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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions
Back in 1997 Squaresoft (now Square Enix) publishers of the world conquering Final Fantasy series released Final Fantasy Tactics for the Playstation, being a Japan and America only release game meant that unfortunately many people in the PAL region missed out on what was a universally acclaimed strategy role playing game from the highly celebrated developer and creator of the Ogre Battle series Yasumi Matsuno. Fast-forward to 2007 and the release of a ported version to the Playstation Portable, obviously a big deal to those fans who were unable to play the original or to those fans who felt as if the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series (indirect sequels to the original) hadn't quite filled the hole left by FFT. That's the brief history lesson over so on with the review.
Final Fantasy Tactics is a strategy role playing game (SRPG), it takes you through the story of "The War Of The Lions" and more specifically the role the protagonist of this game Ramza Beoulve played in it. The game starts with Ramza and a group of mercenaries defending a monastery and Princess Ovelia within. The Princess is kidnapped however is saved from an assassination attempt thanks to Ramza and his best friend Delita, this leads to the first chapter of the game which tells the history of Ramza and Delita and what drove them apart. Tactics has a fairly complex story to say the least, it's filled with deception, betrayal and lots of other dark subject matter, it's a little slow to start and is certainly a choice for those who have patience but never really gets boring once it's started.
Gameplay is your standard SRPG stuff, if you've played other SRPGs like the Disgea or the Fire Emblem series then you already have a fair idea what to expect,you have control over a group of characters that you can outfit with equipment and skills depending on their class and level which change their effectiveness in battles (it's very menu heavy). Battles take place on an isometric grid with you choosing which characters you want to take part in battle to defeat your opponents who are scattered across the battle map. As far as classes or jobs as they're referred to (they usually are in FF games) are basically what they sound like, jobs, depending on what job a character is effects the equipment they can access and the skills they have available, for instance a black mage has the "Black Magic" ability where as the knight job has the "Arts of War" ability. Stats also differ according to jobs, while all stats increase when you level up depending on what job a character currently is some stats will grow faster than others, using the black mage again, when it levels up it gains a bonus in the magic stat but the knight gains extra defence, this means that FFT provides you with a lot of depth and customisation options. Add to all this side quests and extra multiplayer missions (assuming you can actually find someone to play with...) and you have yourself a very long total playtime.
Graphics are old fashioned, they fit right in with the PS1 which makes sense when you consider this is a port of a PS1 game, the 2D character spites are nostalgia inducing and the 3D battle plains are nice enough. The story is supplemented by cut scenes done in a cel-shaded anime style which are very nice to look at. The game isn't without it's flaws though, these are evident during battles, while battle animations look impressive the problem is that some suffer from obvious slow down and you'll often notice that while the sound effect has ended the animation has yet to catch up, this is by no means game destroying but rather a small annoyance until you get used to it. Sound is good, music is the usual orchestral fare you expect from Square and during aforementioned cut scenes character actually have voice actors, they don't do a bad job either though these scenes only occupy a minority of the game so don't expect anything other then a lot of reading (not that that's a bad thing).
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions is in my opinion an excellent game, it's one of the best games on the PSP and is a must for fans of strategy RPGs in general, if you own a PSP and are just looking to expand your collection again this game is highly recommended, if you aren't a fan of the genre then this extra text heavy outing isn't for you.
At A Glance.
Gameplay ~ 9/10
Story ~ 9/10
Graphics ~ 7/10
Sound ~ 7/10
Replay Value ~ 7/10
Final Score: 39/50
Overall Rating: 75%
When I played Final Fantasy Tactics on the old Playstation, I was blown away. I loved it. It was one of my favourite games for the system, hell, one of my favourite games ever. When I heard they were remaking it - and even improving it, I was very excited. I was even more ecstatic when they announced that it would have multiplayer and "improved graphics". Unfortunately, the truth is that although it's a great game by any standards, the "improved graphics" are a horrible scaling to the PSP screen size (which it would have been better without) and some extra lag thrown in for good measure. The game still plays the same except for minor changes, the text has been improved drastically for the most part, and the graphics and sound are more or less the same as they were 10 years ago.
FFT is a strategy RPG. This means that the game is mostly about the battles, and anything in between is storyline (which, in this instance, is awesome), shopping and setting up for the next battle. It's imperative that in a game like this, the battles are nothing short of stunning in terms of design, otherwise the game will get quickly frustrating or boring. FFT manages to pull this off excellently - the battles are well balanced, there is a strong element of challenge, it is fun to raise your characters and make progress. Everyone likes to compare this game to Jeanne D'Arc, so I will give this a go too; FFT is less restricted, and feels like a more open game. The ability to choose whether you move before or after you attack is an example of this - you seem to get more choice in how you want to battle. This does make the game have a somewhat difficult learning curve, however - there is a lot to learn, and a nice big hour or two of tutorials to follow if you really want to get to grips with the game. This is more than made up for though, as the gameplay is definitely some of the best I've seen in the genre.
