Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics
A Gaiden Game
entry into the pants-twistingly popular Final Fantasy
series. It combined Turn-Based Strategy
with a Role-Playing Game
, and is the first game in the series to take place in the world of Ivalice
. Due to the immense resemblance and many developers shared between the two series, particularly Yasumi Matsuno
, the game is often seen as a Spiritual Successor
to Tactics Ogre
Sometime in the fantasy world of Ivalice, a historian discovers a hidden manifest called the "Durai Report" which purportedly reveals the true events behind the War Of The Lions: a bloody battle for succession (based on the real-life Wars of the Roses
) that saw commoner and hero Delita Heiral ascend to the throne.
What he uncovers is the story of Ramza Beoulve: the second-youngest member of the noble Beoulve family, Delita's best friend and a name branded as a heretic and traitor. As Ramza grows up from a naïve military cadet to a hardened mercenary, he becomes deeply embedded in not only the shadow war for the throne, but the risk of all-out rebellion by the commoner classes against the suppressive and scheming nobles. Mirroring his journey is the story of Delita Heiral himself, and how he came to stand alone atop the bloody pile of corpses reaching for the crown of Ivalice.
While not the traditional FF fare, it was embraced by Turn-Based Strategy
fans for its challenging, satisfactory gameplay and the sheer depth of its Job System
— which took the similar mechanics from Final Fantasy III
and Final Fantasy V
, cranked it Up to Eleven
, resulting in a level of army customization reminiscent of tabletop wargames. It was also infamous for its "Blind Idiot" Translation
and resulting Engrish
, often called "Daravonese" after the tutorial character who spouted most of it. The PSP remake was re-localized by long-time Square Enix collaborator Joseph Reeder, and featured many bugfixes as well as motion video cutscenes and additional dialogue.
Followed by a Non-Linear Sequel
, Vagrant Story
. Years later, the atmosphere of Ivalice was re-imagined in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
, which took place in a dream world centuries in the past. The actual era that this dream world was based on was then first seen in Final Fantasy XII
, and again in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
, with another prequel in the form of Final Fantasy Tactics A2
It has been re-released four times. The first was on the PS1
's "Greatest Hits" line, though it still remains hard to find for that console. The next two were for the Playstation Portable
: first as the Video Game Remake Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
, then via the PlayStation
Store in a straight port (which oddly enough, does not encounter slowdowns in places War of the Lions
does). Finally, WotL
was (re-)re-released for iOS
This game provides examples of:
- Flashback: The first chapter is a flashback (the tutorial battle at the beginning of the game takes place at least a year after those events, and chapter 2, taking place in the "present", takes place mere moments after Princess Ovelia is abducted); moreover, the entire story is told from a couple hundred years after the fact.
- Flunky Boss: Any boss that isn't a Duel Boss, except for Queklain.
- For Great Justice: The quote occasionally used before using the Monk's Repeating Fist technique:
"Fight for justice... fists of fury! Repeating Fist!"
- Foreshadowing: Dycedarg: "Our little mockingbird is taken wing, Gafgarion, and it leaves me wroth."
- Wroth is, of course, Adrammelech's title, and the Lucavi that Dycedarg eventually transforms into.
- Four Is Death: A fallen character is lost permanently if they aren't revived by their fourth turn.
- Free Rotating Camera
- Friendly Fireproof: Averted: most spells are area-effect, meaning they will affect anyone standing within their influence, and shame on you if you accidentally kill an NPC in an Escort Mission by flinging spells on top of them. Played straight by summons and samurai class' releases, whose Damage Discrimination prevents them from hitting the "wrong" targets.
- One very convenient side effect of this is that it allows you to level up more easily: neutralize the final remaining enemy on the field without killing it, then simply have your party hit and heal each other to gain experience and job points.
- Gambit Pileup: It seems like everybody's got their own grand schemes: Delita, Dycedarg, and Vormav, just to name a few. And everybody's trying to use everyone else as their pawns.
- Game Face: Many of the demons drop the Masquerade and attack you in their inhuman forms.
- Game Mod: Fan-made mods generally come in the following flavors...
- "Rebalanced": Attempts to nerf the more powerful job classes and/or buff the ones that lose relevance later on in the game.
- "Hard Mode": The AI is given more tools against the player, sometimes to the point of outright cheating.
- "Another Story": Instead of telling the original story, the plot is now either a continuation or a semi-related side story.
- Or some or all of the above.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Delita will actually go right for Algus/Argath at the end of Chapter 1. Reason being? The latter just shot Delita's sister.
- Rapha also runs right at Elmdore and his assassins at the end of Chapter 3. Again, for what reason? Elmdore just murdered the man who murdered her brother (and spent the past ten years ritualistically raping her). Robbed of her chance at revenge, she instead decides to commit Suicide by Cop.
- Orlandeau, who is described in the backstory as jaw-droppingly powerful and skilled enough to defeat entire armies... and, well, when you get him on your side, he is—and unlike the other characters who join your party at a set level, he is always at the party level the game uses to calculate random encounters (so if your 4 + Ramza is maxed out at 99...)
