The best tactical RPG ever made and a True Classic, True Score=9.2 **Bonus Section Beginners Guide and Tips Included**

User Rating: 9 | Final Fantasy Tactics (PSOne Books) PS
Final Fantasy Tactics was the first SRPG I ever completed not long after it originally came out. And today it still stands as the best SRPG I ever played. Being as it had been such a long time since I first played it I decided to replay FFT to refresh my memory, and I am glad I did. The gameplay is just as addicting and the story is just as intriguing as the day it came out. Anyone who is a fan of the genre or RPGs in general owes it to themselves to play this game. If you still aren't convinced, read on.

***Extensive Review, skip to the Conclusion for an overview of the game***

Game Play 9.5

Controls (Great)

>> The controls in FFT don't seem very user friendly at first, but once you get the hang of them you'll realize they are perfect for the level of strategy presented in this game. It is easy to see when everybody is going to take their turn and when a spell would be cast before you cast it (spells have charge times in this game). This is just one of many ways the game gives you to analyze what action you are going to take in order to achieve the best outcome. All of the menus are also easy to navigate and intuitive.

The only issue w/ the controls is the camera. You can rotate it to one of four different viewpoints and zoom in or out. The problem is that sometimes your vision will be blocked from all viewpoints making it difficult to see what you are doing. This won't happen very often, but it is still an annoying problem when you run into it.

Customization (Exceptional)

>> The customization of FFT is rivaled by that of Ogre Battle 64 (another amazing game) and probably a little better. FFT perfects the job class based system (knight, wizard, thief, and so on). Every character has five equipment slots (2 weapon/shield, hat/helmet, armor, and accessory) and five ability slots (primary skill, secondary skill, reaction, support, and movement). The secondary skill slot allows any character to use the skill set from not only their class, but any other class they are trained in. They can also equip any reaction (ie. counter), support (for example w/ equip sword you could wield a sword w/ a priest), or movement (ie. to increase movement) ability previously learned in other classes. And w/ all of the unique abilities and skill sets in the various classes in this game you can build characters in any manner that you please. This is very very addicting and satisfying from beginning to end. There are also several characters w/ job classes and skill sets that are unique to them adding even more depth to the customization.

Battle System (Exceptional)

>> Being a tactical RPG, battles are played out on grid based battle fields. Each characters turn is purely determined by there speed, so if one character is much faster than another (or has haste cast on them for instance) they could get two turns while the other character might only get only one. Many SRPGs these days have characters attack in teams effectively taking this element out of play. I think having turns determined by speed adds much more strategy. As mentioned earlier many skills (such as spells) have charge times, so it is important to make sure the characters spells won't still be charging when the targeted foe gets their turn.

There is also a lot of strategy that goes into physically attacking an enemy. You can heighten the chance of hitting an enemy by attacking from the sides or the back or from higher ground. A targeted foe can heighten there chances of dodging the attack by equipping a shield, having a higher speed rating, or w/ some reaction abilities. Prior to attacking an enemy the game will tell you your chances of hitting and what the enemies reaction ability is (for instance if there counter attack would kill you, attacking them might not be a good idea). All of these elements in the battle system flow perfectly together and emulate battle more accurately than any other SRPG I have ever played. Intuitively, this is the best battle system I have ever encountered in an SRPG and maybe ever (though that is up for debate).

Puzzles & Mini Games (Ok)

>> In FFT there isn't any exploring, just a world map and dots that represent towns and other locations. You simply click on a dot to move there. I found the simplicity of this refreshing, but it doesn't allow for much variety to the gameplay. The only variety there is, is the rumors you can read (which are usually centered around your actions) and propositions you can accept in bars. Propositions are where you send some party members out for a job for a set amount of days (a day is the amount of time it takes to move from one dot to the next). During this time you can't use these party members in battle and you have to go back to the same city to get them back. These jobs only yield job points, money, and some interesting text, but they are still a fun change of pace in this game. Any puzzles in FFT take place during the battle and are extremely rare.

Graphics 8.3

Background & Environment (Good)

>> The backdrops in FFT are very clear and colorful, but yet very simplistic. They are just a small step up from SNES graphics. After my second time playing through the game I never got tired of them though and that is all that matters, they are easy on the eyes.

Characters (Good)

>> Even though the character models in FFT aren't extremely detailed the sprites actually look quite nice and like the backdrops are very colorful and clear. Each job class and story character has a very unique look adding personality. However, the characters in this game are also missing most of there face (mouths for example). I am not sure who was the genius behind this idea (as I have seen it in other games as well), but I personally don't find characters missing half of their face very appealing.

