Welcome to my report for a variant game of Final Fantasy V. Before you continue here, it would be a great idea to read through Sullla's site which has way more and better FF5 variant content than this one. You also might want to visit this thread at Realms Beyond for the history of how Sullla and I got each other into variants for Final Fantasy 1 and then 5. In short, we both played FF1 a lot and then got tired of it. I mentioned Final Fantasy 5 as a similar game with lots of customization opportunity for variants (unlike FF4, FF6, FF7 where you don't have much control over what the characters are and do), and Sullla loved it.
So I've been reading along as Sullla has been playing ever more Final Fantasy V solo games. And as the one who set Sullla on the path to FF5, I feel like I'm not properly contributing here. About time I play a variant myself. So what variant?
The meat of Final Fantasy V's gameplay is the job system. I confess I don't quite see the appeal in locking in to one job for the entire game. Millions of other RPGs have that; the whole point of FF5 is mixing all the job ability combinations. Let me run down a list of features I'm looking for in a variant:
- No restrictions on job combinations.
- Full party, not a solo character.
- Something that will raise different challenges than Sullla's solo games.
- Not too hard. I've only played through the game twice and that was several years ago now. I don't have this game memorized anything near like Sullla does or I do FF1.
Now, one common thread runs through almost all of Sullla's games. Like this from his Time Mage solo report:
I paused here to raise up the 50k cash needed for an Angel Ring, which is almost always a prerequisite for the Sol Cannon encounter when using solo characters. ... The next big boss, the Flameguns were of course defeated with ease simply by equipping a Flame Ring.
In FF5, there's always an answer to every situation. And so often, the answer is to find and equip the right item to shut off the most dangerous attack from the boss at hand. Let's see what happens if we throw away those answers. I've got my variant: The Nudists. No items equipped, ever. The answer to every situation must be found in the Job System.
Sullla commented in the aftermath of the Nature's Cabal team in Diablo 2 that my character, as our leading offensive force, matched perfectly with my personality. That's absolutely correct. Sullla enjoys winning his Final Fantasy V solos with all sorts of defense and neutralization and endless Heal Staffing and such. I have no patience for that. My variant style tends towards offense, offense, offense. My party will win by offensing foes to death before getting killed in return. Nudity also precludes the most abusive offensive combos involving Spellblade and Rapid Fire (X-Fight), so it will lean largely towards Monk and magely combat.
HE sure gets it.
One more restriction: Like with Sullla's Ironcore team, I'm putting the overpowered Chemist and Samurai off the menu except as a last resort. Rapid Fire (X-Fight) is okay, since it's not so broken without weapons, and is the only other ability that combos with a barehanded Monk for physical damage. Finally, this also leaves room for another variant later, perhaps a solo nudist with all job options on the table.
Incidentally, I'm playing the Gameboy Advance version, via emulator. (I have an actual GBA and cartridge, but an emulator is much better for screenshots and speedups of course.) So that's the nomenclature in this report. Folks, technology has moved on from the SNES garage fansub. For readability in the report, I'll try to use both the SNES and GBA names for monsters and things when the names are significantly different. The GBA gameplay is the same, with only a few bugs fixed (notably Kiss of Blessing from the Chemist, and the damage bug for knives other than the Chicken Knife, but that won't come into play here.) But you have to love the new script with lines like this:
I actually did briefly start a game with just a solo nudist, killing off the other characters. He made it to Walse, but then I walked into the Shiva fight unprepared, forgetting how difficult it is, and lost a couple hours of gameplay since the last save. Too used to FF1 where inns and tents save automatically. And I reread some of Sullla's reports, and realized how tough things would be for a solo later on in fights like Sol Cannon and Omniscient and Twin Tania. I want an interesting variant but not super difficult. Also I somehow lost most of the screenshots when cleaning up some file folders. So I started over playing a full party of nudists.
I also feel the GBA version looks a lot cleaner aesthetically, with the menus and text spacing and such. And good thing this version has the Unequip option for when changing jobs. (Does the SNES version?)