs. I won’t back down on this statement, but Final Fantasy V surely wanted to make me falter.
Final Fantasy V took quite a while to reach the western seas. I only got to play it on PlayStation with the Final Fantasy Anthology, and that was after playing Final Fantasy VII and VIII.
I haven’t played Final Fantasy III before V, so the Job system was a sounding and stellar addition that captivated me from the go. The excitement of leveling a Job or getting a new one, the number of combinations, the discovery. Everything was exhilarating!
However, the story… just didn’t keep up with Square Enix’s standards with the previous installment. I confess it may have been unfair to play Final Fantasy V after Final Fantasy VI, VII, and VIII. Being the older brother is hard when your younger siblings are more talented and attractive than you are.
That doesn’t mean Final Fantasy V is a bad game. Not at all. It’s actually quite good! Gameplay-wise it’s top of the notch. The replayability on it and the constant drive to evolve is what puts Final Fantasy V in the spotlight as well… a Final Fantasy game.
Bottom Line Up Front: Final Fantasy V may not boast the best story, character development, or world-building in the modern age series. However, its improved job system takes the gameplay to standards never met before and matches perfectly with the ATB turn-based combat. It’s the type of game that you have – and just – enjoy the journey rather than the destination.
The world of Final Fantasy V is a classic medieval fantasy. The most advanced technological artifacts are the airships, which aid in trade and commerce. The quality of life in the world is enhanced by using four elemental crystals.
Eventually, we visit a second world whose landscape matches the first world. The most significant difference is in the shading of the world as if someone had stroked it with a black brush.
Final Fantasy V introduces us to a fixed cast of characters. Like most main characters, they are caught in the plot web for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They become the Warriors of Light after finding the wind crystal shattered into a zillion pieces and stealing some of it for themselves.
While the party chatter and the boys’ banter are engaging and somewhat comical, it’s hard to relate to the members. Have you ever talked to anyone who considered any Final Fantasy V character their favorite? If so, please, ask why.
Bartz is a carefree and easygoing protagonist. He is caught into the fray unannounced but listens to his Chocobo and decides to help Lenna and Galuf. Although he is always eager to help the quest, Bartz is usually mocked by the other party members due to being the last one to get what’s going on. Eventually is unveiled that Bartz is the son of a hero of old.
Lenna Charlotte Tycoon
The princess of Tycoon starts her journey after following her father to the Wind Shrine but gets lost halfway through. She meets Bartz and Galuf after meeting a horde of goblins. They decide to tag along in her journey.
Lenna holds herself accountable for what’s happening to the world due to her regal position. She uses her title to aid the party whenever she can and is always eager to lend a helping hand to the next person.
Galuf Halm Baldesion
An amnesiac old man found by Bartz and Lenna nearby a meteorite, Galuf joins the crew since, well, there’s not much he can do. Galuf is young at heart and shows martial prowess despite his old age.
He eventually recovers his memories as a hero of the past and renovates his motivation in hunting the bad guy. Galuf also really enjoys punching Bartz.
When the party tries to steal Faris’ ship, she kidnaps them. A joyful occasion for everyone to mingle. She’s first disguised as a man to earn her crew respect before assuming she’s a girl to the party.
Faris also holds another secret. Her realm name is Sarisa Scherwil Tycoon, princess of Tycoon and Lenna’s older sister who got lost at sea in the past.
Krile Mayer Baldesion
Krile is the granddaughter of Galuf, and like him, she flares an optimistic and jovial nature. She’s naturally talented towards animals and can talk to moogles, chocobos, and other inarticulated creatures. She’s the last to join the party after an unfortunate event, but even then, that’s not enough to dim Krile’s light of hope.
The Main Story
The wind has stopped. The king of Tycoon rides his wind drake to the Wind Shrine to see what’s happening to the wind crystal. Meanwhile, the scene shifts and shows Faris on a pirate ship, noticing the wind’s stillness, and Galuf next, in urgency.