Special Effects (Great)

>> There are only a couple CG cutscenes in this game, one at the beginning and one at the end, and while they look nice for obvious reasons they don't play a huge role in this game. The spell effects are excellent though and actually look out of place in the presence of the lower quality character models and backdrops.

Sound 8.5

Music (Great)

>> The music of FFT has a darker tone to it than that of any other FF game. This change up is nice and gave battles (especially some of the story battles) a very intense and creepy, but appropriate, feel. It isn't quite as catchy as the music in other games, but it is certainly memorable.

Sound Effects (Good)

>> There is nothing complex about the sound effects in FFT. In fact, some of them sound like they were produced w/ props such as crumpled paper and clanking sticks. Every time a girl dies they make the same sound and the same goes w/ guys and monsters. This aside, some of the sounds in FFT are really cool and there is a lot of attention to detail. When appropriate for the setting you will hear the sound (be it a simplistic sound) of the wind blowing, the trees swaying, and so on. The sound the dark holy spell makes when it is cast is appropriately creepy (just like the music) and is especially satisfying.

Voice Acting (N/A)

>> No voice acting in this game, sorry.

Story 9.3

Plot (Great)

>> The plot in FFT follows Ramza (or whatever you name him) Beoulve, the youngest brother in a very important upper class family. The story in FFT is all about politics. There is a lot of betrayal and a lot of power hungry souls in the world of Ivalice. In fact, I kind of had a problem w/ this. It did seem a little unrealistic how immoral almost everybody in this game is aside from Ramza and a few others. A lot of people could have saved them selves if they just had a shred of common sense. That aside, this is a great plot w/ a lot of twists and turns that keeps you on your toes at all times.

Characters (Excellent)

>> You will encounter several unique characters on your adventure through Ivalice who are extremely useful additions to your battle party. As I said earlier, these characters will each have a job class and skills that are unique to them and most of the time better than the skill sets offered up by the standard job classes. Most of these characters are also developed quite well. There is one particular character you get later in the game who is the most over powered BA I have ever encountered in a video game. For the most part FFT is a difficult game, but after you get this character (which will go un-named) the game becomes very easy. He's that good. This is a good (because it is so fun to play w/ him) and a bad thing (because he makes the game too easy and is kind of cheap).

Writing (Great)

>> All of the lines and dialogue in FFT is very intelligent and well written. I loved the way Ramza and other characters would banter about morals and such during the heat of battle. It was a great way of presenting some of the story. The only issue I had with the script was w/ some translation errors, which were rare.

Value 9.7

Main Story (Excellent)

>> The main story in FFT will last anywhere from 40-70 hours. This is great even for RPGs. The customization and battle system is really addicting and some people will spend more time than others training there characters and building up there abilities. This is the reason for the large variability in amount of time it takes to finish this game. I have even heard of people going over a hundred hours of play time in one play through. It is really as long as you want it to be.

Sidequests & Secrets (Excellent)

>> In FFT there are several secret characters, sidequests, and items. Every map has items that are hidden on certain squares that you can find by moving on that square w/ the move find item movement ability. You can buy other rare items at fur shops if you poach the correct monsters by killing them w/ the secret hunt support ability equipped. Combined w/ the propositions I mentioned earlier there is a lot to do in this game. Completing 100% of this game would take a long time.

Replay Value (Great)

>> As I said at the beginning of this review, this is my second time through this game, the first time being shortly after the game was released in the US. In truth, there is no real reason to play this game multiple times (such as harder difficulties, unlockable story sequences, and so on), but something about it just brought me back. And that something is the addictive nature of the gameplay. You're always striving to make your party better and on another play through you could try using different characters and strategies. Other than Bioware titles, the only other titles I ever replayed were Chrono Trigger, FF7, and Growlanser II (which was extremely short and built around its replay value). Now that is some elite company.

Tilt 9.7

Cool Factor (Excellent)

>> With all the different classes in this game comes many different methods for dispatching your enemies. If you wanted to you could turn your enemy into a frog, poison them, turn them into a chicken, and them petrify them. You could also summon Bahamut to incinerate them or just simply stab them in the back. I think FFT has the best job classes I have ever seen as well, such as a Holy Swordsmen, Arc Knight, and so on.

