Final Fantasy V is a joy to play — and a disaster to buy

Welcome! This column is part of a regular series in which we share what members of the Tom’s Guide staff are playing and enjoying right now, with an eye toward helping you find great games that you may have missed. Be sure to check out our previous entry, where we talk about No Man’s Sky.

Final Fantasy V is one of my favorite games in Square Enix’s long-running Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) series. It’s also one of the most confusing to buy. Over the past 23 years, we’ve had no fewer than six different versions of the venerable old game, and choosing the right one is as tricky as it’s ever been.

Over the past week, I’ve had the chance to revisit the charming, retro world of FFV, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my adventure so far. What I didn’t enjoy were the hours of research I had to do beforehand, figuring out the minute differences between each iteration, and determining which one would require the fewest compromises. In the end, I had to employ a tedious workaround to even buy the version I wanted. If you’re in the midst of making the same choice, hopefully my experience can help simplify things for you.

The quintessential Final Fantasy

final fantasy v

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Before diving into the differences between the six different versions of FFV, it’s worth discussing why the game is worth playing in the first place. Recently, the Tom’s Guide Staff ranked every mainline Final Fantasy game, and FFV wound up at the dead center of the list. That’s because the game is arguably the quintessential Final Fantasy experience. There are four Warriors of Light who forge an unbreakable friendship, eight magical crystals that need protecting, 22 playable Jobs to master and about 40 hours of gameplay to see the adventure through to its satisfying conclusion.

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