Review by megamaster125
"Finally, a Final Fantasy game for the DS that I don't regret buying"
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance appeared on the GBA back in 2003, with a couple of major flaws (way too many dispatch missions and that ever frustrating law system). Fast forward 5 years to the release of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 for the DS. The Final Fantasy games for the DS haven't impressed me so far. Final Fantasy III felt very bland and boring, Final Fantasy XII: RW turned me off almost instantly with its battle system, and after hearing mediocre reviews for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: RoF, I decided not to bother with it. I was quite skeptical when I heard about FFTA2, so I poked around to see if my 2 biggest complaints from the first FFTA were corrected, and they were. The result: A game that now has a place on my top 10 favorites list.
I never like to put too much emphasis on the graphics of a game. Good graphics can never make up for horrible gameplay, however, they can make a good game even more enjoyable. With that in mind, the graphics in FFTA2 are basically the same as they were in the GBA version. The DS version hasn't brought too many new graphical updates into FFTA2. Some of the graphics for the spells have been redone. The one that really caught my eye was Doom. A shining orb representing your soul appears above your head, and then the grim reaper swoops in and flies around, grabbing your soul in the process and taking it away. It was really cool to watch, except for the part where my character was KO'ed.
The story starts out mostly the same as it did in FFTA. Your main character, Luso, gets sucked into a strange book and taken to the world of Ivalice. Luso has a magical journal that records his adventures as he explores Ivalice, looking for a way back home. Luso is a spunky boy eager for the adventure, just the type of character I like. I am pleased to say he's not one of those depressed "I don't really want to do this" kind of character.
The battles in FFTA2 are kind of like a mix between Final Fantasy and a game of chess, making for a great mix of strategy and fun. Each of the characters take turns moving along the battlefield, attacking the enemy with weapons, casting spells, collecting treasures that appear randomly on the map, ect. The in-game tutorial will explain how the battles work a lot better than I can in this review. There are 7 different races: Hume, Moogle, Bangaa, Nu Mou, Viera, Seeq and Gria. Each race has its own different set of jobs, ranging from the Viera Assasin to the Seeq Viking. Each of these jobs has its own unique abilities and types of weapons they can use.
The law system is back. For those of you familiar with FFTA, a judge will announce at the beginning of battle what the law is (what you're not allowed to do). Previously, if you were to break the law, you would be removed from the battle and sent directly to jail, then you would have to go and pay a fine to get your character back. And some of the laws would be basically impossible not to break, such as the "no damage to monsters" law. FFTA2 has changed this system, for the better. There are still laws that are difficult to follow, however the punishment isn't nearly that harsh. When you break the law in this game, you're no longer allowed to revive your KO'ed character with a phoenix down or a raise spell for the rest of the battle. That's it. However, if you follow the law for the entire battle, you will receive a couple of bonus items for doing so. It's a nice bonus, especially in the beginning of the game when you don't have much to start with.
There are a total of 400 missions to keep you busy, most of which involve a battle. There are still some missions that require you to dispatch a character, but they don't bother me like they did in FFTA, where a large portion of the missions were dispatch missions. There are plenty of other things to keep you busy too, such as the new auction where you can bid tokens to gain control of specific areas in the game. When you control all the areas available for auction, it turns into an auction for rare items. There's also the bazaar, where you can trade in the loot you've collected from battling monsters to unlock new equipment available for you to purchase.
Most of the music was taken from FFTA. This is not a problem for me, because I find most of these tunes to be pleasant, and they fit well with the colorful landscape/characters.
One thing is true about all of my favorite games, I can pick them up again at a later date and play through the game again start to finish. I can already see myself doing this for FFTA2, and as a nice challenge there's also the option of selecting between normal mode and hard mode.
RENT OR BUY
If you've read this review from the beginning, you probably know what I'm about to say. Buy it; it's well worth the $39.99 price tag.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/15/08
Game Release: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (US, 06/24/08)
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