"It’s no secret to most of the world that Square-Enix is a dying company. Their stock price has fallen 20% in the past year and their CEO has issued a memo telling the developers that they will be fired if they attempt to release anything other than rehashes or new expansion packs for Final Fantasy XI. The ironic part is that up until the release of The World Ends With You earlier this year, Squaresoft had not made an original non-Final-Fantasy game since the release of Chrono Cross in 1999, and ..."
It’s no secret to most of the world that Square-Enix is a dying company. Their stock price has fallen 20% in the past year and their CEO has issued a memo telling the developers that they will be fired if they attempt to release anything other than rehashes or new expansion packs for Final Fantasy XI. The ironic part is that up until the release of The World Ends With You earlier this year, Squaresoft had not made an original non-Final-Fantasy game since the release of Chrono Cross in 1999, and Enix had been cranking out nothing but Dragon Quest clones since its inception. Neither company has ever even attempted to make anything other than bad math simulator JRPGs.
Final Fantasy Tactics A(dvance)2 is the ultimate example of another Square-Enix abortion, the same uninspired math simulator they release ten times a year. What’s puzzling is why they would even attempt to release it, seeing as how Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was considered by many to be one of the worst JRPGs ever made. FFTA had the worst of everything – a bad plot, the Judge system, the same belt-and-zipper character designs as every other Final Fantasy game.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is essentially the same as FFT Advance, except with a different main character and those gimmick races from Final Fantasy XI added in. The plot goes something like this: You play as Luso, a generic Tetusya Nomura gayboy who gets sucked into the magical land of Ivalice. After finding an outfit that would be called too flambouyant in a San Francisco gay bar, complete with a giant pizza cutter sword and plenty of belts and zippers (also tights), Luso goes on a quest to save the world or something, the same as every other Final Fantasy game ever released.
The actual gameplay is the same horrid crap as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. There’s a world map split up into nodes. Certain areas have cities, which contain pubs that allow you to purchase the rights to various quests for large amounts of generic currency. The battle system is exactly the same as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Each warzone is split up into grid squares. Your characters can move a certain amount of squares every turn, and then attack if they’re within range. What makes this damn near impossible is the return of the unwanted and utterly retarded Judge system. Under the Judge system, you are forbidden from doing various actions on the battlefield, at the penalty of not being able to ressurect dead characters or use your “clan privilege”, which gives a small boost to certain stats. The key problem here is that the laws you are forced to follow are in most cases not even something you can control. Take for instance a law like “No being robbed” on a map full of thieves, or “No missing”, or “No critical hits”. Following the law gives you a mere pittance of randomized items that may or may not be worthwhile.
You’d think that the battle system would be bad enough with just the Judges, but it gets worse. The controls for fighting get in the way even more than the Judges do. The entire game is in an isometric view, and you usually will wind up pressing the D-Pad at random to try to figure out what direction is what every time you enter battle. On top of that is the completely retarded idea of everything other than physical attacks having an area-of-effect. Healing spells, for instance, will heal not only your target, but everything in a one-square radius of your target. This makes for extremely annoying battles when, say, your Paladin tank is surrounded by enemies on all sides, and you want to heal him, only you can’t because if you do, you’ll heal all the enemies as well. Damage spells work the same way.
The final nail in this game’s coffin is the needlessly convoluted class system. While the intention of the developers was clearly to attempt to “balance” the classes from FFT Advance (where Assassins were gods and everything else was crap), they only wound up remaking the same unbalanced system they had to begin with. Certain classes have been split up to nullify their usefulness. Most notable is the split between white and green mages. White mages can no longer buff or debuff, but can heal and ressurect. Green mages can buff and debuff but have no heals. Then you have the three generic melee classes – Soldier, Warrior, and Fighter. The three classes are exactly the same for all intents and purposes except that they learn their abilities differently.
The main problem with the class system is the way your characters learn abilities. The only way to do so is by equipping them with new gear that has an ability attached to it until your character “masters” it and can use it without having the item equipped and switch to new equipment to learn a new move. The problem is that the only way to get new equipment is to win loot items from battles, take them to a shop, and have them put on the bazaar in order to get the capability to buy new items. Most of the items early on are for classes you will not even have until the end of the game, leaving your poor saps with the basic moves they started with until you can grind out new gear.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and other games like it are the reason Square-Enix is dying. Until the company learns that rehashing the same game does not mean sales, the company will continue to die. FFTA2 is utterly unlikeable unless you’re one of those retarded mouthbreathing three hundred pound preteen yaoi fangirls who think that Final Fantasy 7 was the best game ever made and that Square-Enix invented video games. For normal people, this game sucks. FFTA2 deserves the four that it gets.
Community review by timrod (July 02, 2008)
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