When the king of Tycoon reaches the Wind Shrine, he finds the crystal intact, just to watch it shatter seconds later. The scene then changes to our carefree and adventurous protagonist, Bartz, and his esteemed Chocobo companion, Boko.
Something in the sky gets Bartz’s attention and is nothing more than a gigantic meteorite crashing down. After the crash, he deems it crucial to investigate the asteroid and finds Lenna, the princess of Tycoon, attacked by goblins. After defeating newbie monsters, the duo finds an amnesiac old man close by the meteorite. The only thing the man remembers is his name, Galuf.
Lenna shares with the group that she was heading to the Wind Shrine, and Galuf reminisces, agreeing that it was his destination as well. On the other hand, Bartz declines their invitation, and the game ends. Kidding. The protagonist is convinced by his Chocobo that he should join the other members. So he does because our animal companion is never wrong.
However, the Wind Shrine is located beyond the sea, and how does a ship sail devoid of wind? It does not. Lady Fortune bestows them the opportunity to see a ship sailing without wind. The party decides to find the said ship and steal it. After all, that’s what princesses do these days. But the theft is stopped by the ship’s captain, Faris, who imprisons the trio.
Lenna’s pendant captures Faris’s attention, who appears to have the same accessory. Due to that coincidence, Faris decides to help our group reach the Wind Shrine and shows us that the ship moves unassisted by the wind because it has a badass sea dragon pulling it named Syldra.
Arriving at the Wind Shrine, when we get to the shattered crystal chambers, each elemental crystal spirit is bestowed upon our four members. The king of Tycoon appears cosplaying Patrick Swayze on Ghost. He explains that the crystal chose us as their warriors (of light), and now it’s our duty to protect the other crystals from a looming evil. It’s also the first time we get access to Jobs.
Sailing to find the Water Crystal, our ship is attacked, but Syldra sacrifices herself for us. The ship starts to drift since denied of wind and dragon, we can’t sail. Finally, we float to a nearby ship graveyard, not ominous at all. After some events inside the broken ships, we find out that Faris is actually a girl. She explains that a woman among pirates wouldn’t be respected as a man, hence the disguise.
Leaving the ship graveyard, we go to a nearby town that tells us a wind drake was spotted on a nearby mountain. As fate would have it, it’s Hiryu, Lenna’s wind drake. Injured, Lenna uses dragon grass to cure him, and we ride for Tycoon. In Tycoon, Lenna insists that Faris is her sister, but the pirate captain shrugs it off, and we continue towards the kingdom of Walse and the Water Crystal.
From then on, it’s a Final Fantasy quest of finding the crystals while dealing with some minor subplots around the way. The game has some endearing moments and subtle character building, but as I said, it doesn’t thrive on it. Meeting Exdeath, the big-bad villain, enlightens us to what the hell is happening with the crystals. Still, some moments – like one involving a shrub – don’t appeal to his villainy and the imminent danger the worlds are in.
Warriors of Dawn
One interesting point in the game is the backstory regarding the four Warriors of Dawn, the world’s previous saviors that sealed Exdeath with the power of the crystals.
The four warriors were Galuf, Dorgann (Bartz’s father, which supports why he was chosen), Kelger, and Xezat. They help the Warriors of Light several times during their adventures, to the point where they can’t help anymore because they die. However, for me, it was one of the hallmarks of Final Fantasy V. I’m a sucker for backstory, and this one, albeit not excellent, it shines among a run-of-the-mill plot.
ATB combat is also present in Final Fantasy V. Unlike the SNES version of its predecessor, the ATB gauge is visible in battle. Other than that, the gameplay excels when we unlock Jobs, providing an enduring dynamism moving forward.
After each crystal shatters, their shard grants the party new Jobs and massively expands the customization options. It’s important to note that you again have to buy magic in shops to cast them.
The GBA version and the now extinct Steam, iOS, and Android versions added four new advanced Jobs to the endgame. I will list all the jobs here and their characteristic.