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: No matter how over-leveled you are, cutscenes will still play out exactly as scripted, and no amount of Phoenix Downs will save Teta/Tietra or Malak/Marach.
- The fact that phoenix downs cannot save dead people in-story is justified. Phoenix downs can only revive incapacitated people, not revive the dead. This is shown in an optional cutscene when Mustadio is knocked out and Ramza yells for a phoenix down, and also in gameplay, where you have three turns to revive incapacitated allies or they're dead.
- Alma notes she wishs she was a man when Ramza tells her to hide before going into a fight. 1: At this point Ramza has at least four One-Man Army units with him that he could leave to protect her rather than holding the Idiot Ball so blatantly 2: The player's army and indeed, a decent number of the generic enemies are always, can be female.
- The reason that nobody appears alongside Ramza and Alma in the ending - besides that they might have all gone their separate ways, is because besides those two, you may not even have the others in your party, whether or not you even recruited them to begin with.
- Geo Effects: How the Geomancers' abilities work. Ice spells also work better in snow-based fields, Lightning spells are more effective in the rain, and fire spells may be better in volcanoes and deserts.
- Glass Cannon: Ninjas, Calculators, Black Mages and Summoners, at least in their default configuration. The game's flexibility is such that you can modify just about any class to strengthen its shortcomings.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Plays out entirely through the games "Chronicle" and "Rumour" sections: Queen Louveria poisons King Ondoria and instigates a hostile takeover of Ivalice, then starts exiling and/or executing people who piss her off (including the Queen Mother). She's eventually overthrown and tossed in the dungeon at Fort Besselat, and Duke Larg's attempt to storm the fortress and rescue her ignites the War of the Lions.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The Corrupt Church is trying to collect the Holy Stones, but they keep falling into Ramza's hands.
- Good Bad Translation: Leading many players to prefer the original translated script to the Purple Prose of the remake. "I got a good feeling!" "This is the way!"
- Good Costume Switch: Any generic that gets invited into Ramza's party by a mediator will swap from red clothes to blue clothes.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: The Monk class; other classes can also fight barehanded at Monk levels with a support ability.
- Grand Theft Me: Bloody Angel Altima attempts to pull one on Alma. It doesn't work.
- Gratuitous Japanese: The two main armies are called Hokuten and Nanten. Fixed in the PSP version.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: The Framing Device is that the game's events were covered up and unknown until someone found a recording of these events centuries later.
- Guide Dang It: Good luck trying to find some of the optional characters and subquests without a walkthrough.
- And some of the rarer items. And if you're especially unfortunate or frustrated, some of the character job classes—though at least the game provides the prerequisites for a job class once you've unlocked it on at least one character.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Reis, as described in her job class's description, is human, but descended from dragons.
- This probably explains why she keeps her awesome dragon-breath abilities when she is turned back into a human.
- Healing Shiv: The Cure Staff, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Dragons of the same element as your weapon get healed instead of taking damage, and you can equip shields or armor that grant you similar benefits.
- Heel-Face Turn: Meliadoul changes sides when she realizes that 1) your party didn't murder her brother, her father did; and 2) said father, Vormav, has been taken over by a Demon.
- Zalbaag also comes around when he realizes that Dycedarg killed their father and Ramza was right all along. But unlike Meliaduol, he's killed before he can join your party. He gets better... No, he gets worse.
- You can also recruit enemies with the Mediator's "Invite" ability or temporarily woo enemies to your side via the Thief's "Steal Heart" ability.
- Rapha and her brother also start out as enemies before they join your side.
- Hero Antagonist: Wiegraf is a rare example of one turned evil. Meliadoul is a type 2. Also Izlude.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Wiegraf, who hates the Church at first, and then you kill his sister. Then he's helping the Church so that he'll have the power necessary to kill you.
- Hot as Hell: Altima.
- Hyperactive Sprite: When not attacking, everyone is always walking (or in the case of Dancers and Bards, dancing or singing) in place unless they are using an ability that takes charge time, in which case they either squat or keep their arms raised in the air.
- An Ice Gun: The Glacier Gun, incorrectly called Blaze Gun in the PSX version due to a bug.
- Idiot Hair: Ramza, who never quite loses that cowlick even by the end of the game, though it's most obvious before his Expository Hairstyle Change.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Rapha and Malak, who has area of effect spells that randomly hit up to six times, though you can improve the odds of striking an enemy by careful placement. Reis (as a human) also has something similar, except it fires only up to four times over an area of 13 tiles max, which means that it'll be a miracle if it actually hits ANYTHING at all. The Tiamat monster class also has abilities that work this way, which are much better because it's much easier to limit the area of effect of those spells.
- Impoverished Patrician: Algus/Argath comes from a noble family with its reputation and holdings in ruin after his grandfather was accused of treason during the last war. He says he's not well treated by the other noble children, as his family's honor is in tatters. A short time later, his deeply bigoted attitude toward commoners rears its head and we no longer care.
