Reviews: Final Fantasy Tactics A 2

A Good Game, But Not Always A Step In The Right Direction

FFTA 2 is one of those sequels that tries enough new things to be distinguished from its predecessor, but not enough to seem like a new game. Unfortunately, not all of those decisions work out, which results in a game that doesn't quite live up to its predecessor.

The plot involves Luso Clemens accidentally finding his way into Ivalice after writing his name in a mysterious book, and fighting to find a way back. There's not too much to the story apart from that, as while the cast goes through some Character Development, and some plot threads are brought up later on, they never really amount to much.

Still, one thing the sequel does better is the pacing. While FFTA had several long (albeit necessary) expository scenes about the various characters' problems and two tutorials before the first actual mission, the sequel throws Luso into combat with a boss-like enemy after naming and two brief scenes. If you don't care about the story, you might enjoy FFTA 2 more, at least in this respect.

If you've played FFTA, you may remember the Law system, which severely penalizes actions that break the rules, from using various elements to certain classes' abilities, and while it's back here, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that while the laws are back, the punishments are less severe (forfeiting a bonus and the ability to resurrect your units), but the bad news is that the laws themselves are more onerous, and can extend to factors beyond your direct control, such as how much damage you do. If you want to ignore the laws, this may be a step in the right direction, but if you don't, then you may find this frustrating.

Being a sequel, FFTA 2 adds two new races and a few new classes, which are nice additions, if not especially groundbreaking. It also changes some mechanics around, and while there are some improvements (If you reduce a person with "Damage>MP" to 0 MP, the rest of that attack's damage lowers their HP- if you hit an enemy with 100 HP and 5 MP with an attack that does 101 damage, you'll reduce them to 4 HP and 0 MP, rather than just depleting their mana), one problematic element is that mages start with 0 MP. This puts magic users at a severe disadvantage due to having to wait to use their best spells, and since FFTA was good about requiring good MP management in long fights, the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.

The music is quite good, and the graphics, while still relatively basic for the DS, are an improvement over the previous game.

All in all, if you enjoyed FFTA and want some more of the similar kind of gameplay, this is worth checking out, but if you're looking for a sequel that surpasses the original, you may be disappointed.
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