Your local neighbourhood Scotsperson here with your first of at least three updates this week! I don’t know when this week’s bonus post will be, but we shall see, we shall see…Now, this week I’m taking a look at one of the biggest games in the GBA catalogue in the form of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but is Quantity trying to disguise the lack of Quality? Let’s have a peek.
Now, something that must be understood is that FFTA is not a sequel, remake or anything of the sort of the 1997 Original released on the PS1. It is a spin-off, which got a sequel recently, which I mentioned briefly in my Top Ten Heroes a while back. Now, the graphics are slightly better than the PS1 original, so that’s a plus. The maps are incredibly basic with 3D Isometric view, with a good amount of detail in the sprites. The one thing that creeps me out about the battlegrounds, and the Cities, is that they seem to be floating in an endless void – where’s the rest of the ground? Why are people and monsters fading in and out of existence? Where are they going? It’s just downright freaky…
Before I go on about stuff that doesn’t make sense, the story deserves a look at. It is basically a repeat of what I’ve said before in terms of quality. You play as Marche ((Or whatever you name the poor kid – how many immature people called him stuff like “Poophead” or stuff like that? I didn’t! Well…at least not on FFTA…*Hides Pokemon games*)), who alongside his two friends and brother accidently cast a magic spell from an old book which causes their town St. Ivalice to become the country…Ivalice. Then P…er, Marche teams up with a Moogle and his clan and adventures are had! Marche goes around Ivalice destroying crystals that hold the idyllic world together, with his friends not happy he wants to go back, so one stays the hell away from him, while helping him occasionally, before realising why he’s doing what he’s doing and assists, his brother is…well, he doesn’t really do anything major to the plot, and the other does all he can to screw with Marche’s plans. I found myself drawn into the story, and I loved it, the characters were given realistic reasons for doing what they were – much better than most villains nowadays…Seriously “I is teh evilness” is not a reason!
The gameplay is simple, you control one unit at a time who can only move a set distance and do one move per turn – repeat ad nauseum until you win, with the opponents doing the same. Nothing ground breaking, but I’ve always found games like this to be rather…well, lacking common sense. FFTA, Worms, Hogs of War ((Think 3D Worms with pigs)), Final Fantasy X – they all do the whole standing around taking turns rather patiently, when a smart person would attack as fast as they could, as hard as they could…a smart villain would just squish the heroes when they thought “Oh bugger, they’re getting stronger!”
The music…can be repetitive. You will be playing this game for several, several hours, and that’s just the main story – there are three hundred missions in total, and the music does start to get repetitive when you get further. Another thing that really baffles me is the Law system. Why are we listening to a bunch if tin-can idiots too lazy to walk? Why can we not use fire just because he said so? It…it’s not right! Thankfully, we can piss the Judges off with Anti-Law cards, cards that…nullify…laws…see? Told you it was simple. You can also make laws yourself to mess up your opponents. This is especially handy when you take on a team of archers, and you ban ranged weapons, as they must follow the exact same rules you do – breaking the rules means either a warning if the law is small enough, or sent to prison. Either one removes all your accumulated Judge Points – these are earned by doing something like killing an opponent, or doing an action that a Judge will reward you for ((This will depend on the law))
Judge points are also used to initiate combos and summon Totema’s – a race’s guardian god. The Hume’s, Moogle’s and Bangaa’s ((Lizard-type race)) do HP Damage while the Nu-Mou’s ((Dog-type…I think)) and Viera’s ((Female-only race with rabbit ears)) do MP Damage. IT takes 10 JP do initiate these ((The maximum amount)), and look suitably epic when they happen…although I did avoid using the MP-Damaging ones, to be fair…Another thing the game benefits from is a Quick-save option that allows you to save in the middle of a battle, but this is at the cost of using the Law Card system. This had to be a mess-up in the coding – why would people do that?! Having to choose between two of the most helpful option in the game is a bad thing! It may add to the tactics, but it also fuels my fury…And most others as well
For all the infuriating moments, as well as all the downright weird ones, this was a rather solid game. There were a variety of classes, the fights were varied enough, although the majority was “Kill all bad guys”, the law card system was good enough to add a new dimension to the tactics and the graphics rocked, even to this day. Go dig it out if you can
See ya Thursday