Reviews: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

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An excellent tactical RPG
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is one of the best RPGs on the Game Boy Advance, providing a deep and engaging gameplay experience.

The story involves Marche moving to a town called St. Ivalice after his parents' divorce, but one of his new friends somehow transports Marche and most of the people he knows to a world known as Ivalice, in which clans fulfill people's requests and fight for supremacy. Marche feels empowered in and enjoys his new world, but also begins to wish to go home.

While the story is apparently controversial in some circles, I like that it has those who want to stay in Ivalice being portrayed sympathetically, while forcing Marche to seriously ask himself whether bringing the world back to normal is right and/or something he wants to do.

The gameplay is generally quite entertaining. The job system, by allowing characters to switch between classes between battles, and use abilities from other jobs, is quite deep and engaging, and allows for a great deal of character customization, and many different viable parties.

The Laws, however, can be annoying. While many of them are not likely to apply to more than a few abilities, there are those that can put the player at a severe disadvantage, and make battles almost impossible to win unless the player uses special Antilaws to negate them. However, with some exceptions, such as bosses, enemies are also subject to these laws, so using the right law cards in th right circumstances can give players a significant advantage.

The missions have a good variety of foes and objectives, and the dispatch missions, in which one clan member is sent out to do the job for the clan, do effectively encourage players for developing characters besides the six they use on most missions.

Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to get all 300 missions, since some of the dispatch missions require strong followers in classes you may not have, or you may need to complete many other missions to even be able to see them. The payoff- a last set of missions- is good on paper, but too easy to be very worthwhile.

As might be expected of Square Enix, the game has an excellent soundtrack, evn if the default battle theme is quite bland.

All in all, FFTA is a very enjoyable, deep and rewarding experience, so it's well worth your time if you're a fan of RPGs.
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Super Hitler Simulator
So, now that you've had your eye caught by titles, Let me start with what you're probably thinking. No, I don't think Marche wanting to go home was an inherently bad thing.

What WAS an inherently bad thing, was crippling his brother all over again, killing his best friend, his other best friends mom, and basically committing mass genocide, possibly for a second time depending on how the mechanics of the whole world change work.

Also stopping us from ever seeing what Clan Ritz would be in another eight or so years but that's not as bad honestly. Even if my dreams of Lesbian bunnygirl orgies are crushed forever.

Now, moving on to the why of it.

To explain a bit, the way Ivalice WORKS, assuming it's actually some kind of illusion and not just spacetime magic creating a new world with bits of the old as a base template to work off of or that Il Grim wasn't suicidal [which you have to wonder], the complexity of it and the created beings, pushes it from a Lotus Eater machine to more of a TRON-esque existence. Assuming that it is somehow an illusion, then the entities within that aren't originally from Earth, are basically magic AI at that point, and thus debatably still alive in a sense.

And you totally kill them all while teaming up with what are, in another life, essentially Fallen Angels, and not the hot kind from Highschool Dx D even. Talking full balls to the walls evil here.

If it talks like a man, walks like a man, and thinks like a man, we can't exactly say it isn't one, because we can't really test for anything else, essentially.

If Marche had stopped for even one second and looked for another route, or even spent a series of quest chains doing so [they certainly had room for it, considering there's what, twenty mainquest missions out of 200 or so total?] He could have still gone to push the genocide button and come off as a tragic hero with the right lighting.

But he doesn't, he just automatically teams up with the Ersatz Final Fantasy villains he finds and goes to commit genocide.

Avoiding that problem,the gameplay is fun, even after years, the graphics are still fresh looking and the story has it's moments.

Music is fantastic still, seriously.
  comments: 7
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The best
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.
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Good Graphics and Good Game
So this is my first detailed review EVER. So excuse any bad grammar and lack of details.

First of all, let me summarize a bit about this game. Since it's previous game Final Fantasy Tactics is a game for teens with rather dark illustrations, complex stories and hard game system (which is of course something good for those who likes challenging games), Square Enix gives a chance for younger children to experience a tactical Final Fantasy game: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

To tell you the truth I've never played FFT before, but I know that FFTA is the lighter version of the former.

Now with the other elements. The graphics (or illustration) is drawn by artist Ryoma Ito, someone who copies the style of FFT, which was drawn by Akihiko Yoshida. Ryoma Ito did a good job on drawing a more family-friendly version of FFT's graphics. Especially that the main characters of the game were dominantly children.

The story plot is very good, too. I, as an FFTA player who finished all 300 missions, could already understand the concept of the plot, and the moral about not running away from reality, what a good message. Though I think the game's plot wasn't sent properly, which made some fans protest about the hero Marche Radiuju.

My score for the game system is rather low, though. But high enough for me to appreciate it. The game system is easy for beginners. The race system is also a good idea and shows uniqueness between units. The mission proved that they were good by giving the Tetris Effect. Though what bugs me is that the very, very last boss of FFTA wasn't challenging enough, seriously.

If I could give stars to this game, I'd give it 4.
  comments: 2
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