- Improbable Weapon User: Characters can use Instruments, Dictionaries, Handbags, and Bolts of Cloth to attack (and the Ninja class can use the Throw command for any equippable weapon).
- Inconsistent Dub: White Mage and Black Mage are known as "Priest" and "Wizard" in the PS1 version, but are called White Mage and Black Mage in attract mode. More famously, Altima/Ultima both getting used in the same scene.
- In the Hood: The White Mage class (though the males don't wear theirs), Orlandu, Meliadoul, Rafa, Gafgarian, while pretending to be an executioner, Zalmo (but he doesn't wear his, either), Cardinal Draclau, and Rofel.
- In-Universe Game Clock: See Take Your Time below.
Ramza: And you? Do you not use Ovelia to fulfill your own ambitions?
Delita: I cannot say. I am sure only of this. To save her life, I would gladly give my own.
- Guess what happens in the epilogue...
- Early on (second battle in the game) Ramza demands the gang of torturednote thieves to either surrender or die in obscurity. The thieves choose to die in obscurity rather than surrender. Guess which path Ramza takes later in life when facing a grand conspiracy...
- This case is closer to Character Development, as it shows how Ramza's sense of honor has shadowed his fear of being insignificant.
- Jerkass: Algus/Argath. SERIOUSLY. He is so reviled that he was placed in a second battle in War of the Lions, just so you could kill him again, and then in a Bonus Mission where you kill ten of him. Also usually named are Dycedarg, Delita, and Gaffgarion. Barrington is possibly even worse, but most don't bother to remember him.
- Job System: One of the reasons the game has so much depth is that it gives you 20 classes and the ability to mix-and-match skills from them. Every class has at least one useful skill, even mage classes when paired with high MA.
- Joke Item: The Nagrarock sword.
- Lethal Joke Item: While not strong in raw power, the Nagrarock's ability to turn enemies into frogs, which take more damage, barely deal any themselves, and can only attack, is very powerful.
- Can't forget the "Stone Gun", which petrifies the character wielding it at the beginning of a battle. Though they can be cured, starting a battle with five characters wielding it is an auto-game-over.
- Justice Will Prevail: A very surprising example. In a world that leans very, very heavily on the side of cynicism, Ramza's character seems positively suicidal. After getting over his initial naivety he trades his foolishly good nature for... knowingly suicidal good nature. Any enemy who gets within spitting distance, and even some of his allies, feels the need to point out the world doesn't work like that and that his course of action will just get him ignobly and uselessly killed. While the fate of your party is left up to interpretation, by the end of the game, he's pretty much the one major character who's definitely both alive and not utterly alone and miserable, and his story will eventually be revealed centuries after.
- Knight in Sour Armor: A number of characters, particularly Wiegraf, share this trait. And when you fight Gaffgarion in the Golgonda Gallows with Agrias on your team:
Agrias: Lord Dycedarg
and the duke would use her as a pawn in their game of thrones! Just as the two of them now use you! Is a man like you not ashamed to be no more than a pawn in their game? Have you no pride—no honor?
- Lady of War: Several, not counting the player's ability to make female Generics into this: Agrias Oaks, Holy Knight and commander of the Lionsguard (personal bodyguards of the Royal Family.) Meliadoul Tengille, Divine Knight and daughter of Vormarv.
- Lazy Backup: If all five members of your party are down (via K.O. or being Taken for Granite), it's Game Over regardless of how many other people you didn't take with you into battle.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Partially. Being good doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a good ending, but if you're evil, some way or another, you will pay. Holy shit, you will pay.
- Level Grinding: Taken to absolutely obscene extremes with the Deep Dungeon's Degenerator floor panels, which take you DOWN a level. The goal is to "make a profit" with your levels, so you would level up as normal in a job which has superior stat growth and then change jobs to something inferior to step on the Degenerator. Only for the hardest hardcore, because characters are already pretty powerful, especially unique units.
- Level Scaling: The game bases non-story battles on your party's levels, which can be a problem, because while monsters gain almost all of their stats from leveling up, humans, especially melee fighters, gain most of their stats from equipment.
- Limited Move Arsenal: Of the first type.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: The story is presented as the "lost" Durai Reports, written by Olan.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The subseries is centred around a large number of sidequests. In the first two games, most of the sidequests were "Dispatch" missions where the player takes the right unit for the job, and then sends them off to take care of business while they went about on their own. Final Fantasy Tactics A2, on the other hand, made things get nutty by making nearly all of the several-hundred-strong sidequests directly playable.
- Lonely at the Top: Delita destroys everything and everyone close to him in his bid to become king and finishes the game kneeling near the corpse of his wife (who he just killed in self-defense) wounded and wondering aloud who got the better end, he or his supposedly dead, ex-best friend Ramza.
- Lost Forever: Characters who stay dead too long turn into crystals. Also, if your allies Brave levels are too low or Faith is too high, they'll leave the party.
