Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Hands-On

We've played the import of this strategy RPG before, but this was our first time with the English-language version.

Nintendo's extensive lineup of Game Boy Advance games at E3 included the domestic version of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the strategy RPG released earlier in the year in Japan. The game appears to be ready for prime time, since what we saw of the English translation was all coherent--and the rest of the game was identical to the Japanese release.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a follow-up, not so much a sequel to, the classic PlayStation strategy RPG. Like in the older game, the gameplay involves controlling a small squad of fighters and magic users on an isometric playing field. There are more than two dozen different "jobs," or character classes, in the game, and some of the more advanced ones require you to first master the skills of simpler jobs. There are also five different character races in the game, each with different proficiencies, so the end result is that there's a lot of variety in how you can develop your squad.

The premise of the game is reminiscent of The Neverending Story, as the main character, a boy named Marche, finds himself in a strange land after opening a magical tome. There he'll meet new friends and foes and will have to find a way back to his homeland. We've previewed Final Fantasy Tactics Advance extensively already, so we weren't surprised by what we saw of the game at E3. We just want it to hurry up and come out in the United States, which will happen soon enough.

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