102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
+Deep, strategic combat
+Loads of customization
+Crisp, detailed graphics
+More incentive to obey the law
+It overall greatly improves on its predecessor on the Gameboy Advance
-There are some ridiculous laws
-No control over the camera in battle
-Battles can be unusually sluggish
-Tacked on Stylus Controls
In 1998, Square released a game called Final Fantasy Tactics on the original Playstation. In 2003 we finally saw the follow up, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. While the original game gained a strong cult following, Tactics Advance had a love/hate relationship with many gamers. With that in mind, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is very much in tune with its predecessor on the Gameboy Advance. If you enjoyed Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, you'll more than likely enjoy this one. If Final Fantasy Tactics Advance wasn't your cup of tea, then Tactics Advance A2 doesn't do much to make you like it. It sticks to many of its conventions and in turn, suffers from many of the same problems. It's problems, however, don't have as great an impact, and that overall helps Final Fantasy Tactics A2 be a better game than the Gameboy Advance outing.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 focuses on Luso, a school student who is geared up for summer vacation. Unfortunately, his lazy ways have made the teacher want to straighten him out and instead of beginning his summer vacation right away, Luso is sent to the library to help clean it up. While he's there, he stumbles upon a book where the pages are blank. When he finally writes his name in the book he's transported to the world of Ivalice where he'll meet up with a clan who agrees to help him find a way home. Essentially, your main goal is the same as the first Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, to find a way home. The story isn't all that great. It's fairly forgettable, as a matter of fact. However, where Tactics A2 falls in story, it makes up for in gameplay.
Throughout the game, you'll visit pubs which will display missions for you to undertake. Once you select a mission you'll have to go to the location and carry out the duty. When in battle, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 plays like most other Strategy RPGs. You'll send your warriors into battle, move them a certain number of spaces and execute attacks against the enemy. Battles can, at times, be a little sluggish. Even the simplest battles can last for a half an hour at most, but the amount of strategy needed is pretty deep. As is the game's job system which can really put a spin on how easy or difficult a battle can be.
The job system is easily the best part of the game. You can choose a wide variety of jobs. Warriors, Mages and Summoners alike. The job a character can choose depends on their race. For example, a Viera can't become a Soldier. You'll unlock more jobs based on how many abilities you learn for other jobs. Abilities are learned through a character's equipment. This is both good and bad. It's simple to gain ability points, all you have to do is finish a battle. However, learning abilities is a slow task. While most can be learned in one or two battles, the fact that most battles will take a while to finish makes learning abilities take a little longer. Additionally, once you start needing 300 or 400 Ability Points to learn an ability, it's that much longer. Along those lines, since it goes based on your equipment, it's not always a good idea to go into battle with the best equipment. In terms of strategy, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 emphasizes it more so than most Strategy RPGs out there. A slight hiccup in your jobs or abilities can cost you a battle. The strategy involved in the game is very in-depth.
Another feature that returns from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the judge system. In every battle there are certain laws you must obey. To compensate, however, the judge also lets you have a privilege that will boost certain stats like strength, agility, etc. Breaking a law doesn't have nearly as harsh of a punishment this time around. If you break the law you lose your privilege and you can't revive any fallen characters. You'll want to follow the law as much as possible. Doing so can net you some bonus items, some of which are rare. The judge system works better in Tactics A2, but it still suffers the same problems. There are simple laws to obey such as not using a specific spell in combat, but there are still some outright ridiculous laws to beware of. In one battle, for example, it was against the law to miss the enemy.
The game also lets you use the stylus if you want. While the stylus controls seem like a perfect fit, they'll often slow you down. It's to the point where the stylus controls feel more tacked on than anything else.
Visually, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is breathtaking. The battlefields are very well designed and colorful. The sprites are detailed as are the characters portraits. The spell animations are also pretty good looking, vibrant and colorful. What's even better is the games overall art design which is nothing short of fantastic. If there was anything to fret over, it would be that the game is isometric 3D and not fully 3D. This means that the camera stays fixed throughout the entire battle. You can't rotate it or anything and that'll become a problem when your characters get bunched up and you can't see them. The top screen is used to display the turn order by showing the sprites. It's detailed but the sprites also looks a little pixelated when they're enlarged on the top screen. Nonetheless, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is an incredible looking game.
In terms of music, most of it you'll have heard before. Much of the music you here in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is remixed from either Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, or Final Fantasy XII. Most of it is good music, although if you didn't really like the soundtrack to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance or Final Fantasy XII, you probably won't find this one to be too memorable either.
