The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'Final Fantasy 5'


iPhone Gaming
iPhone Gaming
Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the
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, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!

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May's Play-Along of Knights of the Old Republic had everyone in the mood to shoot Greedo first. We only had a few finishers, but that's to be expected. It's a somewhat long game and we got started late because I couldn't resist the whole May the 4th thing. Congratulations to all who finished, and a big thanks to all who participated! May's winner of a Small and Silly Prize has been wrestled from the always-capricious Magic Moogle Hat after giving it a good kick or two. This month's winner is none other than borb86! I'll be in touch soon through the forums to get your mailing address, borb86. To everyone else, a new month brings another chance to win a Small and Silly Thing from Japan!

Well, Reloaders, we've got a little bit of a fuzzy pickle this month. The featured game is one of my very favorites, Final Fantasy 5 [
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]. I chose it for June to coincide with the annual
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so that anyone who wanted to try the special rules could do that. One little problem, though. The pre-registration for the Four Job Fiesta started today, but the actual Fiesta doesn't get going until partway through June. Uh-oh! If you're playing the game the normal way, no worries. But if you want the tasty zest that comes with the Four Job Fiesta rules, you'll either have to start late or get creative.

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In case you aren't familiar with it, the Four Job Fiesta is a charity event that challenges players to go through the game with a randomized set of jobs. It's probably not the best way to play Final Fantasy 5 if it's your first time, but those taking a return trip will likely appreciate the challenge. In Final Fantasy 5, you unlock new sets of jobs at certain points in the game. Ordinarily you can mix and match these jobs, and their abilities, as you see fit. The idea is to match your party to whatever the situation calls for, or just to play the game in the way that is most fun for you. The Four Job Fiesta assigns you one job at each point in the game, giving you a total of four when all is said and done. You can use any learned abilities from those jobs with the other jobs available to you, but you must have at least one of each job type in your party at once.

For example, if you pull the Knight from the first set of jobs, you must then switch to four Knights. Suppose you get a Time Mage next. You can have one Knight and three Time Mages, three Knights and one Time Mage, or two of each. Characters can switch jobs at any time, so long as you adhere to the "one of each" rule. The idea behind these rules is to force the player to consider new strategic options. The game is technically winnable with any combination of four jobs, but some of them are certainly more difficult than others. The mobile version of the game has some differences that make it even tougher in parts, depending on your party. Still, it's always possible.

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If you want to play these rules for this Play-Along, you have a choice to make. You can wait for the official site and get started very late. The official event kicks off on June 19th, so you might find it to be a bit of a pinch. The game is about 30 hours long, and that's if you're fairly quick about things. If you want to adhere to the Play-Along schedule and play Four Job Fiesta rules, you can get a set of jobs from
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. Personally, I'm going to wait, but it's up to you. Just remember, you don't actually have to finish the game before the end of June. And I promise, July's game is fairly short by comparison. If you choose to wait, you can at least start the game and play as far as the Wind Shrine. That's the point where the first job comes into play.

As usual, I have some general tips that might help you throughout the game. This game centers largely around the job system, so I'll give a brief introduction to all of the basic classes you'll run into.

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Default Job

Freelancer: Every characters starts off as this job. Freelancers aren't worth much at the beginning of the game, but the more you master other jobs, the more powerful Freelancers get. Every passive skill you earn on another job is automatically added to the Freelancer, and they have two open spots you can assign active skills to. If you're playing Four Job Fiesta rules, you will only be able to use them until you get your first job. Regular players will want to take advantage of Freelancers in the late game, however.

Wind Crystal Jobs

Knight: You know it, and maybe even love it. The Knight is your Cecil-style armored meat-shield. They'll cover any party members who have low HP, and they have access to a ton of equipment. Their Two-Handed ability is great for dealing damage. Otherwise, they're pretty boring.

Monk: Phenomenal cosmic HP levels, itty-bitty defense. Monks are incredibly useful in this game. Their Counter ability is one of the best passive skills in the game, they get tons of HP boosts, and their Kick skill can damage entire enemy parties with no loss from the back row. They also get a massive Strength bonus, so if you plan on using Freelancers, you'll want to master this job. For Four Job Fiesta players, Monks can heal themselves a little. That's somewhat useful. Barehanded can be a life-saver as well, depending on your party.

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Thief: For those playing under normal rules, the Thief job has a lot of useful stuff to offer. Sprinting, stealing, seeing hidden passages, and fleeing are all convenient skills to have at your disposal. For Four Job Fiesta players, this job is a disaster. Not so much because it doesn't bring anything to the table, but because every other Wind Crystal job is much more useful. If you pull this job, make the most of stealing, I guess.

White Mage: Another series classic. This is your healing job. There are other ways to heal, of course, but no one does it better in general. Not only good for keeping up the party's HP, but also for handling status ailments. For Four Job Fiesta players, White Mage is a rough job to start with, but you'll be very happy you had it in the end.

Black Mage: Well, Black Mage is never bad, I suppose. You'll have your elemental attacks covered, and they can break rods for some extra pop. Some typical Black Mage abilities have been assigned to Time Mages in this game, though, so they're not at their best here.

Blue Mage: As ever, the Blue Mage is as good as the effort you put into it. Blue Mages learn magic from absorbing enemy attacks, so you'll have to put in the legwork if you want to get the most out of them. White Wind and Mighty Guard have saved many a player's bacon, but you won't be able to get at some of these skills without the help of a Beastmaster. That means that Four Job Fiesta players have to hope they get really lucky.

