Review by FeralBerserker
"Re-Released. It makes me sad."
This is a very short review, designed for any old fan of Final Fantasy Tactics. This review focuses on the plot, and will make little mention of any of the original game features that remain the same.
I thought Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1 was the greatest tactic RPG ever made, in terms of mechanics, graphics, story, audio and... well... pretty much everything. It is undoubtedly my favorite, and I was very glad to see it re-released. Of course, I still own the original for my PS1 (which I played not long ago on my PS2) and a part of me wishes I wouldn't have tried the re-released version. The other part of me is happy that I can play it wherever, and whenever I want to.
There really isn't much to say here. They either take excessive amounts of time to unlock, or are completely worthless. Originally, there was little point in levelling up, especially when nearing the end of the game. If you had Beowulf, Agrias, Meliodoul, and Orlandu you were already god-like. There was no challenge after that, none at all. Now, to me, that says, "Why would I want to get a handful of classes up to Level 8 or mastered just so I could have more supreme characters who destroy any challenge the game possessed?" I wish I could say, "Because there's a hard mode now" but I can't. Instead, I find myself saying "I wouldn't." That refers to the Dark Knight class, or whatever they're calling it in this translation.
Other than that, we get another class called the Onion Knight, which is pretty much the same. Of course, with the Onion Knight you can't use abilities... Any abilities. Well, so what's the point of mastering all those classes if you won't get to use their abilities? I'm not really sure, to tell the truth.
The new classes are disappointing, and in my opinion, may as well not even exist.
I am a multi-player fanatic. You couldn't make enough multi-player RPGs for me to play, I love them, I'm addicted to them. They are the most addictive drugs I will ever use. The re-release presents us with two multi-player modes (hey, you can actually play them multi-player, not just trade items... somehow that constitutes as multi-player these days?). They are Melee and Rendezvous.
Melee is a 5 on 5 team deathmatch, where your team of 5 fights against your buddy's team of 5. I like cooperative play, but melee actually appeals to me in this game. I like it. You don't get experience, but you still gain job points. Those job points I always wanted to get without the coinciding levels. It can happen now, yay. I like it. You can play this on any map in the game that you've been to. All those great maps that you only got to play once in story mode, yeah... you can play those. Isn't that great? I think so. Their maps are excellent, and actually provide tactical advantages. The only problem with melee mode is that if your team isn't the same level as your opponents team, there really isn't much point in playing against them. All the same, I like it, it brings back memories of Tactics Ogre for the Playstation. The nice thing about this, when compared to Tactics Ogre's deathmatches, is that in FFT you do not have to move to the specific location on the map to fight there, you instead select it from a list. It's wonderful, very wonderful. In addition, you are awarded 1 or 3 prizes when the battle is complete. The loser gets to choose one chest from a ring of a score of them, the winner gets to choose three chests. The prizes are random, and (unless you are at the beginning of the game) are seemingly worthless. Though, getting a mithril sword when I was level 2 was pretty nice. Then again, getting anything when level 2 is pretty nice.
Rendezvous is a list of maybe a dozen missions that you and your friend can do cooperatively. You each get to bring three players and complete whatever the objective is for the mission (i.e. rescuing some chocobos, killing some bandits, etc. etc.). Upon completion of the mission, you will be awarded with a ring of treasure chests that you can pick from. How many treasures you can open is determined by the rating you receive based on your performance during the mission. This mode is surprisingly nice, though I do wish it was more expansive. Finally, cooperative play where you can actually heal/buff your teamates even if your buddy controls them. It is actually functional. I was pleasantly surprised, since I thought it would be terrible. Of course, you're limited in how many missions are available, and fighting them over and over becomes mundane, as there is little variance in the way they can play out. The only way they can really vary is determined by the classes you choose to bring to the battle. Enemy levels become obsolete, so as your characters gain levels in single player old rendezvous missions will be pointless to play. That's too bad, huh? But oh well, beggars can't be choosers. Rendezvous was a very nice touch, in my opinion.
Both multi-player modes can be accessed from any town in the tavern, so starting the game isn't really a hassle. Obviously, these modes have their pros and cons, but I think they are better than nothing.
