Final Fantasy V

August 24th, 2008

So yeah, I’ve been on an old-school SNES RPG kick lately. I was gonna play Dragon Quest VI, but apparently no full translation exists. Unable to just not play anything, I decided to play Final Fantasy V. Like Dragon Quest V, it wasn’t released in the US at a time I would’ve cared. I was very skeptical of the game, since my love for the series had long-since faded away after playing VIII, X, and Tactics Advance. I disliked all three of them, but then again I’m usually in the minority when it comes to Final Fantasy (excluding VII).

Anyway, despite my bias, Final Fantasy V grew on me quickly. The story is standard Square BS, but it’s still done very well. As always they manage to create some pretty good bad guys and interesting worlds. (Is that the difference between Square and Enix RPGs? Square makes great bad guys, Enix makes great good guys?) Playing this one didn’t change my life, it felt like any other Square RPG, but it was fun. There’s a heavy focus on a job system in the game, something I usually don’t like, but that grew on me too. It did extremely well in one area I despise about modern RPGs, you don’t suffer for your mistakes.

When you pick a character’s job you aren’t leaning their stats in one direction or the other, forcing say, your magic guy to forever suck at anything else. In other RPGs where you can’t choose a class there’s often some way of permanently screwing with their stats anyway. And there’s the always loved, “I devoted all my time towards these 3/4 characters, ignoring the rest, and now its come back to bite me in the ass since I am forced to use my neglected characters at the hardest part of the game”. In Final Fantasy V the characters are essentially blank slates, allowing them to be taken in any direction, and more importantly, experimenting and changing that direction is painless. You don’t really lose anything if you make a bad decision because it only gains your character abilities and bonuses.

So, yeah, Final Fantasy V is another great SNES RPG. It wasn’t perfect, but it was fun and reminded me why I liked Square RPGs in the first place. It’s been re-released in English, but I played the RPGe-translated SNES version.

Dragon Quest V

August 8th, 2008

So after playing Cave Story and EarthBound, I thought I’d try Dragon Quest V. It was never released in the US for reasons that are most certainly not good enough. The game is fantastic, and rivals non-Chrono Trigger RPGs in every area. I liked EarthBound, but I love this game. I’m probably gonna start playing VI soon.

Dragon Quest V has a great story, it’s a bit limited by its medium, but you’ll still be hard pressed to find a better 8-bit silent protagonist than ol’ purple-head. He’s one of those Link/Crono-like characters who does nothing but silently suffer to help others and is all the more endearing for it. Kinda makes me miss the days before main characters started talking, if they aren’t anti-heros they only come across as annoying. Fortunately, he rarely speaks (and I mean rarely), despite the fact this game is a roughly a history of his life.

The game is oddly western too, it’s strange actually. It lacks a lot of the weird stuff the Japanese tend to put into their RPGs, destroying their own work with irritating mascots/characters and garish design, although there’s still some of that. Nobody’s perfect. Maybe I’ve just played too many Square RPGs.

Dragon Quest V is a fantastic classic SNES RPG. It really is the great game nobody played. They’re apparently remaking it for the DS, but I played the DeJap-translated SNES version.