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:
Dragon Quest IX
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.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
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
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.
Released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, Octopath Traveler is a modern-day homage to the 16-bit RPGs of old. You begin your world-saving quest by choosing from eight playable characters; each character comes equipped with a specific job, but as you progress through the game, you can change jobs depending on how you want to play.
Since there are eight characters, there are eight standard jobs that you can start out with. However, you can also enhance these classes by equipping them to a different character to use a secondary classes. Standard classes include familiar ones such as warrior and white mage as well as some unusual ones such as an apothecary that mixes potions to help your allies and hurt enemies. There are also four advanced classes available to unlock: Warmaster, Sorceror, Runelord, and Starseer. However, getting these classes requires you to transverse high-level shrines with similarly high-level bosses.
Between the standard jobs and the advanced jobs, this game has a lot for job class lovers. On top of being able to use the standard jobs as a primary and secondary class, you can also play around with job combinations to unlock passive skills that you keep when you switch classes. This is important for players who like to experiment with a particular character build, but there is one thing to remember. No two characters can have the same passive skill; if one character has an SP recovery skill, another character can’t use it until it is given up.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD
7th Dragon III Code: VFD, an absolute gem of a turn-based dungeon crawler, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. It involves you creating a party of characters and collaborating with a video game company in order to fight dragons while traveling through different time periods. In addition to the ability to customize your character’s avatars, you also have eight different classes to utilize.
However, you do not have access to all eight classes right away. You start out with four classes and gain the rest as you continue the game. The four classes you begin with are the Samurai, God-Hand, Agent, and Duelist. Although the Samurai is a standard warrior with attacks that can hit single and multiple enemies, the other three are more colorful. For instance, God-Hand is like a boxer with both healing and attack abilities.
When it comes to the last four classes, they consist of Fortuner, Rune Knight, Mage, and Banisher. Although you cannot switch out any classes, you can switch out party members due to the fact that you eventually control two or three parties at once. Some classes such as God-Hand have versatile skills that allow them to be either offensive, support, or a mix of both. Since you control multiple parties with different classes, you could have one party for story-based missions and another for subquests. Since the difficulty of the game varies, it is important to adjust to this by choosing the right party members with classes that give you an advantage.
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight
A Nintendo 3DS remake of Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard, Etrian Odyssey 2 is a first-person dungeon crawler has two modes for the player to enjoy: Story mode (which features a story with specific characters) and Classic mode (which lets you create your party from scratch and explore dungeons for various missions). Both modes feature 15 job classes, with the story mode characters having their own classes to start off with.
Job classes range from standard warrior classes such as Landsknecht and Protector to support classes such as War Magnus and Medic. It is also worth nothing that Story mode features an exclusive class known as Fafnir, which belongs to the silent Protagonist and is the only class that cannot be changed or used by other classes. This class not only features a standard mode, but also a literal beast mode that can be used for a limited time and features powerful elemental and physical attacks.
Whether you play in Story mode or Classic mode, most job classes are not set in stone. By obtaining items known as Grimoires as you explore, you can equip them to your characters and allow them to obtain skills and weapons from different classes. In this game, you can also trade unused Grimories at the cafe for others for similar or equal value. When you start out, you can only equip two Grimoires but can equip more when you reach certain levels.
On top of equipping Grimoires, you can also enhance abilities by applying points through a skill tree. Some skills, such as healing or gathering food ingredients, can be used outside of battle. Although the amount of job classes and Grimoires available allows for some creativity in terms of character build, it is worth noting that skill points applied to a character cannot be changed once they are used.