Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions Hands-On

We clock in some time with the import version of Square Enix's makeover of the classic title.

MAKUHARI--One of the games garnering a substantial crowd on the Square Enix Party showfloor, despite having just hit stores late last week, was Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, an update of the 32-bit classic strategy game. To celebrate the title's release Square has gone back to the original game and refreshed it for the PlayStation Portable, adding a host of refinements and new features so that a new generation of gamers can see the classic in a new light. Besides spending some time with the game on the show floor, we headed on out and picked up a retail copy as well. It's safe to say that Square's revamp of the classic appears to be handily living up to the beloved original.

The game stays faithful to the original title and features all of its characters and missions. However, Square has made a number of notable additions to the original experience that promise to make this great game even better. The game features enhanced graphics, 16:9 widescreen presentation, new quests, totally redone cutscenes, two new character classes, the "onion knight" and "dark knight," as well as new playable characters. The new characters hail from FFXII, Balthier, and the upcoming Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Luso. Finally, the game offers ad hoc multiplayer support for competitive matches against a friend or cooperative play that challenges you to work together to complete missions.

The core gamplay in FF Tactics is true to the original game and offers a deep, turn-based battle system and job system that lets you tweak out your fighting force to perfection. You'll still rely on a bevy of menus for your turn-based battling, but we expect many to be surprised by how well the 10-year-old gameplay holds up. The turn-based nature of the game makes it an easy adaptation for the multiplayer mode. One addition to the deliberate action is a button-mashing contest that comes up in competitive multiplayer matches. Whichever player manages to mash faster and win the minicompetition during a fight is rewarded with extra attack damage.

The presentation in Final Fantasy Tactics has gotten a swank makeover with cleaned-up polygonal visuals and sprites. The most striking addition to the mix is the revamped cinematics, which are beautifully redone with CG that mimics the lush art style of the game's hand-drawn 2D. The audio has been polished up some as well, for consistency's sake. In a session with the game's developers and the assembled press at the show, we were pleased to hear that the US version of the game is due to get some nice perks over the original domestic game. A new localization and full audio for the cinematics are being added to the game for the stateside release.

Based on what we've played and seen so far, Square Enix has done right with its remake of the classic title. The slick update to the game's presentation is terrific. On the content side, the additions to the single-player experience seem to have been done carefully enough to not imbalance the challenging experience. The addition of multiplayer is a welcome cherry on top of the whole package. Fans of the original game owe it to themselves to track the domestic release of the title so they know the exact moment they need to go pick it up. The import is a nice teaser, but it's obviously not the easiest game to buy and play through considering it's all in Japanese. Newcomers who've heard the crazy talk of the game's mythic status but haven't had the chance to try it out will need to snag it, as it's a must-play. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions has just released in Japan, with a US release slated for this October. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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48 comments
FadeVermont
FadeVermont

Ya... all square seems to come up with this days are terrible new games and remakes to hide their suck. However... Tactics mutliplayer? That kicks ass. Can't wait. But I still don't forgive Square for having 1 good remake out of every 10 crappy titles

dryden555
dryden555

another remake after it was already remade for PS? Why not a new FFT game please

MarkB1975
MarkB1975

I bought a PSone to play Final Fantasy Tactics. I have played the game through at least 5 times from start to finish. I am sure I have logged closed to 1,000 hours playing the original. When the PSP was released, I was excited because surely they would port FFT to it. I had no idea that they were going to update and enhance the game as well. You can bet that I will get this game the day it is released in the U.S. Thanks, Squenix :)

kyo_tetsuei
kyo_tetsuei

The button mashing I think is going to result in a lot of dropped PSPs... Otherwise, I'm all in!

RockHardNuts
RockHardNuts

This game...............(reminisces) Some of my fondest memories on the old PS include me locking myself in what was known as the "dungeon" room and playing All the Final Fantasy series over and over again. I'm now half-blind( a little exaggeration) because of the pitch blackness in that room, but that's not the point. The point is that this game was and still is great and I'll definitely be picking this game up and putting some value back into my PSP. Looks like I'll have to get a new coaster.......

