Review by shabulia

Reviewed: 07/07/08

...a true sequel to the Gameboy Advance game that might fare better if it took more advantage of the DS capabilities.

For those of you that were fond of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, this game will please you. For those looking for a deep storyline and a true successor to the original Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1 (and PSP re-release) you really don't need to read on as this game is not what you're looking for.

Still with me? Good! This is a marvelous game and a lot of fun if you let yourself enjoy it. The things Final Fantasy Tactics A2 does right more than outweighs its few shortcomings or its lighthearted nature.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. This game's basic story is nearly identical to that of its forefather. A young kid named Luso finds a mysterious book in his school library and winds up inside of it and going through a number of adventures and side adventures as he tries to find his way back home and out of Ivallace. It is cutesy and barrows heavily from the original game and "The Never Ending Story" in many ways. The graphical styling for this game is very reminiscent of the GBA game as well, so forget the moody gloom of the PS1 title if you're going to give this a whirl. Lastly, while this game does use the touch screen capabilities of the DS, it really doesn't do so efficiently. In combat and menu navigation you're much better off using the traditional button method of play. This isn't a deal breaker by any means but it would have been nice to see the touch screen used more efficiently and creatively. Other than that, this is a game to be enjoyed by many who are out for an awesome strategy ride.

There is a lot here to like. First is the storyline. Many have complained about it being too kiddy and I know I even said it's close to the first game but it's still kind of fun in a charming way. It's little more than a vehicle that carries you through the real meat of the game; strategy! FFT A2 is loaded with strategy and tons of customization. There are more jobs to master along with additional spells and abilities to make your characters triumph in each battle. The battles are typically six of your party members pitted against a number of enemies. There are different objectives set forth by judges (yes, they're back but not as bad this time) and you are to complete the objectives while following the laws the judges set forth. The good news is that breaking a law is no big deal this time around. If you do so, you will lose a privilege set at the beginning of the battle and will not be able to revive a companion that has been KO'ed. It's a much better system than what the GBA game left us with. For all the strategy involved and customization, this game is a gem for Tactics fans.

Graphically, this game is beautiful. It does have the bright cheerful colors of the GBA game and everything is in 2D, but it shines on the DS. Everything is crystal clear on either screen and it's a joy to view. It might have been nice to see the game's maps in 3D and rotatable like that of the PS1 game, but it still works on the DS. Right on board with the graphics is the sound. Everything sounds crystal clear in the game. There are no voices but the music is very easy on the ears. Slashes sound just as you would expect in battle and the harder hits have more impact in the sound area which just gives a feeling power in victory.

One thing to consider about this game is that it's tough, especially for newcomers. For the seasoned vets of this style of game this is challenging but nothing you haven't seen before. If this is your first foray into Tactics games, be ready for a very steep learning curve. It will take a while before you know what you are doing because the game is so intricate. As daunting as it may be the rewards are there for those that stick it out. Once you get the hang of it you'll be playing until the end and then wanting to go through it again.

This game is truly magnificent for RPG fans and Tactics fans alike. It's an addictive ride that will keep you glued to your DS for hours. It's just sad to see that this game is so good and yet just shy of true greatness because it's not living up to its full potential. Make no mistake, this is a great game and should be played by any fan of the genre. It just could have been, and probably should have been, more. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is a true sequel to the Gameboy Advance game that might fare better if it took more advantage of the DS capabilities.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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

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