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Old 09-01-2009, 08:51 PM   #141
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Sony Playstation Portable
1 Player (2 Player Adhoc)
Developer - TOSE, Square Enix
Publisher - Square Enix

My Bias
-The original Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my all time favorite games
-I’ve beaten the original 3-4 times
-My first PSP game

My Completion
-Main story and all side quests completed
-Have not tried multiplayer

The storyline of FFT is a mixed bag. Even though as a whole the game follows the “chosen boy saves the world” formula, you wouldn’t know it. The story follows Ramza, the Kings youngest of 3 brothers, but does a good job of showing he is only one part of a bigger picture. The game deals with some dark themes like murder, betrayal, and slavery which make for a very interesting story. My biggest complaint with the whole thing is that it becomes too hard to follow. It starts off great and you know exactly what your motives are and who’s who. But as you progress they game introduces new characters, new organizations, new subplots and eventually I’m not sure who’s doing what. I’ve played through the original version of FFT multiple times and I still cannot tell you the names of the final villains or really who they even are.

I love a lot of the characters in this game. While the storyline leaves me feeling lost and a lot of the characters either look alike or are non-memorable, there are a lot of great characters as well. The hero Ramza is very personable and goes through a great transition from a young blissful youth to a seasoned leader. At the same time his childhood friend Delita goes through a similar transition but from a different shadier approach. Very early in the game they go their separate ways and it’s neat to see how their paths cross as things unfold. There are a bunch of other great characters, too many to go into detail. The only aspect of the characters I don’t like is it seems once these storyline characters join your party they never say another word. For example Agrias is one of my favorites and a big part of the story, but once she joins your party halfway through the game she is completely removed from the storyline.

One aspect I really did not like about this version of FFT, is that they tried to retcon it into the world of Ivalice. Ivalice is the world that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance/A2 take place in. The world of FFT:WotL does not feel like Ivalice at all and is missing a lot of the elements present in all the other Ivalice games (such as different races).

New to this version are FMV cut scenes throughout the game. There are about 10 or so of them if I remember right of key points of the game. The best part about these scenes to me isn’t that I got to see fully animated versions of the characters, but that they actually give the characters voices. That helps flesh them out even more and is welcomed addition to this game.

It's pretty awesome finally seeing these characters in 3D

Also new to this version is a brand new translation. Everyone had their lines rewritten to have old-english-esque accents. I’ve heard that a lot of players think the new translation is amazing but I didn’t like it. I felt the new translation went too over the top and comes off as ridiculous. For example, and this is straight from the game, instead of saying the phrase "We have bad luck to run into monsters in this forest" it says "our luck is ill, that we should chance upon fiends such as this in the wood!". That just gets onoxious to read.

Seriously, give me the old translation back

I really do not like how this game ends. I don’t want to spoil anything but the ending is very short and doesn’t explain much. When I dump over 60+ hours into a game I don’t like when it when the ending feels empty and leaves me with tons of questions. The ending is also depressing and makes you feel like crap. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but I like stories with happy endings.

This game is presented through a combination of 2D sprites on 3D environments. The 2D sprite work here is very impressive. Each sprite has a lot of animation frames, more than I think I’ve seen in any other game. Sprites do things like reach out their arms to grab things, punch characters and throw them over their shoulders, and all from multiple angles.

Somehow all of the sprites have a “soft” look to them instead of the normal hard edge look I am used to seeing in sprite based games. Almost as if an emulation filter was turned on just for the sprites. They don’t look blurry, just soft and it is a nice subtle touch.

Meliadoul's break attacks can finally hurt monsters in this version!

The environments also look great. For being an original Playstation game the 3D work holds up surprisingly well. I haven’t gone back to compare the two versions but this version seems a lot sharper and less jaggy than I remember. Stage environments are varied really well so that the game takes you from bright green fields to dark castle dungeons. Some maps have some cool weather elements like rain or snow that I think is a neat looking effect. Magic spells and techniques are all done through particle effects which look pretty awesome.

I remember the first time I heard the music for this game back on the original Playstation release. I was blown away by the quality of this soundtrack. It is completely orchestral and many tracks take sharp, daring melody “jabs” that really spice it up. Normally I am against orchestrated soundtracks because orchestra is often used as a lazy way to hide the fact the composer couldn’t come up with great melodies. But Final Fantasy Tactics has some very strong melodies and weds them into orchestral arrangements that do things musically Midi couldn’t.

I have read complaints that the actual sound quality of the music was reduced in this port, but I didn’t notice anything. The music all sounded just like I remember it, but then again I am the type of guy who thinks MP3’s sound fine so if you are a real audiophile then you might have a problem with it.

♪ Random Waltz

This is a remix of the games main theme, and I really love this games main theme. This is probably the most cheerful track in the whole game.

♪ Decisive Battle

I really like the constant violin loop throughout this song. I also like the middle of this song when it starts to build up, gets really loud and then does a crash into almost silence. It’s that kind of up & down jabs I really love about this soundtrack

♪ Ovelias Worries

When I first listen to this track it doesn’t sound like anything special. But I adore the part at :57 in.

♪ Run Through the Plain

I love so many parts in this song. The super fast high pitched flute loop throughout, the strong violin loop throughout that has a great solo at :30 in. All with a slower overlaid melody throughout.