Fun Factor (Excellent)

>> I have already said it in this review several times, but I can't stress this enough. The battle system and customization in FFT is amazing and extremely addicting. Time absolutely flies when playing this game, more so than any other game I have ever played. Playing this game for just an hour is nearly impossible. You must play this game to truly appreciate what I am saying. Just be careful about starting this game if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, it can be a life destroyer because it is so addictingly fun.

Other Details (Great)

>> My biggest issue w/ FFT was probably the fact that you can't save during battles. The reason this is a problem is because the battles in FFT can be extremely long, even random encounters. So it is not a good idea to start a battle unless you know you have the time to finish it.

There are many other nuances that add to the greatness of this game though. For instance, the set up of each battle in this game had a lot of thought put into it making every single fight (even random encounters) feel unique and fresh. IMO, this is a huge reason for the success this game has had.

There are also several other little details in this game that most people who play this game never fully comprehend. For instance every character has a brave stat, faith stat, and zodiac symbol (which determines their compatibility w/ other chars) associated w/ them. These factors can make this game very tough to pick up and play. With this in mind I have included a bonus section in this review, to help people get started.

**Bonus Section** Beginners Guide and Tips

>>This section of the guide is to help people pick up and play this game with less hang ups. There is much more to the game than this, but these are the tips that I felt are the most important and simple. So hopefully those of you planning to play this game find the following tips helpful.

-JP (job points) are achieved for every action taken (besides moving or defending) and are necessary for learning new abilities and skills. Your characters will not only gain job points in the class they're in, but the classes their comrades are in (be it a smaller amount). So make sure you have a nice variety of job classes in your battle party. Learn the Gained JP Up support ability for everybody to really speed things up. Also, keep in mind that you do get experience and JP for attacking your own party members and through skills such as accumulate for the starting squire class. Never waste a turn and a chance to gain exp and jp, especially early in the game.

-Make sure to have someone master the thief skill as early as possible, stealing is one of the best ways to get some of the best equipment in the game. Support skills such as concentrate and martial arts further increase your chances to steal an item. Also make sure to have someone who can incapacitate your enemy (oracles and time mages are the best for this) to make stealing from them easier.

- Generic (not including unique story characters) male characters have a higher PA (physical attack) and more HP (hit points). Female characters have a higher MA (magic attack) and more MP (magic points). Also characters can steal from and charm members of the opposite sex more effectively.

-A chars brave stat determines a chars chance to counterattack and the power of some weapons (the higher the brave the better). However, low brave characters have a better chance at finding rare items w/ move find item. A chars faith determines a chars ability to cast magic (especially status inflicting magic) and have magic cast on them (good or bad). Brave and Faith can be permanently altered (an increase or decrease of 4 in one battle permanently alters the stat by 1) w/ skills by the mediator class or Ramza (for brave). Careful though, too high of a faith (greater than 84) or too low of a brave (less than 16) stat will cause that member to leave your party permanently, w/ exception to Ramza ofcourse.

-Combining the last two tips, generic male chars w/ a high brave make better physical attackers while generic female chars w/ a high faith make better spell casters.

>>Well, hopefully this helps for at least getting started w/ this game. After taking the time to learn the system you will definitely find this game worth while.



+Extremely addicting customization and gameplay is on a level of its own
+Excellent cast of characters w/ well written dialogue
+Dark and political plot is a nice change for FF games and keeps you guessing
+Long main quest w/ a ton of sidequests/secrets


-No save points during battles, which can be very long
-No exploration limits the variety of the gameplay
-In battle camera is limited
-Complex gameplay can be hard to jump into, though I hope I have helped alleviate this w/ my beginners tips :)

Gameplay (20%) – 9.5
Graphics (15%) – 8.3
Sound (15%) – 8.5
Story (20%) - 9.3
Value (15%) – 9.7
Tilt (15%) – 9.7

Final Score – 9.2

>> I don't care how many times I have said it, the customization and gameplay in this game is built and executed perfectly and makes this the most addicting offline RPG I have ever played. Hours just melt away while deciding how to build your party and each party member and then training up their skills. This is complemented by a dark story filled w/ a ton of political intrigue and intelligent dialogue. And no matter how you find this game it is worth the price of admission due to the large amount of time you will inevitably put into it. This games graphics and sound effects are by no means revolutionary (especially by today's standards), but they don't take away from the game either. If you are reading this review then it is likely you are a fan of RPGs. With that in mind this game is an absolutely must play for any self respecting gamer.