Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics A2 aka: F Inal Fantasy Tactics A 2
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, released for the Nintendo DS, is another escapist fantasy in the eye-gougingly popular Final FantasyRPG series.Luso Clemens is a typical troublemaking schoolkid who, on the last day of school, is forced to help tidy up the school's library as part of detention. There he finds a mysterious tome with blank pages, and impulsively decides to write his name on the first page. This act suddenly whisks him away to the magical land of Ivalice, a fantasy world where "Clans" of mercenaries compete against each other for territories, gold, fame and adventure.Luso is quickly cajoled into joining one of these Clans (to receive the protection of the enigmatic Judges who oversee them) and discovers that as he adventures throughout Ivalice, the pages of the grimoire he signed begin to fill up. Deducing that once the book is complete he will be taken back home, Luso resolves to see his "story" in Ivalice through to the end: doing jobs for his Clan, tangling with a tricksy thief called "Adelle The Cat", and dealing with a shadowy cabal of criminals known as "Khamja", whose leader carries a grimoire similar to Luso's own.The game features a host of gameplay enhancements over its predecessor. The Law system still exists but is far less restrictive: breaking a Law merely results in losing a token "Clan Privilege", the right to revive fallen units, and a few bonus items after the match. The game has also fixed several Game Breakers that existed in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, with Accuracy no longer being the main tool used to balance abilities. Clan Abilities no longer dispense items that can break the power curve of the game, and Thieves can no longer strip an enemy bare. The impact of Status Effects has also been toned down.Along with new jobs (such as Green Mages, who specialise in Buffs/Debuffs) and a general rearranging of previous jobs, A2 introduces two new races: the pig-like Seeq (imported from FFXII), and the dragon-girl Gria (invented just for the game). There are also four special guest characters that can be recruited: Vaan, Penelo, Al-Cid and Montblanc.Missions have been largely revamped, offering a wide range of new win conditions (such as finding a specific item or weakening a specific unit). It re-introduces Trap Tiles from Final Fantasy Tactics, introduces new Opportunity Attacks, a new Loot system for gaining new equipment and a revamped experience curve, an Auction mini-game in which clans compete for territory, and allows for every mission to be manually playable (though you can still use Dispatches to automate the process if you like).
The game reveals examples of:
Adventurer Archaeologist: subverted when Montblanc says "Please, kupo, let's be realistic here. My life is more than bauble-hunting!".
The Clan Duelhorn members you meet, except for Snakeheart.
Florah takes the Poison Ivy route of protecting exotic ''sentient'' plant life from poachers and hunters, but unfortunately you have to take her down. Both parties acknowledge that it's bad either way. Later you have to put down one of the plants she was protecting.
At most. Some fights restrict to you even more, down to just one. Sometimes it's because you have Guest characters helping you, sometimes not. Overall, there are never more than 13 combatants, usually 12.
Especially annoying is that you don't even get to choose all 24 members of the clan. Luso, Adelle, Cid, and Hurdy are all made permanent fixtures of the clan as you progress through the story, and to get 100% Completion, you'll have to recruit Vaan, Penelo, Al-Cid, Montblanc, and Frimelda, none of whom can be booted from the clan. They range in usefulness from an awesome warrior who comes with Dual Wield already, to a guy who can't even change class and revolves around having women on the team. The upshot of all this is that you only get to freely choose 15 generics, and that's not counting the guys who are in your clan to begin with.
Rockbeasts can use their instant 999 Limit Glove attack as soon as they reach Critical HP, and if they can, it will often be the only move they use. It only actually works if they're in single digit HP, though, otherwise it has 0 chance of hitting.
The Chocobos are just as stupid. They will use Choco Cure when they or their allies are low on HP. The ability is used on the Chocobo and all units that are next to it. You will see them cure themselves and their allies while healing your party at the same time if you just happen to be in range.
Or maybe they're just extremely benevolent. Not only do all non-Chocobos in the entire game sort-of avoid healing the other team, Chocobos have a habit of explicitly moving near enemies before healing themselves so that there's more love all around.
Duel Boss Ghi Yelghi, unlike the rest of the AI (who will even heal you this way when allied) will use his elementally based attacks if you if you set your equipment to absorb that type of magic. This is nice because the character he duels is a pain in the ass to level.
Alys The Ensorceled, one of the Four Bosses of Duelhorn, is a special brand of ineffective in combat when (and only when) she's on your side. She's a Summoner, a potentially powerful unit, but she starts every battle with several Standard Status Effects on her, claiming that they increase her power (they don't), one of which is often Blind. In addition to that, she has powerful attack summons, including Maduin, but prefers to spend every action summoning Kirin (gives Regen), using an Ether on your party members (even if that party member has Blood Price and can't use their MP), or using a basic attack on the enemy... even though she's equipped with a Healing Rod.
The Bonga Bugle head editor and owner tend to fit this when they try to participate in combat. It's especially bad in the Plumfrost mission. One of them has 10 HP left? He attacks a grenade, does 2 damage, and gets killed by its Bonecrusher ability. The fact that they're levels 10 and 1 respectively just makes it worse. Somewhat justified in context by both of them being show-offs, but that doesn't make keeping them alive any easier.
Most of the learned/equipped abilities for AI characters seem to have been explicitly designed to mitigate the effects of AS, by keeping the AI from selecting abilities that would be dumb to use given the context of the given battle. There will often be suspiciously absent abilities, no matter how implausible it is that the character hasn't picked them up by now.
