The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy V, part 3

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

So Lenna is convinced that her father’s wind drake is on top of the nearby mountain, and the rest of the party agrees to go along with this because, well, they weren’t doing anything.  Also there’s no other route to the water crystal than via the air at this point, so that’s a good motivator.  The trek to North Mountain isn’t terribly interesting, with its very name making it pretty clear where you’re heading.

As with most dungeons that take place on mountains through the series, this is not a particularly interesting or ornate area, largely linear and without much in the way of hidden passages.  What is interesting is that you’re probably moving along nicely with your character jobs by this point, unlocking some abilities to toss into your secondary slot and probably considering swapping jobs on some characters.  This is actually reasonable, since later job levels take more and more ABP to learn, but later enemies reward more ABP for clearing a battle.  If you haven’t been constantly swapping, as you move through this dungeon you’ll start picking up some real options.

Two-Handed, for example, is a highly relevant ability for physical damage in the early game, allowing your attackers to abandon shields and deal more damage with a weapon.  It takes a bit of learning to get, but you’ll probably earn it on Knights around here.  Your Black Mage and White Mage will probably be close to earning the ability to cross-class level 3 magic, which you don’t have yet but which will give you room to grow if you swap in a Blue Mage.  It’s flexible.

After a bit of trekking and avoiding poisonous grass, Lenna spots her father’s helmet and goes to pick it up – only to be shot with a poisoned arrow fired by Magissa, who apparently was looking forward to killing and selling the wind drake piecemeal.  Faris lets out a string of invectives, jumps across a sudden ravine in a bit of badassery, and the group enters battle with the huntress.  It’s a fairly simple boss fight, even when she calls in her husband partway through; she’s vulnerable to Silence, he’s vulnerable to Sleep.

In the defense of those kids, these two are kind of awful.

The couple that hunts wind drakes for their component parts together stays together. Until a bunch of kids murders them, anyhow.

On top of the mountain there’s a bit of non-drama with the wind drake, Hiryu, which does at least help establish the characters’ personalities a bit more.  Once you have your drake, it’s a fine time to start swapping jobs around a little bit; I elected to toss Faris over to Thief, Lenna to Monk, and the boys both to Blue Mage.

You have a couple options here; I elected to head back to Castle Tycoon to check in on Lenna’s kingdom.  The royal chancellor asks Lenna to stay and take over the royal duties, but she refuses, at which point the group stays the night and Lenna says that she’s pretty sure Faris is her lost older sister.  Much as I did with Final Fantasy III, I will note that according to RPG cliches, these two both woke up and talked in the middle of the night, which means…

Actually, that’s kind of gross, come to think of it.  Let’s just finish looting the castle and get back to the main quest over in Walse.

Not that it could conceivably matter, but... huh.  Forgot where I was going with this.

At least there are places in the castle to roleplay!

Walse is apparently enjoying the effects of an amplified Water Crystal, with pure water keeping the town super-safe and happy.  Obviously, nothing could ever go wrong here.  Lenna leads the group into Walse castle, where the king is polite and understanding but refuses to stop amplifying the crystal, doubting the same thing that happened to Tycoon’s crystal will happen here.

Then another meteor hits, and the king immediately cuts the conversation short, stating that he absolutely must attend to that first and leaving the gang behind.  After a bit more looting, we follow, because of course the meteor that hits near Walse Tower and the Water Crystal presages something bad happen.  Seriously, in a book this is called foreshadowing.  Look it up or something.  Lo and behold, as we enter the tower there are Walse soldiers littering the ground, speaking of the usually docile Garula rushing the tower and taking out their vanguard.

Much like the last dungeon, this one is pretty linear.  It also seems awful light on enemies, which means that by the time I met up with Garula I wasn’t really all that well prepared, and my party kind of got knocked around, by which I mean “we did not have a fun time.”  Still, Garula also doesn’t have a lot of tricks, so some punching got us through.  Unsurprisingly, defeating the boss does not actually stop the crystal from shattering, although we do get five new jobs out of the effort.

I mean, yeesh.

I tried to think of something from my childhood. Something that could never hurt us. My conception of what could never hurt us is, it should be noted, pretty terrible.

They’re pretty good jobs, too.  Berserker is useless here and everywhere, of course, but Red Mage and Summoner are both great, Time Mage has enough good spells to earn a spot, and Mystic Knight is pretty well statted in this particular installment.  Hooray for more options!

The soldier that was fighting Garula before the boss fight apologizes to Lord Galuf, which prompts Galuf to desperately beg him not to die so that he can find out who the hell he is.  Also, you know, senseless loss of human life.  It has no effect.  You can still see one more crystal fragment just out of reach, but the tower starts sinking with no apparent way to reach it, so the group is forced to bail out.  It’s relevant later.

Before the entire gang can go down with the, er, tower, Syldra shows up and scoops the party up in her mouth, depositing them alive and only slightly chewed on the nearby beach.  Unfortunately, that was all she had left in her, and she drifts back out to sea to die of her earlier injuries.  Faris is understandably distraught, but Lenna holds her back before she can rush in after Syldra to… perform sea-dragon surgery, or something?  I don’t know, and I don’t think Faris knows, either.

Is it just me, or is every game after the first one in this series about heroes who completely suck at their jobs?

About expostninja

I've been playing video games and MMOs for years, I read a great deal of design articles, and I work for a news site. This, of course, means that I want to spend more time talking about them. I am not a ninja.

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