For a lot of people, Final Fantasy VII will be the most familiar installment in the long-running RPG series. This is because said title didn’t just popularize its own series in English-speaking markets but also Japanese RPGs as a whole, which is why it continues to be remembered with a mix of respect and reverence. However, it is important to remember that Final Fantasy VII would not have been possible without its predecessors, with two examples including both Final Fantasy V and VI.
Those who are unfamiliar should know that both Final Fantasy V and VI were released for the Super Nintendo in the 1990s. However, the Final Fantasy series wasn’t anywhere near as popular in English-speaking markets in those times as it is now, which is why Final Fantasy VI but not Final Fantasy V received a release in them. In fact, some people who haven’t bothered to keep up with the Final Fantasy series since those times might be more familiar with Final Fantasy VI under the name Final Fantasy III because neither Final Fantasy II nor III received English versions with their initial releases.
Regardless, Final Fantasy V managed to sell two million copies in spite of the fact that it received an initial release in Japanese and nothing but Japanese. However, while Final Fantasy VI wasn’t a commercial success in the United States, it nonetheless managed to outdo its predecessor by securing more than two million sales in the Japanese market, which combined with further sales in other regions to make for a total of 3.48 million copies by 2003. Neither one managed to reach the same heights as Final Fantasy VII, but these circumstances, one can’t help but make comparisons between the two.
Which Is Better? Final Fantasy V or Final Fantasy VI?
For those who are unfamiliar with Final Fantasy V and VI, the two might have been successive installments in the same series, but there were significant differences between them. As a result, it is worthwhile to look into some of those differences.
First, storytelling is a big one. Final Fantasy V was centered on a wanderer named Bartz and his companions’ efforts to prevent an evil sorcerer named Exdeath from making use of the four Crystals that control the four elements. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy V‘s story was rather lackluster, both because its characters were shallow and because its plotline made extensive use of cliches. In contrast, Final Fantasy VI was much more complicated. For example, while most people who pay attention to the Final Fantasy series will be familiar with its main villain because of cultural osmosis if nothing else, that particular reveal came as something of a surprise in the initial release because a lot of people were expecting him to serve as a minion to someone more powerful. Likewise, while a half-human, half-Esper girl named Terra was the closest thing to a main protagonist for Final Fantasy VI, plenty of other characters got their chance to shine in the spotlight as well, which was sometimes facilitated by outright splitting the party for plot-related reasons. On the whole, Final Fantasy V had a poorer story than VI, which is why its characters aren’t as well-remembered as their counterparts.
With that said, there is a key difference between the mechanics of the two systems in that Final Fantasy V had a much more complicated Jobs system in which each character could choose from more than 20 classes and master their capabilities, thus making for a much, much wider range of playable possibilities than otherwise possible. Meanwhile, characters in Final Fantasy VI could pick up a semi-customized set of capabilities, but were for the most part, restricted to a core set of capabilities that were based on who they were as well as what they did. Due to this, for people who enjoy minmaxing as well as otherwise tinkering with mechanics, Final Fantasy V could very well provide them with more value for their money so long as they don’t mind the increased grind needed to master everything.
Summed up, both Final Fantasy V and VI have their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, interested individuals might want to take a deeper look into what they can expect before they choose between the two, assuming that they even have to choose between the two in the first place.