Final Fantasy Tactics User Review
Maybe it was because I was using a guide that I didn’t get it. I was using a guide that my friend had given me once he finished with the game, and it seemed to set up just about every battle with the same personnel. I usually adapted the plan to use Ramza (who eventually became a Dragoon), the lightning God Orlando, and then some of my created characters, usually a summoner, a medic, a wizard, another lancer, and a ninja. The guide said to use Agrias and Mustadio all the time, but I always found Agrias to be a little slow and Mustadio to be a little useless. It seemed like by the time it was his turn, everyone was behind something or out of range, so I would end up using his AP to move into a better position, only to get blocked off again when it came time to shoot. I also enjoyed recruiting characters early on and then watching them progress and succeed, rather than relying on the hulks that the game gives you later on. Still, a lightning God is a lightning God, and you have to bring him along when you can. Looking at my battle, you may already know why I had a difficult time getting through some of the battles, but it was the best I felt I could do. The worst were the battles where the end goal was to defeat the main boss; and you were able to avoid all the other enemies. I usually, after a few failed attempts, decided to do just that, avoid all the other enemies and just concentrate everyone into attacking the main boss. There were many battles where I had only one or two conscious characters that somehow managed to survive long enough to knock that one guy out. By the time I reached the last series of battles, I was ready to finish the game and had no interest in finding rare items, including the mysterious Cloud Strife character.
The story I felt was Final Fantasy confusing. Warning, this paragraph contains spoilers. If you haven’t played the game (or finished the game which is probably more likely) then it’s your own fault. The game came out in 1997; if you haven’t played it in 15 years, go out and play it. My biggest problem with the story is everyone switching sides at some point. It starts out with Algus who I’m glad left my party because with the computer controlling him, he always managed to find the square furthest from anyone and then threw rocks. Next, it seems like Delita, Ramza’s best friend, becomes the enemy, even though it’s later revealed that he was on the good side all along. For the record, I hate when even minor characters switch sides and become the main bad guy, so when it’s Delita Ramza is fighting, it drives me a little nuts. It’s hard to tell which side Ramza’s brothers are on, partly because they switch sides so often, and partly because it seems like there are four or five sides, all fighting each other for different reasons. Honestly, the middle chapters lost me pretty good until it finally reaches the real mission Ramza and his friends are on.
As much as it seems I’m bashing on the game, I actually did enjoy most of it. It definitely has a different feel to it from other Final Fantasy games. I enjoyed a few of the classes and focused most of my forces in those classes that I felt I understand. When I finished the game and was talking it over with my friend, he said he loved just destroying the forces with Arithmaticians (Wizards with Calculator abilities). I had no idea what he was talking about. The few times I tried to use a Calculator in battle to try to level up a few abilities, they usually ended up dying before they were able to do anything. Either that or Orlando had taken everyone out by then.
In the end, I would probably give Final Fantasy Tactics between a 7 and 8 out of 10. I think the story was confusing, but I accept that it was probably as much my fault for not paying enough attention or getting into it. I struggled with the gameplay, but I admit that I am not a great strategy game player, and my party probably was the weaker force in most battles. I enjoyed the job system mechanics, but I feel like I only scratched the surface of a deep Character creation system. While I do think it is a great game, deep and rich and long, I think it’s far from the greatest game ever, even of the PS1 generation. Chrono Cross will always hold the distinction of the best PS1 game in my mind. Still, if I ever got to a point in my life where I had enough time for nostalgic video gaming, Tactics would definitely be on my list of games to revisit.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.