TheAeroV
TheAeroV

Finally, multiplayer head to head; I've been waiting for a good fight against others.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I've been dying to play this game again since the death of my original PSOne and the failure of my PSX emulator. I still have the original black-base disc and I take very good care of it but alas, I can no longer play it... until October. This might be the first game I actually put on reserve since Zelda: OoT...

mackattack777
mackattack777

I LOVED The Original i put some where between 50 and 80 hours just killing things... I cannot wait for it to come stateside. my original was also the first game i ever got for the PS1(and also one of my favorite RPG's along with Azure dreams) but the CD was damaged (scratched by a friend being dumb)....so.... i bought another 1, i still have the disc but..... the memory card my save was on was lost during one of my moves (yeah that really bites) thank god i will never lose my memory stick (knock on wood) :)

barleybosh
barleybosh

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

p00phead
p00phead

Final Fantasy on any console is great except for xbox-360.

Leinaro
Leinaro

The king of turn-based tactic warfare is back indeed. I agree that PSX FFT was storywise-brilliant, gameplay-addictive and tactically fun. I spent nearly 600 hours on the PSX version of this game. I even still play it on my PS3 (lol). If all the new features I've heard of turn out to be true, I'll definitely buy a PSP just to play this one game once again.

angkawsw
angkawsw

simply the best of the best... Tactics didnt get 10/10 in the hall of fame for nothing ^.^

brokentrash
brokentrash

Wow, lovermanxxx's comment made me want to play this game more than the hands on. I never even saw a copy of the first game and not having a psp pains me so much more reading. As for my FFTA2 (yes I have a DS) looks like I'm plaing with Aladin T-T

lovermanxxx
lovermanxxx

OK, back in the day, when the PSP was first mentioned, I thought "awesome, Tactics on the go!". Then the PSP was released. 2 years later, I finally get a PSX emu on there. I rip my original FFT (my old PSX is dead but I kept this CD for memories sake) and play it on my PSP. Heaven. Then I here about the remake. Remakes scare me, because 9 times out of 10 they trash everything that you treasured about the game. But surely this would be different? It is. This is the 1 time in 10... no 1 time in 50 that the remake takes the original and makes it what you always dreamed it could be. I have been playing the import game for a week now and cannot put it down. I love FFT. If you have spent time with this game... and i mean real TIME, like over 100hrs, nothing prepares you for when you first hear the title sequence tinkling before the main orchestra comes in. This is game is poetry. NOTHING can compare to the storyline. The very best synapsis of this game was right here on GameSpot for the original PSX release, they said "If Shakespeare ever made a videogame, it would be Final Fantasy Tactics". It IS that good. It IS that deep and involving. You WILL love this game and spend hours upon hours upon hours of your life on this game. And that was the original... this one is even better.

mikeesco
mikeesco

This game is gonna be sick. Its hard to find the original Tactics for PS. I would buy a PSP just for this game. The Original was a great game, lots of options, the freedom to make your char. however you want and a story thats good enough for a movie.If they do this game right and keep the gameplay and story but up the graphics ill drop my DS. GBA Tactics was too childish but the screenshots of this game are pimpin.

Courtawulf4
Courtawulf4

between this and D&D tactics I may have to think about buying one of these things eventually. hopefully they take a big drop in price between now and October.

FstBrk342
FstBrk342

sadly i missed the OG, but i played the gba game and liked the system, yeah i know its supposed to be crap or watever in comparison but i thought it was pretty fun and very long, although the story was trash the gameplay made up for it

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Gosh I loved this game back in the day...I remember I was soo poor at the time that when I got my first job the first three games I bought were FF7, FF8, FFT...Three of my still favorite games of all time heck I even admit I like FFT much more then I did with FF7. Oh by the way the person who said FFT advanced was a great game...you need a good wack in the head, FFT compared to FFT advanced was like comparing super mario brothers to Resident Evil...

peace-fist
peace-fist

This is the first PSP game that I've been looking forward to as much as a 5-star console game. If this game was EXACTLY like the old, I'd still by it. All the extras, especially the dark knight , THE CO-OP, and VS will be awsome. (And wasn't there supposed to be a way to unlock the dark knight class in the old version by mastering all classes?)

cherrybomb257
cherrybomb257

The audio has been POLISHED UP? HUH? Guess this guy should check out gamebrink's comparison...