Special mention goes to the goug guardians. There is a tinkerer on board who just doesn't know when to give it up. He keeps casting red spring (haste) until he hits his side with it. The problem being that he generally wastes, unless you stop him with the single character you have, around 3 turns hasting the entire enemy team into an unwieldy bombardment of speed and metal, and when he finally hits your side, he starts it all over again the second a single member loses haste. He doesn't do anything less painful, like green gears(poison), he always casts red spring until the entire party is sped up and only then does he cast the detrimental but significantly less painful green gears.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Scion Zodiark causes max damage, seeming to disregard stats. But it's near useless due to the fact that it hits everything on the field, both enemy and ally, with only a 50% chance of hitting in the first place (unless the enemy is in Sleep, Stop, or Stone status). You're much better off using Ultima (which damages all foes and heals your entire party) or Shemhazai (which only targets one enemy but usually has a 100% chance to hit and its damage is supposedly based off of how many enemies the user has killed)
It isn't Impractical in the five kings mission, in which you're surrounded by 5 level 99 mages, who happen to be armored to the teeth. and they get first strike, which makes it all the worse.
Without MP restoration (Or half MP) methods, the "Ultima" skills (all of which have a cost of 32 MP) take at least four turns to be ready, bringing them close to this trope.
Although WITH MP resoration AND half mp (or bloodprice) you can spam the most powerful spells/abilites in the game with reckless abandon, and its hard to not respect that kind of massive firepower. Its even cheaper than geomancy paravirs.
On the lower end of the power scale, Dragoons have the Jump attack. In addition to being the Dragoons' signature attack, it deals something like double their physical damage, and from a distance that Dragoons (and indeed, most Bangaa classes) cannot match with any of their other attacks. Plus, it looks awesome, with the Dragoon leaping clear off the screen and then smashing into the target. However, it's only half as accurate as a regular attack, and the unit must have a spear equipped to have access to it.
Gravity removes 1/4 of the target's HP and Graviga removes 1/2, but the same class can cast Death with the same amount of MP as the first and 10 less than the second.
Illusion spells have pretty nice animations and hit all enemies on the field regardless of position (much like Scions). However, they each cost 28 MP (equivalent to three turns of waiting without external aid); the damage an illusion does to each enemy is weak compared to spells of that cost; and Illusionists themselves are rather slow. Altogether, the usefulness of being able to hit everything at once is mitigated when you realize you've probably already killed two or three enemies by the time you have enough MP. They are still useful in stages where enemies weak to elements spawn and when combined with MP restorative skills.
A Winner Is You: The bonus 301st mission is a tournament against five squads of insta-death spamming maniacs who automatically get 50 turns before you can even blink. The reward for surviving this onslaught is... the credits. And a picture of a book.
Blessed with Suck: Adelle is a "Gifted One", a person who exhibits extraordinary powers such as instant mastery of any (mundane) skill and near-immortality. Problem is that most Gifted Ones cannot fully control their powers, and often are driven insane or turned into monsters as a result of the mental breakdown. Adelle hates being a Gifted at first, but through a series of quests she can realize that her power is pretty cool.
Badass Adorable: Any of the Moogle classes, but notably Moogleknight. And the fact that some of the classes has them equipped with guns (Remember they are little bunny people)
Badass Bookworm: Scholars can do surprising amounts of physical damage with their books, and are in fact one of the physically stronger Nu Mou classes. Due to the indiscriminatory nature of their skills, they're somewhat of a useless class though.
Unless you equip your team with armor which absorbs whatever element the scholar spams with his abilities. Also, "Natural Selection" can work wonders on stages where all enemies share the same race.
Seers also use books as weapons and even have a spell that damages enemies with magic and then teleports the user to each target to whack it. Obscenely powerful when combined with Dual Wield and a pair of strong weapons (e.g. Paladin knightswords).
Also, combining a Seer with Illusionist spells. Using Magick Frenzy with them means you'll strike every enemy that gets hit with the spell, and is good for missions where there are many enemies with similar elemental weaknesses. The Seer also has the Recharge skill, removing the need to wait several turns until you have enough MP. This also means Halve MP isn't absolutely necessary, which means you can replace it with Dual Wield to give you three hits on every enemy.
Bittersweet Ending: The ending as a whole is pretty upbeat, but there is one point that is a little bittersweet. Khamja, the main antagonist group, is still around. Illua's defeat weakens Khamja but the loss of one of their generals isn't enough to break them up. Cid and Luso even have a long discussion where they conclude that Khamja is so deeply ingrained in Ivalice's underworld that it is practically impossible to destroy.
Immunity's description says it prevents Buffs or Debuffs from being removed, but what it actually does is protect the user form certain debuffs (namely Silence, Sleep, Blindness, and Poison).
Bonecrusher's description says it counters standard attacks and always does more damage than that taken by the user, but the actual effect is simply a counter with 50% more power than the standard counter.
Strike Back's and Reflex's descriptions claims to let you avoid all standard attacks, but they only avoids those made from an adjacent tile.
Also apparent in some of the Judge Rulings- the wording of some of the rules can easily be misunderstood and cause instant loss of benefits for the rest of the battle.
Bonus Feature Failure: Al-Cid, who can't even change classes and whose abilities revolve solely around having females on the party. Some people may see Adelle's Heritor class as this, with only decent Growths and abilities that don't make up for the growth.
Boring, but Practical: One of the best units in the game is the Ranger, one of the Seeq's starter jobs. Besides having the best Speed growth (meaning more turns) among the Seeq jobs, the "Mirror Item" and "Item Lore" abilities in combination with X-potions puts it in Game Breaker territory. Which is probably why they don't need an Ultima skill at all!
