Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift review
Strategy at its Best
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is a tactical RPG game that stands out as one of the best strategy games for the Nintendo DS for many reasons.
The story of FFTA2 (Final Fantasy A2, or advanced two) is set in Ivalice like many games in the Final Fantasy series, but the way to getting there was a bit strange. Luso Clemens is a stubborn school boy who finds himself working in a library and eventually writing his name inside of an old book. The book then flickers and Luso finds himself being attacked by a giant chicken. Throughout the game Luso's main task is to find a way home and also help his new found friends. The main foes to Luso is Khamja, an organization led by Illua the main antagonist, who want to use Luso's Grimoire to open rifts to other worlds.
The story does sound a bit strange, but Luso eventually meets new characters such as Cid and Adelle with their own backgrounds. One of the best parts of FFTA2 is the character background. The game does a very nice job of giving us description and a story for each of the characters and you really grow attached to them. The characters are like able and have unique personalities and you will find that the characters mesh well with each other and the story.
The biggest flaw of the game is most likely the undeveloped plot. Its not that the plot is bad, it just feels rushed and you don't get to learn much about reasoning behind some peoples ways. The game does a good job of having many other sub-plots throughout the game. Some of these plots actually seem like they could have been better main plots then the one used.
In all there are over 300 different missions to complete, which includes the main plots missions. Some missions stand alone while others have follow-up missions. These missions add a lot of extra game play time and really give the game a strong backbone. Most of the missions will give you a challenge, but the ability to replay them if you lose makes it really simple since you can easily restart.
The very original Final Fantasu Tactics for the PlayStation made it so that if your characters died and were not revived in a set period of turns they would disappear. This feature has disappeared in the the two sequels of the game and they should have defiantly made a comeback in the A2 because things just sometimes feel too easy.
Like its prequel, the game has laws. These laws must be followed in battle and include everything from not using items to not attacking. These laws simply become annoying and you if you break the laws your character will be arrested and sent to jail, which you will then have to bail them out or play a certain amount of battles.
The job system returns in FFTA2 and has grown even more. There a total of 7 species (Hume, Viera, Bangaa, Nu Mou, Moogle, and two new species, Gria and Seeq) Each race adds their own strategic advantages because each race has a set of jobs they can use. A job is the units focus on attacking, healing, or supporting. For instance, as a Hume you might be a Soldier who can attack close range or an Archer who can shoot arrows from far away. There are tons of different jobs to choose from, some of which must be unlocked, and each has its own abilities to learn.
The land of Ivalice is quite large and expands over two islands with unique areas. These areas include deserts, mountains, plains, and volcanoes. Each stage is well made and has a lot of strategic parts to each of them that make them unique.
The music of the game is a bit annoying. You'll find yourself listening to the same music continuously and you will most likely turn the audio down on the DS. The graphics are not spectacular, but they are fitting. The sprites are detailed, more detailed then the prequels of the game, and the designer used bright colors to make the sprites stand out from the stages.
What more can you ask for in a strategy game then plenty of items, characters, and over 300 missions? Nothing, because FFTA2 offers it all. The plot might not be strong, but all the extra sub-plots support the game. The game really is a step-up from the prequels and hopefully in the future Square Enix will fix its few mistakes.
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