Final Fantasy V Advance review

The second coming of FFV is eons better than the first

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Brilliant and diverse job system

  • +

    Very good translation

  • +

    Updated graphics and new content


  • -

    Some aspects feel dated

  • -

    Some lines are too modern

  • -

    Average story and characters

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Final Fantasy V has hit a few speed bumps on its way to the West. Originally published in Japan in 1992, it came to North America in 1999 for the Sony PlayStation. Unfortunately, the first American version of the game suffered from poor translation and technical issues, marring an otherwise great game. The second time's a charm for FFV, as Final Fantasy V Advance is the best this excellent game has ever been.

Fans of modern FF games will surprised to learn that story and character development aren't a big draw in this game. You play the role of Bartz, a strapping young lad that wanders the lands with his trusty chocobo. As meteorites pelt the planet, you get caught up in a worlds-spanning adventure that starts with saving your planet's mystic crystals, which becomes a battle against the powerful Exdeath (whom you can tell is really evil just from his name). It's a customary save-the-world-from-the-evil-guy scenario that's neither remarkable nor offensive.

Now, what's most certainly remarkable is the game's job system. As you discover more crystals, new character classes are unlocked. In addition to gaining experience points and money after winning a battle, you're also awarded job points. To get the most out of any job, you must spend time adventuring with it. As you earn more job points, you unearth more abilities. In addition to the innate abilities of each class, you can choose secondary abilities you've learned from any job.

Mixing and matching jobs is a thing of game design beauty. If you're looking to build a straight up tank then you'll want the knight's two-handed ability (it doubles attack power) and pair it with the samurai's deadly gil-throwing technique. You can make a more diverse warrior by coupling the mystic knight's spellblade ability (which imbues swords with black magic) and the ninja's 2-swords ability. You can mix and match abilities from any of the classes in the game. The choices are so diverse that you can have a drastically different experience playing Final Fantasy V depending on the jobs you pick. A party with the customary fighters and magic users feels entirely different than a party comprised of a chemist, a dancer, a mime, and a beastmaster.

More info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionThe decade-old but lesser-known Final Fantasy classic returns, in portable form, to all its job-hopping, monster-hunting glory.
Franchise nameFinal Fantasy
UK franchise nameFinal Fantasy
US censor rating"Everyone","Everyone"
UK censor rating"",""
Alternative names"FF V Advance (GBA)","Final Fantasy 5 Advance (GBA)","Final Fantasy 5 Advance (GBA)"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)