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LTTP: Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

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LTTP or late to the party pieces are opportunities for us to catch up and write about games we missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I have been trying to play Final Fantasy Tactics for about a decade. I believe I made 3 actual attempts at it and every time I would leave before finishing the first act. The reasons for quitting? I would either get bored out of my mind or sidetracked by some other “superior” game.

Years later, Square Enix, decided to rerelease Final Fantasy Tactics for the Sony PlayStation Portable with a retranslated script, improved presentation and a handful of other additions. What better way to play this game than through an updated release? I decided to return to Ivalice’s strategy world once again. Unfortunately, I did not finish the game again since I was stonewalled and grew bored by the number of retries I was attempting.

I am an open gamer and enjoy a vast variety of genres, but one genre which I neglect regularly is the turn-based strategy RPG genre. The last strategy game I played and truly enjoyed was Shining Force II for the Sega Genesis. (I have to go back and beat that one as well). In a sense, Final Fantasy Tactics is my first turn-based strategy RPG and I did not enjoy it very much at all. Perhaps I am not made for strategy turned-based RPGs or perhaps Final Fantasy Tactics is a broken? I am unsure.

In the beginning, I set Ramza on the path of the Knight class as soon as his Squire class was high enough to unlock it. I dabbled in the Chemist, White Mage and Time Mage classes, but a huge portion of my time was spent mastering the Knight class. Well, that decision screwed me over hard.

Certain “screw Ramza over” battles were beyond ridiculous for him. “Auto-Potion” would have been nice against Gafgarion’s and Wiegraf’s fight, but since I neglected to learn that skill, it was unavailable to him. Since I also never felt the need to create multiple save files (never needed them in any other game), I was locked into the fight against Wiegraf and his Belias form. After two dozen plus tries, Wiegraf ended my Final Fantasy Tactics adventure; I was fed up.

It is obvious that a lot of my grief could have been avoided if I had taken the time to grind and obtain all the skills for all my characters, but why should I? There was never any incentive to walk in between major towns in hopes of randomly encountering foes to do battle with. I had plenty of money and acquired plenty of gear for my party. What is the point of class choices when making the wrong choice would sap every ounce of fun out of the game?

While I did appreciate the cutscenes and great dialog between the characters the first time through, I was not a fan of not being able to skip or accelerate through any of it after the umpteenth time of retrying the battle. Having to listen to Delita, Ramza or Wiegraf ramble became a bother very quickly. Watching enemies take their turns in battle became rather annoying as well. You know it’s bad when the PSP’s backlight goes dim due to inactivity because I am just staring at the screen waiting for my opponents’ turns to finish. Hurry up, you little bastards. How can they fix this problem? Accelerate the enemy’s movements!

Although, the game annoyed me, it did provide its fair share of surprises. I was impressed with how much emotion could be conveyed by the animated sprites. I also enjoyed political plotline’s twists and turns. The characters began growing on me and I began to wonder what was going to happen after every battle.

While I am giving up on Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the moment, I must admit that I do wish to return to Ivalice. I am going to take a break from the game and restart from the beginning and do it all right. I wish to play it again because I am a tolerant individual and wish to find out what happens at the end of this tale. If you wish to play this game, learn from my mistakes and you will enjoy it. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions requires a lot of patience and perseverance; it is certainly not for everyone.

Final Call:
For masochists or fans alike.

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