Despite other abilities, the most efficient thing a Time Mage can do is Haste someone every turn, unless he happens to get enough MP to use Hastega. The same goes for the Arcanist, with using Drain and maybe Death.
Knots of Rust are near-worthless little chunks of scrap metal that you can sometimes get as rewards from jobs or from the Judge for obeying the law. Their sole purpose is as a throwing item that inflicts a few points of damage. However, some of the Standard Status Effects are cured when you take damage, and if you need someone cured of their confusion or infatuation now before they do something stupid and don't have any other way to do so (such as healing spells, other items), then these are nice to have around.
Step one: get a fuisler with stop shot, or any other class with the ability to inflict "stop" or maybe even "stone". step two: get a thief. Step three: stop a non-immune enemy until the status effect takes hold. Step three: use thief to rob said enemy blind of items and gil. It tends to get boring rather fast, but with skills like loot level 3 or 4 you will get a significant payout.
Got a Viera? Make her a green mage and teach her Tranq, which buffs accuracy. That skill is most likely second only to haste in terms of practicality, but considering how unique it is and the fact that its effects apply to a good majority of the skills means it's very useful for classes like assassins or a team is fighting against enemies with high evasion.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: In universe. At auction houses, going 20 bids allows you to buy extra tokens for clan pants, which can easily get expensive, but in order to sweep some areas it's almost required you get extra tokens or else your supply will get exhausted getting the other territories, where as others it just gets redundant.
Broken Pedestal: This is what led to Frimelda's demise. She can get better.
Hell, the ability keeps getting better the more you level up, because the amount of HP you have keeps increasing while the rate at which you gain MP each turn remains perpetually the same.
Chaos Architecture: A few places share names with FFTA places, but are on a landmass that in no way resembles the one from that game. Other than that, the landmass the town of Goug is on appearing exactly like the Goug desert's landmass does in Final Fantasy Tactics. The implications are quite interesting.
The reason it doesn't resemble FFTA's landmass is that they're not the same place. FFTA's Ivalice was the real world warped into a new form resembling Ivalice. The Ivalice in this game (and Tactics and XII) is a different dimension that Luso's been transported to.
Characterization Marches On: In FFTA, the Bangaa, being the most physical race, took on an unfortunate stereotype as a bunch of craven Dumb Muscle thugs, and were an overwhelmingly prevalent choice for minor bad guys. FFTA2, however, brings Seeq to the table, a race which pushes even further to the end of the physical spectrum. In characterization terms, these guys essentially became the new Bangaa, while Bangaa themselves received a more favorable portrayal overall, as gruff but well-meaning Proud Warrior Race Guys. To put it another way, the Seeq took over the Bangaa's old role as the "orcs" of Ivalice, while the Bangaa were promoted to "dwarves".
There are other character connections as well, for instance mention of Gaol, a hero mentioned in multiple missions in the original, and whose right-hand... uh... moogle, Lini, you can recruit as a secret character in the first game..
Ezel Berbier also makes an appearance, though he suddenly has an accent. So does Montblanc, Marche's Moogle sidekick.
Speaking of Marche, Luso's official art depicts him with the exact same sword Marche had in his. The translucent pizza cutter thing.
Continuity Nod: Halfway through the game, Luso bumps into a pair of Bangaa. The White Monk accuses Luso of stealing his gem, which causes Luso to almost call him a "big fat lizard". Montblanc comes in and manages to clear up the mess, then tells Luso to never call the Bangaa a lizard. This is almost the same exact scene with Marche and his run in with the Bangaa in the beginning of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
The tourney battle against Clan Centurio is Montblanc's former clan from Final Fantasy XII and all the members were NPC allies in XII that helped you in a few missions (They are also the default party members in the Japanese version of Tactics Advance, but the English version gave them random names instead (as well as changing the clan name to "Nutsy").
There's even a monster in this game that made an appearance from Final Fantasy XII. When you fight a gang of yellow chocobos and one red chocobo near the town of Goug, there is a chance that the red chocobo will be level 99, which is a Shout-Out to 12's rare level 99 chocobo. Beating the monster nets you a rare item that lets you summon a powerful scion.
Many pieces of loot are items from previous Final Fantasy titles.
As well as famous Characters' exclusive weapons, such as Cloud's Buster Sword, and Squall's Lionheart, Terra's ultimate weapon "Apocalypse" and a weapon called "Kain's Lance" (Which outright says belonged to a Dragoon of Legend)
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Enemy units, no matter how low their level, exhibit far better speed and evasion than your own party, as well as a sickeningly high rate of slamming you with bad status.
In order to add more challenge to some of the really late-game battles, the computer characters get several free rounds to attack you before you get a chance to do anything.
Also, it seems like percentage rates don't matter to the computer much. While they do miss, they'll hit with their 50% accuracy move much more often than not, and the computer will basically never miss with a 95% chance. It's incredibly frustrating to see a move like Moogle Rush or Beat Down connect most of the time a computer uses it with a 50% chance to hit.
In general, the hit-miss chances are re-seeded after each hit. God help you if an opponent has seeded a 0 (only hittable by something with 100% accuracy; most attacks max out at 99%) on a mission where Missing is forbidden...
Roulette randomally kills one character on the field, but that character can be from either side. It isn't uncommon to get a 3:1 to 4:1 hit ratio against your clan when it's supposed to have only a 50% chance of hitting your clan. It is crucial to kill the one who keeps casting it.
Crutch Character: The Seeq Ranger job can do 400 damage all the time very early and easy with mirror item/item lore. Late game you get (and need) the strength to far outdamage it, while the ranger stays at 400.
