Final Fantasy Tactics
Okay, so Final Fantasy Tactics is more of a strategy game than an RPG, and it's not yet known whether the game will come out in the States, but this title just looks too cool to ignore. FF Tactics takes the beasts and characters from the Final Fantasy series (look for soldiers riding Chocobos) and pits them against each other on a 3-D battlefield.
FF Tactics is designed to be more fun than complicated. Square has taken out the more time-consuming elements of traditional strategy games, while still keeping the game true to its genre.
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We first witnessed the game in the sampler CD for Tobal No.l and since have wondered when we would see this puppy over here. The good news is that it is indeed being picked up for domestic release and more importantly, the game looks great.
The battle system seemed uncomplicated and familiar to anyone who's ever played a Final Fantasy game. It looks really long and should provide hours of strategy and war mongering for all good kids out there.
Now that the Final Fantasy VII phenomenon has finally died down (well, has it?), Square is preparing to stun the gaming world yet again with their latest release: the incredible new simulation/RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics. This time around, they've enlisted the help of several members of the design team behind Quest's enormously popular Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre games, including heralded director and script writer Yasumi Matsuno, to help create the game.
Utilizing many of the features that made Tactics Ogre such a big hit in japan, Final Fantasy Tactics is poised to become one of the most engrossing sim/RPGs ever. The game plays similar to Vandal Hearts, but with better graphics, a deeper story line and, best of all, an enhanced version of Square's Job/Ability system that was first used in the Super Famicom game, Final Fantasy V. By earning Job Points (JP) in battle, players can raise their Job Levels, allowing them to learn new Abilities in any of the over 20 Jobs that become available during play. There are four different types of Abilities that can be learned and over 400 Abilities in all.
By mastering different Jobs and combining different Abilities (which remain with you throughout the game), you can create all different kinds of characters, from Knights that can cast White Magic to Dancers that can summon beasts. The possibilities are endless, and it adds to the strategy element of the game in immeasurable ways. In addition, you can buy and sell equipment for your characters, hire new soldiers and best of all--you can go back and re-view any of the key story scenes from earlier parts of the game, in case you need to refresh yourself as to what's going on. This innovative feature should be available in all RPGs--it's amazingly helpful. There are various ele ments that come into play that can affect the pace and outcome of battles, but rather than try to explain it all (it'd take several pages to do so), we'll just tell you this: Although complex, once you get into f them, you will NOT want to stop. The gameplay is so addic tive it's scary, and Final Fantasy fans who can deal with (or even better, prefer) a taste of strategy in their game will be in total heaven with FFT. Watch for it this February--it's gonna be a hot one.
A joint effort by the creators of the Final Fantasy series and the director of the Super NB games Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics is a truly fabulous, engrossing adventure.
Sleep Is Your Enemy
The game system is identical to Tactics Ogre except it has Final Fantasy characters, jobs, magic spells, items, and so on. Battle maps consist of diagonal-view 3D tiles covering a maximum of 16 x 16 squares. On these maps, you take a party of no more than five characters against a group of enemies. (You may also be joined by two loose-cannon guests.) The battles are fought similarly to those in Shining Force, with characters moving in sequence according to their time parameters--in a word, intricately. Even though Tadics' help system is excellent, you'll definitely lose sleep digesting the information.
No Shortage of fobs
The job and ability system is very much like that of the fantastic but never-translated Super Famicom game Final Fantasy V. Each character can change jobs by gaining experience and job points. Close to 20 jobs become available, including such FF stalwarts as a knight, ninja, white mage, black mage, summoner, time mage, and monk.
Each job comes with special abilities that can be learned by cashing in job points. There are over 400 abilities you can perform, like casting spells, counterattacking, defending, parrying, and stealing. In addition to humans, you can also capture beasts such as Chocobo, goblins, dragons, and more. You also need to summon beasts like Bahamut, Leviathan, and lesser magical creatures.
FITs graphics and sound are solid but not spectacular. The spells and special effects look awesome, and the music is Final Fantasy VII quality. However, the overall look is somewhat boring and the sound effects are cheesy.
An RPG with Tactical Flavor
There's no denying FFT is an extremely polished and engrossing game. The one major flaw is that it's not very tactical, given that you have only five controllable characters on a small map. In other words, this isn't so much Tactics Ogre with a Final Fantasy flavor as it is FF with a TO flavor. It's a big distinction. Still, the job and ability system's intricacies give the linear tale plenty of addictive replay value.
- As in Final Fantasy, monsters have elemental alignments. Bom is aligned with fire, so using a fire spell on it Is pretty much useless.
- Battle maps can be rotated in 90-degree steps and tilted somewhat. It's easy to lose sight of enemies behind walls and buildings.
- Colored grids are used to show how far you can move and the range of weapons
- Set up your troops in formation for battle. Before you send them out be sure you have outfitted them properly with jobs and abilities.
Final Fantasy fans who've finished FFVII and are looking for a new war to wage will rejoice over Tactics. It's more a war sim than an RPG, but It combines the strong story line, spells, and strategy that Final Fantasy fanatics demand In their games.
As for its gameplay, Final Fantasy Tactics is more like Tactics Ogre (see "Role-Player's Realm," December 1997) than Final Fantasy VII: You amass an army, equip them for war, then fight opponents while strategically moving on 3D field maps. Whats unique about the gridded maps is that they factor in elements like terrain, weather, and each army's tactical position (if your troops are on top of a hill, it's easier for you to defend your position and shoot arrows down at your opponents than it is for your enemies to shoot up at you). For added strategy, you can rotate the maps and zoom in on a particular area to spot soldiers trying to hide behind objects.
One of the key elements in Final Fantasy Tactics is the frequent changing of your characters'jobs and abilities. Only a limited number of characters can be brought with you into battle, so by knowing your situation, you can customize your unit with jobs and abilities that will help you win (for example, knights are good for close combat, but archers are better for long-range defense). The different jobs include warriors, ninjas, monks, and mages, and you'll be able to use their abilities to move in different terrain and to dodge physical attacks.
With plenty of strategic depth and intriguing gameplay, Final Fantasy Tactics looks like it could entrance gamers for many months to come.