- If Mustadio isn't in your party in the last chapter, say goodbye to all of those optional party members
- Even with Mustadio around, Cloud can be missed if you accidentally pick the wrong conversation option (say, if you're hammering through the dialogue in a hurry), and he takes Worker 8 with him.
- That awesome custom equipment the enemy is carrying? If you can't steal them from them before the battle ends, kiss them goodbye.
- Luck-Based Mission: The Roof Of Riovanes Castle battle, where if the dice land wrong, you can get a "game over" before you even get a turn. High speed characters can help.
- You can also use "luck" to your advantage by using a low health character as a decoy.
- Any mission that ends if a particular character (Algus, Rafa) dies. Said character can start in the middle of a pack of enemies and you just have to pray the CPU is smart enough to have the character run from danger before they're killed.
- Magic Dance: The aptly-named "Dance" ability owned by the aptly-named Dancer class. Ironically, the Dancer class is a physical class, not a magical one.
- Magic Knight: Half the hero characters, and you can even make your own generic ones.
- Magic Music: The Bards' "Sing" ability.
- Magikarp Power: The Calculator/Arithmetician class can be deadly if trained properly, as can a Dancer/Ninja combination.
- Dancers go straight into Game Breaker territory when paired with Mimes, who will automatically mimic all ally actions: they have an all-enemy HP-damaging ability that usually goes off twice before anyone else can have a turn, and every battle starts with the enemy on the other side of the field.
- To elaborate, Calculators are very slow and weak, but their ability lets them cast spells from other casting classes for free, with no charge time, under certain parameters. After purchasing all of these, as well as all of the usable spells, they are very good characters, but this is very time consuming. The ninja class has a reaction ability that turns them invisible, making the computer unable to see where they are (or at least, preventing the computer from actively targeting them), but this status is broken by any action. Once a dancer starts a dance command, they will continue to perform it until another order is given. In combination, dancer starts a dance, gets hit, triggering the invisibility, which then remains as the dancer only waits each turn even though the dance continues, doing such things as damaging every enemy on the field.
- Martial Arts Headband: Present on the Female Squire, Male Monk, Male Geomancer, and Female Samurai.
- Meaningful Echo: When Delita first appears in chapter 2, he identifies himself as "Human, just like you", a nod to Miluda's earlier line "We're not animals! We're human, just like you! There's no difference among us other than our families!".
- Mechanically Unusual Class: Calculators/Arithmetician are very slow and weak, but their ability lets them cast spells from other casting classes for free, with no charge time, under certain (numerical, hence the name) parameters. After purchasing all of these, as well as all of the usable spells, they are very good characters, but this is very time consuming.
- And then there's all of the unique job classes such as Holy Swordsman, Assassin, Engineer, etc.
- Memento MacGuffin: The grass whistle/reed flute, which binds Ramza and Delita to their younger, happier days (and to each other,) and which Ramza tries to teach to Ovelia. Eventually, Delita does teach her to do it in the PSP version.
- Morale Mechanic: The game did include "Bravery" as a morale mechanic in combat; if dropped to single digits, the unit would literally turn into a chicken and avoid battle; a player character whose out-of-battle Bravery was dropped too low would leave the party forever (except Ramza).
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya:
I'm Meliadoul! I'm coming here to avenge my brother!
- Narrator All Along: A variation. We know the narrator's identity from the beginning, but his relation to the cast is only revealed at the end.
- Nemean Skinning: You can instantly skin a monster upon killing them with the right support ability equipped.
- Played with, more like. You can't do a strict Nemean skinning and immediately use the item you just poached, but the body of the monster/animal does disappear from the field immediately instead of counting down to death like every other combatant. However, if a curative item made from the body of a monster appears in a treasure chest left by a dead animal, you can use that immediately. I depends on whether you think chocobos naturally grow one ready-to-use phoenix down or not.
- Nice Hat: The Black Mages get the classical Robe and Wizard Hat, the Time Mages a pointy pope-esque hat, the Oracles' hat make them look like learned men of the far east (fitting since their job class involves eastern mysticism), and the Summoners' headbands are positively Freudian. On the non-caster side, Lancers get pretty nice helmets, Male Ninjas have a funky tortoise-shell hat/face-cover thing, Male Squires look like they're wearing a yarmulke, Mediator hats look like a pillow (complete with tassles), and Male Samurais have helmets evocative of Sherlock Holmes' deerstalker.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ramza is conned quite a few times into making things worse for himself. Example: Handing Ovelia over to a duplicitous member of the Corrupt Church, who then hands her over to the Manipulative Bastard, who put her on the throne and start the very war Ramza was trying to avoid in her name.
- No Arc in Archery: Averted. See The Dev Team Thinks of Everything above.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: One of the major themes in this game as Ramza learns the hard way. He eventually gets vindicated centuries after his death.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Your guest party members can never die and will just remain knocked out unless the battle conditions state otherwise.