If you have never played a Strategy RPG before they genre is basically like playing a giant, complex game chess. You are presented with a map made up of tiles, and you strategically move you units around and try to wipe out the enemy units.

This gameplay is very time consuming. Some of the battles in FFT can last upwards of 30 minutes so if you are looking for a quick and easy RPG this is not the game for you. Normally I would say this is a horrible thing for a handheld game but thanks to the PSP’s sleep function it isn’t. It actually works out in the games benefit because instead of being tethered to a TV for the entire duration of a battle, you can pause/resume battles whenever.

For those of you who have played Final Fantasy Tactics before and are wondering what new content is in this version here is the rundown. There are two new job classes your characters can be, Dark Knight and Onion Knight. Dark Knight is a complete game-breaking powerhouse class that is very similar to Gafgarion’s Dark Knight class with some new abilities. The only catch is that it requires you to basically master a couple different job classes to unlock and by the time a character grinds enough to get all the required JP for it, they are an over leveled powerhouse anyways. Still for players like me who like to build super powered units, it’s finally nice to have a class Ramza can become. Onion Knight on the other hand is a completely worthless class. Much like the Mime class, it learns no skill and cannot equip any skills. It can equip every piece of equipment in the game but only grows in strength based off how many job classes the character has mastered. Onion Knight is neat for extremists/completionists to goof around with, but useless to the average player. The game also now has more character slots so you can keep all the special characters and still have room to play with homemade ones.

The two new job classes

There are two new special characters added in this version. Luso, the hero from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 makes an appearance and is almost a carbon copy of Ramza ability wise. Balthier from Final Fantasy 12 also makes an appearance, although I didn’t think he looked very much like himself in this game. War of the Lions also includes some new side quests not found in the original game. These side quests help give more insight to some of the lesser known characters like Beowulf and Reis.

There are also some new multiplayer features and new equipment that can be won from them. Since I don’t know anyone who owns a PSP I am unable to comment on this.

This games difficulty is all dependant on how much grinding you do. If you don’t grind your characters at all then this can be a very difficult game, starting as early as battle 5. This is a fun way to play since it requires a lot of strategy and smart playing. However if you don’t you can also grind your heart out. I’ve done playthroughs of this game where I leveled my characters so much they had end-game job classes at the very beginning. That’s one of the thing I like most about this game, there isn’t much holding you back from getting as strong as you want.

One of the neater, yet missed opportunities of this game is its use of zodiac signs. Just like the real life zodiac signs theory, every character is given a specific sign based off when they were born. Characters with certain signs are supposed to relate different to their opposing/bonding signs and receive advantages/disadvantages in battle. I say this is a missed opportunity of this game because it’s way too confusing and doesn’t make much of a difference anyhow. I doubt anyone can memorize every zodiac symbols relationship with the others, and it doesn’t mean much when you can preview almost every actions damage anyways.

Throughout the game your strategies, or in other words the “rules of battle” will change. In the beginning when all you have are basic Squires and Chemists, battles are very simple trades of hits and good unit positioning. As you progress further magic and ranged attacks start to come into play, then you have to start thinking about charge times and turn orders. Towards the end of the game you are up against special units that have instantaneous high damaging attacks and once again you have to abandon your old strategies. I really enjoy this aspect of FFT because it keeps the gameplay from getting to stale. The way my party operates at the end of the game is completely different than how it did at the start.

Once you have Ninjas monsters go down fast

The customization of this game is amazing, and probably one of the biggest reasons why I have played through it so many times. Every job class in the game (and there are about 20+) has a large catalog of skills at its disposal. Once a character starts learning these skills they can freely change job classes and start mixing these skills up. For example I can train a character as a Knight and learn some of that job classes Armor breaking abilities, then turn that character into an Archer and start shooting armor breaking arrows. The different combinations provide a ton of replay value allowing so many different ways to play through this game.

One of the things this game does that not many RPG’s do is permanent deaths. If a character falls in battle and you fail to revive them within a certain amount of time they will die permanently. While I suppose this is a neat concept, I have never let this happen. Whenever I lose a battle so badly that one of my characters dies before I can save them I reset the game. I do not enjoy the idea of divesting hours of training into a character only to lose them.

This enhanced port isn’t without a few technical problems though. There are a lot of effects in the game such as spells or flashy hits that cause game slowdown. The sound doesn’t slow down with what’s happening on screen either, so if you do a big flashy attack you might hear it go off and the scream of the character you hit before its finished. While I mentioned above that the music sounded alright to me, the sound effects took a big hit. Some of them sound downright nasty in WotL.

Lasting Appeal
I can’t accurately give an hour count on how long the main quest will take you. I’ve only run through the game once without grinding and it was many years ago. I can say with confidence that this game will take a long time to complete and last many hours. While I am a bit of a completionist, my current save file in WotL is over 130 hours if that’s any indication of how this games depth can last.

The many side quests and customization found in this game can extend its appeal a lot longer from the main quest. I can’t explain it very well but this is one of the few RPGs I find fun to actually grind in.

Final Thoughts
In my opinion the greatest SRPG ever made now portable. This game is just a combination of so many things right and downright addicting to play. 10 years later after the original release and this game still manages to be one of the most amazing games released. Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lions gets my highest recommendation and is in my opinion one of the greatest games on the PSP.

Sorry folks, gameplay video may come later, right now I simply don't have the time to record/encode/upload one
Seraph is offline   Reply With Quote