Final Fantasy V

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Final Fantasy V on Steam

MSRP: $15.99

Platform: Windows*

Release: 9/24/15

* Although Final Fantasy V has been available on several console & mobile platforms, I played and will be discussing the PC version available on Steam.

Until today, I’m guessing I was one of like, oh, a dozen people who had never played any of the Final Fantasy games.  I have a friend who returns to this iteration fairly often, so I felt as if it’d be as good a place as any to start.  Despite almost all of my prior experience with games of this style being RPGMaker titles, I figured I’d catch on quickly enough.

Spoiler: I so very much didn’t catch on.

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I looked at the control settings in the launcher, thought I understood well enough what i was doing, and dived right in.  The prologue for the game takes quite a while – a couple of times the delay between anything happening was long enough I thought my game froze. Eventually, you get control of a nameless character (you will get to name the protagonist; I went with something gender-neutral because I was confused by the appearance of the sprite vs. the avatar next to my text), and you get the ball rolling by saving two people and then immediately leaving them to go off and do … something else.

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Thankfully, your loyal chocobo mount (which looks remarkably like a cartoon Easter chick) gets you back on track to travel with your new friends. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too long before I found myself stuck in a place where I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do.  That was when I realized I had no idea how to save the game.  I wandered around in frustration for 10 minutes or so, attempting to interact with just about everything, but couldn’t figure out how to move on.

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I’ve been spoiled by a gaming landscape where there’s always some sort of in-game tutorial. I totally missed that there was an option on the main screen to look at some basic instructions, and although I doubt it would have solved my problem, it might have made the game beforehand less frustrating. I also was disappointed by the lack of an in-game way to view the controls; however, I realized after a time that the launcher remains open, and you can Alt-Tab to it if necessary.

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Overall, while I can’t say I enjoyed my brief time with Final Fantasy V, I also know that a lot of that is on me, not on the game.  Having lived a mostly console-free life between the ages of 10 and 30, there’s a lot of gaming history I missed out on, and trying to play catch-up at this late date is probably futile. Still, I’d like to dabble in this or other Final Fantasy titles to see if I can get what has made this franchise so immensely popular that it’s still get new content, almost 30 years later.  However, I might hold off – my husband and I have a Nintendo Classic on our holiday wishlist, and one of the games is the original Final Fantasy. I do so like to start things from the beginning.


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