In the end Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is a better game than Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but still doesn't manage to be as memorable as the original Final Fantasy Tactics. While it has a forgettable storyline, it's deep, strategic and engaging gameplay will keep the player immersed for hours to come.
59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2009
I spent over 100 hours playing this game and all of its various side quests, and I only managed to complete a little more than half of the total missions. This game also has a Hard setting so if you're into this game, you can easily get your money's worth by purchasing it and letting it siphon months of your free time.
However, I wouldn't recommend it; after completing the first hundred or so missions you begin to wonder to yourself just how many times you have to clean an airship, deliver correspondence, help with the spring festivals, and other menial tasks. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome to be able to level-up by accomplishing such tasks. It's also a nice break from always battling foes, but is it really worth the trouble? Is it really worth trying to visit four different areas in six days, visiting different baby mamas while posing as your client? Is it moral?
Most of the time it isn't; the dialogue is incredibly drab and after the tenth hour I always skimmed the words. This is an unprecedented move for me, as I generally love the dialogue/storyline of Final Fantasy games. It unnerved me that I just couldn't get into this game.
However bad the storyline may be the battle system more than makes up for it. The classes, weapons, attacks, terrain, enemies, and laws are all incredible. I played this game mainly for the battle system, not understanding most of the reasoning behind why I was killing this bunny, aiding this witch, picking up this flower, or intimidating this blob monster. It had to be for the good of mankind right? I believe I was fighting the forces of evil, but I don't really know. People were paying me to do it, and as a mercenary you don't ask questions.
It's probably a good thing there was no morality gauge in this game. Before I knew it the credits were rolling and I didn't have to contemplate as to my noble/horrendous deeds I committed or my impact on this world. I knew that in the final stage someone was trying to kill me, so I killed them. And that's all that matters in the end, when you're offered a little supplementary income by a shady bartender who has a friend who has a friend who wants you to fight someone to the death.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2008
In the same vain as its predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 welcomes you once again to the world of Ivalice where you are reintroduced to the various races/inhabitants of the world: Bangaa, Nu Mou, Viera, Moogle, and the Humans/Humes. This time around, there is the introduction of two new races and a series of new job classes as well.
For everyone familar with FFTA, you would know the worlds were rich with detail and color and the characters animated quite nicely out on the battlefield. Each race had their own appearances and features that made them distinguishable from the other races in the game.
FFTA2 retains its predecessor's graphics. While the game's graphical engine remains identical to its predecessor's, the special effects used for spell skill and tech animations are a breath of fresh air as they were all redone and appear quite flashy.
In the same vain as Marche in FFTA, Luso opens a book and finds himself immersed in the world of Ivalice. Most of the game is comprised of gameplay; however, the story slowly developes. While definitely not the highlight of the game, it is intereseting unless you found FFTA's story to be uninteresting.
Some of FFTA's music can be heard throughout the game. A portion of the game's soundtrack is all new. One of the boss themes were straight from Final Fantasy XII. The music is a light-hearted and beautiful symphony that creates its very own mood varying from battle to battle and scenarios/situations.
The sounds and sound effects are similar to that of FFTA. The same can be said about the sounds each character makes when they are KO'd, but with better audio quality.
The game has a 30-60 minute learning curve. Similar to FFTA, the game puts you in a tutorial scenario; however, the game immediately throws you into a real battle this time. It can be thought that the game may have somewhat assumed you've played its predecessor; though, still taking the time out to teach you the basics.
The game is FULL of customization. With the inclusion of two new races AND a series of new jobs (some including the "extra" job classes introduced in the Advance version of Final Fantasy V) you would be spending a lot of time customizing your clan members alone.
There are SOME new objectives present in this sequel. Some jobs may require you to pick up items on the battle field OR simply visit a series of locations on the map to complete quests.
The Law System:
Its back, but is a lot less annoying (or detrimental) to battles this time around. Rather than a character breaking a law and getting thrown into prison, this time around, your clan loses the privilege you choose at the beginning of the match. In addition, you are unable to revive fallen clan members for the remainder of a battle.
This fits into a truly replayable game. Even after the Main Game is complete, there is still more to do. Customization plays into being one of the hugest reasons to replay the game.
+This Game can be Played Over and Over!!! Better than Replayable
+Two New Races
+Many New Job Classes
+Improved Law System
+Varied Mission Objectives
+New Special Effects
+Some Cool Cameos
-Story May be Childish or Unappealing...
-This story was used before...
