Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions

image

Ever since my early gaming days, I'd remembered one thing about one of my first Playstation rentals. That thing is this: There are turn-based strategy games, and then there's Final Fantasy Tactics.

Years down the line, and being a very casual gamer without much drive to becoming a driven, focus-bent hardcore gamer with a penchant for RPGs and action games, I found myself with a Sony PSP and a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics. Several moments of nostalgia crammed themselves into every nook and cranny of my body, and I found myself over-joyed with the opportunity to play this, the most hauntingly spectacular game from my childhood, once again, with the mind of an adult.

So, nostalgia pouring through my veins as the CG intro picks up, I immediately alight myself onto a new game and spend countless hours trying to make Ramza reach the amazing job that is Monk.

Although I've sidetracked myself. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions is a PSP port of the classes Final Fantasy Tactics, a turn-based job-system-equipped strategy game for the Sony Playstation.

Graphically speaking, being a port to the old school Playstation title, the graphics are low-end Playstation capability, leaning closer to something the Sega Saturn is capable of. Regardless of that, the CG spells and art style were meticulously done, and left the skills, spells, and animations smooth as silk and twice as satisfying. In this title was the boast of new animations and cutscenes, which were noticeably pretty and highly artful.

image
Final Fantasty Tactics, or Final Fantasy Tactless? What a prick...

The gameplay, like it's Playstation predecessor, is challenging at times, and comically easy at others. It forgave little, demanded a lot, and taxed the mind to approach problems from unique stand-points to achieve the most from the gameplay experience, but granted a little too much power and license to the special-class characters such as Holy Knights. Overall though, it was a fun and challenging romp through medieval England as told by the Japanese.

The controls were well-suited for the challenge, making good use of every button on the PSP, including the camera-controlling analog stick. Occasionally, the game would angle a beautiful, breath-taking view of a tree-trunk behind-which an enemy is pummeling your party, but for the most part, it accomplished exactly as the controls should in a game. Not perfectly intuitive, but still very good.

The sound, although not the audiophile's wet dream that was the Playstation, is still strong enough. With my headphones in, I could recall all of the strong, power-driving war-drums and majestic brass that the game called for, and especially fell in line with the atmosphere of the game and setting. The sound is one of the highlights of this game, and should be proven by the fact that I own the 5-disc soundtrack to this game.

The new content, including new jobs, special characters, and menus, are very adequate, and add a breath of fresh air to the game. Giving you such special characters as Cloud from FF VII (Don't even get me started on this game), Balthier from FF XII, Luso from FF:T A2, and Robo Jean-Val-Jean from Arm Joe, and Beowulf. These special characters are unique, and fit right into the atmosphere of the game without feeling forcefully inserted.

The game also boasts a brand new multiplayer mode, including versus and co-op missions. Although fun, these modes seem tacked on somewhat hastily, and aren't as fully-trenched in as I feel they could be (with the exception of a few that are heartily well done). This is pretty fun, though, as it lets you pit your team of jobs and abilities against others'.

Although this game does not go by completely without complaints.

The most immediate things struck me. This game feels... slower. I can't put much more on it than that, it's just slower than it was. After comparing it side-by-side with the Playstation original, it's because the graphics lag the system during larger spells or summons. Considering the PSP is arguably stronger than the PS1, I had to wonder how this could be. The conclusion I had reached was that the scale was increased. The game played in widescreen instead of the old 4:3 aspect ratio. This caused all of the skills and spells to slow down considerably for the PSP port. Although it doesn't feel as slow if you don't know the old speed of the game.

image
Now moving at a jaw-dropping 12 frames-per-second!

Secondly, I was reminded of just how taxingly difficult this game could become. The bosses were relentlessly cruel, and stopped at next to nothing to crush your soul, your hopes, dreams, puppies, kittens, and consoles.

The bosses maintained ridiculous amounts of health, defense, status-inducing high-range and damage-area skills and spells that had little to no charge time, and they were usually faster than you. To throw down with a boss means to set aside your hopes, and equip your characters for the most damage output and pray that luck is on your side.

Point of No Return. It's that sinking feeling you get the split second your feet leave the diving board or lip of the cliff, only to realize the water below will be unreasonably cold. Or the feeling you have with your entire body tensed as the roller coaster locks the bar over you and starts going. In games, it's usually a save-point that will bar you from continuing, and this game pegs you with one. Unless you go into the final mission knowing it will be a point of no return, you'll be stuck in the final series of battles. So, if you're like me, and keep only one save file, then you'll find yourself on the wrong-end of the point of no return, and likely unable to reach your file, and free-roam the map ever again.

Also, the leveling is slow. After completing the game, my main character was level 64 of 99. To level up everyone to max, as well as getting all of the job levels and abilities you want could take a very long time. Hours and hours of gameplay time will likely leave you with more and more hours ahead of you until completion.

image
Mastering every job like this would take months of straight playing... Months...

Overall, nostalgia did not disappoint. This is a fantastic, fun-filled Tactical RPG that lets you have all kinds of customization to your team, giving you the option for depth of just about every flavor and play-style.

