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Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS) artwork

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS) review


"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.

Rating: 4/10

timrod's avatar
Community review by timrod (July 02, 2008)

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Suskie posted July 02, 2008:

I’ll be the first to admit that Final Fantasy Tactics Advance sucked.

The first? Haha, yeah right.
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psychopenguin posted July 03, 2008:

Isn't that just a saying? I don't think he meant it literally.

FFTA did not suck, but this review is ok. HOWEVER.

Not only did it have a lame and cliched storyline. Not only did it have bullshit-hard gameplay that revolved around wandering judges making such laws as “no using physical attacks or magic” or “no doing anything for the first fifteen turns”.

Might want to check those sentences.

So when I heard about Final Fantasy Tactics A2, the sequel for FFTA on DS, I was left to question how bad the game could really be.

Thanks for clarifying that FFTA2 is the sequel to FFTA. And you made it sound like FFTA is on DS.

FFTA2 takes the worst parts of its predecessor and combines them with even worse ideas and a new even more convoluted class system to make the worst RPG ever.

And it gets a 4/10. And it's not a RPG.

Take, for instance, a law like “no knocking your opponents back”. Knockback is a side effect of a critical hit, which you have absolutely no control over. Failure to obey the law means that you can no longer revive your characters, meaning that you will most likely fail whatever mission you’re on.

I DONT NEED NO STINKING STRATEGY IN MY STRATEGY GAMES.

One particularly hated mission has a law preventing you from doing more than 50 damage at once. By this point in the game, your weakest physical attacker will probably do several hundred damage, meaning you get to throw your mages and other squishies at the hordes of mogs with cannons firing on you. Of course, you could just break the law and nuke the everloving crap out of the cannoneers with ranged attacks and magic.

I DONT NEED NO..

If you like the crap Square has been shoving down the throats of RPG fans worldwide, or are a twelve-year-old mouthbreathing yaoi fangirl who thinks that Final Fantasy 7 is the best game ever and that Square-Enix invented video games, then go ahead and buy it.

Trolling is fun. Fun is trolling.
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sashanan posted July 03, 2008:

I must admit to some surprise at saying the original sucked, that this one is worse and in fact the worst RPG ever, and then ending up at a forgiving 4. Why not go all the way?
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timrod posted July 06, 2008:

I didn't go all the way because as much as the game sucks and is a generic Square-Enix math sim, there's no horrible bugs or glitches that make the game unplayable.
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jerec posted July 06, 2008:

The review lost all credibility when timrod pretty much revealed he had no idea what FFTA was like, with all the lame exaggarations. And he seems to have no idea what genre of game he's playing, either.
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timrod posted July 07, 2008:

Actually, yeah I do. FFTA2 is what I'd call a generic Square-Enix rehash math simulator. You know, the kind S-E comes out with fifty times a year. And FFT Advance really WAS that bad. Yes, I have played it. Marche was whinier than Squall, and had absolutely zero redeeming factors about him. The game can be summed up in three lines of dialog.

Marche: "Oh so here's Ivalice oh look my brother isn't crippled and that guy that got hit in the face is a knight or something."

Retarded new design Moogle: "Hi Marche! I'm a moogle! Want to be friends?"

Marche: "You don't exist. Fuck this, I'm going home."

Rest of the game was basically single-player FFXI. Grind until you're high enough level to grind higher level monsters, and keep grinding until you kill the generic boss at the end.
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honestgamer posted July 07, 2008:

Just keep in mind that Square-Enix comes out with 'retarded math simulators' more like once a year. Also remember that the retarded math simulators are PRECISELY what their fans are asking for. So really, most of your objections are valid to someone who hates the kind of game that Square's fans want them to make, but aren't really relevant to most people who would be reading the review.

Honestly, I think this is the worst review you've ever written. You're a good writer, but your passion and apparent hatred for Square-Enix (or at least their take on this genre) really got in the way of what had the potential to be another good review.

It communicates well enough your hatred for the franchise, but persuasive writing it is not.
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sashanan posted July 08, 2008:

there's no horrible bugs or glitches that make the game unplayable.

Without meaning to be difficult (well, maybe a little), is that not plenty to exclude it from being the 'worst RPG ever'? Because I've played my share of broken ones. No need to look outside the system or genre either, Hoshigami Remix is right there to compare unfavorably to any DS tactics RPG that actually works, even if it does nothing of interest.
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Suskie posted July 08, 2008:

I'm wondering why you even played this in the first place, Timrod. Did you expect you would enjoy it? I didn't like FFTA either, so at least I have the sensibility not to spend forty bucks on its sequel.
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Genj posted July 08, 2008:

It's pretty obvious that he uses a flashcart.
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bluberry posted July 08, 2008:

yeah, I think the only things the guy has legitimately bought in his life are a parrot and an eyepatch.

