I finished up Final Fantasy V on the bus yesterday. X-Death was a complete joke. I'm not sure but I think he got to take one action across both of his phases. Maybe he autoattacked and I just ignored it? I don't know, but all I remember is one petrification attack. Having a cutscene with a phase change but letting me keep my buffs was a little silly. It meant each of my characters got to attack twice before he got to go in phase 2 which was very bad for him. Double Bahamut, mimic the double Bahamut, and two people with flare enchanted weapons attacking 4 or 8 times. Kaboom!
The game was fun. I don't know if the original game was as campy as the PSOne translation but there was some really cute/silly moments. Faris talking like a pirate the whole time was an odd but nice touch. The sprites had some good animations (similar to Mystic Quest, actually) especially in the scene where Butz and Krile leave Faris behind in a princess outfit. She catches up to them and they try to pass the blame off on each other solely with finger pointing and head shaking. I liked it.
As far as the plot goes it was decent but not spectacular. There's a pretty constant big bad, he has a pretty reasonable take on being evil, and he isn't excessively stupid with letting the party live. The first part of the game has him waking up from a 30 year sleep/prison sentence and I can convince myself it took him some time to power up and he couldn't have just murdered us at level 20. The whole two worlds become one thing was interesting but again, not mind blowing.
The music was great but it doesn't quite stay with me as much as the music from FFIV or FFVI. I'm not sure if that's a nostalgia thing with me having played those games a lot as a kid or what. Way better than Mystic Quest, though!
Gameplaywise this is hands-down better than FFIV. They tweaked the ATB system enough to make it really great. Job systems in general are awesome and they really improved upon FFIII's take. Being able to mix and match abilities from different jobs, especially in end game, is really powerful and really fun.
Not being able to pick up sidequests you missed in the end game is annoying. I couldn't summon Shiva because I didn't learn the spell on the first world and that castle just didn't exist in the third world, for example. I'd forgotten that some of the cities were going to get sucked into the void or I probably would have done something about that before I left for the second world.
The important question is, where does this game fit in on my ranking scheme? I enjoyed myself more playing FFV this time around than I did FFIV. I had no immediate desire to replay FFIV when I finished it but I want to play FFV again for a couple of different reasons. I'd like to play a mage-centric party and maybe use some of the jobs I skipped this time like dancer and bard. I'd like to play again at level 2. I liked the game system more in FFV, but I really liked the music, plot, and characters more in FFIV. The characters in FFIV actually developed over the course of the game. Cecil went from the hand of evil to a pure paladin. His relationships with Rosa, Kain, and Rydia evolved as the game went on. Even Edge had some character growth moments and he joined the party pretty late. By contrast, Butz started the game as a free spirit on a chocobo. He ended the game as a high level free spirit on a chocobo.
I'm going to have to give the edge to FFIV I think. It's a worse spreadsheet game and I honestly may have played it too many times to really love playing it anymore, but the fact I played it so many times does say a lot. And it's not like the game system in FFIV was bad or anything. It's actually pretty good and was a huge evolution at the time. FFV definitely gets to slot in at #2 thus far. I fear it's going to see that position tumble in the coming games though...
Next up: Final Fantasy VI!