To start, it’s not a horrible game, but it isn’t very good either. I like the story and the job system was kind of fun, albeit annoying at times. But it made for some fun customization options.
There isn’t too much to say about it that I haven’t already said with all the other games. By now I have realized that all these games have one great flaw. There is just so much annoying crap in them that it makes them very difficult to fully enjoy. This one is no exception. So I am going to single out what really made this game annoying.
That would be the last area in the game…
As per all the games, this place is loaded with difficult monsters that would love nothing more than to kill you most savagely. That’s not the real problem though. The problem is is that these monsters prefer you to be a zombie, a rock or a frog before they kill you. This is the most obnoxious thing about this game. Every monster seems to have the ability to turn you into one of these things. And the dungeon is very long, so you are constantly having to cure yourself of these ailments.
The rock and frog status isn’t horrible, for you can cure them with the Esuna spell, but it gets pretty taxing on your MP, so thank God I just happened to stock up on the curative items, Soft (cures rock) and Maidens’ Kiss (cures frog) throughout the whole game so that I had a crap ton to heal with. I stocked up on these because the last three games taught me that they would most likely come up to annoy the hell out of me, and I was right. But what I had not counted on was the newer zombie ailment. This can’t be cured by any spell other than using a cottage on a save point or sleeping at an inn. The only item that can cure it is Holy Water. I unfortunately did not stock up on these, so I only had 4 on me that I happened to find in chests.
So I painstakingly fight my way to the final boss, only to find that he loves using some spell that does a ton of damage to you, but worse, puts a random status effect on all characters. This is just great, for my first time through, I had used up all my Holy Waters, thus any characters that were zombified had to stay like that. And if you don’t know, this is a serious problem. A zombie character is basically dead, so you lose their attacks against the boss, but they don’t actually die, they instead attack you. And you or the enemy can’t kill them, they will be there forever. You can’t heal them if you don’t have Holy Water, so you are completely screwed and might as well reset the game at this point, because you won’t beat the boss.
So going through from where ever the last save point was, I made sure to keep my 4 Holy Waters. This meant that every time I was turned into a zombie I had to reset the game and try again. After like four tries, I finally made it to the boss and was able to cure all characters that turned into zombies.
This is a needless annoyance. What if I didn’t have any Holy Waters? I would have had to fight my way back out of the dungeon and then buy a bunch of them, and then redo the entire final area all over again! And that is something that just should not happen! Why do all of these games just have annoying, time consuming issues? This doesn’t make the game anymore challenging, it’s just cheap and unfair, stupid and a waste of time. The challenge in a game should not come from such cheap tricks. They are on their fifth game and they still have yet to figure that out!! They wouldn’t be such bad games, but my God! It eventually just gets so irritating that I may or may not look like this…
And one more thing that is super annoying in this game is the time it takes to bring up the menu. It takes about three seconds. This doesn’t sound like very long, but dear God, when your sitting there just waiting, it seems like much longer. It takes a tad longer to exit the menu too. So it becomes very annoying.
But the dumbest thing of all about this game is the enemy counterattacks. This is nothing new in the series. Some enemies can counter any of your attacks with either spells or physical attacks. The counterattack would occur immediately after your attack. But not in this game. They would counter whenever they feel like it. And some of these counterattacks are devastating. In the older games, you could react by holding off on an attack or healing someone who was countered, but those simple strategies become obsolete in this game. They will randomly deploy their counterattacks in FF5. So say your guy hits an enemy that counters, you wait a bit, but he does not counter, so you attack again, still nothing, and then again. You’ve done 3 hits to the guy, but one of your characters hits twice in one attack, so that’s four hits to the enemy. After those four hits, he decides to counter with four attacks of his own…one for each hit he took. He will then use his normal attack as well. So that’s five hits coming at you at once. If the counter hits all your characters, there is an extremely high chance you will all die. If it a single person attack, he will likely take out 2 or 3 of your characters.
There seems to be no pattern to when they counter, it is just completely random, and many times have I died due to this horrible flaw.
Would I recommend this game to anyone?
If I had to rank the games at this point, it would go as follows, from best to worst…
FFIV: The After Years