Cute Bruiser: The Gria are all female dragon humanoids who specialize in pure power devastation attacks, as shown with half of the available job classes.
And the Viera, depending on where one draws the line.
Subverted with Frimelda who is turned into a monster (namely a zombie) but doesn't look noticeably "cuter". In fact the only difference between her and a regular one appearance-wise is that her shirt and skin color are different.
Cutscene Power to the Max: In the mission where you save Ghi Yelghi from a Viking that is an "undefeated" duelist the Viking has his Templar and Dragoon Immobilize and Disable him with chants, then when the Viking loses he petrifies himself. None of those spells exist for any class, nor are they used in the battle, and the only two of those three status effects can be caused by units of that race: Immobilize if one of the Bangaa has Sleight of Hand set and used Shadow of Doubt and Stone if the Seeq had Survalism set and used Mirror Gold Needle (neither of which they had).
Early in the game Cid gets shot by a ninja wielding a pistol, keeping him bedridden for a while. Nevermind the fact that ninjas can't use pistols, and they deal pitiful damage, even at close range.
Crapsaccharine World: Much more apparent this time than last. Most visible in the Duelhorn plot and stories that involve zombie powder / Lethean Draught the two cross at one point, cue a tear jerker
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If you fight against a Magick Pot/Vase, just give it an Elixir and be done with it. It then disappears while giving you loot.
Disc One Nuke: You can gain access to the Ultima attacks and some of the best weapons and armor in the whole game as soon as you unlock auction houses.
Disproportionate Retribution: The Lang Brothers, four members of the Arbiters of Death, beat the everloving tar out of the other twenty-eight members of their clan and then fled the city. Why? Because one of the latter spilled his drink on one of the former, and the rest simply tried to break up the resulting fight!
Duel Boss: Adelle fights against one of The Gifted by herself as a test of strength. If she passes, she'll be able to gain abilities as a Gifted for herself. At the end of Frimelda's story line Ghi Yelghi challengers her to a duel.
Dumb Muscle: The leader of the Bangaa Brotherhood is alleged to be this by the leader of the Nu Mou Nobles. "If muscles were brains, he'd be a rare genius, that one!" The Viking Lord Greyrl also seems to be significantly lacking in intellectual faculties while possessing a like overabundance of physical might.
Early-Bird Cameo: It's hard to spot, but Montblanc shows up in the background in the scene where you name your clan.
And a few other times at the pub, which makes this an Easter Egg.
Escort Mission: There's a wide range of them, with AI that ranges from wise (running away and using Vanish to avoid being targeted, or simply getting behind your considerably more resilient party members to draw fire to them) to downright suicidal (a mage with just one non-offensive spell physically attacking an enemy 20+ levels higher than her or using a skill as likely to affect the enemies as it is your party).
The character(s) you need to protect often get deducted from you battle team's headcount limit, too. It's not uncommon for the headcount limit to be four or five as opposed to the usual six. It will sometimes go as low as three, but that usually means there is also an allied force that shows up just as the battle starts.
Enemy Mine: Occasionally you have to work with groups that are normally antagonistic; this is most apparent when the leader of the Camoa Braves specifically points out how odd it is to fight alongside your clan rather than against it.
Everything Fades: unlike the previous games, corpses immediately disappear from the battle field. Downed characters can be revived anywhere on the field. Chests also fade away when opened.
Fake Difficulty: Complaints are rampant about the new law system, the weird hit % system, as well as the glut of Escort Mission requests that get thrown at you.
The laws aren't as severe anymore, but they're also now tied directly to missions, so there will be situations where they're only in the way to make things harder for you. Battle against a team of mostly thieves? Having things stolen from you will be illegal. Battle against one guy and 5 girls where the objective is to defeat the one guy? Hurting the girls will be illegal. All the enemies weak to fire? Using Fire will be illegal. You get the picture.
Put that law where you can't be robbed into a mission where you must uphold the law or you lose the entire mission. 40% chance to steal? Riiight.
There are a few laws that are just needlessly difficult to uphold in general gameplay, such as "harming the weak" (don't hurt a lower level unit) or "Actions by X" ("X" being the name of a race, and any unit of that race can't use abilities, just basic attacks) can be impossible or needlessly difficult to uphold. Fortunately, on the other side of the coin, there are a number of laws that are of reasonable difficulty, such as "no ice" when only 1/3rd of the enemies are week to it, or "no back attacks".
Worst of all, laws are no longer applicable to both you and the enemy, making the faki difficulty absolutely blatant: they can impose as many stupid rules as possible, because it only affects the player.
In addition, many of those can be done via Dispatch, letting one of your clan members take care of it in a couple of days.
Firing One-Handed: Fusiliers and Al-Cid fire all their guns one-handed, even though half of them are rifles. It sort of makes sense for Al-Cid, since the guns are all made for moogles, creatures half his size.
Viera (High Men): A One-Gender Race. Called "people of the wood" due to their spiritual link with spirits from the wood and have sensitive Bunny Ears, but lack expressive emotions. A mixture of Glass Cannon and Fragile Speedster. also possibly the most overpowered race in the game, thanks to a long, complex chain of equipment
Moogle (Cute): A race smaller than the Nu Mou. Known for their bat-like wings, their pom poms, and saying kupo a lot. Sometimes known for playing pranks, but they are a very skilled mechanist. They are almost classified as the Jack-of-All-Trades, but their battle strength mostly comes from inflicting status ailments and casting buffs on the party.
Gria (Stout II): The Cute Bruiser. Being dragon-like, their wings let them fly anywhere and they have strength that can match a Bangaa, but are a bit more frail.
