Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.
What the Game’s About
It’s time to head back into the world of Ivalice. Final Fantasy fans have come to form a close relationship with Ivalice since its introduction in the original Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and then again in Final Fantasy XII. Well, now it’s time to visit the fantasy world again and engage in an all new adventure.
Luso Clemens is your typical mischievous young boy who just wants to get out of school and enjoy his summer. Sadly for him, summer is going to have to wait a little longer. On the last day of school, Luso is sent to detention because of his continuous tardiness and misbehavior. As he enters the library to face his punishment, he finds an old book sitting on a table and decides to read it, only to discover the pages are blank. Quickly after, Luso is sucked into the pages of the book and stumbles into the mystical world of Ivalice where he must journey forward and discover the secrets of the book to find his way home.
Final Fantasy Tactics has always been about strong gameplay elements, unique job system, and limitless customization options. Well, all those brilliant ideas are back and in full swing in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. These are the main aspects of the game that you’ll find yourself occupied with for hundreds of hours. This happens mainly because of the setup of the game itself. In order to progress in the title, you must visit pubs to acquire new quests for your clan. There are missions that will solely be based on the story and progress you through the game, and then sub-quests that will give your clan a better reputation and loot.
Surprisingly, loot plays a bigger role in the title than in previous incarnations. Players can connect their DS systems to other local players to exchange raffle tickets. You then take your ticket to the Aerodome in the game and exchange them for rare items.
The game really shines when you get deep enough to customize your clan members and make your own decisions on what you want to do. You can recruit new members to your clan, assign them their own jobs, set abilities, and then create the ideal clan you want. Every member can have their own unique characteristics if you see it fit, or you can make a clan of Moogle Warriors or Black Mages. Be creative and create your own personal army of super warriors. Also, newly implemented is the “Opportunity Turn” system. This acts almost as a “limit breaker” of sorts. During battles, you’ll have a small gauge next to each player’s status that gradually fills up during battles. Once the gauge is completely filled, each character will unlock rare attacks for either offensive or defensive measures. This is a nice new addition and can really help turn the tide during a high difficulty battle.
To help make the game more appealing is the wonderful graphics. True, the graphics haven’t seen a huge overhaul from the GBA Final Fantasy Tactics, but the game is still a marvel to look at nonetheless. What makes the game look so appealing isn’t so much the sprites themselves, but the little details added that make you appreciate the art style more. Minor lighting effects and equipment details really help make the game look better than it truly does.
There may not be a lot of flaws to be discovered in this wonderfully crafted title, but there are a few disappointing aspects in it. Firstly, the game is quite easy. The judge system is back from Tactics Advance, but it doesn’t carry the same weight. Instead of condemning you to jail when you break a law during combat, you are instead revoked of reviving fallen clan members and any special perks awarded to you at the start of the battle. While the game still does punish you for not following the laws of the battlefield, the punishment doesn’t seem as harsh as it was in the previous version. If people want to blame Nintendo for appealing to casual gamers, then I guess you can add Square-Enix to the list as well.
Secondly, the touch-screen control is poorly implemented. Unlike the controls found in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, FFTA2 features rough touch-screen controls. While not game ruining, the controls definitely aren’t an improvement over the standard d-pad controls. Luckily, d-pad controls are still offered and are definitely the way to go.
Now, finally, the camera. Many of the maps are small areas that consist of trees and other natural elements. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem had the game featured a rotating camera system. By not allowing you to rotate the camera to find a better angle in battle, you instead have to make sure you have aligned your character perfectly because often you may think you are parallel to an enemy only to realize you are a block off your desired location. There’s no excuse not to feature such a basic option in the present day.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 offers everything that FFTA offered plus some. Fans waiting for a true sequel to the original Final Fantasy Tactics will have to continue their wait. The game features addicting gameplay, engaging characters, good soundtrack, and an amazing art style. This a winning package for Tactics Advance fans, even though it doesn’t really differentiate itself from its predecessor. All in all, this is a great tactical adventure.