Verdict

Buy It. If you're a fan of SRPG games, especially ones with job systems, this game will offer so much to you, and disappoint you very little. A lot of quirks, and handful of flaws, but a boat-load of fun. You owe it to yourself to play this game. Trust me.

Yet another great review. I'm beginning to wonder if you're human, or a Literature-bot 5000.

I hated grinding in this game. It took forever. Plus, my units kept dying, and whenever I used Life it would miss, and my characters would crystallize before my healer's next turn rolled around.

I agree with you, this was one of the first games I bought for my PSP (Which I only got two weeks ago, mind you,) and I don't regret it at all. The bosses really are incredibly challenging, and I'm actually stuck on Wildegarf. (spelling? I can never keep track of these fantasy names.)

fish food carl:
Yet another great review. I'm beginning to wonder if you're human, or a Literature-bot 5000.

Of course not. Literature Bot 5000 would write in Iambic Pentameter. I'm only Lit-Bot XP Pro, SP3.

xitel:
I hated grinding in this game. It took forever. Plus, my units kept dying, and whenever I used Life it would miss, and my characters would crystallize before my healer's next turn rolled around.

That's why I kept all of my characters with some way to raise. Either by Monk skill, item, or magic. I only had one character that couldn't raise, and he was the one who ended up dying the most anyway, so it didn't make too much difference.

Also, play a lot of ranged damage. You can't really kill anyone from a distance, but you sure as hell could whittle 'em down before you put your face in firing range. Most times, you could out-range your enemies, abuse that.

OverlordSteve:
I agree with you, this was one of the first games I bought for my PSP (Which I only got two weeks ago, mind you,) and I don't regret it at all. The bosses really are incredibly challenging, and I'm actually stuck on Wildegarf. (spelling? I can never keep track of these fantasy names.)

Assuming you're talking Wiegraf, and the fight I'm thinking you're talking about. Then, make sure to set Ramza to have some kind of defense or counter-ability, like Guard (Knight), Counter (Monk), or First Strike (Monk). These skills will help isolate the worst of the damage he could do to you. On top of that, make sure to keep close. He has a lot of high-damage ranged moves in this form, so keep close and make sure you keep your HP up.

The rest of this is spoiler:

One of the first 3 games I got when i purchased my PSP. I regret not grinding my ass off with it and only being half way through the second chapter after having it for like 8 months. Damn school, work and other games that keep distracting me. The game is awesome none the less with a kick ass story to boot. I actually didnt find leveling that hard in the game, but the main battles can be a bitch even after i leveled my guys a good 3-5 levels above the story fights. Gotta say that this game is MEAN, but despite the frustratingly difficult combat, it's still fun...well unless your doing the are battle like 5 times in a row..

fish food carl:
Yet another great review. I'm beginning to wonder if you're human, or a Literature-bot 5000.

Most likely the latter, but also a witch.

NewClassic:
Of course not. Literature Bot 5000 would write in Iambic Pentameter. I'm only Lit-Bot XP Pro, SP3.

Now now, true poetic masters write in dactylic tetrameter.

Truly the greatest of all poets' styles
The rhyme and the meter can stretch on for miles
But one thing's for certain, the one thing is that
'Tis nothing so awesome as Schrödinger's Cat.

SimuLord:

NewClassic:
Of course not. Literature Bot 5000 would write in Iambic Pentameter. I'm only Lit-Bot XP Pro, SP3.

Now now, true poetic masters write in dactylic tetrameter.

Truly the greatest of all poets' styles
The rhyme and the meter can stretch on for
miles. But one thing's for certain, the one thing is that
'Tis nothing so awesome as Schrödinger's Cat.

Am I reading this wrong? The stresses seem a little misplaced. I'm probably just reading it wrong, poetry is my weakest subject (second to math).

-Seraph-:
One of the first 3 games I got when i purchased my PSP. I regret not grinding my ass off with it and only being half way through the second chapter after having it for like 8 months. Damn school, work and other games that keep distracting me. The game is awesome none the less with a kick ass story to boot. I actually didnt find leveling that hard in the game, but the main battles can be a bitch even after i leveled my guys a good 3-5 levels above the story fights. Gotta say that this game is MEAN, but despite the frustratingly difficult combat, it's still fun...well unless your doing the are battle like 5 times in a row..

It all depends on your jobs and abilities, too. If you're working toward a goal while you battle, it's harder in the short run, but makes a world of difference when fighting someone who's hardcore strong.

meatloaf231:

fish food carl:
Yet another great review. I'm beginning to wonder if you're human, or a Literature-bot 5000.

Most likely the latter, but also a witch.

A duck!

NewClassic:

SimuLord:

NewClassic:
Of course not. Literature Bot 5000 would write in Iambic Pentameter. I'm only Lit-Bot XP Pro, SP3.

Now now, true poetic masters write in dactylic tetrameter.

Truly the greatest of all poets' styles
The rhyme and the meter can stretch on for
miles. But one thing's for certain, the one thing is that
'Tis nothing so awesome as Schrödinger's Cat.

Am I reading this wrong? The stresses seem a little misplaced. I'm probably just reading it wrong, poetry is my weakest subject (second to math).