Seeq (Savage/Crafty): A fat pig-like race that are classified as somewhat dim witted and steal things to adorn their bodies with. Similar to the Bangaa in their strengths and weaknesses. Are also Stripperific, which may cause Squick and terror to some people.
Flavor Text: The game has TONS of flavor text for every single item in the entire game, ranging from history to Deadpan Snarker over the item's purpose.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: One of the weirder examples is that, story-wise, Cid and Penelo are a Revgajinote a sub-species of a rarely seen race called the Rev which includes Lezaford and the auction house manager and a Hume, respectively, but gameplay-wise are the same as a Bangaa and a Viera. The former is at least commented on in the manual though given no explanation, and the latter isn't given any sort of mention.
Also, when Hurdy asks to join Cid says "We've never been a clan to turn people away" regardless of how many people the player has turned away before.
Geo Effects: Geomancer magick depends on the weather and the kind of terrain she's standing on. Luckily, there are so many you'll always be able to use at least one.
Also, the Viking skill Tsunami, which can only be used if the user is standing in water.
The shape of the terrain also affects area-targeting spells. Too much height difference between two tiles and they can't be affected by a spell like fire (higher tier spells can generally cover more height). In addition, too much height makes it impossible for melee attacks to connect, while bows and guns might hit the ground or an ally in the line of fire.
Guest Star Party Member: Adelle and Cid join your party as guest units for a while until they can be recruited as full clan members. There are also numerous missions that give you guest characters that range from extremely helpful to extremely useless. Some missions also have monsters and recurring boss characters join your battles as guests.
Guide Dang It: The game never seems to clue you in about having to repeat certain missions in order to open new quest chains. Also, the method for obtaining the Scion Shemhazai is rather obscure. Not to mention a series of quests asking for a very specific class without giving any clear hints on what it is. It's possible to figure it out once you get the unique brand of logic used, but most just look it up. And there's also the MVP system, which even the most skilled have only a general understanding of. It's mostly unimportant... unless you want 100% Completion.
Healing Shiv: In addition to bringing back the Cure Staff, the game also lets Moogles and Bangaa shoot Potions and Ethers from their cannons for HP or MP recovery. Also, there are enough armors that allow you to absorb elements that you can turn nearly any elemental weapon/skill into this. For a more hilarious version, have a Ranger use Mirror Item, and then a Knot of Rust on someone. Knot of Rust is just chunks of rock. Now imagine throwing rocks at someone to heal them.
The pub owner who hands out your missions is pretty much the same sprite no matter what town you're in. Ditto for the shopkeeper lady. And the auctioneer. Which is made even funnier by the fact that the pub owner is the same one as in the previous game and while his dialogue portrait has been updated, his sprite has not. (The shopkeeper was also the human shopkeeper from Tactics Advance.)
The Aerodrome ladies: the second one is a Palette Swap of the first.
And of course all characters of the same race and class, minus Palette Swap for enemies v. allies & guests. However, this is often averted for "team leaders" for the opposing side who may get unique speaking sprites.
Infinity+1 Sword: The "Sequencer" sword and "Peytral" make their glorious return, and are now even easier to power up.
Item Crafting: Killing enemies gives you loot, and loot is used to make new equipment at the shop's bazaar. It's basically the only way to get new items (although law bonuses sometimes include low-tier equipment), and availability dictates what classes you'll be using for most of the game.
Killer Rabbit: The aforementioned Dreamhares and their cousins of course. Moogles can be surprisingly effective as well, except for Tinkers. Story-wise, the Mooglebane rabbit enemies terrify Moogles. Why? Because they eat the Moogles' pom poms.
In the "Five Kings of Cinquleur" quest line, you face five highly dangerous masters of the five "colors" of magic. Of them, White King Blanch and Green King Verre sound... decidedly less than threatening on their own, since White mages are healers who shouldn't be much trouble in a one-on-six situation, and Green Mages are Mezzers for crying out loud, so Verre shouldn't be able to do much more than putting some of your guys to sleep, right? Well, it turns out that, like the other Kings, Blanch and Verre have subjobs. Very effective ones. Turns out that that Squishy Wizard White Mage is also a Sage, and packs some deadly crap like Scathe and Gigaflare, and he somehowhas Blood Price, despite it being a Viera-only ability. And that Mezzer? Turns out that the Accuracy-boosting Tranq is quite effective when paired with the Assassin's Last Breath attack.
Legacy Character: Adelle, sort of. All of her Heritor abilities are named after other Gifted, most of whom are dead, and learned from their weapons. Including her own skill, Adelaide.
Lethal Joke Character: Moogles are quite gimmicky, but in the right hands are incredibly dangerous. Fusiliers for example, when combined with Moogle Knight abilities as a secondary, can fire off Ultimas from 8 tiles away, which is the longest range in the game. They also possess the only means of doing damage while Stopping an opponent, and can Charm similarly. The endless loop of two Smile-Tossing Jugglers from the first game is also just as viable in this one.
Hurdy goes on the top of this list. He's the only Spoony Bard you can get. Not only do his songs have great use in the right times, especially against undeadnote the song Requiem not only deals heavy, non-conditional damage to undead in a small area, but also removes tombstones. or as support for a magic reliant class, but he can doubleclass as a fusilier, making him just as deadly as any other moogle, but with a few 0MP gimmick skills that can be surprisingly powerful.
Level Scaling: uses FFTA's system of basing the level of random encounters on the average level of your clan members. Recruited units also match your clan's average level up to level 30.