- Non-Linear Sequel: Vagrant Story and, later, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
- Non Standard Game Over: It is technically possible to fail the first battle by going after Gafgarion and breaking his sword in the process. It is very difficult and requires a lot of luck to pull off (as the odds are overwhelmingly against you), but the designers of the game did not plan for this. It causes a game lock up that cannot be recovered. You can also simply lose the first battle to a lucky string of bad rolls and since none of the characters except yours are controllable, the AI can shaft you (very rarely, but its technically possible).
- Non Standard Skill Learning: Ramza's skillset gets larger over the course of the game. There's also the Ultima spell (learnable only by Ramza and Alma, and only during two storyline fights) and the Zodiac summon (learnable only by summoners, during one optional fight), which are taught by being hit with (and surviving) the skill in combat, as opposed to most skill which are purchased with JP.
- The Noseless: A facet of Akihiko Yoshida's Ivalice characters is that they lack visible noses. This carries over into the CG sequences in The War of the Lions which were done in Yoshida's style. Also of note, the character portraits in Final Fantasy XII (also done by Yoshida) also lack noses.
- The Not-Love Interest: Alma. Really if you weren't told that she and Ramza were brother and sister, you'd never know.
- Not the Intended Use: Using Throw Stone and similar abilities to gain job points.
- Offstage Villainy: Queen Louveria's rise and fall can be completely missed if you're not paying attention to the Brave Story.
- One-Winged Angel: All of the Lucavi are this to their human hosts.
- Altima also does this, in classic Final Fantasy fashion, albeit her second form is not the angelic one.
- Onmyodo: A possible job class (called the Oracle in the original English version and Mystic in the remake).
- Optional Party Member: You can refuse to let any story member join your party; furthermore, you gain Worker/Construct 8, Beowulf, Reis, and Cloud via optional sidequests. In the PSP version, Balthier and Luso are also available to be recruited. While you need to go looking for Balthier, the game practically hands you Luso.
- Overrated And Underleveled: Most of the unique characters that join after Chapter 3 end up being this, especially if you engaged in a buttload of Level Grinding, except for good old T.G. Cid.
- Palette Swap: Malak's on-field sprite very obviously uses Delita's face.
- Petal Power: One of Cloud's limit breaks; some of the Geomancer's abilities also have petal/leaf-like visual effects.
- Pillar of Light: Holy Explosion.
- Point of No Return: Aside from a few temporary ones here and there, that lock you into a series of battles without giving you a chance to escape or level grind, there's also a true point of no return: the Orbonne Monastery at the end of Chapter 4.
- Precision F-Strike: Dycedarg/Adramelk says "shit" upon being slain, the only instance of such strong language throughout the entire game.
- Punch Clock Villain: Gafgarion - he expresses mild distaste for what his employers are doing, but he doesn't care about anything except his contract.
- Purple Prose: The dialogue in the remake.
- Purposefully Overpowered : Orlandu, to match up to the story that seems to imply him as someone who is extremely powerful. When you get him, he's possibly the best character you can have, assuming you're playing at a normal pace. He also comes with ridiculously powerful equipment that can last you to the end of the game.
- Some of the Guest Star Party Members are interesting examples. While all of them don't have particularly high stats that makes them completely broken in combat, they have some of the most overpowered abilities in the game. Amongst them, Alma and Ovelia have a Status Buff spell that puts Protect, Shell, Haste, Regen, AND Reraise on another character, with casting speed as fast as the the first tier of Fire. Orran has a global skill on every enemy that inflicts Stop, Disable, and Immobilize instantly. Safe to say that had any one of them (or even better all three of them) been allowed to join your team, they would have become complete Game Breakers in one way or another.
- Rags to Royalty: Both Delita and Ovelia in different ways.
- Rape as Backstory: Heavily implied with Rafa.
- Made more blatant in the PSP remake.
Grand Duke Barrington: *chuckle*
You cannot [kill me]. Do you know why? The flesh remembers, Rapha. It remembers fear, cold and trembling. But it will not always be so. In time, your fear will blossom into another flower - and I shall have that one as well.
- Razor Wind: The Kamaitachi geomancer ability.
- The Red Mage: Pick a mage class and then another school of magic. Or just go Calculator and have them all!
- As summoning is the sole magic class that Calculator doesn't cover, a Summoner with Calculator as a sub-class is the epitome of magic.
- Replacement Goldfish: Delita sees Ovelia as this for Teta.
- Required Party Member: You're forced to play most of Chapter One denied of one slot of your five member party limit; in two instances, one of these slots is occupied by a dead NPC who can't be revived at all ( Teta/Tietra in the final battle of Chapter One and Malak/Marach in the Riovanes rooftop battle, and in a third, Boco the Chocobo takes up the slot as a Guest for the enemy.
- Retcon: Parts of the story have been edited in the PSP version to fit in better with the The Ivalice Alliance that spawned from it.