Venter, come on. you know I love you, but you're basically saying the game is immune to criticism because some people like it. guess I better stop hating on Madden rehashes and Mario Party 11 then.
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Halon posted July 08, 2008:

That last paragraph was pretty sweet. That is all.
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honestgamer posted July 09, 2008:

No, I'm saying that criticizing a game for doing the very things it was designed to do--that it SHOULD do, that fans WANT it to do--is pointless. It's the reason you don't see me playing and reviewing Madden games. I know what those are supposed to do--simulate the American football experience down to the dullest details--and I know what excites the fans of those games. None of it appeals to me in the slightest.

That's why I haven't played or reviewed those games and, since a similar principle applies here with timrod and FFTA2, it's why I'm confused as to why he would choose to review it. A blog or forum post on how he hates Square-Enix and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance games would be a lot more useful in this case than a review of a game he was never going to give a fair chance.
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EmP posted July 09, 2008:

You don't think someone's opinion on a genre they dislike is as valid as someone who will automatically give the game glowing praise?

No one out there is unbiased, Jason. Everyone has an opinion, even if it's removed from the norm.
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dagoss posted July 09, 2008:

You don't think someone's opinion on a genre they dislike is as valid as someone who will automatically give the game glowing praise?

That's a pretty reductive and unfair way to put it. No one should automatically be doing anything. This review could have been written without having played the game; it could have been written before the game was even released. Any review that does not judge a game on its intrinsic merits, good or bad, is not effective. You're supposed to be reviewing the game, not the genre or its developer.
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EmP posted July 09, 2008:

While this is somewhat true, how can you review a game without the genre taking heavy effect? Let's take another route:

Let's assume Timrod had come into this review wearing his dislike of TBSs on his sleeve. However, he then said that this was a game that swayed his initial dislike and he like it regardless of his usual tastes. You see this tactic a lot in reviewing -- I fancy most of us have used it ourselves at least once -- yet is this called out when employed?

There's nothing wrong with saying "I don' t like this genre and, so, I don't like this game" just so long as you still go ahead and back up your points.
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espiga posted July 09, 2008:

...Which is what he failed to do.

Psychopenguin graciously wrote my thought out for me in his earlier post though. Thanks for that!
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Ben posted July 09, 2008:

I've got the game, about fifteen hours in, and I'm not enjoying it as much as I want to, but there were a few bits and pieces that left me totally confused.

Take, for instance, a law like “no knocking your opponents back”. Knockback is a side effect of a critical hit, which you have absolutely no control over. Failure to obey the law means that you can no longer revive your characters, meaning that you will most likely fail whatever mission you’re on.

I prevented knockbacks by either hitting units against a wall or moving my characters around and sandwiching them (so units that were hit could not be knocked back). No laws broken. You're playing a strategy game. You're supposed to give it some thought.

And besides, even if you break the law, the whole "most likely fail" is a bit of an exaggeration? I've only had to revive someone once so far in the game, and that was due a stupid mistake on my part more than anything else. Mind you, I've taken a bit of time leveling up my characters partaking in sidequests and making sure they were not underleveled.

Failing a mission means you get to go back and pay that fee again – after paying out the ass to revive all your party members and bring them back to full health.

There's something called restarting your DS. If you're finding the game too hard, maybe your party members aren't leveled high enough or your equipment is a little lacking.

Most healing spells (including the early ones such as Cure) have an area-of-effect range shaped like a plus sign. This is particularly annoying when, say, your beefed-up tank is being hit on all four sides by enemies, and you want to heal him, but can’t because if you heal him, you will also heal all the enemies attacking him. The same thing goes for using offensive magic and certain ranged physical attacks.

Again, it's a strategy game. If your character is surrounded by four enemy units, it's your fault for letting that happen. There's obviously a flaw in your strategy. Alternatively, find an elementalist if you want single-square magic attacks. I'll take area damage over that any day, though.

Take the Thief tree, for instance, which is used for one purpose and one purpose only – changing two thieves to tricksters so you can get the quest to obtain cannoneers, which are among the best classes in the game. I guarantee that after you get the cannoneer quest done, you will never, ever have any reason to use a thief ever again.

I agree that you're never likely to use some of the older classes again, but wouldn't it make it too easy for players if the best classes were unlocked at the start of the game?

I don't have a problem with someone disliking a prequel and still playing the next installment, providing the person tries to give it a fair shake. Unfortunately, I don't get that impression from you on this game.

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