Old School RPG Corner: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
(AfroGamers.com) With the Final Fantasy Tactics of games, the original for PSOne is often held as the best one. For me, its Tactics for Gameboy Advance. It differs from the original in storyline and one significant mechanic but its these two elements that puts the game above the original.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
The portable version sees the main character involved in a snowball fight during recess in school. He’s new and often picked on but by some occurrence, he ends up in a fantasy realm where his friends have also been teleported. Familiar characters from the real world all have different roles. The fantasy theme was somewhat overdone in the RPG genre but for some reason JRPGs seem to do well with it no matter what—although there is the case of Unlimited Saga.
As is usually the case with a Square Enix title, the character designs and music are on point. Also, the Final Fantasy Tactics games are the foundation of the Ivalice Alliance. This is a universe in the Final Fantasy series which includes Final Fantasy XII on Playstation 2.
What really makes Final Fantasy Tactics Advance so fun to play is the combat and the specifics of the missions on the job board. While there is a definite, linear storyline to go through, the job board gives you enough side missions and repeating missions to keep you playing. Not only that, but the game also has the rivals element when it comes to clans.
Combat and Missions
The order of the day in Tactics Advance is turned-based battles done tactics-style. If a character has high speed, they get movement priority. Depending on where you are when you attack, you’ll do more damage. For instance, being on the side or behind an enemy and having a terrain height advantage as an archer will really deliver on damage. This is just a smidge of the different advantages in combat. You also have elemental advantages and disadvantages.
Outside of combat—but still related—is the job board. When your main character arrives in this new world, they are adopted by a small clan. This band of adventurers and others take on a number of missions that can range from gathering to extermination. This is another thing I loved about Tactics Advance. Other adventurers existed in their own clans and you could see them on the game map. If you encountered them it was on.
Laws and Judges
Adding to this element were Laws and Judges. On any other day in game, there would be a law such as “No ranged attacks.” This meant that you probably shouldn’t use archers or characters that could attack from a distance or a judge would arrest them and take them out of that battle after two infractions (a red card). These judges will offer an alternative that gives you points for successfully using them. There are some areas where judges don’t appear and the laws don’t apply.
While its expected that you’ll need strategy in battle, this adds another degree of difficulty and forces players to make well-rounded teams and clans.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is everything the original was but more. The law card element really forces you to use different characters in your clan—something I love. The storyline is enjoyable but its really all about doing all the different missions on the job board and the fights involved. If you still have your Gameboy Advance, see if you can pick this one up. You won’t regret it! If not, emulation is your friend and the download time is worth it.
RATING: 10 out of 10 (The Seal of Dopeness)
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.