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Hugh Likes Video Games-Final Fantasy V

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Final Fantasy V
Published by Square (1999)
Played on PS Vita

FFV

Having completed this summer’s Four Job Fiesta, It’s time to take a last look at Final Fantasy V.
V represents a turning point in the series from the design of the early entries, which were much more guided experiences, to more complex strategic systems. It is the last main series game to feature the four crystals as a major plot element, and its the first games since Final Fantasy II with a really crunchy mechanical system underlying the story.
Final Fantasy’s Job System, which was refined and expanded from Final Fantasy III, gives the player freedom to plan and combine skills to overcome obstacles. This is a contrast to Final Fantasy IV, which was much more managed. The goal of that game was to defeat challenges using the resources at hand. This strategic element becomes more important going forward in the series.
V also heralds a shift from the melodramatic, adventurous tone of early games to a darker tone. While there is still a lot of levity in the game, it does deal with some thematic elements such as an inevitable end of the world head on. This clears the way for the more operatic Final Fantasy VI, and the diesel-punk dystopia of Final Fantasy VII. It’s also the last time we are going to see a main cast of just four playable characters until last year’s Final Fantasy XV. While the larger casts in later games provide more flexibility, I don’t know if we get to know the characters as well as we do this last iteration of the Light Warriors. The cast of Final Fantasy V is really charming, and includes one of the first transgender characters in gaming with Faris, who is awesome.
The game itself is somewhat forgotten in the west, as it didn’t come out here until after the fact, and its sound and graphics lack the oomph of IV and VI. But it is exquisitely balanced, and remains fun to play, as can be seen by the Four Job Fiesta challenge. If you haven’t given it a try, You can find the game in the PS1 Classics section of the Playstation store for PS3, PS Vita, and PSP. You can also track down the Game Boy Advance port, which is probably the best version of the game, or check out the mobile port. If you are a JRPG aficionado, give it a try.
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Four Job Fiesta Part Two: Ahead on our Way

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I’ve been playing “Final Fantasy V” as a part of this year’s Four Job Fiesta, an online challenge that benefits Child’s Play. I wrote about approaching the challenge here, and now that I’m a bit farther in the game, here are some things that I’ve learned.
Final Fantasy V is amazingly well designed. Over the course of the game, I received my full roster of classes: Thief, Time Mage, Ranger, and Chemist. While these aren’t impossible classes to play with, they’re hardly powerhouses. Ranger gets a very good ability, Rapid Fire, if you level them for a while, and Chemist can combine items to exploit some enemy weaknesses, but they require using up rare items. But while this team is challenging, it is hardly impossible. The Four Job Fiesta works with FFV because the game can be navigated with any classes as long as you’re patient and think strategically. There aren’t any choke points that require a certain party to proceed.
The game itself feels like a farewell to the style of the early games. The crystals themselves shatter to give you your jobs. Although the franchise would return to the job system in spin-offs like Final Fantasy Tactics and the crystals would come back in later games like Bravely Default, Final Fantasy V feels like a sea change for the series. The next game in the series in Final Fantasy VI, which took the games in a very different direction. Even though it was only much later released in the United States, it still feels somewhat nostalgic.
But for now the Fiesta continues as I make my way through the middle of the game with my motley crew of back row hooligans. You have until the end of August to sign up for your run, or to support Child’s Play!

Four Job Fiesta: Part One

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This summer I’m taking part in a unique gaming challenge for a worthy charity, and so can you! Four Job Fiesta is an annual gaming marathon that raises money and awareness for Child’s Play.
From June 19th to August 31st, participants play classic RPG Final Fantasy V, with one twist: Players are limited to four jobs, which are randomly selected by a bot on Twitter. I heard about it from a friend that participates every year, and dismissed the difficulty, but five hours into the game, I’m finding it an eye-opening challenge.
I wrote way back about my love of Final Fantasy V, but Four Job Fiesta is giving me a new perspective on the game. I’m playing the PS1 version of the game, which has its own translation, so that is also giving me fresh thoughts on the game. For those who haven’t played, Final Fantasy V uses a Job system that allows players to switch between your typical RPG classes. you can play as a magician for a while, and then turn into a warrior, keeping some of the benefits or skills from previous jobs. This lets the player make a party of versatile and powerful characters using various combinations. The challenge severely limits the versatility of these characters. It also forces me to make choices I wouldn’t in an open play of the game.
My first job was ‘Thief,’ a low-powered job that can steal items and gets some other useful skills. But they can’t use magic, and they have very limited equipment. This made the first few dungeons a lot more difficult. In normal play, I was able to breeze through using magic. I had to think a bit more tactically to get past some bosses that were suddenly far more difficult when I couldn’t exploit their weaknesses.
Four Job Fiesta isn’t just about beating an old game with new tricks. It’s also a fundraiser for Child’s Play, a charity which provides games and toys to pediatric hospitals. Visit FourJobFiesta.com to learn more about the project, start your own run, or donate to help sick kids.