- Revive Kills Zombie: This IS a Final Fantasy game, after all—but note that only the Phoenix Down and Life 2 spells are instant kills (regular flavored Revive only does the same damage that it would have granted as healing magic).
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Standard gear for all of the magician classes, most obviously the Black Mage.
- Rush Boss: Most Lucavi, especially Velius, can be killed relatively quickly, but can, on the other hand, very quickly obliterate you.
- Scream Discretion Shot: Played straight except when Delita seems like he's about to kill Balmafula when the "camera" jumps away and Balmafula screams, but she later turns up alive.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The demons seem to be inhabiting the Zodiac Stones but, after Malak is resurrected by one, Ramza wonders if it's just a portal to either Heaven or Hell.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: The Straight Character Challenge, which involves picking one class. You then play through the game using only the Action, Reaction, Support, and Movement abilities of a single job-class. And in a strange move, the FAQ for the challenge specifically calls anyone who whines about people who bend the rules for tough fights an arse. Better than it sounds, as it breathes completely new life into the game.
- Not to mention Solo Straight Character Challenges, with all the constraints of the SCC with the additional difficulty of only using Ramza, Level 1 challenges, and a variety of other suggested challenges pioneered at the GameFAQs board. The depth of the job system and the AI quirks of the enemies make it possible to beat the game with almost any set of characters given adequate preparation and lots of free time.
- Similarly, only playing required battles without grinding, or only playing with Auto-battle for an entire game are fun challenges.
- Self-Made Man: Delita claws his way up from an orphaned stableboy to the King of Ivalice by selling out everyone who cared about him.
- Shoot the Dog: Moments after Zalbag realizes that Dycedarg is up to no good, he is turned into a zombie and you have to kill him.
- Shoot the Hostage: After Algus/Argath's defection to Zalbag's knights, he shoots and kills Delita's sister before shooting Golagros/Gragoroth at Zeakden Fortress. This was set up earlier in the chapter, as Algus is of noble birth and has grown to hate all commoners, including Ramza's Unlucky Childhood Friend, Delita.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Corpse Brigade.
- The treasures and lands you unlock in the bar are mostly callbacks to previous Final Fantasy titles. There's also a Shout-Out to Breath of Fire with the Zenny Sword, described as 'a sword made of foreign coins'.
- Extremely subtle, and maybe not even intentional, but one secret battle in the Yuguo Woods pits you against seven samurai.
- As mentioned in a quote under this page's Knight in Sour Armor example, the updated script of The War of the Lions contains a shout out to A Game of Thrones.
- It's pretty clear Joseph Reeder is a fan of George R. R. Martin. Aside from the blatantly obvious "game of thrones" line, there's also the term used to refer to Agrias and her knights, the "Lionsguard", which sounds pretty inspired by "Kingsguard."
- In the remake, when Ramza lands the killing blow on Gaffgarion, the latter's last words are "I feel... cold."
- The Vampire Cape/Dracula Mantle, which has a black outside and a crimson red inside, seems to be modelled after Alucard's cape from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- Cloud can wear ribbons, as mentioned above, and a new bonus boss, the Dark Dragon, has a specific line of dialogue after his defeat—"ungaah!"
- The name of the floors in Midlight's Deepnote is inspired by Apocalypse Now, such as NOGIAS and Valkyrie.
- Deep Dungeon is actually a reference to one of Squaresoft's old games.
- Just like with Tactics Ogre, Matsuno shares his love for Queen by titling chapter 4 as "Somebody to Love".
- Sixth Column: Done twice!
- Smug Snake: Dycedarg, who's not aware that he himself is an Unwitting Pawn while he attempts to manipulate events in his favor (including poisoning his own father to death) and not smart enough to close the door while having discussions with his co-conspirators.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: When Gafgarion Face Heel Turns in Chapter Two, he fights you with whatever equipment you bought for him. Snatching his sword will prevent him from using his sword-based techniques against you, making the fight much easier.
- You can also change his character's class just prior to the battle. This can result in some hilarious situations such as fighting Gafgarion, the naked White Mage.
- Not to mention that he is using equipment one step better than you can buy. Taking all of his equipment saves you a lot of money and turns him from a pain in the butt to a slaughter-in-waiting.
- In the PS1 version, the same character also causes a reverse Wutai theft - when you beat him, you get whatever he was equipped with at the beginning of the battle. If you stole everything during the fight, it magically doubles.
- And, as mentioned below, you can recruit new Player Mooks just to strip them of their gear and kick them out of the party naked.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Ultima/Altima, among other things. In the original, names are sometimes spelled differently in the same conversation. The remake confuses things even further, with some names correcting obvious translation errors and others seemingly changed just for the sake of changing them.
- Rarely mentioned is that Ivalice begins with a Y.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: Characters are sprites, the playing field 3D.
- Stalker with a Crush: Delita. Not to love, but to protect. Does one honestly think he met with Ramza in Warjillas by chance? He said in text that he was basically stalking him, and, in an indirect way, trying to protect him as well. Afterall:
Delita: We have ears in many places...
