"Those of you familiar with the original Tactics will recognize the name of that story. The War of the Lions is no sequel to it, but rather an enhanced port of its original PlayStation counterpart, and from the very instant you select "New Game," those enhancements become apparent in the form of its completely new translation."
Even from just the opening of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, you'll know that you're playing something special. A complex series of vine-like designs twist and curl around crystals inscribed with a sign of the Zodiac while the gorgeous, moving melody of Hitoshi Sakimoto plays in the background, until you see a beautifully glowing crystal formation with the words "Square Enix presents" displayed, which slowly fade out...
The Zodiac Brave Story
Those of you familiar with the original Tactics will recognize the name of that story. The War of the Lions is no sequel to it, but rather an enhanced port of its original PlayStation counterpart, and from the very instant you select "New Game," those enhancements become apparent in the form of its completely new translation. Gone are the broken Engrish and confusing sentence structures of the past. This new translation leaves no stone unturned, and The War of the Lions' amazing storyline with some very surprising plot twists becomes even better because of it. While the only voice acting is in the very stylish cel-shaded CGI cutscenes that proves Square Enix is the veritable master of CGI, you can easily find yourself connecting to the characters and caring about them.
Enter Delita. At one time, he was the hero Ramza's best friend, although their friendship was all but forbidden simply because of Delita's status as a commoner rather than the noble Beoulve clan that Ramza belongs to. Though Ramza rejected their skewed idealisms, his "noble" brothers continue to work behind the scenes to end the constant attacks of commoners-turned-vagabond who all lost their jobs and hate the Crown of Ivalice after a previous war... And in the process, a new war is started; one that Ramza hates and fights against with a relentless ferocity.
That is, if by relentless ferocity, I'm allowed to mean "turn-based strategy battles on an isometric grid similar to Disgaea". Borrowing and building upon the Job System used in numerous Final Fantasies throughout the years, War of the Lions allows your characters the ability to change their jobs at any time they wish outside of battle, as well as set abilities learned from previous jobs to additional slots and give your characters nearly any combination you can think of. Want Ramza to be a godly damage dealer? Certainly being a Knight with the Ninja's dual-wielding skills will make holding two legendary weapons a breeze. Would you rather have him stand in the back and support the other units? Possibly a role as a White Mage or a Summoner would be more to your liking. There are tons of possibilities, and with the addition of two new Jobs specifically for the PSP release, the options expand even more.
Expanding those options is a simple matter of fighting. Each time you take an action in battle other than moving or defending, you'll earn Job Points. Once you earn enough Job Points, you'll gain Job Levels. When you have the right combination of Job Levels, you'll unlock new classes, and you can even use your accumulated Job Points to purchase new abilities that you then set to your character.
Of course, not all of The War of the Lions is golden. The game starts off quite brutally, requiring most people to spend a lot of time leveling their army before they step out into the world.
Not me though, because I'm manly.
There's also some strange sound issues, as well. When casting spells and seeing other special effects on-screen, the sound effect accompanying it lags behind, meaning you've seen the end of the effect before you hear how it's supposed to sound. It's quite disorienting, but nothing gamebreaking.
That being said, it's still quite possibly the greatest Final Fantasy game released, and most certainly the best of their rehashes. Everything that was bad in the game before--like the crappy translation--has been fixed, and the best parts, such as the amazingly written storyline, are even better.
Now if only Ramza didn't keep the FF tradition of looking girly.
Staff review by Kyle Stepp (October 30, 2007)
Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.
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