Lightning Bruiser: Stat-wise the Gria's Ravager job is a Mighty Glacier, but can also fly (ignoring elevation and passing over enemy units) greatly compensating for it's low speed. Similarly, the Raptor has good attack and speed (another Gria class so it can also fly), and makes up for bad defense with good armor.
Lost Forever: Notably averted, although you can miss out on a very useful ability for Hurdy early on with the only alternative being repeating a quest that only comes once a year 4 times.
It is possible for unique weapons to be destroyed by enemies, including the ones you need for Hurdy to learn all Bard abilities and for Adelle to master Heritor abilities, halting progression of the Heritor sidequest.
Several Clan Trials: Aptitude-Teamwork depends entirely on where the jar spawns. General Training I's law, "No Missing" speaks for itself. Aptitude I is a shell game.
It is possible to fail a Clan Trial barring ranged attacks by scoring a critical hit in melee, which moves the target four squares before dying. Result? Instant fail. There are many laws for regular battles that punish critical hits, like "No knockbacks", "No dealing over X pts of damage" and "No targeting distant units" (yes, it decides on whether or not a unit targeted it "distant" based on where it is after the attack is done). Thankfully, there is a trick to avoiding the first and third ones of those, at least when it comes to critical hits: just keep the enemy unit backed up against something immovable (walls, chests, other units...) Alternately, just use magic or use physical skills that can't knockback or crit, like Air Render.
Many Escort Missions depend entirely on how stupid the NPCs you're supposed to be protecting are.
Any mission in which time constraints are tight and in which some monsters have instant-kill abilities, like Roulette.
Magic Knight: A lot of them. Red Mages, Spellblades, Templars, Seers... even Sages might be counted, since while they're much more "magic" than "knight", they still deal and soak noticeable damage for being theoretical squishies (plus they can use shields).
Vikings use shields and wear heavy armor, and also have access to the "Thunder" spells and the (unique to the class) Tsunami spell. They're more "knight" than "magic", though, as Seeq tend to have very low Magick scores.
Green and Blue Mages are the most physically powerful mage classes, though.
Not to mention that the job system allows you to make up your own, albeit with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Magikarp Power: Blue Magicks eventually gives you some of the most powerful and versatile units in the game after learning abilities such as White Wind, Mighty Guard, and Matra Magic. However, this only applies to the ability Blue Magick, because once you master the passive ability "Learn" (and maybe the Counter ability MP Shield) there's really no reason to stay in the class because you don't need to stay in the class to learn anything and it's stats (besides resistance to status change) aren't very good.
Tinkers as well. While their skills are outright abysmal, their stat growths are some of the best growths in the entire game. Time spent as a tinker will only be regretted during and before, not after.
Mighty Glacier: Get a few levels in Paladin and you'll qualify for the trope no problem. Same with Defender.
The Tonberry monsters fit this too. They can only move two panels at a time, and their turns are few and far between, but they resist everything, and their damage is based on the number of kills made by the target character. By the time you fight them, most of their attacks hit for 999 unblockable damage.
Mini-Mecha: The "Moogletron" used in the Goug mines. It shows up in a Tinker ability too.
Missed Him by That Much: In the "I'm Back, Kupo!" encounter, Hurdy meets Luso right after Montblanc left the scene. It should be noted that Hurdy would be surprised to see his own brother in Jylland.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: It's not uncommon for enemy units to have Support abilities they just simply shouldn't be able to learn, such as Blood Price on non-Viera, or un-learnable passive skills on otherwise plain generic units.
The Thief class. Once feared for their ability to strip an enemy of all of their equipment, now they are only good for two things: stealing loot, and character min-maxing (as they have the highest Speed growth of all the jobs, and Speed is generally considered the One Stat to Rule Them All in high-level gameplay).
The Assassin class. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance it was the hardest job to acquire for the Viera race but (fittingly) their best job, turning the character into a Lightning Bruiser. In A2 their power has been greatly decreased but the pre-requisites are still just as demanding.
Beastmaster was also Nerfed to hell and back and are now only useful for helping Blue Mages learn their abilities.
The passive ability Concentrate had its accuracy boost considerably reduced from 50% for physical attacks and 20% for status effects to a flat 5% rate for everything.
On a smaller note, the accuracy boost from the Thief Armlets/Brigand's Gloves was reduced from 20% to 5%.
The last bit is justified due to accuracy going from the dynamic stat in battle to damage, so attacks are much, much more accurate in this game than they were before.
"Damage > MP" was turned into "MP Shield." Not only is it less useful because MP starts at 0 for every battle now, as long as a unit had a single MP, it could take 999 damage without its HP being affected. Now the overflow goes into HP.
No Arc in Archery: Averted; even at point blank range an arrow will be fired up before coming down on a target. A shot can even miss due to elevation and positioning factors that would make arcing the shot impossible. Flintlocks and Cannoneers aim their cannons at an angle, as well, though the projectiles aren't visible in that case.
Non-Lethal K.O.: When hit by an instant death effect, the Grim Reaper shows up and takes your soul from your body - and you pass out. Hand Waved as a perk of being in a clan with a Judge: you can't die. Even if the Judge leaves you after breaking the law. Even more ridiculous is the stuff you can do to some recurring characters who don't appear to be Adjudged. You could, say, reduce an important, recurring character to Critical HP, and then have an Alchemist use Transmute to turn him into a consumable item, like a Potion, drink the potion, and then they're alive and well in the next mission that involves the character.
Not the Fall That Kills You: Get knocked off a high (which is defined as a height greater than the unit could jump down itself) cliff by a critical or other knockback skill, and you take damage. A considerable amount of damage, too. And not even Soft Water will save you. Unless you have Super Drowning Skills, then the game simply won't allow you to be hit off the edge.
