Review by Shabitty
"A sequel better than the original? No way!"
When Final Fantasy Tactics was released in 1997, it was loved by many, with an enjoyable plot, job system and replayability by the bucket. In fact, it is still being played today, by many people who agree that there are millions of ways to complete the game.
However, when Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was released for the GBA, many fans of the original thought that it was dissapointing at best. The plot of the original tactics involved political deceit, demons, and murder. The Plot of Tactics advance involved 4 kids finding a book and creating a dream world. While in the original tactics, you were allowed to train to any level you wanted and learn any skills at any time. In Tactics advance, you were stuck with learning abilities from equipment, and could only level up through missions, which although plentiful, were limited, and could leave you stuck at one point in the game.
However, there was one very dissapointing part of Tactics Advance: the Laws. Now, the laws could range from being a small boundery which was easy to abide, such as no charming enemies, to being an incredible hindrance, such as no using bladed weapons.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 fixes much of what Tactics advance broke. However, some parts remain unchanged in that department, but the game should be enjoyed by anyone who has ever enjoyed a Strategy RPG.
The first problem of the game is that while you were hoping for the plot to be incredibly in-depth, with many twists and a great ending, it's not that way. I'm trying not to leave spoilers, but the plot is somewhat boring, and you may find yourself skipping through it without much care for what goes on, because all you really want to do is casts the spells that makes the people fall down
Before I say anything, let potential buyers know that the laws are MUCH easier to abide, and in breaking them, you don't get penalized very much, all that happens is you lose the buff you chose at the beginning of the match, and you can no longer revive fallen allies.
Now, with that aside, let me say that Tactics A2 is similar to Tactics Advance, as the name would imply. You have the same method of learning abilities, the same way to progress through the job system, and the same system where certain races have certain jobs.
Firstly the jobs. The are over 50 jobs in this game, and unlocking them is rathar simple: Meet the requirements for the job by Mastering some abilities from one or more jobs, go do a quest where the reward is access to that job, or both. However, you do not learn abilities easily, as you learn them from equipment, and the only way to expand the shops' selection of equipment is to use some loot you find, send it to the bazaar, and earn it. Also, you only master the ability by getting Ability points, or AP, which is earned by doing quests. The problem is that you will only get an average of 30 AP per quest you do, and when the ability you want to learn will take 300 Ap or more to master, it can become tedious.
Next, the races. There are 7 races in the game, however the two new ones, Gria and Seeq, have such limited job options that you may not want to even bother with them. The original 5, Hume, Bangaa, Viera, Nu Mou, and of course Moogle, all have about 9 or 10 jobs available, and most of them are more interesting than the few that Gria and Seeq offer you. Example: would you rathar have a Human, who can be an archer, hunter, soldier, thief, ninja, fighter, Yojimbo, White Mage, Black mage, or Blue mage, or a Seeq who can be a hunter, berserker, raptor or viking?
Lastly, the battle system. Battles take place on an isometric field, with a gridlike system which the units are placed on. Units all have a different range for attacks and movement and that's really all there is to say about it.
Where this game really shines is the gameplay. The battles all have so may variables that can affect so much, you may become worried about being an idiot, but after a few battles you quickly learn the essentials and start kicking ass. With so many things to say bout this, I honestly think you should just pick up the game and learn about it yourself. You'll learn more about it that way than just listening to me babble about it.
The game looks absolutely beautiful considering the system, and you'll quickly fall in love with the musical score. The songs are vibrant and flow with the feel of the battlefield your on. You'll get all the eye candy you want, but many would still agree that the graphics of the original Tactics are far better, and seem more Mature.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 delivers something many have been waiting for: a new Final Fantasy Tactics, and I'm not counting the PSP remake of the original. I recommend this game to anyone, except for those who carry a deep hatred of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/09/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (US, 06/24/08)
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