Also Known As: FFTA, Tactics Advance
Genre: Strategy RPG
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Allegiance: Square ENIX
Vintage: 2003
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Katelin
Sleeping forgotten by time a magical book is said to exist that has the power to bend and change the world to the owners will. Somewhere in the small town of Ivalice this legendary book’s power is about to awaken by a young boy named Mewt. Transforming the snowy town into a desert kingdom and drawing all his friends into the “Final Fantasy”.

Weapons Expert Report by: Katelin 
Story/Premise
Game Play
Impact
Visual
Audio
1.00
7.00
1.00
8.00
9.00
 
Overall 7.00
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: GameBoy AdvanceBarrowing largely from other recent Squaresoft/Square ENIX titles Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is more of a Strategy RPG mesh of a number of games rather than a sequel to the hit Final Fantasy Tactics for Playstation. The game play is fun, but at the same time it has some major glaring flaws that I found really hurt this game. Mostly I was disappointed with the story line and the main characters. You, as the main character are one of Mewt’s friends and you wish to go back to the original Ivalice because, well “just because”. It’s a bit ironic to make a game about a character who lives in a fantasy world who doesn’t want to escape reality, but instead wants to return to it (which is why I think a lot of people like RPGs, because of the rich fantasy element).

The world map works much like the original Final Fantasy Tactics with a few new features. Borrowing heavily from Square’s Legend of Mana “Artifact Placement” system, FFTA‘s “Region Create” system involves placing symbols of each area onto a map to form a customized Ivalice. One of the nicer additions, is the ability to see other clans on the map allowing you to avoid or hunt them down as you please. Along with the standard clans who appear in red, there are blue clans (usually triggered by missions) where you have the choice to fight or to talk your way out of a fight instead which at times can lead to better rewards than wiping out everything in your path in a blind rage of blood lust.

The new job system borrows much from Final Fantasy 9 in the way you use and learn skills by equipping different weapons and armor then gain AP until you master it and can use those skills freely. I had mixed feeling about this one, since it was hard to equip weapons and armor that I didn’t want just for certain abilities, and at the same time I liked it as the old system of storing job points and choosing abilities made it a bit easy to create powerful characters early on by choosing the right abilities. Job classes are broken up into different races instead of just having humans with all the classes, there’s now a few new playable races besides monsters including: Moogles, Nu Mou, Bangaa, and Viera (which are the only females in the game with the exception of Ritz). Each race has their own unique set of jobs some of which are shared by other classes (such as Moogles and Nu Mou can be time mages, but humans can not). This move makes customizing characters a lot more limited than it was in the original Tactics, as you now cannot combine skills and job abilities from such a wide range of abilities which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about creating super powered characters.

With the exception of the new classes and skills the actual battles play out pretty much true to the original Tactics game. It was a little disappointing to see such a poor AI however, and a to see the need for good strategy replaced with Laws. Laws are basically rules which disallow the usage of skills during a set battle. This can range from not effecting you at all, to being extremely annoying depending on how your party is set up and what the laws are. Such as a battle where you are not allowed to use silence vs a group of casters. It’s not really a big deal right? However, when you must battle a group of monsters and there is a law in effect that prevents damage to monsters (including status effects like poison or charm) then you are in big trouble unless you have a proper anti law card.

I really wasn’t expecting much from this game with the way Squaresoft/Square ENIX has been throwing Final Fantasy games together, however I was suprised to find myself having fun with this game dispite some of the glaring downsides that the weak story bring, or the annoyances of working around Laws that disable abilities. I highly recommend at least giving this one a try if your are a fan of the Strategy RPG genre.