-The Graphics Engine was used before
-The changed method of inheriting new equipment and Job Classes MIGHT be unappealing
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2008
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was one of my favorite games for the GBA (5 stars for sure), so I had high expectations for this game (3.5 stars). It's not a bad game, but it could have been much better. It feels like more good things were taken away from the series than were added to it. I thought that the law system in the previous game gave it more depth. In this game, it's more of an annoyance because only YOUR characters are punished for breaking the law. When the law is broken, you lose the ability to revive any KO'd characters, which can become annoying. The graphics and music are similar to the previous game. I often found myself thinking that some of the graphics for attacks in the previous game shouldn't have been changed, though others do admittedly look improved. There are significantly more missions than in the previous game, but a lot of them seem similar to each other or as though not much thought was placed into their conception. With so many missions, the main storyline and side plots can be forgotten easily (though they are not very deep). On the plus side, there are a couple of new races and several new jobs for each race to play around with. Also, this game has plenty to do in it, so it should keep you busy for a while (if you like strategy/rpg games). There's a lot more I could say about this game, but I'll wrap this up by saying that those who haven't played the first one will probably like this game more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2008
- Better graphics (particularly dialogue pictures and spell effects)
- more jobs/weapons
- more challenging (fighting king blue for the first time will shock you)
- option to dispatch a person or go on quest yourself (for a lot of quests you use to could only dispatch someone in FFTA)
- dealing more damage from enemies behind/sides than from the front
- more play time (as if the one on the GBA didn't have enough)
- storyline is not even close to being as good as the original FFTA. You start with a little punk with no respect for people.
- I don't think judge system is as good (some of the laws are practically impossible to keep) in that the enemy does not have to worry about the laws. If the rules are not to use MP, your enemy can still dish out MP w/o any penalty. This is especially frustrating when fighting against other clans. I liked the old rigid law system better.
- There isn't as much penalty for hitting a person face to face. (The % chance of hitting them is the same as if you hit them in the back) I prefered a bigger punishment for hitting people face on. Expect a lot more spells to be successfully performed on you (doom, sleep, confuse, and my least favorite, charm)
Overall, I enjoyed the game, even though I liked FFTA for the GBA better. If you are as thorough as me, you will get 120+ hours out of this game.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2008
In many ways, this game is one of the finest tactics style rpg's out there. A player can choose from a wide variety of popular Final Fantasy job classes (at least 53, give or take) and it includes jobs for every "race" in the ivalice alliance. Fans of the series will enjoy countless hours spent questing, upgrading items, and customizing thier units. The judge system has been overhauled for the better. Instead of going to fantasy "jail" rule breakers just cant revive units until the end of their current battle. In conclusion thank you square enix for this game! Five chocobo's out of five!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
Im in my late 20s and have been playing this game off and on for several years now, thats right I said years. Im at 90 hours or so on the in game clock, and have been playing it on the Difficult Setting. I also have only used the control pad and skipped the stylis.
If you need to pass some time on a long trip this is the game to do it because the battles take a looong time to finish, but it never gets dull.
This is a game you pick up, play a battle or two, and then do something else. Best part is that you can do a quick save during a battle, tern of the game and start from there later, so there is no rush.
I loved the old FinalFantasy Tactics game on the PS1, and this one is like a souped up version with a more light/forgettable main story.
Bottom line: if you like/liked the FinalFantacy tactics games, this is a no brainer.
Its bright, its colorful, there are lots of character classes to build up, and there are a HECK of a lot of missions to play through if you want.
Also Difficult Mode is just right for a old player like me, tough enough to make me think, and if I lose, its because I messed up, not because the game is cheep.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2008
I bought this game having played the original Final Fantasy Tactics for playstation a long time ago and I assumed this would be more of the same. I was part right; the combat system is deep and complex. Graphically, the game's animations are excellent. However, during combat you must sit and watch these same animations many times over. The animations combined with lots of menu interaction generally makes single battles take a very long time, around 15-30 minutes each.
