Many people seem to prefer A2
for the refined mechanics and graphics. I actually prefer the first. The story is simple yet engaging, a hero who manages to be relatable (without coming across as moody, blank or aggressively perky), and the difficult curve is tough - but fair. It's probably the most balanced of the Tactics
games, the original included. Sure, once your clan is fully-stocked with advanced jobs, the game becomes a cakewalk, but it's a long slog to get there.
The game encourages you to try out the various jobs. A few optional missions require a Red Mage or a Gunner, for instance. The game can be kind of obtuse at times, though: Some missions are only available in certain towns; the Moogle village carries Cure Alls, but no one else does; and the Monster Farm is an unnecessary money pit. (Monsters won't eat the same item twice, and it's unclear how much/what item is needed. Why not Capture and be done with it?) And THE LAAAW! Suddenly I'm starting to see Armand Assante's point of view. Laws are a fun challenge... at first
. But once you're juggling three bogus restrictions per battle, and your Antilaws only activate when they feel
like it, I'm not so forgiving.
The story riffs a bit on Secret Of Evermore
, another great unorthodox game. The story is meant for kids, so Marche's motives for returning home are summed up in a simple, anime-style moral at the end. But the fact that the game even challenges
Marche's view is quite refreshing. Most of his friends from St. Ivalice are out to stop him, for instance. Ironically, Ivalice is somehow less silly in cartoon form that it was in XII
's realistic setting. I really have a soft spot for it.