I was a fanatic FFT player, and it is the greatest plot in any game (that I've played) in my opinion. It dealt with people being a victim of things they did to maintain, and sympathy could even be given to the antagonists because they were only trying to survive. Language was not very fancy, and the cinematics weren't overly impressive, though I did like the style they were done in.
Now we have CG cutscenes, voice acting, and this terrible old english. I like the cutscenes, they're pretty, and the voice actors aren't too bad. I get sick of hearing these pre-pubescent voice actors in videogames, or overly aggressive men who sound like they've taken a few too many steroids. I thought the voice acting in the re-release was actually pretty good, the handful of times that it happens. Of course, you have to put up with their annoying old english vocabularies. "You jape, you jape." Jape schmape. It just doesn't flow. I think it seems overly choppy, and over the top. Moderation is obviously something the translators didn't understand. So there's the cutscenes and voice acting. Now we have...
...the story. I feel like a lot of the story has been lost in the new translation. Granted, I never played the Japanese version so I couldn't say how accurate the first translation was. I can say, however, that I thought it was excellent. Even the first battle, when you fight the bandits. They were just victims, victims of life, trying to survive. I could sympathize with them, anyone who has been down on their luck probably could. They didn't necessarily want to kill and rob people, but they wanted to survive, and that's how they'd do it. It's not my way, but I understood why they did what they did. Now they're just degenerates, anarchists really. Their purpose? To be jerks, not to survive. They've become generic antagonists, with no feelings or purpose pushing them through their path in life. Really, I think it's quite despicable. That's just one example of how the story has changed through the new translation.
It's painfully obvious at every cinema how any perspective on your enemy's situation has been lost. Now they're all just mindless, evil drones. Why do they do what they do? Because they're "evil." It's really too bad. Any emotion involved seems to have been lost, any purpose they had... destroyed. Now they're just bodies, bodies designed to hit the ground, and nothing more. This leads us to the main character, Ramza Beoulve. He was young and naive, but compassionate. He didn't want to kill the bandits, but it was his duty to protect the citizens. He regretted his actions, and seemed to think that warfare was not something to take pride in, but instead something that was just necessary for the majority to remain happy and (for the most part) peaceful. He is now driven by blind loyalty to an order of knights whose purpose is only greed and corruption. He was an individual, a young man finding his place in the world, setting himself apart from his mindless brother Dycedarg. Not anymore. Now he's a thoughtless soldier, a grunt. He does what he's told, with mostly unwavering loyalty to a band of thugs calling themselves nobility. Ramza is no more, he died when the game was re-released.
The same can be said for many of the characters. They were driven by honesty, integrity, ideals that placed peace above the lives of soldiers. Peace, and idea born from war. A state of happiness gained from (ironically) the terrible deeds of men. No longer do the strong characters of Ivalice strive for peace, but only for duty. Even Zalbag, who learned the error of his ways only too late, now seems selfish and unloving towards his younger brother. His feelings: banished by a face of conceit.
I could drone on and on and on endlessly about all the great aspects of a wonderful plot that have been bastardized, but if you care at all about the story, then you should already know. Really, it's too bad. A plot that stood apart from the rest, a plot that showed justice is only a state of perspective has been cast aside... replaced by stiff talking elitists. Of course, such could be noted from the title. It is no longer the Zodiac Brave Story, it is the Lion War.
Apart from how translations affected the story, we have renamed characters, classes, and almost all skills. Any familiarity with the game that would save a player time have been hindered by the needless replacing of words. Now we can't find Wave Fist on the list, we are looking for Aurablast. The Heavenly Knight, so close to God and purity... not anymore.
I admit, most people won't care so much about the translation differences. Even I think the differences in skill names and such are pretty irrelevant, but the difference in the plot is pretty sad. We've gone from a fairly unique story, to the generic stuff they pump out these days. If you liked the plot, do yourself a favor and skip the dialogue. Or any meaningful philosophical points in the story will be ruined, and replaced with generic, thoughtless characters. Ideals? Not anymore.
In the grand scheme of things, the game plays pretty much the same. The multi-player is a very, very welcome addition, in my opinion. It's also great to be able to play a classic masterpiece anywhere that you happen to have your PSP with you. It is sad, however, to see integrity abandoned, in a world where such a thing rarely exists. Final "Fantasy?" Well, not much of a fantasy anymore.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (US, 10/09/07)
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