The worst part of this game however, is its story. I knew from the reviews I read that the story would be childish, but I thought that it would not be such a big deal. I didn't realize just how infantile it was. If I had, I might not have bought it. The story must have literally been targeted to kids who just learned how to read, which is strange because most kids that age would probably have trouble learning the game's complex combat system. I feel extremely silly at 26 years old having to click through it all. I would recommend watching a few movies of this game's cutscenes to see just how relentlessly corny it is before you buy it. Aside from that it's a good game.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The DS has received some wonderful RPG's and strategy games as of late, and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is no different, and in fact, this may very well be the best of the bunch. Anyone who remembers the original Final Fantasy Tactics will be happy to know that this game bears much more resemblance in terms of tone and overall gameplay to the original game than Final Fantasy Tactics Advance ever did, and is also one of the best games that Square-Enix has unleashed on the DS thus far. The judge system from FFTA is used here yet again, and it is used quite well and offers some rewarding moments of gameplay during battles. The game's strategy mechanics are top notch and are the best to be seen on the DS, and the game is a piece of beauty to look at as well. Undoubtedly one of the best looking games to grace the DS yet, nearly everything presentation-wise is a work of art from the art direction and design to the game's score. There are tons of customization options and lengthy quests as well, meaning that Final Fantasy Tactics A2 will definitely keep you busy for quite some time. While it doesn't feature the most engaging story or anything that hasn't been done before, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is a spectacular strategy game that delivers the goods, and stands as the best third-party strategy game to hit the DS yet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2008
Square-Enix has been churning out games after games for their most popular franchises. So it is not surprising to have a sequel to the extremely popular Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on GBA a few years ago. Same as the previous Tactics games, the world is set in Ivalice as part of the Ivalice Alliance series.
A2 inherited quite a number of features from its predecessors in the Ivalice world - a whole array of ridiculously diverse job classes with different degree of customisation. What added to the system of A2 is the new job class that are related to FF XII, which introduced the green magick category for now the new class Green Mage. Also all the summons or espers in FF XII are now back in A2 but instead of assigning them on the license board you can summon them through equipping certain accessories that you get in various quests. Also the Seeq race is back for A2 and now controllable characters that you can recruit.
Treating A2 just as an extension to previous Ivalice games will be unfair though for it does introduce new elements to the world. The most easily spotted being the new Grias race - the flying race that can reach high places on the field to grab those exotic treasure chests that contains items that you could not find in shops or bazaar. They proved to be quite useful on the field as compared to the slow Seeq race. A2 also reintroduced geomancer, one of the most useful jobs (in my opinion) and works in a complementary way with the Viera's Elementalist class. Due to the presence of two new races, there are quite a number of new job classes available for you to choose from and play around to create your favorite army. Not all of them are useful and some skills of different jobs are actually the same when executed on the battle field, so leaving you wondering why they have those skills and jobs anyway.
Story wise, it is similar to Tactics Advance about a boy or teenage got teleported to the world of Ivalice after opening an ancient tome. The objective was to fill up the pages and go back to the original world. Nothing much of a very interesting story. But the great improvement story wise are all the side quests that weave themselves either into the main story or run their own storylines themselves. Clearly in those storylines, the theme are more mature and also provides a very different angle for you to look at some of the story characters.
The battle system still plays on a grid structure, and you have to think about your direction of attack and elemental properties. The Judge system is back but less annoying than its predecessor as now you don't need to bail your allies out from the jail anymore but you lost the Judge protection and won't be able to revive your fallen allies inside the battle if you broke the law. Also a welcoming addition is the Clan Privileges you can maintain (and acquire through Clan Trials) throughout the battles if you comply with the laws. These Clan Privileges could prove to be tide turning if used appropriately in different battle context. Square-Enix has done away with most random battles in A2 but all battles are now mission and quest related - including the rare random battles that pops up according to what time of the year and what other clans are in control of the area. Most of the skills effect play out beautifully on the DS and the will tempt you just to apply them to look at how pretty they look on the small screens. However, in a very Tactics manner, from time to time you will run into very frustrating battles that really test your tactical skills and thinking even prior to the battles e.g. what to equip and what jobs to bring into the battles. Further certain job classes may not behave in the same way you remembered as in the past so you might need a bit of adjustments to get use to what they offer.
A2 has a variety of gameplay to make it less monotonous. The injection of FF XII's bazaar system is one of them although the titling of items are as random as ever and you will need a walkthrough to get what you want without wasting certain hard to come by materials. There is also the Clan Trial for you to obtain bonus Clan Privileges to give you an edge to the battles. Also the Auction House allows you to get goodies and cheaper prices for items if you control certain turfs under your name. These are all welcoming additional gameplay that offer a better variety of experience although for most of the time you don't necessarily need to complete them to complete the game.
In all, A2 is a welcoming and stable addition to the Tactics franchise but it certainly didn't revolutionise the franchise as the predecessors did. If there is another Tactics game for Square-Enix under the Final Fantasy banner, they will need to work harder to make sure that the franchise won't go stale.