Final Fantasy V: Curing The JRPG Blues

Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -
the symptoms of JRPG blues include aversion to scenes like these.
If you missed it, about a month ago I posted a blog regarding my experience as a sufferer of the JRPG blues. For those of you who are unaware, or who are lucky enough to have not experienced this debilitating condition, the JRPG blues is a slump in JRPG activity for a prolonged period of time. Sufferers of the blues are typically people who enjoy the genre, but feel unable to get lost in any new adventures for reasons unknown to them. I was a sufferer for about a year, with my previous experience of a JRPG being the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy IV back at the start of 2008. Since then, I'd been having real trouble getting into anything that I picked up. Games like Infinite Undiscovery, Blue Dragon and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time just weren't gripping me in the way I wanted to be gripped. For a while I thought that perhaps my interest in the genre, an interest that began with Final Fantasy VII nearly ten years ago and has since spanned tens of titles, was waning. I genuinely thought that the JRPG, a subset of game that had played such an instrumental role in the formation of several of my interests outside of gaming, was something that I was beginning to outgrow.

That crystal was intact before you guys showed up...
A month later, I'm well and truly cured of the JRPG blues. The cure, as it turned out, was something as simple as a healthy dose of a classic, timeless JRPG which up until now had all but passed under my radar. Final Fantasy V, one of the few instalments in the series that I hadn't played through to the end, was recommended to me by fellow Giant Bomber and JRPG nut Disgaeamad. I'd tried to play through Final Fantasy V last year, almost immediately after finishing Final Fantasy IV, but I found it near impossible to get past the game's plodding story. One thing that particularly bugged me about it was the sheer amount of bad luck the group of adventurers seem to endure within the game's first ten hours or so. To put things in perspective, Lenna gets knocked unconscious and nearly abducted by goblins. Twice. In the first fifteen minutes of the game! Faris' companion Syldra gets sucked into a whirlpool while crossing through the Tule Canal, then dies later on after saving the party from the collapsing Tower of Walse. The party's ship consequently ends up wrecking... in a ship graveyard full of zombies! They get a new ship... and it sinks off the coast of Crescent Island about ten minutes later! But, perhaps the biggest annoyance the story gave me was the fact the world's crystals kept shattering JUST AS THE FUCKING HEROES ARRIVED ON THE SCENE!

The Job system ensures combat never feels like a chore
Remembering this series of events not too fondly, I picked the game back up and started over. I gritted my teeth and endured the story's terrible opening (probably the series' worst, in my opinion). I fought through the first seven or eight hours of the game, past all the unfortunate coincidences, and gradually things started to get awesome. The story really picks up at around the point where Exdeath makes his debut, and keeps going from strength to strength from that point on. I have to agree with Disgaeamad that the battle on the Big Bridge is one of the finest Final Fantasy moments (and one of the greatest pieces of music in a Final Fantasy game) of all time. The characters, with the exception of Lenna who lacks any real personality besides that of the stereotypical princess, are all really unique and fleshed out. Galuf and Faris in particular are both incredible characters and now rank among some of my favourites in the series. The Job system is also very well-constructed and astoundingly deep for a seventeen-year-old game. I found myself really experimenting with different combinations of abilities towards the game's end, trying to concoct new and interesting abilities to give me that all-important edge in battle.

I finished Final Fantasy V last night, clocking up just under forty hours, and all I could think as I watched the game's closing credits was, "How the hell did I miss out on this for so long?". Technically speaking, I should know better than to write off a game based on its opening moments. I won't lie. The first ten hours of Final Fantasy V were a tedious grind. Even more so than I remember them being, although maybe that's because I've played it all before. Thankfully, once you get past the painfully slow opening, the game comes into its own. The story, which starts out very poor, becomes exponentially more exciting and interesting. At around the same time, the abilities bestowed upon your characters by the game's Job system really start to give you the flexibility that makes combat such a joy to experience. The characters prove to be the game's saving grace in its first quarter, creating an emotional attachment that makes some of the game's later moments even more poignant. They're also incredibly funny. In fact, I think Final Fantasy V may be the funniest game in the series. It's moments like this that made the opening segments worthwhile:

  


Now that I'm cured, there's only one remaining problem; how do I decide on the next game to which I shall devote my rekindled interest in the JRPG genre? I have a hell of a lot of potential candidates sitting on the shelf in front of me. Part of me wants to tackle Final Fantasy VI, one of my personal high points of the series, so I can continue to witness how the series has evolved over time. I also have a lot of unplayed JRPGs that I'm much more willing to give a chance now that I'm out of my funk. Games like Dragon Quest VIII, Lost Odyssey and Persona 4 all beckon at me with tempting fingers. Anybody else out there feel like making the decision for me?

Thanks for reading, guys. My next blog will be my fiftieth, and I'm intending to do something a little special to mark the occasion, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I'll see you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - BioShock (X360)
#1 Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -
the symptoms of JRPG blues include aversion to scenes like these.
If you missed it, about a month ago I posted a blog regarding my experience as a sufferer of the JRPG blues. For those of you who are unaware, or who are lucky enough to have not experienced this debilitating condition, the JRPG blues is a slump in JRPG activity for a prolonged period of time. Sufferers of the blues are typically people who enjoy the genre, but feel unable to get lost in any new adventures for reasons unknown to them. I was a sufferer for about a year, with my previous experience of a JRPG being the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy IV back at the start of 2008. Since then, I'd been having real trouble getting into anything that I picked up. Games like Infinite Undiscovery, Blue Dragon and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time just weren't gripping me in the way I wanted to be gripped. For a while I thought that perhaps my interest in the genre, an interest that began with Final Fantasy VII nearly ten years ago and has since spanned tens of titles, was waning. I genuinely thought that the JRPG, a subset of game that had played such an instrumental role in the formation of several of my interests outside of gaming, was something that I was beginning to outgrow.

