Final Fantasy V: Andrew Parties With A Four Job Fiesta (Part 1) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Final Fantasy V: Andrew Parties With A Four Job Fiesta (Part 1)

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Time to have a bit of fun.

The Final Fantasy series, along with Professor Layton, has been my one constant from the point I started playing video games to today.  I've played every mainline title and enjoy a healthy interest in the MMO world of Final Fantasy XIV.  They've got a pattern in tone and gameplay which runs parallel in spirit, if not in exact execution, to the Star Trek franchise.  Every odd Final Fantasy is a mostly goofy romp to off-set the seriousness of the even-numbered titles (MMOs notwithstanding).  To get a good example of the pattern look no further than the opening of the first four games.

  • FFI: four warriors of light happen upon a kingdom bearing crystals which can save the dying world from elemental archfiends.
  • FFII: your team of rebels is immediately defeated in the opening fight and faces an uphill battle saving the world from a powerful empire.
  • FFIII: four childish Onion Knights fall down a hole leading to magical crystals which imbue them with powers to save the world.
  • FFIV: a dark knight, haunted by the orders of his king, carries out the murder of innocent mages to obtain the crystals needed for world conquest.

In each case we go from light to dark, which brings us to FFV, the lightest of the bunch and with arguably the most robust combat of them all.  FFV introduced a job system where your characters learn skills by being assigned a specific role.  It's plot is extremely lightweight, but fun and ends in a spectacularly goofy final boss.  A few years ago the Four Job Fiesta began and is a source of donations for the Child's Play charity.  You can go there for greater details, but overall the FJF assigns you a team with four specific jobs, and you have to use those jobs throughout the game.

To offset the lengthier, more critical examination of gaming which will be going on in our new feature, I decided to play and pledge donations based on how my run goes.  Since I'm not too familiar with the game I decided to go with a less risky and more comfortable option, so I'm doing a #Classic run.  This means I will be assigned classes based on the original FF, and each character will be unable to change from that class (since, aside from one key upgrade, you were locked into a role in FF).

A few notes about this feature - doing my normal movie writing and playthroughs of games like this is not sustainable in the long run.  Movie writing comes first, and after I'm finished with this run I don't know if I'll be doing a second.  Regarding the platform, FFV has been released in multiple formats.  I originally played the SNES translation years ago, bought the PSX translation when that was released, and have glanced at the iOS and Gameboy Advance ports.  For ease, and because I will be good and damned if I touch that laggy PSX version again, I will be playing through the SNES translation.  Finally, this is not going to be a thorough Let's Play, but more of a general update journal about where I am and to keep me honest on my eventual donation, which I'll pay and post up at the end of the run.  If you want to read a thorough Let's Play I recommend this one at the Let's Play Archive.

Ready?  Set?  Let's roll!


FFV doesn't waste any time getting straight to the fun stuff.  After a brief opening dialogue exchange between a king and his daughter, the pink-haired Lenna there on the right, you're introduced to wandering warrior Butz.  Well, it's supposed to be Bartz, but the original fan-translation worked it from Japanese to Butz when it was translated in English.  Either way, his name and seemingly arbitrary placement - he's just sleeping in a camp with his chocobo when a meteor lands nearby - hints that FFV will not be too serious an experience.  Drama is a separate matter but, for now, it's just a man, his chocobo, a meteor, and a princess.


...and old man Galuf (soon to be named after he gets some of his memory back).  Mindwipes and amnesia have long been the tools of melodrama and the FF series is no exception.  Galuf's memory wipe doesn't lead to the same violent consequences as Kain's in FFIV or Terra in FFVI, and is more an excuse to show off the robust personalities of the characters via fun sprite work.  All of our main characters get a lot of little physical tics in such tiny frames, and showcases why sprites remain a great part of giving characters personality.


The three team up to figure out what caused the wind to die across the planet.  Since they need transportation they decide to try and steal a pirate ship which is mysteriously able to travel on the water without wind.  Until we get to the first crystal, which barely takes 30 minutes or so, the combat is just Fight Fight Fight and maybe an item if something has gone disastrously wrong.  But the charm continues on even in the minor supporting characters, like this poor widdle tired pirate.


