Final Fantasy Tactics
Review by Tetsuo Katata
Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my favorite games of all time. Why? The drama, the suspense, the magic, the treachery, the list goes on. Final Fantasy Tactics is a story about political love, a war torn country thrust into civil war as two houses vie for regency of the infant crown prince, and those who would control the world by using the ones who think they are at the top.
The story starts out in a monastary where Ovelia, the crown princess, is being kept safe from Lord Goltana, the leader of the Nanten knights. A few hired mercenaries are there to help protect the princess. Then Goltana sends a few men to capture the princess. And from there the story unfolds.
Not only is the story intriguing, the game mechanics are also very interesting. Unlike other RPG's where you can just sit around and press O or X until the fight is over, you have to use your brain to outwit opponents. You are Ramza Beolve, son of Balbanes Beolve, revered and honored general that served Prince Larg. In the beginning you have a few soldiers at your disposal. These soldiers will later grow and become the basis of a much stronger army. You are alotted space for an army of 16 soldiers and beasts. Some NPCs will join your cause, others will attempt to destroy you. With these soldiers you can arm them with over 100 different weapons, armors, and accessories. The characters are not limited to the same basic attacks either, drawing from the class system of Final Fantasy 5, you can change your characters class to one of 20 different job classes ranging from the lowly squire to the feared Lancer and powerful Summoner. With each class there are different skills to be learned. Some enable you to move over different terrain quickly while others grant you the use of special items and attacks. This system grants over 140 different skills with a possibility for large combinations and variety of skills and attacks. The variety of the game is what has kept me playing Final Fantasy Tactics for so many years.
The battles are also a point of interest. Fights take place on 3-dimensional arenas with multiple terrain types. Archers can take advantage of higher ground and improve their range with bow attacks. Characters can run across streams to evade enemies that cannot cross them. Also, the unrestricted movement of characters allows for more action and fun. Instead of coming at an enemy head on as in other games, you have the ability to sneak behind an enemy and deliver a blow that will almost always hit. Unlike Suikoden where the battles can take only seconds, the battles in Final Fantasy Tactics average around 7-10 minutes. The turn based system allows players to control one character at a time in a certain order, thus allowing players to better prepare charged attacks and spells. Just as in a game of chess, the placement of characters and timing are very crucial.
All of these points combined with beautiful music and breath-taking spells and effects have made this game one of my all time favorites. This is one game that I will never grow tired of.
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