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:: RPG Source :: View Review :: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Short:
Longwinded game with bad storyline and average gameplay.

Longer:
Alright I finally got through this game. It took me half a year but in the end it was done. In this game you take the role of some generic outsider in modern times that obviously play too much Dungeons &... uhm... Final Fantasy and gets sucked into a book of some kind. When you are inside you do all you can to get out. Though no-one actually wants you to do that.

The Story Sucks
This game's story is probably of the worst horrible shit I've ever encountered. Of course halfway it does get slightly better and then I felt that the concept was good. But then you get another of the story-moments and you just want to lie down and die. The dialogue is lamer than in Dungeons & Dragons -the movie and that's saying something. Fortunately there isn't that much story in this game and most of the time spent with it will probably be without.

Judges and their innate ability to annoy and protect
The gameplay could be interesting. Sure it's the same gameplay we've seen over and over again since Tactics Ogre but with a few nice twists. Especially the Judge that oversees (almost) every game. The judge is both a nice touch and a nuisance. He's a nuisance because sometimes the rules for what is forbidden are a bit vague, no harm in that though, try read any legal text and you're pretty much screwed. Of coures the bad part of it comes when the main character does something against the rules that you didn't know was against the rules and he gets sent off and it's game over.
This is annoying, especially since the main character is pure shit anyway.

To counter the Judges' laws there are law-cards in this game though I have to admit that that was a feature that didn't work. In fact many features in this game didn't work. I got law cards like there was no tomorrown and the people talking were also all about "Have you heard about this newest law card?" but those cards were pretty much useless. Or maybe I just didn't play the game right. The other feature that didn't work were the mission descriptions for giving story. I'm sure there was some information there but I always skipped it. The world itself had potential but nothing ever happened to make me as the player really care. (except about putting out those map areas. It was a fun touch creating your own world map, though in it you had another half-explored feature. The should have been more)

Tedious fighting mate. Bring me more batteries James!
The gameplay itself becomes tedious after a while small skirmish after small skirmish only to get some abilities or something similar. I have to admit that even though there's is nothing wrong with the battle system itself there were no battles that really excited me at all. There was never a feeling of danger. Not even in the "lawless" zones were you apparently could get killed (I never got).
Not to mention that the fighting itself took way too much time and ate up batteries at an alarming rate. When you're playing a handheld game you want things to move quickly so that you won't hae to buy new batteries all the time. But here it was... Slow. In the end I noticed that you could turn off some of the animations and that speeded it up somewhat but it only resulted in that you didn't know what the fuck was going on. So I ended withonly turning off the Judge Points (That took far too much time for anyone to want. Where was the option to only have it show up as text and not animation? Nowhere. A big miss if you ask me)

The few good things
The mission based nature of the game is probably what works best. Building up a clan and equipping it for getting the best possible skills was part of the strategic micro-management that I liked. Having a clan level with skills such as "persuasion" or somesuch made no sense at all to me since there was rarely any use for these skill levels. And the missions always gave me a break from the story as well and for a while I actually tried to do no story-missions (you could easily know which they were by the "no cancellation") and had an OK time doing that.
The classes is another of the things that makes this game playable. There's a great amount to choose from all with skills that when combined with other classes' skills are cool. There's micromanagement involved but that's a good thing.

The visual wonders are far from stunning
The Graphics and Music are nothing to get excited about. Some of the major Summon attacks are alright and some other animations aswell but on the whole graphics aren't that good. They are clear and crisp though but an annoyment was that when you had about ten people downed the game started to lag a bit. The music was what you can expect from long-winded handheld games nowadays. It said nothing. After the first few mission I knew it and shut it down. Castlevania for GBA showed us that the GBA can have some great music, but SquareEnix just doesn't know how to do it I suppose.

And they lived happily ever after...
Before I do the final words I have to come with a slight spoiler about the endgame of the game. The endgame is pretty lame with a girl that is depressed because she has white hair and family problems all over the place and no-one really wants to go back to the "real world". For some strange reason the Player Character wants to do it anyway in some Moral of the Story that could fit into any lame educational program from the 80's. The worst thing is the ending though. It is far too happy for anyone and I just felt like puking after watching it and thought about how I could play Resident Evil on GameCube instead. You at least get to kill zombies in RE.

So in final this game has a horrible piece of shit story. Some stupid judges and even more stupid comments by the morally pure main character. Forgettable music and graphics exactly like the older Knigh of Lodis. And the same gameplay as Knight of Lodis too. (At least Knight of Lodis was slightly better though, except for the classes. The FFTA classes were good)

     
By Shinan (21/7/2004)


* NetEcho blows X13

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