Anywho, a lot of A pressing and bit of experience later, and we meet the fourth member of our crew, Faris.  Keeping in with the spirit of melodrama, a bit of conversation with some townsfolk shortly after this meeting reveals that there was another princess of Lenna's kingdom who was lost at sea as a child.  Presumed dead, the kingdom went on without much of a hassle.  In case you need more of a giant hint, as I sometimes do, isn't it funny how Faris' hair is a darker shade of pink than Lenna's?  And she's a pirate at sea who's also inflicted with amnesia about her childhood?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........?


Leaving aside that tantalizing mystery for a moment, we're finally about to get to the real fun of FFV.  The Wind Shrine here is the first dungeon and location of the crystal which will provide me my introductory set of jobs.  Once again, not much to speak of in terms of combat, but now that we're about to get to the meat of the Four Job Fiesta let's take a look at the team:


No jobs, no need to adjust rows or order, but FFV provides subtle direction about what characters are good for which roles.  Butz and Faris, fitting their warrior and pirate roles, are usually my physical or specialty damage dealers in a normal run.  Lenna and Galuf are my casters, which in FFV is a ton of different roles, and comfortably trade White Mage and Black Mage until a bit down the line.  But I don't even have jobs yet, so we'll save more of that discussion for a few minutes.


Before getting to our first selection of jobs, we have to go through Wing Raptor here.  As far as introductory bosses go it's less expository than FFIV and FFVI where the game pauses to warn you not to attack at certain times.  Since attacking is all we can do here you should take extra caution when Wing Raptor shields itself with its wings.  If you hit him at that time he'll counterattack and may take out the character depending on how attentive you are with healing at this point in the game.  Anywho, a few rounds of Fight Fight Fight and Wing Raptor goes down, giving us access to the sweet crystal goodness behind it.


Behold, FFV's claim to fame and the basis of the FJF.  Once you beat Wing Raptor you get shards of the recently shattered wind crystal which imbue your characters with different jobs.  From left to right here we have Knight, Monk, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage, and Blue Mage.  Since I'm doing a #Classic run I won't have access to the Blue Mage, and any of my characters might be assigned the remaining five.  For those who remember FF, that still leaves the Red Mage, but that job isn't unlocked until a crystal down the line.  So, for now, I must consult Gilgabot (the tweet machine which keeps FJF fair and balanced) and learn who is assigned what.


Time for some approximate plusses and minuses of this crew.  First off, I have a White Mage, meaning I'll basically have little to no trouble beating the game since I'll be able to buff, heal, and kersplode enemies when I gain access to Holy.  Monk means I'll pretty much always be able to deal good damage, and two Thieves will keep me rolling in money since I'll have access to Steal and eventually Mug.  The drawback of this crew is no elemental damage, since none of these classes can break rods which give you access to high level spells early in the game.  Having only one character who can do good damage means I'll need to keep the Monk up at all times, and it'll be a bit before the Thieves will really be good for me as they'll be squishy and not very high in damage potential until I can get some weapons which hit for full in the back row.


So, you know how I said earlier Butz and Faris are usually my physical fighters while Lenna and Galuf handle the casting?  #Natural kind of throws a snag into that.  The order presented in my assignment determined who had to be what job, and they can't switch throughout the game.  So, from left to right on my assignment, that meant Butz is a White Mage, Lenna a Thief, Faris is my Monk, and Galuf is my other Thief.  Not my preference, but I think I'll be able to work with this.  Now that we've got jobs, it's time to hit town for a few bits of color and to show the gearing system.


When I mention FFV's charms, this is one of them.  Throughout FFV you'll find pianos in most of the towns you visit, even some which may seem uninhabited, which "level up" your piano skill with each new set of keys and unlocks a special Bard song.  Now, this is basically useless to me since I didn't have the ability to be assigned a Bard for this run, but it's a cute touch and one I didn't want to leave unremarked upon.


Spells, unlike combat class abilities, are unlocked in each town through purchases.  While my casting potential will go up as I level Butz's White Mage up, I'll be locked to a poor buff and healing selection unless I visit the spell shops in each town.  They can be costly, but since I have a lightly armored crew with two Thieves keeping the funds up to stay current with spells shouldn't be an issue.


Speaking of lightly armored, I finalize my jobs by getting them some equipment.  They can't use much, but any extra bit of armor or damage potential will help this early in the game.  From this point on I won't be discussing armament and purchases too often, since the real meat of the game comes from figuring out how the jobs work best in each fight.  This won't start too complicated, but since I'm locked in with the first set of crystal jobs for the entire game I'm sure I'll have to think up solutions at some point.