The Freelancer is our protagonists’ initial Job. At first glance, yeah, it’s weak as hell. It can equip every gear available, but it still doesn’t pay off. That is, until later on.
In addition to equipping two command abilities, the Freelance inherits almost every mastered Job’s innate support abilities, making them a god-tier warmonger.
Wind Crystal jobs
The standard heavyweight of the troupe. Knights wear heavy armor, swords, and knight swords and cover allies, taking damage instead. Knights learn the Two-handed ability that turns them into heavy-hitters.
No weapon is needed when your body is a weapon. Monks cause serious damage without needing to spend riches on weapons. They only wear light armor but compensate with their high HP. Monks learn several abilities that increase the damage inflicted.
Thieves are one of the most agile Jobs. They learn abilities that aid the party in battle and out of it. Their commanding ability is Steal. If you are familiar with RPG, you know you should steal whenever you have the chance.
Black Mages are the glass canon Job of the party. Boasting an array of offensive spells, each Job level grants permission to use more magics, ranging from elemental damage to inflicting negative status. Remember you have to go to the market and purchase the magic beforehand.
The first support of the team. White Mage can cast a plethora of supportive magic to heal or remove negative status from the party. Wich each Job ability, more white magics are unlocked until you can finally smite down enemies with Holy.
The Blue Mage is a fun job that can use magic learned from enemies. Job level 2 unlocks the ability “Learning” that passively learns enemies skills. To do that, the enemy must cast their magic on the party, and the battle won. Then, the Blue Magic is forever yours to boast.
Water Crystal jobs
Red Mage is what happens if a Black and White Mage has a baby. Although not proficient in spellcasting as its forefathers and limited to level 3 magics, the Red Mage can wield better weapons, and at the maximum Job level, they learn the spectacular Dualcast. Any spellcaster with Dualcast equipped instantly becomes a superhero.
Time Mage is mainly a support class that can buff the party or debuff enemies with negative status. However, they learn Comet and Meteor at high Job levels, devastating, albeit random damage, non-elemental spells.
What Final Fantasy doesn’t love a summoning, hey? Summoners call the aid of summoned monsters to damage enemies, aid the party of a sum of both. Summons are obtained in various ways.
The first ones are bought, and most are by defeating the summon in battle or some monsters in random encounters. Each Job level allows for a more powerful summons cast.
Mindless fighters, Berserkers are constantly afflicted with the berserk status, which means you can’t control them while they relentlessly swing at the enemy. Initially, their high strength compensates for the lack of control. But Berserkers can’t hold their own late into the game.
Mystic Knights can imbue their weapon with an elemental spell, thus granting their attacks an elemental affinity. It’s excellent when tackling an enemy weakness. Cause if not, the physical damage leaves much to be desired compared to a simple Knight, for instance.
Mime is a weird and optional Job. You need to find a Water Crystal shard to learn it, but not until late in the game. Mime resembles the Freelancer, but instead of equipping two command abilities, they can equip up to three and inherits almost every other Job mastered stats. Their Mimic ability copies the action of the last party member.
Fire Crystal jobs
They are, quite obviously, masters of beasts. They can capture near-death monsters and release them in battle. Most monsters unleashed issues a standard power attack, but some have special effects.
Beastmasters also learn Control, which allows the Job to use the monster’s abilities. It’s the only Job besides Freelancer that wields a whip.
The Geomancer Gaia’s ability varies according to the terrain, causing several effects on the enemies. They can equip bells (yeah, yeah, Freelancers too) that deals damage based on Agility and Magic. Geomancer learns useful map abilities that help the party avoid traps and damage on dangerous terrain.
Besides looking cool, Ninjas can throw weapons, scrolls, and shurikens at the enemy to inflict some raw or elemental damage. They also learn some support skills that are relatively dispensable.
However, their true strength and I mean it, it’s the dual wield. Wielding a weapon in each hand, Ninjas attack twice every turn. Hand this ability to any other class and watch your enemies curl into despair.
