Video Game Review of the Week
--Review by KenshiroKing @ 10/21/03 21:35 PST.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Since class began at the end of the summer, I have been more than a little pressed for time. What with taking 5 history classes and all, any time that I was at my computer was spent writing yet another essay (or browsing for por... er links of the day). With so much time spent scholastically, relatively (RELATIVELY!) little was devoted to the fine art of gaming. A little Planetside here, some Starsky and Hutch there, even a little trip down Half-Life lane thrown in for good measure. None of these games seemed to warrant a Game of the Week and thus, I was disinclined to force one. However, all that once was, now is no more. Witness: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
Yes, I finally feel once again a true gamer. A little slow off the line, I have just recently picked up a GBA. That's GBA minus SP; I have large man-hands. Hearing so much about Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, combined with the fact that I loved the PS1 version, ADDED TO the fact that, I am embarrassed to admit, I am something of a FF fanboy and you have me shelling out some dough for GBA's hottest new title.
First things first, this most definitely is Final Fantasy Tactics. If you are familiar with the original, you will transfer seamlessly into the GBA version. Many things are similar especially the combat system. Not to say that this is some kind of refurbished port, far from it. This is a completely new game with a new storyline and new features.
The story revolves around (not surprisingly) a boy who is somewhat aloof and lives with his mother and crippled brother. Just go here now and get ready to follow along with the story. This boy and his friends happen upon a magic book and, quite inadvertantly, are teleported to their favorite fantasy world which is, surprise surprise, Final Fantasy. Military hijinks ensue while the boy tries to find his way back to his own world. Pretty standard Japanese RPG stuff really.
Those of you who have played the original will remember the innovative job system wherein characters do not follow a set leveling pattern according to whatever the designers intend. Instead, a few basic starting jobs are available and, as you gain proficiency in these jobs, more become available. Through combinations of different job types, new jobs are found and you can custom design your party in whatever way pleases you most. Well, this system remains basically the same with one major exception. Now there are several races and each of these races has a set number of jobs available to them. This somewhat forces diversity and does really nothing more than add an unecessary twist to the job system. Whatever, change is good. Sometimes. Sometimes it's bad. But um, good here.
Moving right along... Graphically, this is a GBA game. What do you want? Fine, it's good for a GBA game. Somewhere in between an SNES and the original Playstation lie the graphical capabilities of the GBA. This is not really a graphically demanding game, but what little effects there are come across as completely satisfactory. No more, no less.
The music and sound effects of this game are actually pretty impressive. Despite coming out of a tiny one inch speaker, the sounds are clean and the music comes across well. The actual songs are amazing, no surprise with a Final Fantasy game, and are a joy to hear. The composer for FFT (amongst others), Hitoshi Sakimoto, is back along with the man, the myth, the legend: Nobuo Uematsu. Both of these men are masters of their craft and, let's face it, Nobuo Uematsu is THE best video game composer on earth. Fuck you if you don't think so. I'm serious. Fuck you.
All in all, this game is an awesome title for the premier hand-held system on earth. Lots and lots of fun, I have been playing this thing for hours upon hours. Dammit, it's so good I did a damn review. I haven't done one of those in months.
Bottom line: If you own a GBA, why don't you have this title?