Numerical Hard: Hard mode simply boosts the enemies' stats. Most of the time you still win regardless, but battles take an eternity.
Old Save Bonus: If you have a copy of the original Tactics Advance in the DS' GBA slot when you start a new game, you are given the "Libra" ability, which reveals the stage's traps. Genre Savvy gamers don't need to be told this, as DS sequels to GBA games tend to have extra features unlocked in this way. Oddly, while DS games are region-free, this bonus doesn't work if the two games are from different regions, such as a US FFTA and a European A2.
One-Man Army: There is a clan based on this. A member of their clan will challenge you to combat and be able to go toe to toe with several of your clan members. If you beat one, you will soon receive a job offer from another (stronger) member of their clan who got a recommendation to fight you. Of course, they give you a fabulous prize if you beat them.
Optional Party Member: Practically everyone, strictly speaking, but secret characters Frimelda, Vaan, Penelo, Al-Cid, and Montblanc can all be attained through certain questlines. After that, however, you can't dismiss them from your party and you're stuck with them forever.
Overrated And Underleveled: Adelle after you get her back can be up to four levels behind the rest of the clan, and you probably won't be able to get her caught up ever unless you do all the Heritor weapon quests and use her in every battle for a while... or unless you do the quest to get her back immediately after she leaves. Frimelda can also be a little behind the curve, and is a pain to level as she can't be dispatched, depending on when you get her. The other secret characters you can recruit such as Vaan, Penelo, Al-cid and Montblanc also suffer from this trope.
The Power of the Sun: The Geomancer Class's Shining Flare attack. Only usable during bright sunlight.
Professional Butt-Kisser: The Bonga Bugle Head Editor never misses the chance to praise the Owner as highly as it is possible in hopes that someday his boss will name him the next Owner.
Punny Name/Theme Naming: The Five Kings of Cinquleur. "Cinquleur" is a portmanteau of the French cinq couleurs (five colours). Likewise, the mages' first names are all phonetically the same as the French word for the colour of magic they use. Hilarious messed up though, because enemies always use the opposite color scheme for sprites, so Blue Mage Bliu the Blue King is red, Red Mage Ruuj the Red King(queen?) is blue, despite equipping all gear that is explicitly red.
Random Drop: and thanks to it you'll suffer when you can't buy the items needed to upgrade your party.
Rare Random Drop: Corollary: the more you need a drop, the lower the chances to get it.
Random Encounter: You have a chance of running into monsters or enemy clans on the map, though specific enemies appear in specific locations.
Random Events Plot: Taken to its most extreme here. It's flat-out stated that Luso's best chance of going home is if he does enough random quests to fill up his Grimoire. Though most of these events end up leading back to Khamja, Ivalice's underworld kingpins.
Red Is Heroic: Luso wears a red hat. Defenders, Jugglers, Red Mages (obviously) and Berserkers on your team wear red. White mages on your team have red markings on their robes. Allied Alchemists and Ravagers are dressed in pink. There are many job classes that invert this as well. Enemy Soldiers, Black Mages, Blue Mages, Tinkers, Spellblades and Warriors wear red. Enemy Time Mages have red hats.
Reluctant Monster: During her time as a Zombie, Frimelda is surprisingly eloquent and well meaning, though she does have a bit of a slur.
Revive Kills Zombie: Undead enemies are reduced to tombstones instead of death and rise again a few turns later. Phoenix Downs can remove the tombstones, as can a few specialized abilities like the Archer skill Burial. The same skills can also be used to instantly kill undeads, but the success chance is much lower when they still have hitpoints - unless they are put to sleep first.
Easy to do accidentally on the "Foodstuffs" quests. You are supposed to kill X number of a specific enemy and then talk to the guest requesting the quest. However, you are free to kill as many of the other enemies on the level as you want. If you don't realize that, because the requests do not make that clear, these missions can become That One Level.
Many missions have laws that are brutally hard to uphold but aren't necessary for success, so you have the choice of accepting the challenge or just breaking the law and forgoing clan privileges.
Sequence Breaking: Using the above mentioned mirror item/item lore/x potion combo can clear missions that are otherwise above your level like the Cinquleur duels, getting you powerful items as rewards.
Speaking of Zelda shout outs, the second most powerful Greatsword is the Master Sword, which grants the user immunity to instant KO. Also appeared in FFTA.
The Bangaa Trickster class may very well be a subtle shout out to Kingdom Hearts II. Their outfit◊ bears the Nobody Emblem on the pant legs, and bears a vague similarity to the Gambler Nobodies◊. In addition to that, they use cards and have a thing for inflicting bad status, much like Luxord.
Vaan and Penelo's impostors are joined by characters named Baltie, Rosenbach, Pulam, and Arshes, corruptions of the names of the other four Final Fantasy XII characters.
Montblanc will shout Marche's name if he is knocked out in battle.
There is a mission named "It's A Trap!" where you are hired to destroy several traps that were accidentally placed with the assurance that "Deactivating them would be hazardous at this point, so I just need someone to destroy them. It's the only way to be sure."
If your party leader is a moogle for the mission "Wanted: Moogle Ranger", after the Moogle Rangers introduce themselves he'll asks them if he can "form the pom-pom".
Small Name, Big Ego: The Bonga Bugle editor, who happens to have a high-ranking news job just like the original Ted Baxter. He's level 10 throughout the game, but sometimes tries to take on enemies over 25 levels higher than him.