- Standard Status Ailments - In addition to the classic Final Fantasy ailments (Poison, Slow, Stop, Blind, Berserk, Frog, etc.), there's also Paralyze/Don't Act, Don't Move, and Chicken.
- Stealth Mentor: Gafgarion to Ramza to some extent, particularly in the battle at the waterfall. When Ramza disagrees with the assassination attempt on Ovelia, Gaffgarion tells him to suck it up, as this is what sellswords are paid to do:
Ramza: But... this isn't right!
- And in the following cutscene, Ramza understands his actions will result in the Northern Sky knights hunting him down, saying "This is the path I've chosen."
- Stone Wall: So easy that you can set up a veritable Great Wall of Characters.
- Stripperific: In a very strange variation, Altima's penultimate form ("Nice Body") features a very thoroughly clothed torso and arms, but from the waist down, it's nothing but a thong and knee-high boots. Which is hardly surprising, as she looks exactly like Morrigan Aensland.
- Averted with most of the Job outfits, which are usually sensible across both genders. The only outfits that show a lot of skin are the male Monk, who wears a loose vest with no shirt, and the male Geomancer and the female-only Dancer, who Bare Their Midriffs.
- Succession Crisis: The titular War of the Lions is kicked off over this. Being a thinly veiled version of the War of the Roses, this shouldn't be a suprise.
- Super Power Meltdown: The Lucavi explode when they die leaving behind only their (supposedly benign) Zodiac Stone.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Seemingly played straight and then horribly subverted. After completing the battle in front of Riovanes Castle, the game benignly offers to let you save your progress. If you're playing the game for the first time, you have no idea that you're about to be immediately thrust into Ramza's duel with Wiegraf, and once you save you can't go back. If Ramza's level/skill/equipment set isn't up to snuff, and you don't have another save to fall back on, you are screwed.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Some monsters take more damage against varying elemental spells, and Zodiac compatibilities follow a fairly complicated chart of affinities and weaknesses. (At least the game is nice enough to show you how much potential damage you can do at what success rate before you commit to doing anything - if you could actively tag the target with whatever you're doing, that is.)
- Take That, Us: The mediator ability "Mimic Daravon" puts targets to sleep. Daravon is the name of the instructor in the tutorials.
- Take Your Time: Despite an In-Universe Game Clock that advances one day for each location you pass through, and has an effect on your characters depending on what Zodiac sign they are, your characters can literally spend years before finishing the game. (Additionally, regardless of how long it takes to finish a battle, the game always considers you to have spent a full day in that location.)
- Not to mention that the game explicitly jumps one full year between all of the chapters but the last. At the start of Chapter 1, Ramza's 16. By the time Chapter 3 rolls around, Ramza's 18... If not older, thanks to the aforementioned one day per location. This can lead to very strange ages in the game's encyclopedia section if a person plays enough: My perfect file lists Ramza as being a healthy young man of 43 years.
- Taking the Bullet: Malak for Rafa.
- Talking the Monster to Death: The Mediator job class has "Death Sentence", an ability that can cause the enemy to die in three turns if successful; it also has the ability "Mimic Daravon", which causes the "Sleep" status ailment if successful.
- Technicolor Death
- Those Two Girls: Alicia and Lavian, Agrias's two female knight followers. They're rather popular among the fandom despite being generics.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: All weapons can be used as projectiles via the Ninja's "Throw" command.
- Throw the Book at Them: Books (equipped as a Brown Note type weapon in a few classes) can be thrown via the Ninja class.
- Time Skip: One year passes between Chapters 1 and 2, and three months pass between Chapters 2 and 3. Averted for the final chapter, which occurs immediately after Chapter 3.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Characters whose permanent Faith levels are above 95 will leave the party to go Walking the Earth either as The Atoner or just to ponder the mysteries of the universe.
- Transformation Sequence: The Lucavi follow the Monstrous Transformation type to fully bond with their hosts. You see usually the same one every time you fight them Altima/Ultima gets special mention for not only getting a unique transformation sequence before her fight, but doing ANOTHER ONE after already summoned.
- Transformation Trinket: The Zodiac Stones. Luckily you only fight six demons instead of all 12. 7/13 if you count the Serpentarius Stone.
- Transhuman Treachery: The Lucavi appear to merge with their hosts into an unholy Lich King-like amalgamation of man and demon. While the original personality of the host remains intact, they immediately cast off their humanity.
- Tutorial Failure: As a result of its horrible translation, the tutorial fails to teach anything. It's actually Lampshaded in-game: one of the Mediator class's abilities is called "Mimic Daravon," a technique that puts enemies to sleep by supposedly imitating the game's comically obtuse tutorial instructor character.
- The Unfought: Gustav appears to be built as a Disc One Final Boss.
- Unwinnable: Go into the duel with Wiegraf without the proper equipment and abilities, and you'll wish you had a back-up save. This can even lead to a meta Hope Spot, because it's entirely possible to be capable of winning the duel with Wiegraf and then be incapable of winning the fight that happens immediately after.
