7.4

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance review
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Review

Summary:

Well well it is the moment you have all been waiting for. Your friendly neighborhood RPG Master has arrived to give you his opinion on the game that is FFTA. Well here it is...

I first start off with a introduction to the series that is Final Fantasy Tactics. In 1998 gamers around the world were introduced to a truely unique game of the elite Final Fantasy series. Fresh off the debut of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics surprizingly did not get a lot of exposure. This is because there were not a lot of RPG fans (let alone Strategic RPG ones). And Final Fantasy VII did not get a lot of exposure when it came out. Those of you who are old enough to remember that day September 7th 1997 will know only hardcore (geeky) RPG gamers got FF7 and it was us who told the world how great it was, thus having millions of newbie gamers flocking to it making it a greatest hit game. So when FFT made it's arrival with little hype (only because the graphics were poor) it did not make a big "splash" in the game market.

Still the hardcore FF fans bought it and were literally divided in half on opinions. The young ones did not like it because of it's complex nature and the older audience loved it for that same reason. It was truely a mature game ahead of it's time, a time mainly dominated by kiddie Mario and Sonic games.

FFT was a story of a young man named Ramza Belouve, a mear noble son of a respected family. At first it seems to be a simple story of a young man but in time it expands to a vast story full of sadness, friendship, betrayel, and honor. Aside from the vast story it offered an incredible system known as the Job system that of which was unheard of prior to this game's release. This is what hooked many gamers to it. As much as I would love to go on this is a FFTA review so I must wrap it up with this, FFT was a remarkable game that took a chance and can be looked at even today as the greatest of it's genre. FFTA is another story however.

I hate to give spoilers in reviews so I will keep it short and sweet. FFTA starts you off as Marche, a young average everyday boy who goes to school, plays with friends and all those things young kids do. But all that changes when he is sent to another time, a time of old St Ivalice where Soldiers and Black Mages were of the norm. He is left with nothing left but to find his way home.

Okay now for the reviewing. The first thing that pops out at you if your a huge FFT fan is the rating, E for Everyone in this case. Leading you to believe that all the violence and bloodshed of FFT would not be in this new installment, and your concerns are exactly right. FFTA takes a real tone down to a "kinder" approach then that of FFT. You will see what I mean as you read on.

The story is what I look for the most in a game so I will go over that first. FFTA's story takes a while to get into. The game really begins when you start off in the old St Ivalice and you must find your way back home. You start off doing some missions with get this...YOUR OWN CLAN!! This deserves a fun factor point in my opinion as I found it very cool to have your own clan and then battle against others. You do this until you begin to run into some of your friends from your world who have been sent with you to this new world. However they are not as eager to go back home as you are. As fun as the clan fighting is it makes the story well how can I say this...BAD!! You ever play Legend of Mana? Then you will get my drift here. It is clear to see the developers were not looking at the story to be the game's main strength, but more the clan fighting. Which leads me to...

The Battle and Job system. This is the one-two punch that made FFT an addicting game, so naturally it should play a big part in FFTA. First off the Job system is very much the same as FFT's but with a few changes. There are more jobs to choose from and with two new character types, Mogs and Bangaas (lizard type creatures). This offers many combinations as to what your team can be made of leading you to spend a good many hours having fun figuring out what is the most effective. One distinct difference is how you learn skills. Instead of earning JP (Job Points) like you did in FFT you earn AP (Ability Points). You get abilities depending on what equipment you have with the job you choose (a lot like that in Final Fantasy IX). This change is not bad and somewhat refreshing (you don't want everything to be the same as the orginal I guess).

Now we move to the battle system. Much is the same as the first, it is a basic turn based strategy style on a grid battlefield (just think of a game of Chess). Some new changes are the Judge System. "Judges" are like they sound, they are there in the battle to uphold the "Laws" in a fight. How this works is you are given certain laws in the beginning of a fight (for example there is a law where you cannot use Items in a battle, so you must adjust your team before engaging to have some White Mages in you group so you may heal and use support skills). But there are not all bad laws, where there is a bad law a good law is placed (for example there is a law where you are rewarded for using Black Magic spells). You get JP for obeying the good laws which can be used for many things like combo attacks (this can be used with another person who has a combo ability to unleash devistating damage) and summoning special guardian monsters (you'll see). However breaking a bad law will get you a yellow card or a red card (like in Soccer) depending on which law you break (some fights have multiple laws). Becareful on getting cards because you can get sent to jail where you must pay to get out when visiting a town with a Prison.

Now for some of the bad things in the battle system. First there is no waiting or charging. Meaning all attacks you execute will be done then and there. Now for some of you who were totally confused in FFT may be saying "Oh thank God!" but for those who love strategy like myself this is a serious blow to the game. This simplifies the battles making them too easy in many respects. Those who played the first will know what I mean.

Another thing I did not like was nobody dies in battle. In FFT when you die you character has a time limit on how long he may stay dead, when the time is done your character (friend or foe) is turned into a crystal where someone can then take it to restore health in battle or to learn new skills. Now you may be telling me "Well if you now can't lose any characters there will be no more yelling at the video game as you restart your game once you lose a fav character like you did in FFT" but that's exactly why I don't like it. Again it is making the game too easy but I understand why they did it being it is on GBA and all.

Once you get off the battle system you are now faced with the game's real strength, the multiplayer gaming. Yes with a link up you can battle your friends to see who is the best. Along with fighting you can trade as well (costing a little gil). This makes the game very fun in that it offers tons of hours leveling up and replay value to battle your friends over and over.

Now the time has come to hear my final word. If you do not know I am a huge fan of the original FFT. FFT was a masterpiece that only a artist could create, however FFTA looks like something done with a "magna doodle" when compared to FFT. It's simplified combat and story can be seen as a step to make the newbie and younger gamers happy but it seems like Square once again has not listened to it's fans. I believe this all could of been avoided if the game had moved to the PS2 and the original FFT and Vagrant Story teams worked on it (sadly they are working on FFXII at the moment so we must wait oh so long for it).

Still it is indeed unfair to compare FFT to FFTA. If I were however to score it as a sequal to FFT I would give this game a 1 out of 5. But as a GBA game it is indeed top notch and I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. I would say newbie gamers, GBA fans, and avid strategy gamers would like this game. However hardcore FFT fans will be sorely disappointed in the end result of this failed experiment.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Till next time sayonara

~RPG44~

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