Review by BlueSophia

"Here comes the new, not so same as the old."

The game we have here is Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift. Harking back to the past iteration known as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, we have a number of changes but still keeping the game within the same region. We once again are capable of using the Totemas (Now known as Scions, which we have all seen from Final Fantasy XII) and the law system is still here, with a few slight changes. But the game itself, while becoming better in certain ways, it has also been spoiled by the attempts at making fun new innovations.

Story

Is it just me? Is it just me or is the story taking a nosedive for every new iteration of Final Fantasy tactics? Compared to the original the story is almost completely foolhardy. It combines the aspects of 3 different faults of a poor story that we have all seen so far. Poorly designed main character, Slow moving storyline and almost entirely predictable story events. The Story is really just there to be there and to act as a tutorial of sorts. The REAL fun is in playing the game. I understand the need to make it kid friendly but the fact that this game is this complicated makes it kind of foolish to make a game like this kid friendly.

Verdict- 4/10
Whoever wrote the story has failed.

Controls

Here comes the new controls, same as the old controls. But wait! You can use the touch screen! Gasp! Actually not as useful either. You are actually better off relying on the buttons this time around. The split screen does help you quite a lot and the unit order on the screen lets you plan a few steps ahead. Other than that though, there is nothing really new about it.

Verdict- 8/10
Nothing we have never seen before but it is still tried and true.

Gameplay

Ah, the good stuff. The gameplay is almost, point for point the same as the old FFTA except for some changes that may or may not appeal to you.
For starters, you should have already noticed is that the units no longer rely on facing a direction to determine accuracy rather it is used to determine damage. (How did they come up with this). This removes a lot of the strategy factors because now it is really a game of smacking the living crap out of whoever you just targeted rather than playing strategically. Early on, battles may almost seem like a plow to you because, well... that's exactly what you are doing at that point!

However, later into the game, you gain access to the more advanced jobs and skills, in the process gaining two of the newly introduced races in FFTA, Seeq and Gria. The addition of the two races and the new classes adds a lot of playability into the game. The only problem is that there is still no vs function on this game, it does remove the feelings of creating an ultimate team.

Of course, the region that has drawn the moist complaints, the laws. The law system has become more lenient right about now, limiting things down to only 1 law and instead of jail, it prevents you from reviving. The main problem is that although you do not get penalized heavily and you are actually rewarded for obeying the law, the problem is the laws themselves. Some of them are no problem but others are so ridiculous that it becomes almost foolish to follow them. An example is of course the "Knockback" law. Because critical hits always have knockback, if you accidentally score one, then you can most likely kiss your bonus and reviving ability goodbye.

Verdict- 8/10
The game is still playable and the fact that we still have most of the good stuff back is a given. I would have given this a 9 but the fact that the laws are quite broken in this game, it does lower the playability quite a bit.

Graphics

Well, what did you expect from a tactics game? Compared to the old iteration, we have a step up in the attack animations and the terrain is much smoother in appearance than the GBA version. The character mugs are also well done (except Luso, he looks like a dweeb) giving a much more appealing appearance to the characters, This however, does show signs of degradation on certain races, most prominently in the Bangaa. The artwork for the bangaa is actually much more flattering in the advanced version than on this one. In this version they have been notably kiddified and they end up looking like gnomes rather than lizardlike warriers.

Of course this all pales in comparison to the summoning of the Scions, all which retain their glorious forms from FFXII. They retain most of their appearance in general and still maintain the cinematic quality of their final attacks.

Verdict- 10/10
Well, there is a limit to what they CAN do and frankly, tactics games have always been like this. I have seen better like those from Generation of Chaos but thing is that the graphics really screw with the processing speed which means that instead of graphics this time, it interferes with playability in general. This is probably as good as you will get on tactics games.

Replayability

Quite a lot actually. The sheer length of this game is already enough for most people. However, in order to fully appreciate the game, you need to keep playing until you fully understand a job and in the process creating new possibilities. Unfortunately, due to the fact that you actually can't actually link battle does mar this category a bit but the addictive gameplay as well as the numerous missions does give this quite a lot of replayability.

Verdict- 9/10
Shy of perfection. Needs a vs mode. And perhaps wi-fi as this game just screams wi-fi compatible if only you would include it.

General Score- 8/10

It is a solid game and one that you should get for if you have a DS. But it does have a lot of flaws and it still has a lot to live up to compared to past iterations. Pray that when they come out with the next one that it will have less crazy laws and more class innovations.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/30/08

Game Release: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (US, 06/24/08)


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