And then there's his boss, who the aforementioned Head Editor claims is far more powerful than him. Need I remind you that the Bonga Bugle's owner is level 1?!
Fortunately for you, if you get fed up with them, the mission that rewards you with access to the Lanista job allows you to beat up these two clowns... after you smite their much stronger bodyguards of course.
Spoony Bard: Once again, gimmick classes are the Moogle specialty.
The Chocobo Knight is a strange case of spoony. He has absolutely no abilities on his own until he mounts a wild chocobo. Once he does, he can use his mount's skills depending on the color, but can't use any subjobs or situational commands (like opening chests) because he always has the Dismount command. They can equip any non-ranged weapon, and use various buffs depending their steed. Even without the chocobos they have the beast speed stat in the entire game.
Strange Bedfellows: Luso and Vaan start out as adversaries. They join up once they have a mutual enemy of their own.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: Trap-disabling missions. Until you recruit a certain secret character late in the game, you have no way to disable traps without just stepping into them.
Summon Magic: Summoner class can call familiar espers such as Shiva and Ramuh, and party members, regardless of job, can equip special accessories that summon scions, the summons from FFXII.
Super Drowning Skills: Moogles and Nu Mou acquired this so that the Feather Boots would still have a purpose. The Galmia Shoes also grant this in exchange for Super Jumping Skills. Although instead of dying if you fall in water those units are simply unable to be put in a water tile, even if they're pushed into by an attack that moves you over.
Super Title 64 Advance: It's not Tactics DS, it's Tactics A2. The reason it's called A2 rather than Advance 2 is because it's not on the Game Boy Advance anymore.
Take Your Time: Cid encourages Luso to go to the mainland to prepare for the final battle and the Big Bad can wait as long as they take to prepare. This is despite the fact that the said Big Bad is going to release an apocalypse on the world at any moment. Naturally, the Big Bad will say that you're late when you do go to the final battle, but it becomes hilarious when you go straight to the final battle from the previous scene and the boss still says you're late.
Makes sense, if you think about it. Illua, copying Luso, is writing a journal starring her as the "hero" of the story. And you can't have a proper ending without an exciting battle against the villians, now can you? She just has to wait for you guys, else her grimoire won't have enough power to do what she wants.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The only way to identify a female Seeq or a (supposedly) female Bangaa is by her use of makeup. The former is used to hilarious effect when you rescue a kidnapped beauty contestant only to discover that the missing girl is the winner of a Seeq beauty contest.
Those Two Guys: Devotee and Devotee Jr., a Seeq Lanista and a Moogle Time Mage that are always trying to get the latest news about Prima Donna.
Took a Level in Badass: Even the most staunch Vaan hater admits that his Sky Lord incarnation is Badass incarnate. He's gotten to the point that imposters will simply claim to be him, knowing that no one is stupid enough to pick a fight with the Sky Lord. He spends most of his time hunting the imposters down though.
Travel Montage: When using the Aerodome from Moorabella to Fluorgis, and back.
Tsundere: The Witch of the Fens. It's hard not to get the impression that she likes Luso. For one thing, while she usually charges exorbitant prices for her services, it's on the house whenever Luso needs something.
Adelle is a bit mean to Luso at the end but while Luso and Cid went off, Adelle cries while Hurdy comforts her. (They were teleported at the final stage, at which you can go back to the mainland and prepare for the final fight).
There was also their argument they had once. She slapped him hard. He slapped her back, where she roared at him for hitting a girl, and he tells her not to be dumb.
Useless Useful Spell: Sadly, skills that cause bad status are no longer the game-breakers they were in the first Tactics Advance.
They're still useful though. Green Mages (the first-tier Mezzers of choice) make it much easier to get through the early parts of the game. Not that they aren't useful afterwards...
Fortunately this goes both ways. Bad status effects on your party members aren't as bad anymore.
Sleep and Stop still make the victims so easy to hit that most effects have a 100% hit chance. Yes, even Instant Death.
Plus Green Mages learn a spell, Tranq, that makes status effects more likely to hit. Including Death, again.
Upgrade Artifact: Most spells and abilities are learned from various pieces of equipment, although like in the prequel and Final Fantasy IX, learning takes some effort.
Violation of Common Sense: The missions that require you to destroy traps will always fall under this. The only way to destroy a trap is to trigger them yourself and suffer its effects. Unless you recruit Vaan, who has an ability that lets him safely disarm traps.
Abilities that hit multiple targets in an area can also be this if you decide to attack several enemies while hitting your own units in the process. If your units can take the damage without trouble, then you probably won't mind the friendly fire damage anyway.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The Flowsand Lord on Hard mode. As a boss, he's immune to status effects. His placement makes him a bit tricky to attack. Did we mention that out of his two most-used attacks, one hits the entire board hard enough to half-kill the Squishy Wizards, and the other deals a huge amount of damage and heals him? On normal, his attack damage is manageable, but on Hard, you had better have a game plan and some free time.
It gets worse. In case you somehow manage to survive his attacks, an infinite number of Antlions spawn as the battle progresses.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: Gria don't have many unique abilities outside of the inconsistent at best Geomancer ones, but they get the unique Sneak Attack (deal more damage when attacking from the side, deal massive damage when attacking from the back, and they fly over your head to reach your back), an Ultima variant, Sonic Boom, and the decent enough Advice (boosts critical rate of an ally, useful when foes are far away and they have nothing else to do), which, while their only really viable setup, is all they need. They also get Crush abilities; amped-up versions of the Soldier's Break abilities which deal damage in addition to lowering the stat (Speed Crush is by far the most useful of the three.)