A bow-wielding Job that can cause full damage in the back row while taking half damage. Their innate ability, Aim, is a simple attack with an increased chance to hit. The Ranger’s last ability, Rapid Fire, allows attacking four times with weaker attacks. Combine that with Ninja’s dual wield, and you’re in for a treaty.
The Bard is not inherently bad – not as Edward from Final Fantasy IV, at least. However, the Job is easily replaced. Bard can Sing songs you learn throughout the game by talking with NPCs or playing every piano you find.
The songs can buff or debuff the party, but the bard must continuously sing and can’t be hit. The last song increases the party level in-battle, which is neat, as long the enemy ignores the bard.
Earth Crystal jobs
My favorite Job! Sadly, it’s not one of the best. Dragoons wear heavy armor, making them great tanks. However, their Jump ability gets them out of harm’s way, putting every other party member in the way.
So it’s kinda counterintuitive to boast such high defense. Jump does cause considerable damage, but the time to discharge is ungainly. You can just make all four members Dragoons, jump, and watch the enemy look like a dummy.
Not the best Job overall. Dancers wear daggers and the unique Man-Eater, which increases attributes and guarantees a critical hit on humans. The dance job’s command causes one of four random effects: confuse enemy, drain HP, drain MP, or attack four times. The fourfold attack Sword Dance is pretty good but unreliable due to its randomness.
Samurai wield katanas and throw Gil at the enemy, dealing fixed damage. I would love someone throwing money at me. Samurais learn abilities to instantly kill opponents or strike without removing negative statuses such as confusion or sleep. Shirahadori grants Samurai a 25% chance of evading physical attacks. A spectacular Job to master and boost Freelancer/Mime.
Do you want to break the game? Then Chemist is your choice. At first impression, a disposable class. But their Mix command ability has some game-breaking combinations, believe me.
You can buff, heal or revive the party with simple items combinations, increase party members’ levels, double their HP, or unleash holy damage that bypasses enemy defenses. If you don’t like Chemist low status or sprite, you can just learn the Mix ability and change to another Job.
These jobs are exclusive to Final Fantasy V GBA version and the now removed Steam, Android, and iOS versions.
Necromancers cast Dark Arts, spells learned when the Necromancer kills certain monsters. They are an improved version of Black Mage and Summoner, armed with an assortment of deadly offensive spells.
Job’s biggest drawback is that they are always under undead status, making it difficult to heal the rebel mage.
Cannoneers should be placed in the back row because their Open Fire command grants them total damage while inflicting a randomly negative status. They can also use ammunition bought from traveling merchants and combine items to shoot explosives with diverse effects. Despite their title, they only equip swords and knives.
Gladiators are heavy-armored Jobs that can equip almost every weapon and armor on the game. The Finisher ability has a chance to cause 9,999 elemental damage, a critical hit, or fail.
They can also attack from the back row after learning Long Reach or attack all enemies with the Bladeblitz at 75% typical damage.
The Oracle would be the most potent spellcaster if not for their unpredictability. The command ability Condemn causes a random effect on the target, which can be healing, damage, or negative status. Predict works in the same fashion, but its results are more ensured because attack magic and support magic hit enemies and allies, respectively.
The Final Battle
Final Fantasy V presents us with slightly different endings based on a singular happening: how many characters were dead – or alive – in the last battle against Neo Exdeath.
If you defeat Neo Exdeath and some party members are knocked out, those KOed don’t and are thereby considered dead when you leave the Void.
This changes some ending games scenes, and while the changes aren’t significant, it does imply you had to make sacrifices to save the world.
It can really get under your skin to the point where you will face Neo Exdeath over and over again until everyone prevails together or doesn’t prevail at all.
You know the drill. Final Fantasy games are gonna get a ton of re-releases throughout the ages. Final Fantasy V got the same treatment.