That crystal was intact before you guys showed up...
A month later, I'm well and truly cured of the JRPG blues. The cure, as it turned out, was something as simple as a healthy dose of a classic, timeless JRPG which up until now had all but passed under my radar. Final Fantasy V, one of the few instalments in the series that I hadn't played through to the end, was recommended to me by fellow Giant Bomber and JRPG nut Disgaeamad. I'd tried to play through Final Fantasy V last year, almost immediately after finishing Final Fantasy IV, but I found it near impossible to get past the game's plodding story. One thing that particularly bugged me about it was the sheer amount of bad luck the group of adventurers seem to endure within the game's first ten hours or so. To put things in perspective, Lenna gets knocked unconscious and nearly abducted by goblins. Twice. In the first fifteen minutes of the game! Faris' companion Syldra gets sucked into a whirlpool while crossing through the Tule Canal, then dies later on after saving the party from the collapsing Tower of Walse. The party's ship consequently ends up wrecking... in a ship graveyard full of zombies! They get a new ship... and it sinks off the coast of Crescent Island about ten minutes later! But, perhaps the biggest annoyance the story gave me was the fact the world's crystals kept shattering JUST AS THE FUCKING HEROES ARRIVED ON THE SCENE!

The Job system ensures combat never feels like a chore
Remembering this series of events not too fondly, I picked the game back up and started over. I gritted my teeth and endured the story's terrible opening (probably the series' worst, in my opinion). I fought through the first seven or eight hours of the game, past all the unfortunate coincidences, and gradually things started to get awesome. The story really picks up at around the point where Exdeath makes his debut, and keeps going from strength to strength from that point on. I have to agree with Disgaeamad that the battle on the Big Bridge is one of the finest Final Fantasy moments (and one of the greatest pieces of music in a Final Fantasy game) of all time. The characters, with the exception of Lenna who lacks any real personality besides that of the stereotypical princess, are all really unique and fleshed out. Galuf and Faris in particular are both incredible characters and now rank among some of my favourites in the series. The Job system is also very well-constructed and astoundingly deep for a seventeen-year-old game. I found myself really experimenting with different combinations of abilities towards the game's end, trying to concoct new and interesting abilities to give me that all-important edge in battle.

I finished Final Fantasy V last night, clocking up just under forty hours, and all I could think as I watched the game's closing credits was, "How the hell did I miss out on this for so long?". Technically speaking, I should know better than to write off a game based on its opening moments. I won't lie. The first ten hours of Final Fantasy V were a tedious grind. Even more so than I remember them being, although maybe that's because I've played it all before. Thankfully, once you get past the painfully slow opening, the game comes into its own. The story, which starts out very poor, becomes exponentially more exciting and interesting. At around the same time, the abilities bestowed upon your characters by the game's Job system really start to give you the flexibility that makes combat such a joy to experience. The characters prove to be the game's saving grace in its first quarter, creating an emotional attachment that makes some of the game's later moments even more poignant. They're also incredibly funny. In fact, I think Final Fantasy V may be the funniest game in the series. It's moments like this that made the opening segments worthwhile:

  


Now that I'm cured, there's only one remaining problem; how do I decide on the next game to which I shall devote my rekindled interest in the JRPG genre? I have a hell of a lot of potential candidates sitting on the shelf in front of me. Part of me wants to tackle Final Fantasy VI, one of my personal high points of the series, so I can continue to witness how the series has evolved over time. I also have a lot of unplayed JRPGs that I'm much more willing to give a chance now that I'm out of my funk. Games like Dragon Quest VIII, Lost Odyssey and Persona 4 all beckon at me with tempting fingers. Anybody else out there feel like making the decision for me?

Thanks for reading, guys. My next blog will be my fiftieth, and I'm intending to do something a little special to mark the occasion, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I'll see you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - BioShock (X360)
#2 Posted by Manachild (534 posts) -

The only thing you have to do to make 50 special is to mention me, somehow for some random reason even if you have to make up one.


Oh and, great blog as always, keep them coming :)
#3 Edited by Disgaeamad (1342 posts) -

Great blog bro. Final Fantasy V is definitely one of my favourites in the series, and you've covered all of the reasons as to why it is well. Ex-Death has to be one of the most badass evil dudes considering that he's a mage that's in full body armour and swings a sword as if he's a warrior.

Out of the games you listed, I've only played Persona 4, which I consider to be my second favourite game ever. So yeah, there's my recommendation.

#4 Posted by Red (5995 posts) -

From the three or four hours I spent with Final Fantasy V, it was pretty awesome, I just didn't really get into it. I should probably try to play it again.

As for what you play next, I don't know. 
Dragon Quest VIII is a very traditional, light-hearted and fun JRPG.
Persona 4 is crazy and addictive.
Final Fantasy VI definitely has some of the greatest moments, story, and music in video games, but I found the gameplay severely lacking after the ten hour mark.
#5 Posted by Puppy (295 posts) -

The big 50? I'll keep my eyes open.

#6 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I'll play a JRPG one day, you just wait and see.

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