Final Fantasy V iOS is a RPG available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Based upon Final Fantasy V, the 1992 classic RPG game originally available on Super Nintendo Entertainment System, this new game immerses the player in the adventure of Bartz and his party in a world full of danger and mysteries.
It all starts from the departure of King of Tycoon for inspecting the reason behind the gradually stopping wind, which leaves Lenna, the princess, in great worries. But the game isn’t about this beautiful princess. It revolves around Bartz, a traveler who rides on a parrot named Chocobo, runs into characters including Lenna, establishes a strong friendship and comradeship with them, and adventures through the forests, sails in the sea, battles goblins, phoenix, and snakes, and ultimately unravels mysteries.
Intensely story-driven, Final Fantasy V for iOS doesn’t bother to create any sort of quest system. Players only move characters around, claiming treasure chests they happen to discover, battle monsters standing in their way, and enter whichever accessible places they could find. During that adventure, they converse with NPCs, investigate unknown objects and most importantly, follow the story for making achievements and unearthing the truth.
The game retains much more than the stories. It also revives the essential elements in Final Fantasy V. Players watch the pixel characters and various maps from a top-down perspective, get involved in the turn-based battles whenever they run into monsters, and even meet the same bosses as in the earlier versions. As they dig deeper, their characters could take different jobs and acquire job- or class-specific skills, wear on advanced gear and play different roles in the battles.
Although it is nice to play a twenty-one-year-old classic game, it would be a boring experience if there wasn’t any modification. And there are. Embracing the iOS platform, the game allows for a flexible joystick control which enables players to move the characters wherever on-screen their fingers are touching. And the pixel characters, who are hardly recognizable unless when they are speaking, in which case a beautiful and detailed anime character is shown on the left of dialog box, indicating that this is anything but a classic gameplay coupled with entirely retrospective graphics. And when it comes to combat, players tap buttons to decide the specific action and target for each character in each turn and leave the rest to the characters. Well, honestly, not totally to them. You upgrade and enhance their power whenever possible.
Final Fantasy V for iOS isn’t perfect in every sense. The controls, though with flexible joystick and many buttons for easy operation, are not very friendly. Actually, because of the flexible controls, whenever players would like to talk with someone, check what’s inside a chest, or enter a cave, they often have to slide several times before they arrive at the right spot where those actions are possible. Once players start a new game, they wouldn’t be able to continue the previous game even if they save the progress and also they would have to go through the unskippable introducing video one more time. And it is even impossible to continue one single game if you do not pay real money. Once the health of all the characters is depleted and there is no health potion left, players have to purchase the potions to continue. The omnipresent conversations interrupt the gaming process unnecessarily frequently. Not that the storytelling wasn’t fascinating. It’s just the conversations take place too often and too much for anyone to appreciate them.
Offering something old and classic on a new platform proves is always a brilliant idea. But a lot of work needs to be done before that idea is materialized perfectly.