Final Fantasy V was first ported to the PlayStation and then included in the Final Fantasy Collection, alongside Japanese versions of Final Fantasy IV and VI, also for the PlayStation. These ports had full-motion video opening and ending sequences.
Then it was released as Final Fantasy Anthology in North America for the PlayStation. It was the first time Final Fantasy V charted international seas. Final Fantasy VI was also included in the Anthology.
In 2006, Final Fantasy V hit the Game Boy Advance. Like most Final Fantasy on the GBA, it included improved graphics, additional equipment, a bestiary, four new Jobs, a new dungeon, and an optional super boss called Enuo, mentioned in Final Fantasy V’s backstory.
The original version arrived at the Virtual Console digital stores for the Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, and Playstations as PSOne Classic.
A remastered version of Final Fantasy V was supposed to release for Nintendo 3DS. However, the game was released for iOS, Android, and Steam due to technical issues.
This version is now officially unavailable since the arrival of Pixel Remaster. It presented new high-resolution sprites and the GBA version additions.
Final Fantasy V returned with the Pixel Remaster collection, adding the same quality of life improvements as its siblings. Pixel-perfect graphics, world minimap, fast-forward and auto-battle, and eight-directional movement.
Question: Should Final Fantasy V be my first Final Fantasy?
Answer: There’s no harm in it. If you play any more contemporary Final Fantasy (Pixel Remaster not included!), maybe their modernizations, the powerful and dramatic cinematics, the compelling characters, and the gameplay changes will leave you a little conflicted when you go back to revisit the old Final Fantasy.
I always suggest starting with the classics and working your way through the sequels. I know many people who started with Final Fantasy XV or Final Fantasy VII Remake and found the turn-based combat awkward due to the action-driven nature of the modern ones.
Question: Which Final Fantasy V version should I play?
Answer: There’s hardly any choice. The Pixel Remaster version, for sure. Nowadays, finding a physical version is a rarity, and you also need the console for it. Since Square removed the old remaster version from mobile and Steam, you can only legitimately find the Pixel Remaster around.
Question: What’s the Best Job in Final Fantasy V?
Answer: Final Fantasy V tries its best to even up the odds among every Job option. It’s hard not to notice some Jobs are practically expendable. In contrast, others are a must-have if you wanna tackle the most challenging bosses in the game.
But if you wanna know the best overall Job in Final Fantasy V, I have to say, Freelancer. Yes, the first Job. Or rather, the jobless. Freelancers soak in every mastered Job attribute, most passives, and can equip every equipment out there. As the game progresses, and after tremendous grinding, the Freelancer can fight against Exdeath as well as against fixed hours employment.
Question: What’s the best Job combination in Final Fantasy V?
Answer: Let’s consider you don’t want to grind for hours to build a massive Freelancer and won’t abuse the mimic command ability. In that case, there are plenty of great combinations for a casual playthrough.
A Spellblade with a Ninja dual wield and Ranger’s Rapid Fire can chunk insane damage if you know your enemy’s weakness. A Blue Mage with a Summoner can support the party with monsters skills and assail enemies with the summons. A Chemist by itself can be your sole support with all the mix combinations. You can also throw a Bard in the composition to buff players while not mixing.
The charm of Final Fantasy V is discovering what’s in the store for your next Job and testing new combinations altogether. Don’t fret over any premade party compositions. Do yours and have fun doing it.
Final Fantasy V may have taken down a notch compared to Final Fantasy IV’s storytelling focus. The cast is lovely, and the game delivers us some backstory to backbone the plot. But all in all, it’s a pretty average narrative.
When Exdeath appears, he’s somewhat intimidating before the party. His voracious quest to return all to the Void also freaked me out. But that’s pretty much it.
He’s straightforwardly a maniacal villain focused on doing evil things. No secret agenda or no sad backstory. Nowadays, that would be a welcoming cliche. But back then, he was just ordinary.
Have you found our Final Fantasy V Game Overview useful? Here are other related overviews from different Final Fantasy expansions: