Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Final Fantasy Tactics Review (PSX)

Final Fantasy is one of the great RPG series of our times. In the 90's a great little title was released for the Super Famicom called Tactics Ogre. Squaresoft soon hired the genius behind it, Yasumi Matsuno, to craft a similar game for the Sony Playstation. The result was the strategy RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics.
As a strategy game, FFT will push your brain to find new tactics (no pun intended) for winning certain stages. Also, since it is a Final Fantasy game, the story is top-notch, although badly translated. This game has always held a warm place in my heart for these reasons. However, FFT was released in 1998, how does it hold up today?
Graphically the game looks like it belongs on PSP or DS ( I know there is a PSP port, I will go into that later) yet that is not a bad thing. The animations for each character is great, and it is rivaled only by the mighty 2-D RPG Suikoden 2 as far as this issue goes. Spell effects are a little cheesy, but no one wants to wait thirty minutes for a CG summon in a strategy game. All in all, the graphics are very good especially since the Saturn was supposed to be the 2-D powerhouse of the 32 bit era.
The music is incredible. This is one of my all time favorite game scores. From the sweeping melodies of the random field battle to the intense track played for battles with Zodiac demons, each song makes you love the game even more. Sound effects are cool, you will hear a little scream when characters are killed, and certain moves have cool and unique sounds like Night Sword. Squaresoft outdid themselves on this one, I would as far to say this soundtrack ties Final Fantasy 6 as all time best RPG soundtrack.
Strategy games most important ascpects are the gameplay and strategic conditions, and this game does not disappoint. Each character can change to a unique job such as knight, bard, samurai, and many more. You will need a varied army to tackle the difficult stages in the game. Grinding is advised in this game to gain better jobs and abilties, but it never feels like a lame chore to advance further. Stage maps can either be to your advantage, or disadvantage depending on your character's job.
Characters in this game are easily some of the best of the "tactics" genre. You will meet heroes, traitors, and evil scoundrels throughout the game's lengthy quest. The story will follow your character, Ramza, from being a teen soldier to being a general of his own army. Along the way Ramza will be branded a traitor, heretic, and savior in his mission to stop the destruction of Ivalice and save his loved ones.
Some gripes about the game do exist. The translation is not the greatest, but the PSP port did remedy this. Also some battles were unwinnable if you saved in the dungeon before that, not on the map, you may have to start all over with a new game to make a better team or Ramza. Also once you get the character, Orlandu, late in the game; winning becomes way to easy since he is basically a killing machine.
Oddly the PSP port did fix the translation; but did not fix the Orlandu thing or level the end game diffuculty. If anything Square-Enix made the game easier by adding two new characters that are in the same tier as Orlandu. Two new job clases were added as well, Onion Knight and Death Knight; but of which are kinda lame. The PSP port added new videos to the game which look nice, and they even added audio for some of the characters in the videos such as Ramza and Delita. While I prefer the PSX port, the PSP port is not bad and is easy to come by for cheap these days.
FFT stands as one of the all-time great strategy RPGs. Many would follow such as Disgaea, Makai KIngdom, and even FFT sequels for handhelds. As fun as some of these games are none hold a candle to their predecessor. Someday I hope to track down Tactics Ogre for PSX so I can compare the two. Until then, long live FFT!


  • The world of Ivalice, from FFT, is also the world another classic game takes place in... Vagrant Story.
  • http://www.ffhacktics.com/ <----- If you want to make the game even harder go here!
  • Cloud and Aerith from Final Fantasy 7 make cameos. Cloud is also plyable if you meet certain requirements!

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