Final Fantasy V was released by Square Enix in 1992 as a Japan-exclusive game before being brought to Western audiences in a buggy 1999 Playstation port known as Final Fantasy Anthology. Since then, the game has also been ported to the Game Boy Advance, PC, and Android, with the most recent port being a pixel-remastered version for PC and mobile in November 2021.
Although Final Fantasy V lacks the grand storyline found in later games, such as Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII, its true value lies in its job class customization. Building on the foundations laid in Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III, FFV let you pick one class as a character’s main job; in addition, you could pick a second sub-class to compliment your it. Since the release of Final Fantasy V, there have been many games with job systems that have followed in its footsteps. We took a closer look at seven of them:
Released for the Nintendo DS in 2009, Dragon Quest IX let the player play as a literal guardian angel and silent hero with silent party members. Not only could you create your own character for the main protagonist and your party members, but everyone could have their own vocation (aka job class) like warrior, priest, mage, and martial artist. There were also other character classes that unlocked after completing certain subquests.
On the one hand, this job class system had potential because there are 12 different classes total, allowing for a variety of gameplay. Not to mention, each class had their own equipment that you could see in the party menu and in and out of battle, giving each character some personal style. With different equipment to play around with and skills that grow via skill points applied to specific stats as you level up, this job system had some interesting potential.
This game’s job class system really shined in the Nintendo DS’ heyday, when you could play this game with friends via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. However, this job system ultimately falls flat for a few reasons: you could only change jobs after unlocking an area called Alltrade’s Abby, your character’s level was reset back to one when you choose a new class, and, furthermore, unlocking newer classes involved tedious grinding through fetch quests or killing a certain number of monsters.
Fantasy Life, a Nintendo 3DS life-sim RPG, came out in 2014. Set in the fictional world of Reveria, the player creates an avatar and choose from one of 12 life classes to begin the game. Although there is a fairly light story involving a talking butterfly and Reveria under threat, the game’s appeal is in its robust job class system, which improves on Dragon Quest IX‘s shortcomings.
Not only do you have combat classes such as Paladin, Magician, and Hunter, but you also have classes where you craft and gather items such as Alchemist, Miner, and Cook. Although you do have to visit a guild office in a town in order to change your class, it is unlocked shortly after you begin your game. More importantly, you can switch classes without having your level reset and continue using the skills you learned in your previous class. This allows you to save in-game currency by gathering or crafting items you can use in different classes.
For example, you could start out as a Magician and learn spells and then become an Alchemist to craft health and mana potions for the Mage to use and later a Miner to get ores for the Alchemist to use. In addition, you can increase the skills of each class with skill points earned through leveling up. as well as completing tasks to increase your life class rank. Since the game is open world, you can complete the tasks, raise your rank, and level up by gaining experience points through exploration, combat, and crafting.
A strategy RPG published by Nippon Ichi, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was originally released in 2003 for Playstation 2. You play as Laharl, demon prince of the Netherworld, as you battle other demons in order to become king. You battle with a squad of original characters as well as human and monster units, and this is where the gameplay gets very interesting. There is a ton of customization options for your party due to the wide range of classes available for units and the specialties for certain characters.
To explain further, human units alone have eight classes to start with, including Samurai, Warrior, and Archer. However, you can also unlock more advanced classes by meeting specific requirements. Meanwhile, monster units can be anything from a fairy to a dragon, and can become allies after being defeated in battle. Finally, characters such as Laherl and his vassal Etna are skilled with certain weapons such as swords and axes. Some characters (like our main duo) can use almost any weapon available.
While there are no flaws when it comes to using this job system in battle, the player has to be careful to consider which units to use depending on the strength of the opponent. In particular, monster units come in a variety of classes but lack versatility in terms of weapon use. In contrast, characters with specific classes can use a wide range of weapons.
Between the monsters, human units, and story characters, the player has practically unlimited choices for their party in terms of strategy. However, it is important to know that different versions of the game have characters available. The character Antoire is exclusive to the Playstation Portable and Nintendo DS ports of the game in a feature known as “Etna Mode,” while Pleinair is only in the Nintendo DS version in “New Game Plus” mode.
Bravely Second: End Layer, a turn-based RPG from Square Enix, came out in 2016 and is the direct sequel to Bravely Default. You play as Yew Geneolgia and three other characters as you journey forth to save the imprisoned Agnès Oblige, a heroine from the previous game. Although both this game and the previous game feature a job class system, this game has a bit more to offer with a whopping 30 character classes and over 300 abilities to obtain and use!
In Bravely Second, you start off as a Freelancer, but can switch classes at any time to suit your needs. In addition to the standard classes like Knight and Wizard, you also have more colorful classes such as Patissier and Yokai. Besides the ability to switch classes, the skills learned from the previous job can carry over to the next, which allows the player to creatively mix and match certain skills. Each job is obtained with items known as Asterisks.
There isn’t too much of a difference between the job classes offered in this game and the previous one, but both games show a clear influence from Final Fantasy. One modern element in Bravely Second: End Layer is the Abilink ability which allows you to use the job abilities of a friend even if they don’t have any experience in that job. This is done by registering a player as a friend on the 3DS and then connecting to them with Street Pass or the internet by talking to the NPC known as The Adventurer.