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Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation) artwork

Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation) review

"The biggest battle you face is within yourself"

Final Fantasy Tactics made its grand debut on the PSX the same year as Final Fantasy VII, and a year later in the US, so you could argue that this would had played a part on not being that known thanks to the immense popularity FF7 brought along and that would pretty much overshadow not only FFT, but any other game coming that year. However that would be the wrong assumption as Tactics managed to become just as known if not more thanks for the fact that it had such an immense game mechanic and storyline, among many other things that made this title as famous as 7 in terms of status.

The story begins with Ramza Beoulve, youngest of the Beoulve clan and one who rebelled against his sibling's ambitions after his father died right when the 100 year war ended. Once he saw how the world was through his own eyes, he began fighting for what he considered right and to expose the lies and deceit of those in power, all at a cost of him being convicted as a heretic by religious governments and such.

You get to have your own army and customize each soldier including the main character with powerful weapons, abilities, and spells, all which can affect their status as well as HP and MP according to their current job ability. New recruits can arrive via way of story or by hiring new soldiers at establishments on each town visited, but you are limited to have a certain number with your army, this not counting mandatory characters that must stay with you and others like monsters you can hatch and use in battle. Indeed, there are so many possibilities yet you get to do so with limited quantities.

As you level up your characters they also learn "job points" besides the familiar exp; which can be used to gain more abilities according to the job they have been assigned. Once they level up enough on certain jobs, they may be eligible to get new ones which you may try out, and also assign some of the job abilities acquired from old classes to combine with the current one. The game sure has a high customizable mechanic, which is pretty much half the fun you get as you play.

As such, there comes a time when you must recruit characters pivotal to the plot and cannot refuse their invitation, meaning that you may have to let go of some of your own soldiers and monsters, including those you worked hard to customize into an unstoppable warrior. This being a reason as to why it’s better not to grow attached to characters you hire to begin with.

The game also allows you to seek optional characters and play their stories while being recruited but again, you must watch out on how many characters you already have and who might be one to leave without affecting gameplay overall.

As fun as this is with such dilemmas, Final Fantasy Tactics also pours in some of the most difficult battles you will be confronted with. Even if you have a large number of characters in your group, you may only use 5 of said characters including the main hero and face off against enemies that far surpass the measly squad you are stuck with. There are even bigger odds to face when you fight off against boss battles, which can end before you even get a chance to lay a hit on anyone. The theme here is strategy and FFT will make you work for it. In spades.

However one cannot be that upset about such difficulty given, the game offers gorgeous graphics and a delightful soundtrack which makes you at times forget you are fighting for your life in a losing battle. Indeed, the composers on this game created such a memorable soundtrack which becomes half the reason on playing it.
The other half would be its intense, deep storyline which one could say mirrors that of famous shows like Game of Thrones, minus the saucy nudity of course. Betrayal is quite a huge factor as you go deeper into the root of all the problems your world is facing, which completely changes the view of Ramza once he finds out what he fights for might just not be the right way to go. Even after beating the game you can't help but to scratch your head on just where everything ended up with, and if you indeed saved a country or simply doomed it further.

Even with its unforgiving difficulty and merciless AI controlled characters, Final Fantasy Tactics is chockfull surprises and replayability, something you can take advantage off once you have gone by the first time and check out what you missed. Difficult battles could probably not get any easier, but at least you will know what to expect as you try new methods to go through such.

Final Fantasy Tactics is indeed a collectible game to keep and safeguard as the unique treasure it is, whether you decide to go back to it or not. The only other Tactics game ever made was for the Gameboy Advance, but seemingly it just can't compare to this title in terms of its rich, difficult to comprehend plotline and its various twists that make you dizzy just thinking about.

Tactics also makes a great job on testing the player's morality in certain occasions, something that hits pretty hard considering the same has happened in human history when war would try to eradicate all. Just how far could you go to achieve power?

There is also a sense of satisfaction when ending the game, even though you are left with more questions than answers. Even today I still seek them out online, delving farther into the game's lore and unique way of telling a story. While I might not get all the answers I seek, I will state that I am very happy to have bought this game and beat it, and then play it all over again.


CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (February 18, 2019)

Cpt. Retro likes old school gaming the most and grew up playing Arcade games in Mexico. He also loves talking about retrogaming.

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If you enjoyed this Final Fantasy Tactics review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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Masters posted February 19, 2019:

You're on pace to crack 100 by year end! A dozen already, and February isn't even over -- that's wild.
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CptRetroBlue posted February 19, 2019:

Ha ha, thanks :)
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Ogreatgames posted February 20, 2019:

Every time I encounter questions like "What's your best games of all time?", Final Fantasy Tactics always comes to my mind. It's already been 22 years and I still wouldn't mind visiting this tactical role-playing game again and again. Yeah, I totally agree that it feels like a huge accomplishment to beat the game. Thank you so much for informing me about this one.
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Masters posted February 21, 2019:

Retro, you got some feedback in the Review of the Week topic, in case you missed it.
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CptRetroBlue posted February 21, 2019:

I did indeed and thanks for letting me know :) I am happy to see others share the same passion I have for this game.
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hastypixels posted February 24, 2019:

I can appreciate the passion people have for this one, and though mine may not be as strong as most - I certainly do keep it around now, because most of all I do want to know where the story goes. Having had a chance to play the GBA "sequel", it was good, but seemed to me hamstrung by the new Laws mechanic in spite of its many mechanical improvements. Good review, Cpt.
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CptRetroBlue posted February 25, 2019:

I agree on the GBA title, the rule system there tends to mess with the rhythm of gameplay and at times it can turn me off whenever I had played it, even though it is still a nice title on itself. I also agree that the original Tactics on PSX has very, VERY intricate story, one that immerses you into it and even manages to shock you as it progresses. Square did such a marvelous job on writing the story on this game that it feels like a fantasy novel more than a game. Thanks once more for the feedback.

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