Review by Shaneth21

"Sooooo much better than FFTA!"

The first Playstation game I bought was Final Fantasy Tactics, and I enjoyed it very much. When Final Fantasy Tactics Advance came out for the GBA, I was really excited and picked it up about a week after it's release. Although I was excited for the game, the game did not meet my expectations one bit. Completely dissapointed, I dropped the game due to lack of interest and started picking up other tactical games such as Fire Emblem. A couple years later, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift was released for the DS, and being a fan of tactical games as well as Final Fantasy in general, I had to pick it up. Needless to say, I was VERY impressed with what I bought.

Story: 7/10

Sadly, there really is no deep storyline in the game. You start out as a little boy named Luso, and he has to help out the school librarian on the last day of school because he was late to class pretty much every day of the school year. While in the library, Luso finds a strange book lying on a desk. He flips through the pages and finds out that half of them are blank. He skips to the last pages of the book where he reads the words: "One is fated to fill these barren pages. Know you his name?" Luso takes the opportunity to write in a library book, so he writes down his name inside of the book. Shortly after, the book responds and Luso gets sucked into the world of Ivalice, where he meets Cid, the leader of the clan he is forced to join to survive.

The rest of the "story" is just completing quests that proceed the "storyline." You do this until the pages of Grimoire (the book Luso wrote in) are filled. Once they are completed, Luso can go back to his own world. A lack of story does not take away from the amazing gameplay at all.

Gameplay: 10/10

Very similar to the gameplay mechanics of FFTA. You accept missions from each town's Pub and then travel to the location to fight a battle in hopes of completing your mission. Like FFTA, you can choose up to six units to participate in battle. Clan Privileges are a new addition to this game, where you can choose a certain stipulation at the beginning of a battle. These can vary from Power+3 to Luck+2 to Empowered Viera and even Regen. Clan Privileges stay with you throughout the entire battle until you break a law. In FFTA, laws were very strict and could punish your units for something you didn't even try to do, put them in jail, and permanently decrease their stats, all for breaking a lousy law. In FFTA2, breaking a law is not too strict at all. If you do break a law, you lose your clan privilege, you lose your Law Bonus at the end of battle (items given to you if you obey all laws), and you cannot revive KO'd party members during battle. The law system in the game is much more improved and makes the game a lot more fun than it's predecessor.

Experience Points are now awarded at the end of battle, not during the battle like the past installments. Also, when a unit is KO'd, their body is removed from the field, making it easier to move around and not requiring an annoying judge to move around the motionless bodies. When you go to use a Phoenix Down to revive a fallen unit, you pick a square adjacent to the unit using the Phoenix Down and the fallen character returns to that square. There is a new command added called the "Opportunity Command" which provide insane stat boosts during the heat of battle. These are usually obtained randomly at the start of a unit's turn with little chance, but these chances can be increased with a higher Luck attribute. The job system still remains but there are more classes added to the system which make the game a lot more complete.

Overall, FFTA2 takes the faults of FFTA, sticks a wrench in them, and tunes them to make itself a very fun game.

Sound: 9/10

The sound quality is very good. Whether it's the background music or battle animation sounds, all sounds well. One cool thing to note is that whenever a unit is KO'd, they make a much better cry sound like in FFT rather than just a disgruntled moan like in FFTA. I was thrown off a bit when I heard this because I didn't realize it could happen.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics for this game are very similar to FFTA, but in this case, the battle animations have improved a lot. Whether it is magick such as Fire or Cure or battle skills such as Air Render, I believe all animations have been improved by a point or two. The units' portraits are very detailed as well as their sprites on screen. Overall, there is nothing to complain about.

Replay Value: N/A

If you REALLY want to play a really long game again to pass the time and have fun while doing so, then I suppose this game has good replay value, but I don't believe there is much of anything you can do after you complete the game. There is no New Game+ to be unlocked or any other special missions, so really it's a hit or miss for the replay value.

Rent or Buy:
I'd suggest buying it, because with 300+ quests available, you wouldn't be able to finish the game within a week or however long the standard rental is.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift for the Nintendo DS scores a 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/01/08

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

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