Rakuho
Rakuho

All i hope that they changed is the ability to store more playable characters in your party, that's the only thing that frustrated me in the psx version. I wanted to have a character for every class and have all of the story characters. I always used to kick out worker 8 and feel so bad... good times.

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

I hope they have revamped the summoning cinematics. The original was a little lame.

ddddd388
ddddd388

looks quite alot like the ps1 version (sure is a load of difference...)

Lightfellower
Lightfellower

Wonderful wonderful game. One of the best SRPG ever released.

Dualmask
Dualmask

Um...yup, I'm getting it. There are few if any console games that give as wonderful an experience as the original FFT did. It's one of the few PSOne games I still have and actively play. It had one of the most in-depth stories in video games and supremely deep gameplay to match.

Dante200X
Dante200X

leafdj worte: ObiKKa: The GBA game was a disgrace. The psx game was 100x better. I expect them to bring back the other awsome psx classics now, I'd love to see Legend of Dragoon or Star Ocean 2 redone. They had a lot of potential. Now I just need a psp =[ Eh, no, the GBA version was really awesome, hence why they're making a sequel.

FallenAngel
FallenAngel

Does anyone know if Cloud will be a secret playable character again in this one? I'm guessing so, but would love some confirmation. Pfilosophy: I seriously doubt GTA3 fanatics would have the patience to play through classics such as this one, let alone 'get it'. :)

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

My PSP used to collect dust... and it still will until this, Castlevania, and Star Ocean come out but oh my god FFT for my PSP?! If you people ever allowed yourselves to look before GTA3, you'd know how amazing this game is.

sacatash
sacatash

This is an amazing game, a classic game and a must buy game for all you young ones who have not played it. Please do not compare this to the Final Fantasy tactics for GBA. The story in this game is serious(although the translation of the North American version was really butchered that dampen the experience). I still have the Final Fantasy Tactics game for PSone but it would be nice to play it on my PSP and customizing your warriors with the very deep job system.

-Jad-
-Jad-

I might.... the game got Ad-hoc or Infractructure? The game look sweet either way.

ASHinROY
ASHinROY

I certainly hope the game gets a new official translation for the stateside release. I loved Tactics, but some of the bizarre grammar and diction errors sort of tarnished the game's perfection.

ihma
ihma

ive been thinking of ordering the jp one but if i might wait, not sure

Odin897
Odin897

Oh man....the psp keeps looking sweeter and sweeter.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

Seems like SE is showing alot of love for the PSP. This will be a must buy for me, along with alot of other SE games coming to the PSP. Glad mines is still working after all those times I dropped it with the game shooting out like a missle. Still the same PSP I got from launch still kicking strong.

Runningflame570
Runningflame570

Well, I had always expected it to be localized, but its nice to have a release date. Now, I own the original so I've got less of an incentive to buy it..but I probably still will (if I can afford anything at that time).

raziellich
raziellich

october? Thank the gods! We have a release date! YES YES YES!!!!!!

MaNN86
MaNN86

I really want to play this game. Too bad I don't have a PSP. Even Star Ocean 1+2 is coming to PSP now.

leafdj
leafdj

ObiKKa: The GBA game was a disgrace. The psx game was 100x better. I expect them to bring back the other awsome psx classics now, I'd love to see Legend of Dragoon or Star Ocean 2 redone. They had a lot of potential. Now I just need a psp =[

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

I'd played the game on the GBA a bit, & absolutely HATED the buy/sell menu system experience in it. It was so clunky, & even many RPG games on the consoles that are far older than the GBA is, have better, & quick buy/sell menu system. That issue, along with that incredibly stupid feature of putting every town, & other venues into a spot of your own choice in the land of Ivalice, amongst other issues probably, were what turned me off from this game. Probably won't buy this game at all.

ItotheCtotheE
ItotheCtotheE

Let's just hope they fix the slowdown. Not that it bothers me in the vids I've seen. But it'd still be nice to have it gone.

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

The great Tactics come over to PSP, I definitely buying this one.

Player1_HDS
Player1_HDS

:( :( :( :( now the PSP kids have one game on me that I wish I had.

Beesond
Beesond

October! AWESOME! Thats still aways a way, but I was thinking this was gonna be a summer 2008 game! Thats what I get for thinking lol.

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

US release in October?! Oh my god...