I made a bit of a hash of it, as I'm a lousy poet. Mostly because I tend not to count articles as syllables, but of course Cecil Adams is far better at it than I.

Very well written, but the game itself uses obscene amounts of battery power on the PSP, and it does lag and slow down.

Also, the difficulty was pretty unfair, possibly there should be a less difficult setting for the less hardcore FF fans

Very good review, and I'm glad to see you back to the free-flowing prose style again. Efficient, well-written and enjoyable. Well done.

Xiado:
Very well written, but the game itself uses obscene amounts of battery power on the PSP, and it does lag and slow down.

Also, the difficulty was pretty unfair, possibly there should be a less difficult setting for the less hardcore FF fans

Actually, since I got an upgraded battery for free shortly after my first PSP borked, I've had pretty consistent 5+ hours on the thing, no matter what I run it through. So I tend to not worry about battery life so much. My patience usually runs out before the battery does.

And while that's true, they had to account for the fact that FF:T on the PSX was way too easy. A monk with Two Swords could do 1887 damage a turn, not counting the times he would counter attack (which could bring it up to another 1887, per enemy that attacks him). I liked the difficulty on this one, short of the bosses. Except the final boss, who was a joke.

RAKtheUndead:
Very good review, and I'm glad to see you back to the free-flowing prose style again. Efficient, well-written and enjoyable. Well done.

I try for free-verse all the time, the PSU review was way too long for me to keep track, so I ended up editing it over the course of 6 or so hours. One: That's something I'll never do again, and Two: since I'm never picking up that length, it won't be a problem anymore.

I am Free-Flowing Review Man!

I remember in the original PS1 game, I got a character to know all of the mathematical action abilities (which is hard as hell considering how slow they are) and equipped the abilities onto a geomancer for really fun casting life on my entire party at once for no MP.

crimson5pheonix:
I remember in the original PS1 game, I got a character to know all of the mathematical action abilities (which is hard as hell considering how slow they are) and equipped the abilities onto a geomancer for really fun casting life on my entire party at once for no MP.

Or equip the entire party with Chameleon Robes, make them a Summoner/Math with Haste Shoes. Holy CT 2. It would hit the entire map, heal your whole party, and kill the entire team on turn 1...

... I'm glad they fixed the difficulty.

NewClassic:

crimson5pheonix:
I remember in the original PS1 game, I got a character to know all of the mathematical action abilities (which is hard as hell considering how slow they are) and equipped the abilities onto a geomancer for really fun casting life on my entire party at once for no MP.

Or equip the entire party with Chameleon Robes, make them a Summoner/Math with Haste Shoes. Holy CT 2. It would hit the entire map, heal your whole party, and kill the entire team on turn 1...

... I'm glad they fixed the difficulty.

Did they make it so that the boss' don't invert your face?

crimson5pheonix:

NewClassic:

crimson5pheonix:
I remember in the original PS1 game, I got a character to know all of the mathematical action abilities (which is hard as hell considering how slow they are) and equipped the abilities onto a geomancer for really fun casting life on my entire party at once for no MP.

Or equip the entire party with Chameleon Robes, make them a Summoner/Math with Haste Shoes. Holy CT 2. It would hit the entire map, heal your whole party, and kill the entire team on turn 1...

... I'm glad they fixed the difficulty.

Did they make the boss' don't invert your face?

No, now they invert your face, arms, legs, torso, and first-born. Good difficulty.

Well glad to see they made it just as sanity crushing and logic defying. I just saw my friend find his old copy and decided to replay it. He got as far as Velius. And then proceeded to die. Then he died. Then he was massacred. Then he was torn to shreds. Then he was annihilated. Then he was destroyed. Ecsetera, ecsetera.

The only real way not to get massacred is to google a guide and follow it's instructions to powerbuilding your party (it involves Auto potion and alot of grinding).

I LOVE this games Storyline and it's medieval game of houses slant. I actually wish it didn't have the more fantastic elements like the bigbad monster behind it all. I'd love to pick a side in the war, or better yet, pick my own side, and become the king.

Also, Delita is still the most cool FF character ever.

TsunamiWombat:
The only real way not to get massacred is to google a guide and follow it's instructions to powerbuilding your party (it involves Auto potion and alot of grinding).

I LOVE this games Storyline and it's medieval game of houses slant. I actually wish it didn't have the more fantastic elements like the bigbad monster behind it all. I'd love to pick a side in the war, or better yet, pick my own side, and become the king.

Also, Delita is still the most cool FF character ever.

And a prick. Actually, I had only a little trouble with the bosses, and I didn't power-grind at all. It was more a function of knowing that Monk is just the greatest class that ever was, and ever will be, and abusing the special characters like Agrias and TG Cid.

Also, making Agrias a Dark Knight is awesome.

i still have to finish this game... :S

EDIT:

good review!! even i do own this game... this review make want to buy it again :)

best review i've seen by a non-professional site..and even then, its better than most on IGN and Gamespot. Unless we going back to their older reviews...unfortunately I bought Disgaea PSP and FFT: WotL at the same time. And that's not good kids!

Great review. I'd love to buy it, but I don't want to pay for a PSP and I still have my original FFT copy :D.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked