Althought wrapped in a mediocre package, Final Fantasy Tactics is a stellar game. If Square Enix had spent just a bit more time on the in-game graphics, writing, and user interface, this could have been one of the top titles for the PSP.
The improved version of the best Final Fantasy spin off if not even Final Fantasy game. It was overhauled and improved. There are new characters, 2 new jobs and an expanded the rooster of 24 characters (very welcome for me) a top of more changes I wont summarize here. Of cause it has the same strengths as before the remarkable deep and engaging story full of plots, opposing factions, twists, betrayals and character development. Machiavelli would see them as good students. Atop of that the turn based RPG gameplay works really well. The story actually starts far in the future and is told by historian Arazlam Durai. Your hero Ramza is actually viewed by history as a failure as the last disgraceful member of a high respected noble family while the antagonist Delita the best friend of him is one of the greatest heroes of this age. However the historian has uncovered the truth and you will see how things really happened. The story takes place shortly after the end of the 50 years war where the country of Ivalice has repelled an invasion in a hard and costly war. Now there is the problem that there are more soldier than needed for peace times and it is bad to have this many people who are just good at fighting. Later the event which will be called “The War of the Lions” starts (Both factions leaders have a lion in their crest). This is unfold when the king of Ivalice dies and his heir is just a child (4 years old if I remember correctly). So a Regent has to be picked and this draws a lot of attention by the nobles as who ever becomes regent can rule like a King without interference for a long time. Two factions start to gain momentum and each is supported by many nobles and their armies. This is the start of the story and it works magnificent as our protagonist is drawn into this. There are a lot of schemes, groups and organizations involved and twists. It has a lot of depth, lovable characters, growth and progression. For me and many others it is a masterpiece and often on the list of best plots in RPGs. The characters were also excellent. Ramza is a true hero in a world which eats heroes. He will struggle a lot as his worldviews will be ****. Delita is one of the most interesting characters I have encountered in games. It ends not there as Orlandu, Melladoul, Argath and others all have interesting stories and character development. All the antagonist work well and some are intimidating. So the characters and story are truly good but it would not matter that much if the gameplay was awful. Luckily the gameplay works even better than before but I should warn you that the game is a bit difficult at the begining. It uses the job system that was introduced in Final Fantasy 5 but with adaptations. Each character has a job class (that can be changed). These have abilities you can unlock with job points. Each action rewards you with some job points and you level up the job level too. This unlocks other jobs if you meet the conditions. There are the usual Knight, Black Mage, Priest and Summoner but also Arithmetic, Samurai, Ninja and more. Some characters have unique jobs that cant be learned. Abilities are divided into categories. You have 2 slots for usable abilities, a move ability, a support ability and a reaction ability. A lot of fun comes from combinations of different abilities and some combos are impressively efficient. I give some advice: Squires JP up ability is immensely useful. You get more job points for each action. Monks have some great abilities. Critical Restore HP heals you when in critical condition and this can be annoying for your enemies and there is a preemptive counter. It worked well for me but I read that others evaluated those as barley working. Possibly because for physical abilities you need a high brave value and for magic high faith (Beware too high faith and characters leave). Back to the advice. Ninjas have an ability to use 2 weapons and Dragons can ignore heights. I end this here. Of cause there are more like heights, terrain, speed, brave, faith, class restrictions and more. It has a lot of depth as you have to learn a lot of the mechanics but it is rewarding. I recommend a guide as some things are hard to figure out. Of cause there are side quests, hidden characters, hidden items, secret abilities, recruitable monsters and poaching. While I view it as 10/10 game it has a few weaknesses. Firstly there is a battle which is nearly unwinnable if you do not know it is coming at Riovanes Castle. Many used 1 save file and their playthrough ended there. With the right abilities it is really easy but you will not have those and cant leave. Not all jobs are equally good. Like I said the beginning is a bit hard. The presentation is excellent and I would buy an artbook. The soundtrack is one of the best I encountered in gaming. Overall this is an improved masterpiece and should belong to the library of each RPG lover. A classic made even better.
This game has no value in the modern SRPG field. Issues include:
1) The worst thing about this game is the AI. You often have guests - friendly AI controlled characters - on your team that screw up everything. For instance, one of them ran into a doorway, behind which was almost the entire enemy army. He was a strong fighter, so I positioned my White Mage behind him to heal why he fought. I healed him, it came to his **** he used a potion on himself (to restore about 15 of his 78 hit points) and ran away, leaving the enemy army against my White Mage. Horrendous.
2) You place your characters on grey square tiles before you even get to see the map. Random enemy placement often results in team members being in less than ideal positions.
3) The camera is horrible. It works off the four angles of the board, so if an enemy is in between walls in the middle of the map you usually can't see them. Worse, you generally have to exit the command menu to actually control the camera.
4) There's no easy way to check the turn list or AOE on enemies attacks. You have to exit the command menu, bring up another menu, find the character you want and click on them. This really slows games down, as enemies will often charge a spell within two seconds, so you're checking every move to see where you can and can't move and wondering whether they've locked the attack to the unit or tile. The enemy always knows what you've done, but there's no way for you to know.
5) It's impossible to keep your team alive. Phoenix Downs restore a random amount of health, which is always less than a single hit from an enemy. Trying to restore an ally to health usually results in the death of your healer.
6) Enemies rank off your highest level character. The game's tutorial suggests you keep a balanced team, but it's impossible when in one mission your entire army dies. You go to town, hire new warriors, find a random battle, and then die instantly because the enemies are 8 levels higher than you.
I honestly have no idea how this was ever considered any good when it was released, but it certainly isn't any good now. All the Fire Emblem games are basically the same gameplay wise, but they are infinitely better than this. The same goes for Jeanne D'Arc, the Disgaea games and Tactics Ogre.
I would never recommend this game to anyone. My biggest regret is assuming it would be good and buying it off the PSN, since I can't return it.
This stuff aged poorly. Clunky menus, terrible (truly terrible) AI, confusing class system (they did SO WELL in FFTA) and the story is indeed old by now.
I was searching for another fft games aside from ffta and ffta2, but this one got me bored in like maybe 2 or 3 hours. Terrible.
Summary[Metacritic's 2007 PSP Game of the Year] Originally released in 1997, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a portable update on the classic turn-based strategy game that gave birth to the world of Ivalice. In development exclusively for the PSP system, FINAL FANTASY TACTICS: The Lion War features PSP system exclusive content n...