Review: Final Fantasy V Advance

System: Gameboy Advance (DS-compatible)
Score: 4/5 4 (Good)

After playing Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy V Advance came as a breath of fresh air. It's basically a port of the original game to the Game Boy Advance, although the graphics and sound have been subtly improved. (Specifically, gradients have been added to the game windows, and the battle screen backdrops have been spruced up.)

Final Fantasy V uses the same Active Time Battle (ATB) system that Final Fantasy IV introduced, while using a job system similar to the one Final Fantasy III used. The job system remains somewhere between the system used by Final Fantasy III and the one used in Final Fantasy Tactics. Jobs level up using Ability Points (ABP), while characters level up using the traditional Experience Points (XP). Both types of points are awarded after battle in different amounts.

Each job has a set of inherent abilities as well as a special command ability that is always available. As jobs level up, new abilities are learned. Jobs level up more slowly than the characters. Most jobs are "mastered" around level 6 or so, after which no new abilities are available.

Because the combat system uses ATB, commands are chosen for a character as the character's ATB Gauge is filled. This allows for far greater control over the flow of battle than the older round-robin systems, greatly reducing the roll of luck in winning the game.

The game is not without its flaws. There are three "worlds" to travel through, and its possible to miss spells if you don't complete side-quests before moving to the next world. Previous "worlds" can't be revisited, so missing something early on can prevent some jobs from being used to their full potential. There are areas with specifically designed "super monsters" that make traveling through them more an effort in frustration than anything else.

Overall, it's a good Super Nintendo-era RPG. If you enjoyed Final Fantasy IV or Final Fantasy VI, you'll enjoy Final Fantasy V.