8.6

While not as plot-heavy as other FF titles, Tactics Advance delivers great combat, a good job system and lots of quests.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is more of an update than a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation, a game which was criminally never released here in the UK. The protagonist, Marche finds himself in the world of Ivalice, a world familiar to players of other FFs such as Final Fantasy XII. Marche becomes the reluctant head of a clan, and group of warriors from different races who seek treasures, fight other clans and get people out of danger (or put them in danger). After metting with his old friends, Marche has to go against his friends wishes to restore reality to the way it should be, no matter how much they, or he, wants this world to stay.

That's about as plot-heavy as the game gets. There are a few revalations with the Royal Family, Judges and this strange character who is invicible and crystals which all are incoporated into Marche's story. The story is advanced at your own pace, as you can choose to dip into the story missions or side-quests at the pub. Side-quests are pretty obscure, but provide experience, Blue Magic, money, armour, weapons and whatnot. The weapon and armour shops are never really upgraded much after the start of the game, so side-quests are pretty important. Your clan also increases in members and these members can learn abilities from a weapon or armour with AP (like Final Fantasy IX) and once they've learned the required amount, a new job is unlocked. You can also pick one type of skill (White Magic, Ninja Skill etc.) to use as secondary techniques in battlel, so say you had a Moogle who had mastered some White Magic and has now become a Black Mage, but picking White Magic as a secondary skill, your black mage can sue Black and White Magic in battle but only the skills its mastered.

Battles themselves are quite long are involve a lot of tactics, as the name implies. You position your characters at the start, tell them where to move to be in range for an attack (different moves have different ranges) and which way you face to reduce the percentage of being hit. So, there's a lot of planning involved, except when you're fighting enemies far weaker than you, you can just go up and hammer them into the ground. By following the rules of engagement set by the judges, you can get Judge Points (JP) which are spent on combos or Totema (the games Summons of sorts) but breaking rules can lead to imprisonment. Its a fairly complicated system that you can get that hang of easily.

The graphics and sound will be covered in the same paragraph. You have your character sprites which look decent, the backgrounds look pretty detailed as well. The menus are nice to look at the character potraits look ace. The music is so-so. There are a few memorable tunes, sound effects of magic, attacks missing, slashing and characters grunting when they are K.O.ed. The music and graphics aren't great and are sub-standard for a game bearing the Final Fanatsy title.

What it lacks in presentation, FFTA makes up for in gameplay and sidequests. Making the perfect clan, mastering all the moves available, finding secret treasures and completing all the side missions will take a very long time and RPG fans will have great fun with this game. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a great game and is suited for people wanting to kill time, in a car journey perhaps, and RPG/tactics fans.

Discussion