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Water Crystal Jobs

Berserker: This job's love for you is like a truck. The unofficial mascot of the Four Job Fiesta, there's a time and a place where Berserkers are incredibly useful. It's just that time and place isn't "all the time" and "everywhere". Berserkers automatically attack what's in front of them with great strength. You have no control over them, and they don't learn any skills that are going to be useful to your other jobs. But if you're playing the Four Job Fiesta, you might end up with one. It's not as bad as you might guess it to be.

Mystic Knight: Yes, this job is pretty cool. You can use decent weapons and enchant them with various elemental and status-affecting spells. Once you reach Level 5 in this job, you'll be able to use Drain on your weapon, and that is a pretty good thing. Mystic Knights can't quite replace a Black Mage, but they're good general-purpose party members.

Time Mage: Most of the Time Mage's skills inflict status ailments on enemies or buff your party members. The latter can be useful, but the former isn't so hot due to boss resistances. That said, they get the awesome Meteor spell, and they can break rods just like the Black Mage, giving them access to some -aga level spells if you've got deep enough pockets.

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Summoner: This is another job where you have to put in a little extra work to get the most of it. Provided you're willing to do that, you won't find a better and more useful magic-user in the game. Summons cover a variety of circumstances, enabling Summoners to fill an offensive or defensive role as needed. You'll have to seek out and defeat the Summons if you want to call them, though.

Red Mage: As ever, Red Mages are the jacks of all trades, and the masters of none. They get access to a small portion of Black and White Magic, and they're somewhat competent fighters. They can also break rods, which is the only way they'll ever sniff -aga spells. They're not the greatest thing to end up with in a Four Job Fiesta unless you get a lucky combination, but in a regular run, their final skill Dualcast is one of the most broken in the game. It lets you cast two spells in one turn. Yikes.

Fire Crystal Jobs

Ninja: The Ninja is a pretty sweet job. Their Throw ability is always good for some reliable damage, while their ability to Dual-Wield allows you to smack enemies upside the head with a second weapon. Image can also be very useful if you don't have any better means of protection.

Beastmaster: Secret all-stars. They go exceptionally well with a Blue Mage, as they can control enemies and cause them to use skills on your party that they ordinarily wouldn't. While those doing a normal run probably won't get much out of their Catch and Release abilities, Four Job Fiesta runners will likely find some very useful applications for certain monsters.

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Geomancer: While they don't completely suck, Geomancers are probably the worst of the Fire Crystal jobs. They can use special attacks that depend on the type of terrain the battle is taking place in. That doesn't consume MP and sometimes results in some very useful attacks, but there are too many factors outside of your control to strongly recommend this job. The Gaia skill deals damage based on Magic, at least, so it's a decent ability to assign to any mages with otherwise low damage output.

Ranger: So, there are a few jobs in Final Fantasy 5 that are absurdly powerful. This is one of them, and it all comes down to one ability: Rapid Fire. When you use Rapid Fire, you'll attack four times instead of once. Each of those attacks is half the normal damage, so you're doing double damage right from go. Oh, and it never misses. Slap on a Dual-Wield from the Ninja job and you've got eight half-damage attacks that will hit with 100% accuracy. Is this a great game or what?

Bard: In the right party, Bards can make a massive difference. They're not very good attackers, but they can use their Sing ability to perform a variety of actions. Undead enemies in particular have a lot to fear from Bards, but their ability to buff stats, cast Regen, and even raise the party's level temporarily can be invaluable.

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Earth Crystal Jobs

Dragoon: I love Dragoons, but even I can admit this is the weakest job from the Earth Crystal. Jump has its uses as ever, and for Four Job Fiesta players their Lance ability can provide some needed HP and MP now and then in the absence of better options. Their skills just don't mix all that well with other jobs, and while Jumping out of the path of a devastating attack can save you, that's a fairly rare case.

Samurai: This job has some very useful skills that can take a while to get. If you've got money to spare, using the Samurai's Zeninage ability to throw coins at the enemy can solve a lot of problems that might be tricky otherwise. Their ability to catch enemy attacks can save your hindquarters and is one of the finest abilities a Freelancer can inherit.

Chemist: Chemists are absolutely broken. There is no situation so messed up that they cannot resolve it with the right ingredients on hand. Chemists have been the saviors of many a strange Four Job Fiesta party, but they'll work just as well for normal players. The only downside is that you need to either memorize the most useful mixes or keep a chart handy.

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Dancer: This is another great job, but you have to find their job-specific equipment to get the most out of them. It all comes down to Sword Dance, a skill that deals four times the damage of a regular attack. The only problem is that it's one of four random effects that can come from using the Dance command. Equipping certain gear pieces can improve those odds. A dancing Berserker was the source of one of my favorite final boss kills ever. Very recommended.

Other Jobs

Mime: If you're doing the Four Job Fiesta, this job is off the table. The rest of you might want to seek it out, however. It works a bit like the Freelancer job in that it inherits all of the passive skills of jobs you've mastered. The key difference is that Freelancers have to keep the Attack and Item commands, leaving only two slots for optional skills. Mimes only need to keep their Mime command, so you can assign three commands to them.

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There's really no wrong way to go about playing Final Fantasy 5. Experiment with the job system and find what works best for you. If you have any questions, stop in at
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in the forums. Share your stories, strategies, and screenshots with your fellow RPG-loving Reloaders! I love this game precisely because there are so many ways to go about getting through it, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's strategies. Best of luck to all participants, and I'll see you in the forums. Thanks for reading!

Next Week's Classic Reload: Desert Golfing [
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