Final Fantasy Tactics is a strategy/RPG by Square, released in 1998. Finally we had a Final Fantasy for us war strategy fans to enjoy. The game is set in the kingdom of Ivalice during a period of war. The story follows Ramza Beoulve, a young cadet who finds himself thrust into the middle of the conflict. Square utilized the job system of Final Fantasy V for the development of the party members. Most of our favorite Final Fantasy V jobs were carried over as well. The graphics are a mix of 2D and 3D; the game sprites are 2D and the battlefields are isometric 3D. The development of the game was mostly by developers of Ogre Battle, most partciularly Tactics Ogre.
Everyone knows SquareEnix has been into remaking their classic hits lately. They did it with Final Fantasy Tactics as well. :) In October of 2007, SquareEnix released Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the Sony PSP. The game features gorgeous fully animated CGI cel-shaded sequences, utilizing the same art style as the original character art. There are two new character classes; the Onion Knight, taken from Final Fantasy III, and the Dark Knight, which was previously only available to one character, Gafgarion. A couple characters from other Final Fantasy games can join Ramza. There's Balthier from Final Fantasy XII. Balthier is said to feature an important role, branded as a heretic in search of the Cache of Glabados. Another new character is a monster hunter named Luso from Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
Fun fact: Final Fantasy Tactics was not Squaresoft's first strategy release. It was Front Mission for the Super Famicon in 1995. And then their first fantasy strategy release was Bahamut Lagoon for the Super Famicon in 1996. Both of these games were only released in Japan.
The story takes place in the kingdom of Ivalice, a country where castles and forts are the stronghold of nobles, the church is a powerful religio-political entity, and warring factions remain in the struggle for dominance over the land. At this time, nobles regarded commoners and peasants as animals, and most commoners have given up life, choosing to revolt against the nobles for having abandoned them after the war.
The main character's name by default is Ramza Beoulve, the third-youngest of four siblings who is conscious about his surroundings and remains firm in his quest to seek the truth behind the war. He is joined by a cadre of characters which include Delita Hyral, his closest friend; and Agrias Oaks, the holy knight in charge of protecting Princess Ovelia, candidate heir to the throne of Ivalice.
Final Fantasy Tactics begins with Ivalice just recovering from the Fifty Year War against Ordalia, and the power vacuum caused by the death of its ruler soon after, King Omdoria, sparked another conflict. Princess Ovelia and the younger Prince Orinas are both candidates to the throne, with the former supported by Prince Goltana of the Black Lion, and the latter by Queen Ruvelia and her brother, Prince Larg of the White Lion. This erupted into a full scale war known as the "War of the Lions", with either side using whatever means possible to secure their place in the throne, this included bearing an illegitimate child, killing other possible heirs, betrayal, assassination and false identities.
Heh, well a whole book could be written on 'tips & strategy' for Final Fantasy Tactics. I'm just going to give you a few useful tidbits. There are a few abilities in the game that are so beneficial that it's almost cheating.
• The Ninja's Two Swords is so deadly that it often defeats an enemy in one turn.
• The Knight's Break Mind/Magic/Power/Speed works on everyone - even the final boss! Combine it with the Ninja's Two Swords for double the damage and the Archer's Concentrate so that they never miss.
• The Monk's Chakra can restore MP way early in the game before stores sell Ethers.
• The Summoner's Golem completely blocks ALL physical attacks (except monster attacks and special attacks).
• Instantly protect your whole party from attacks and spells by using the Samurai's Kiyomori to cast Shell and Protect on everyone.
Final Fantasy Tactics is absolutely fantastic. The battles are very entertaining! Just like Final Fantasy V, the job class system adds a great deal of replay value. The soundtrack remains one of my favorites. A lot of people complain about the complexity of the story. I disagree; I don't think it's too complex. The only thing I dislike about the story is coming back to it after not playing the game for a long time. To suddenly jump back into it... "Who the hell is that? Why's he doing that? Why did he kill her? The Zodiac-what? Who slept with my mom? What the heck is going on here!?", and so on. It can get crazy. Anyway, if you're a fan of strategy/RPG games, I highly recommend playing Final Fantasy Tactics. Although I can't say much for the PSP remake since I have yet to play it. And I probably won't because I'm too poor for a PSP.
I'm impatient; especially when it comes to learning how to play a strategy/RPG for the first time. I don't feel like reading the manual or sitting through the tutorial. I just want to pop in the game and play it. That was the case with Final Fantasy Tactics. And in some ways I regret doing that, heh. Have you ever discovered a new feature in a game after you consider yourself a 'master' of it? Haha, well, that happened to me a lot with Final Fantasy Tactics. I'm playing it one day and "Holy cow! If you press left on the attack menu, you get a cue listing the next character moves!", and other little things like that.
Again, the variety of the gameplay is really great. Back in 2000 when mailing lists were the thing, I was a part of a classic gaming mailing list. I remember we would share our preferred jobs throughout the game and I found it very interesting. Hearing about what other people thought was the best job class combo made me want to play the game again to try it out for myself.
I have two copies of the game: the original and the Greatest Hits release. Why? Because for a long time I totally lost my original copy. It was nowhere to be found. Out of desperation I purchased the Greatest Hits version. I eventually found my original copy, and in an obvious place I didn't bother to check. Heh, sucks for me. At least I only lost 20 bucks out of the fiasco.