Saturday, November 13, 2010

Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance (GBA)

What fond memories of this game do I have.  In fact, it was one of the first three games I got for my GBA when I first got it.  This, Knightmare in Dreamland and Metroid Fusion were the first three games I got when I received the wonder Gameboy Advance for Christmas.

When I first started this game, I was quite new to RPGs in general.  This was my first tactical or strategy RPG in fact.  So I might be biased a little bit due to nostalgia reasons but I will still give it a fair review.

First, the complaints.  The battles are often repetitive and pose no real challenge when you have a good set-up.  The last few missions were far too easy compared to some of the very early missions which were intense.  The biggest complain is going to be the law system.  Limiting the player to what actions they can use is a way to challenge them, yes.  Making a law for not damaging an opponent type and then making the whole screen filled with that opponent type is poor planning.  Anti-law cards often do not help because the best ones are impossible to find sometimes.

The sequel fixes the law system but for now, it is a big damper on the game.  Choosing to only fight random encounters in the law free zones was my choice every time.  Since I didn't have to worry about laws and the only risk was permanent death of a unit, which never happens because you have to end the battle with them knocked out.  Meaning you can heal them and they will still come back.  So I made sure to place the lawless places together as often as I could.  So I could not have to deal with laws.

The game has tons of depth.  The missions are fun, albeit some of them are boring.  The class system is very much streamlined.  Getting new abilities and leveling is easy.  Although, one other complaint arises with the outrageous items needed sometimes for quests.  Or the fact that you can only have a limited number of quest items at a time.  I'm currently stuck on 299 (out of possible 300 + 10 bonus) because I don't have Black Thread.  Where do I get Black Thread?  Well, I can't.  They only give you two in the whole game.  Both needed for two other quests.

What happened to the two you had?  I either dropped one for a more important item (because space is limited) or I used it on the same quest twice that was repeated.  Maybe an option to replay every mission would be nice.  I'm not going to restart my 200+ hour file just because I accidentally missed an item and can't complete the game fully.

I enjoyed this game, a lot.  It got me interested in other SRPGs, like Disgaea and Luminous Arc.  It's one of the genres I have a serious soft spot for now.  Like Platformers, SRPGs are one of the few games I usually enjoy to a certain extent despite poor design choices.

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