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Final Fantasy Tactics
Review By: Joel Fajardo
Developer:   Square
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Strategy/RPG
ESRB:   Teen

When you combine Squaresoft and Sony together, the possibilities are endless. It was first that we received the nothing-less-than-spectacular Final Fantasy 7 and await the anticipated Parasite Eve, but with Final Fantasy Tactics, Square has outdone even themselves. It's not the groundbreaking game that some might want, or as action packed as Bushido Blade, yet we can still say that Tactics puts a rest to those who wish for the difficulty of Shining the Holy Arc, Mystaria, and Command and Conquer. Definitely the hardest game imaginable, never have my eyes seen the words "Game Over" as many times as I have with this game.

In a matter of speaking, Tactics offers a variety of graphics. Square has taken a new idea in programming their games. For those of you who have played, seen, or purchase the renowned Tactics series (Tactics Ogre and Ogre Battle), you may see something interesting about Final Fantasy Tactics. Many of the people at Quest have worked with Square to make such a majestic title. Your eyes aren't bombarded with the polygons of Final Fantasy 7 and you don't see animation of Lunar, but rather you get a mixture of both worlds in one. It's hard to define what you see, for you receive a screen of detailed polygons, so fine is shape, that it resembles hand drawn artwork. Some developers feel that it is acceptable to jumble up a whole bunch of triangles to form a character. Does Square believe this? No. Much needed time was put into this, as it is shown to any eye that lay vision upon it. Every battle area has its own feeling, and the different terrains especially add to the effect of the game. Focusing on special effects at first, you might be amused by them, but feel that they are less than worthy to be on a PSX game. Yet as you proceed and gain new spells and abilities, you will take notice that they have changed. The level in a spell not only determines how much an ally or enemy will be effected, but to what extent you are dazzled. My most powerful spell at this point is fire 3 and I was amazed beyond belief at how much of a difference it was compared to level 2. The intro, I must add, delivers and excellent presentation as well. Having a great similarity to Suikoden's introduction, you are enchanted by enthralling words and tales of the Lion War. It tingles you as the beauty of the words and background pass bye, leaving a history to what is about to be experienced.

Once you've played FFT and have been able to enjoy the presentation that it brings, it is only disappointing that hear it. Not to say that the music isn't CD quality, but you get to expect some standard from Squaresoft, for it is they who has always excelled when it comes to bringing you masterpieces in music. Don't get me wrong at all. The music is good, but you do end up noticing that the soundtrack does nothing to bring you into the game, it is merely part of it. Music is repetitive while sounds lack the major depth you heard in FF7. The game takes the role of more serious tone, rather than music to the mind of the player.

If you've never played a strategy game in your life, then you're gonna be screwed when it comes to playing this, yet it's just like any other strategy game that you could think of. You move along on a grid-based floor, trotting along to bash the hell out of your enemies. You have a selected number of spaces you can move at a time and only at certain places on the screen. This needn't be explained to those expert strategy gamers. One initial thing that I believe is imperative to mention is the Job System. The job system is the system in which you take control of what your character will be and what abilities they will develop. Take for example the beginning of the game. You can only be either a squire or a chemist. