Final Fantasy V for iOS – First Impressions

Though I do not have nearly as much time to play video games as I did a year and a half ago, I have been a big fan of Square-Enix role-playing games for a while now. Final Fantasy VI (released for the Super NES as Final Fantasy III) is my favorite game of all time and Chrono Trigger is a masterpiece. I had played the Game Boy Advance version of Final Fantasy V but never got all that far, so I purchased the game for the iPod Touch.

Right off the bat: The biggest complaint about this adaptation of FFV is that the controls are “broken.” I agree. It does not ruin the game, but it can be very annoying. This, like the 8-bit and 16-bit versions that came before and after, is meant to be played with a four-direction control pad, not in eight directions. Making it eight-direction makes it too easy to get hung up on doors and environmental hazards that were easy to avoid on consoles are more difficult to avoid on the touch screen – especially without the tactile sensation of the control pad on your thumb.

Like I said, this does not ruin the game. This is not a fast-reaction game where precise control is required, like a platformer would be. Your challenge here is strategy and figuring our where to go and what to do, as well as making sure your party is sufficiently leveled up and equipped for the task ahead. However, this would definitely be a better game if you moved in four directions. Perhaps Square-Enix can release an update allowing this option, but this mistake definitely needs to be avoided if Final Fantasy VI is to be released for mobile devices.

Unlike the game immediately preceding and following this one, there are very few characters – only five of them. Final Fantasy IV had 11 characters and Final Fantasy VI had 14. To make up for this, there are a number of “jobs” that you can master. You can even carry skills over from job to job – you can have a Knight who hurls black magic spells or a Monk who can use the “Jump” command. The possibilities are not infinite, but it will feel that way.

Twenty years ago, a game like this would have sold for $60 for the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis – and when you factor inflation it is even more. So while $16 may seem like a lot in the App Store, it actually is not. If you are a fan of role-playing games, I would recommend downloading this one. It is well worth it.

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