The game combines thematic elements of the Final Fantasy series with a game engine and battle system unlike those previously seen in the franchise. This is the first Final Fantasy game to introduce the world of Ivalice, which appears also in Final Fantasy XII and Vagrant Story.
Plot. In a nation known as Ivalice, the people are recovering from the Fifty Year War against Ordalia, and the nobility has abandoned the commoners, labeling them as animals and peasants. Most of the commoners hated the nobles and formed the Death Corps. Meet Ramza Beoulve, a young man from House Beoulve, a noble family with pillars of knighthood. Ramza is a highborn cadet who finds himself in the midst of a military conflict known as the "Lion War" started by Duke Larg and Duke Goltana, who are fighting for the Crown. On the other side is Delita Heiral, an old friend of Ramza who goes his separate way after an arrogant noble, Argath, negligently kills his sister Tietra. When Ramza becomes a mercenary, he discovers that a sinister conspiracy is behind this tragic war.
Characters in Final Fantasy Tactics can be customized into various roles. New recruits either start out as a Squire or a Chemist. And the more JP they earn, they obtain new classes such as White Mage, Black Mage, Summoners, Dragoons, Thieves, Ninjas, Orators and so on. The game features twenty jobs accessible by various characters. Getting enough JP results in leveling jobs up. When certain jobs are leveled up, new ones are obtaines. The more JP you earn, you'll learn more abilities, in which when you get all, the job is mastered. Like in previous Final Fantasy games, random battles are fought on the world map when landing in areas such as forests, swamps, ruins, and deserts. When allied or enemy units are knocked out, they have like some time to revive them with Raise or Phoenix Downs, before their time is up and become either treasure chests or crystals, thus never coming back. When units become crystals, players can learn certain abilities from their classes, except monster units.
Concept. In Final Fantasy Tactics, you take control of Ramza Beoulve and various units, including characters that have a role in the story. Some characters however are not playable, and are considered guests that automatically attack the enemy units, similar to that of Nintendo's Fire Emblem. As Ramza, you travel all over Ivalice fighting enemies and meeting new allies, and discovering that something much more sinister is behind the events known as the "Lion War". You can purchase weapons, armor, items, and accessories in towns, and fight random battles in places such as the woods, the swamps, the desert, and ruins as well to level up jobs and obtain new ones.
Design. Final Fantasy Tactics uses a 3D, isometric, rotatable playing field with bitmap sprite characters. Some scenarios are seen in 3D sequences, but in the PSP remake there are drawn animated scenarios with voice acting in the American version of the PSP remake, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. The summoning sequences shows the Espers drawn casting their powers on the enemy units. Hiroyuki Ito, director of Final Fantasy VI, IX, and XII is the game's designer, while the character artists are, Akihiko Yoshida, Hiroshi Minagawa, and Hideo Minama.
Sound. In the PSP enhanced version of the game, the characters are voiced in the English version during animated sequences. Final Fantasy veteran English voice actors are Phil LaMarr, Kari Wahlgren, Hedy Burress, Robin Atkin Downes, and Gideon Emery who voice Ramza Beoulve, Ovelia Atkascha, Agrias Oaks, Delita Heiral, and in a cameo role, Balthier from Final Fantasy XII, who only appears in the PSP remake of the game. During battle sequences, when human characters are killed, their screams can be heard, and also creatures can be heard groaning.
Music. The game's soundtrack is composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, both of whom later collaborated to compose music for Stella Deus and Final Fantasy XII. Sakimoto composed 47 tracks for the game, and Iwata was left to compose the other 24. The orchestral nature of the game's music was made possible using synthesizing operated by the synthesizer operator Katsutoshi Kashiwabara and sound programming Hidenori Suzuki. Although Nobuo Uematsu was not part of the composing team, the battle themes were awesome and epic, and the character themes as well.
Memories. I first played this game when I was 12 years old, shortly after I was introduced to Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII was my very first Final Fantasy game, and although not part of the main series, this is my second FF game, and I loved it. At first I was not fond of strategic RPG, but then, I grew to love it, along other strategic RPG games such as Fire Emblem and Ogre Battle. I also loved how Cloud Strife and Aerith made a cameo in this game, as well as Luso from the GBA game Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and Balthier from Final Fantasy XII.
Rantings. Well, some accessories that automatically had Reflect were quite the pain in the ass but useful at times. In terms of Reflect, sometimes healing would go to the enemy or an empty tile instead. And another thing is that the more you level up, enemies in skirmishes have the same level as you do in many times. Also, what I don't like about this game is that supportive magic like Protect, Shell, Haste, and others can fail, making it difficult at times. In the PSP remake, what I hate about this game is the slowdowns when units cast magical powers and summons.
Good Aspects. The game is very original in terms of a strategic RPG game that is even more difficult than Fire Emblem, but the thing is that you can revive characters in this game, but in Fire Emblem, once an allied unit is killed, he or she will never come back for the rest of the game. This game's replay value is moderately high, and it's a must have if you have either the PSP or PS3, you can buy this game on the PlayStation Network for $9.99.
Overall. Final Fantasy Tactics is a great game for those who love strategic RPG games such as Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, and more. Have fun with Final Fantasy Tactics, for it is a great game. This gets a 9 out of 10.
God Bless and Play Hard Gamers!