For now, we get keys to unlock the canal leading to the water crystal.  The fights here weren't much different than the Fight Fight Fight approach I had to take earlier with the noticeable difference in damage output.  Butz is almost worthless in fights aside from healing and the Thieves don't do much damage either, but the enemies aren't ramping up quite yet.


Now it's time for boss #2, Karlabos.  If I had an elemental damage dealer I would just cast Lightning on it while letting my healer and physical fighters do their thing, but I don't have that option.  Fortunately, with Faris as a Monk I'm able to make quick work of him.


After Karl takes a nap, the ship I was cruising around the canal in is wrecked and the dragon leading it around perishes in a spectacular fashion.  Going back to the goofy melodrama, there's a ridiculously dramatic death or last stand at just about every story beat of the early game.  I honestly don't remember too much about the later parts, aside from one key character departure, but it's a theme throughout FFV.  With my dragonless ship adrift it eventually crashes into a ship graveyard.  As with any dungeon containing "grave" in the title, there are a lot of undead here.  I start to feel the pain of my low damage Thieves, but Faris keeps punching her way to success with the duo there to perform clean up as Butz keeps everyone topped off.


The undead theme continues on into the boss of the ship graveyard, Siren.  She's a unique fight in that she switches between living and undead forms and has different skills and weaknesses for each.  When she's alive she has lowered physical defense but can heal, and when she's undead her physical defense skyrockets but any healing hurts her.  This puts Butz in the unlikely position of my top damage dealer for the fight, as I pummel Siren in her living form with Faris while the duo chips away and when she's undead Butz steps forward with some Cure to take her down.  No real threat in this fight, and we continue on.


Journeying to the next town leaves me with few upgrades in either weapons, magic, or armor, so I pick up a rumor that a dragon has been seen flying around the North Mountain.  Since Lenna's missing father was riding a dragon around at the beginning of the game, this seems as good a spot as any to continue the quest for the crystals.  It's right about here the damage potential of my team really started to drag.  Almost all of my damage was done by Faris and the duo was little better than a limp rag.


We top off the mountain journey with a chance encounter with mountain jerks Magisa and Forza.  I've actually got a good crew for this fight, since Butz can silence Magisa and keep her from casting spells while healing up any damage Forza might do.  Lenna falls a couple of times during the fight but no party wipe occurs, so after getting her back up a couple of times the mountain jerks fall and I become the proud partner of a flying dragon.


Now equipped with dragon-powered flight (as opposed to the dragon-powered naval transport from earlier), I'm able to continue my quest for the water crystal.  This takes us to Worus Tower where I finally break down and grind my characters for a bit.  Faris isn't able to kill enemies fast enough to my satisfaction and the damage efforts from the duo have gone from small to negligible.  So after a few levels the damage multipliers go up, and I comfortably scale the tower.  Along the way I remember I have a healing staff I can equip on Butz, which right now it does single-target healing for more than his Cure spell and over the max of any of my characters.  This'll get some play for awhile.


Galura.  Damn.  This is where my team failed me for the first time (or I failed my team - either / or).  I was quickly reminded that Galura hits like a lead brick and watched the duo's health plummet.  Butz couldn't keep up with the healing and I didn't have the foresight to magically increase anyone's defense.  The duo fell, then Faris, and my fate was sealed with my first wipe (+$10 to donation).  Round #2 went significantly better, as I had Butz risk some extra damage to increase defense before Galura really got rolling.  The duo still fell, but Butz and Faris were healthy and magically defended, so all it took were a few more charged up punches and counterattacks from Faris to bring Galura down.

Redone 21-FFV

It's quite a bit of wandering before we get to the next location, complete with dragon flight, meteor teleportation, lots of walking, and arriving at a town on fire (in a healthy way because FFV).  A bit of misunderstanding at fire town puts us in a cell next to FFV's incarnation of Cid, and one of my favorites because of some developments to come.  He's not the gruff engineer of FFIV or FFVII, but a smart family man who's trying to stop the crystals from exploding.  With our identities established and names cleared we exit the prison, where I can finally get equipment to fully upgrade the duo and Faris.


This seemed as good a time as any to wrap-up my run for the night.  One wipe, some reminders about the importance of the buffing system, and a whole lot of Fight Fight Fight later and I'm confident the run will be successful.  Until next time:

Andrew wipe count = 1

$60 donated if run complete, $110 if run not.


Posted by Andrew

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