One big problem is the lag that everybody's been talking about since release. It really is a problem - I wouldn't care if it was a visual thing, but it slows the game down noticeably, and makes the sound effects go out of sync a bit too. Let me get this clear for those who are not in the know; the lag occurs when you do any kind of special move, be it magic, battle arts, items, anything. It's not to do with complex graphical effects or anything either; it seems to be something the programmers shoved in there for a laugh, as it consistently goes down to half the framerate whenever you do one of these special moves - and you will do them a LOT. This means that battles will take roughly 1.5 times the time they would've taken had you been playing the original PSX version, and that's unacceptable by my standards.
The graphics of the game, apart from the addition of excellent FMVs, are more or less the same as they were in 1998. This means one thing; they are dated. I love the style of the characters, but the backgrounds and textures look clunky and compared to most PSP games, not good at all. Graphics aren't the selling point of the game, however, and although they aren't too great, they're not bad enough to put you off the game. The sound and music, although low quality, aren't bad in and of themselves, and you can get by with.
The game will last about 10-20 hours on a normal playthrough, but if you want to master all the jobs, get all the abilities, collect the best weapons and such, it can take over 80 hours. There is a nice addition of a couple of extra side quests, and the multiplayer is great fun provided you can find someone to play with. An honourable mention goes to the newly redone translation of the game; if you played the old FFT, you'll appreciate the time that went into rewording everything to make it clearer, and on the whole it makes a huge difference to the ease of understanding the storyline. However, there are places where even this feels as though they've changed things unnecessarily, specifically character names (Algus to Argath, Miluda to Milleuda etc) and move names (Zodiac to Zodiark and others).
Overall the remake is a welcome one, but the lag issue, the failure to meaningfully update the graphics and the reduced sound quality make it questionable whether it is worth buying. This, coupled with the fact that it wouldn't be much more expensive to buy an old PSOne and a copy of the original game (which in my opinion is the better option, aside from the translation) makes this more difficult to recommend than it should be. At the end of the day though, the lag doesn't completely ruin it, and if you wanted to play FFT on its original console it's worth a try on the PSP. If you're a big FFT fan, again, it is a recommended purchase because of the translation - it really is an improvement and makes a lot of stuff make sense that didn't before. Otherwise, you might be better getting Jeanne D'Arc instead.
Disclaimer; I post all my reviews on multiple reviewing sites under the username "Ultima2876", where applicable.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Sony PlayStation Portable handheld console. It was released in Japan in May 2007 and in the rest of the world in October 2007 consequently. This game is an enhanced remake of the original Final Fantasy Tactics game released for the PSP in 1997, ten years prior.
The game is set in a fictional kingdom called Ivalice, which has just ended its war with neighboring kingdom of Ordalia. The story follows Ramza Beoulve, a young cadet who finds himself thrust into the middle of a conflict, where two noble factions are coveting the throne of the kingdom. While the war was caused by a conflict of succession, Ramza was exposed to a plot that involved the kingdom's dominant religious organization.
This is my personal judgement on aspects of the game:
(Scores are out of 10)
The original graphics has been further enhanced and luscious FMVs have been included into this remake, increasing the visual appeal further. However the 'kiddy' looks of the characters may turn off some.
Like typical FFs, the music is appealing to the listeners and the added voice acting (good in my opinion, as the voice actors seem to portray the charcaters in a realistic way) for the remake has improved this game further.
Gameplay: 9 (if you're a fan of SRPG), 6/7 (if you're not)
This game is brilliant to all those already familiar with the SRPG genre of games, how ever the level of gameplay may be too steep for some beginners, but do not let this desuade you from getting this great game.
Superb example of remake gone well, bravo Square Enix!
I recommend this game to beginners and veterans alike.
Having loved Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced, I found this game to be a real let down. Whilst the general idea behind both games was similar, there were also a lot of changes - few of which were for the better.
First of all, introducting far too much plot to the game, particularly at the start. Don't get me wrong, I like story based games. But this just threw a lengthy history at me before I could even get into the combat. On a handheld I like being able to pick up an play a game for 20 minutes on a bus - this game demands commitment.
The battle system also features several annoyances. Like many PSP games, FFT:TWotL (what an accronym, eh?) felt the need to use 3d graphics, despite the fact that it end up looking worse overall than the stylised 2d sprites of its predecessor. More than just looking worse, this actually impedes gameplay, with constant shifting of the camera required to try and find where all your characters and their opponents are.
The magic system has now been altered so that spells aren't cast instantly - they go off at the end of the turn. This gives a huge disadvantage to using magic classes, which are far less necessary than previously anyway, though I suppose it adds some challenge and diversity to the game.
As for the job levelling system, things have changed there too. Now skills are learned by spending job points earned in battle rather than using particular weapons. Really, I don't suppose this change makes much difference either way - it just makes it easier to control your characters' growth at the start of the game.
Overall, FFT:TWotL isn't a BAD game as such, it's just a let down after FFTA for the Gameboy Advanced. A lot of the changes seem unnecessary or make things worse, but the game is still playable.