Review by Simmedon
"By comparison to its prequel, it isn't too bad, alone, it's only slightly better."
First and foremost, this game and Final Fantasy Tactics (for the PS1) do not compare. This game's prequel and itself took some ideas from the original Tactics, but ultimately, they are different games. I have never played the original Tactics, but the people who I've talked to that have played both usually like one and disliked the other. A2 does, however, compare with its prequel. This half of the review will show how they stack up.
Story- FFTA beats this game out by a long shot and a half. The original FFTA had an interesting storyline, good character development, and my favorite video game line, "Sheathe your sword, Llednar!" The only thing this game had was a single good line, "Since when have we been "friends", and how soon can we stop?" Yeah, not very interesting...
Graphics- One step forward, two steps back. Backgrounds and units look more flashier and more diverse. The drawback? Spells and certain abilities no longer look as good. Illusion was awesome to look at in the original (FFTA, which will what the "original" stand for from now on). Illusion, summoning, and lore all look very similar to one another, and is no longer as striking.
Sound- Tough to compare, very similar to each other. On one hand, weapon hits and magic sound better, but the original had a slightly better soundtrack.
Game play- Overall, I take FFTA over FFTA2. In the original, damage was mostly set, and facing affected accuracy. In this game, it's the reverse. Now, I can no longer use my favorite assassin the way I used to, partially because the resilience to "debuffs" (which should have stayed as status alignments) which was a turn for the better, and partially because some of the best abilities were either weakened, or made completely useless (Concentrate a prime example). New classes and jobs are fine, but they weren't very well thought out. Other then rangers, all the other seeq are similar to each other. The gria, on the other hand, were enjoyable to use, but because of quests that took forever to get, some of the newer jobs became useless or irrelevant.
The shop system is a huge turn for the worst. Because of it, thieves became almost either necessary (if you want to have multiples of every item and weapon) or irrelevant. Finding and collecting loot is fine, but it comes in a tedious way that ultimately could drive people insane trying to get all weapons at the shop. Useless changes took away from the established method in the original, where you got the same items at different shops, but at different prices depending on where.
The laws have been changed. On one hand, it isn't as bad breaking the law, even unintentionally, because you no longer had to wait a certain amount of battles to get units back. On the other, your opponents are no longer affected by them, which make some battles tougher than they need to be. Sure, clan privileges are fine, but ultimately, they cannot help you if you cannot help yourself.
Now, as for an unbiased review for those who haven't played the original, this game can be quite interesting. I will give a review based off the game itself, without comparing it to its prequel.
Story- As stated before, very weak. It has it's occasional laughs, but isn't very spectacular. I would give it a 3/10.
Graphics- Flashy, vibrant environments. Cool looking attacks and spells. A good diversity to environments and people. It gets a 9.5/10
Sound- The music is usually faded during battles, and the countless repetition of clicks and slashes will get annoying quickly. Thankfully, I usually play with the volume off, so it doesn't affect me as much. On the other hand, exploring (or the limited amount that you can) has a good soundtrack to it, and the mumbles of the people talking at the Pub is nice. But still, it gets an 8/10.
Game play- Overall, I'd give it a 9/10. Having choices and diversity of how you want to raise your clan is a good sign. You can go with your personal favorite 6-8 units and get through the game that way, or you can try raising an entire 24 person clan, which I do very well and enjoy, despite the tediousness of having to use some of my worst units when I could easily weep out my foe with others, but I've always preferred to be ready for any situation, and a full and balanced clan was great. The shop system has its flaws, and the laws can be incredibly annoying, but the battles can be worth it, especially if you like to make diverse clans with a wide arrangement of abilities.
In the end, this game would get a 7/10 compared to its prequel, but because I rate the game itself without trying to compare it to others, I give it an 8.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/04/09
Game Release: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (US, 06/24/08)
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