E3 '07: Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions Hands-On

Square Enix's classic turn-based strategy role-playing game is coming to the PSP, and we got a peek at the localized version.


Final Fantasy Tactics

The original Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation was a classic role-playing game, bringing an entirely new look and feel to gameplay. It utilized turn-based combat with a host of characters who could assume various different roles and abilities based on a flexible job system. Earlier this year, the game was rereleased on the PlayStation Portable in Japan and is set to head to American shores in October. While we've spent some extended time with the Japanese version of the game, today was the first time we were able to spend some time with the localized version of the game.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

While we didn't have a ton of time to spend with this admittedly incredibly deep game, we did have a chance to learn about two of the new jobs: the onion knight and the dark knight. After loading up a late-game save, we transformed main character Ramza Beoulve into the onion knight, a job class where one's main claim to fame is that he can be outfitted with any weapon in the game. As an onion knight, Ramza's physical attacks were incredibly strong; unfortunately, the onion knight is otherwise pretty limited in terms of his abilities, so unless you can get up close and personal with your enemies, the onion knight is handicapped in combat. Though the dark knight wasn't playable in the saved game we loaded, we understand his powers will allow him to weapon bash opponents or even reduce a character's magic points or hit points and add it to your own. Naturally, both the onion knight and the dark knight are late-game jobs you earn, and in their own way, each seems like he'll be very valuable to your party.

Beyond the new characters, Tactics for the PSP looks and feels much like its PS ancestor. It has turn-based combat between parties that you can change in between each encounter and a complicated multicharacter storyline that plays out like it might have come from Ivalice's equivalent of William Shakespeare. Adding some weight to that storyline are brand new cutscenes that have a gorgeous hand-drawn look to them. Also, we understand that the cutscenes will contain full voice acting in the final build of the game.

It's great to see Square Enix bringing back a beloved classic strategy game in a handheld format, and we'll be keeping you apprised of Final Fantasy Tactics' progress in the months leading up to its October release.

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