- Unwitting Pawn: The Corrupt Church plays the politicians, Delita plays everybody, and Ramza is played by everybody.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Several times, even to enemies who are sympathetic like Miluda.
- Characters will die permanently after three rounds of KO status; people have been known to restart a battle just to avoid losing one of their generics.
- For many, this was just because dead units take their experience with them; losing a party member meant either a) turning to a much weaker party member you haven't played with for a while and is thus less useful, or b) recruiting and training a new member from level 1. It simply wasn't worth it.
- There was also c) mentioned below, wherein you deliberately train units to be killed and have their skills absorbed by a level 1 character. Also, thanks to the idea that generics can represent several players seated on a couch and shouting instructions at each other while waiting for the controller to be passed around when their turn is up, this would be equivalent to a tabletop RPG session suffering the loss of a player until a new one is rolled. Said multiplayer method allows for each person to control a generic each and play like an online game.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Using Rock Throw on your own allies in the early parts of the game to gain JP; you can also go for total enemy kill in the "Kill X" missions, which makes for a bit of Gameplay and Story Segregation in the first battle against Miluda when Ramza will say: "Surrender and we'll spare you" even if you've wiped out her entire party. You can also kill your own monsters (with a certain supporting ability equipped) to sell their pelts or absorb your own allies' soul crystals to pick up the abilities they learned, or Invite enemy characters just to strip them of their equipment and kick them out of the party immediately afterward. Furthermore, you can Level Grind your party to ridiculous amounts, making any story-based battle massively one-sided.
- Visual Initiative Queue
- Wakeup Call Boss: Not so much a boss, but the Slums of Dorter has a notable Difficulty Spike compared to the previous storyline battles in that it throws Black Mages, Knights, and Archers at you. You're going to need more than the Squires and Chemists you've likely been using up to this point.
- Weaksauce Weakness - The final boss takes absurd damage from Drain, the cheapest ability available to Oracles. It also forces said boss to immediately switch tactics to completely deplete the magic points of any Oracle, to the exclusion of anything else.
- Every boss is weak to that spell however, due to its damage being equal to 1/4 of an enemies life, while still having a success rate averaging 60%-70%. Technically Altima is resistant to the spell, as max damage is 999 and thus is taking only about 1/6th of its life per casting.
- The bosses are also just as susceptible to the stat break skills as anything else. Bring in a team of knights and you can reduce pretty much any boss to a pile of hit points that almost never gets a turn and does absolutely pathetic damage with its attacks.
- Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Mediators usually talk the monster to death or manipulate their stats with speech skills, but they can also equip dictionaries which they read from; reading from them (somehow) hurts enemies.
- The in-game animation shows them simply opening the book to inflict pain, so it could be a case of literally weapons-grade words.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: The game ends if Ramza dies and turns into a crystal. The trope fits very well with the rooftop mission with the assassins as mentioned before; if one of your guest party members die in that battle, Game Over. A few other battles also end the game prematurely if a key character is killed.
- Western Zodiac: The holy stones are all named after the constellations, and a Bonus Boss is the "thirteenth", Serpentarius. Each Zodiac has a specific set of affinities and weaknesses as well.
- Wham Episode: So, so many. In Chapter 2 alone, each third battle or so sends the plot moving in a completely different direction.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Ramza starting out, then Delita
- Characters of sufficiently high Faith will also complain at the end of every battle about the necessity of slaughtering everyone and everything you come across. If a character's permanent faith level passes 95 they'll abandon your party and devote their life to religious pursuits.
- What You Are in the Dark: Ramza again. He doesn't care that he's sacrificing himself for nothing and that history will remember him as a villain (until the Brave Story is revealed). He'll know, and the world will be saved.
- White Mage: As a job class.
- Written by the Winners - History turned Delita into the hero and Ramza a murderous heretic;. The Durai Scriptures, the supposedly true story that you play through in the game, has still survived, though.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Regardless of who won the War of the Lions, the Church would come out on top. And it did, but only because Delita needed it to —with all of its leaders and Temple Knights dead, it's not in as good of shape as it imagined it would). The same applies for the Lucavi.
- You Are Too Late: Ramza Beoulve is the patron saint of this trope.
- You Bastard: The entire point of Chapter 1 is getting you to hate the system Ivalice runs on and question why you (Ramza) are even a part of it, in order to prepare you for when it starts to put the screws to you.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Matsuno's tweet on Valentine's Day 2012 confirmed that Ramza and Alma survived the ending but had to flee Ivalice and move to another country.
- You Killed My Father:
I'm Meliadoul! I'm coming here to avenge my brother!
- Youngest Child Wins: Ramza is the most noble and like Balbanes of the Beoulve family despite being only half brother to Zalbag and Dycedarg; Alma, the true youngest, is the Damsel in Distress for most of the plot but still gets to shrug off a Grand Theft Me from the local Eldritch Abomination.
I got a good feeling!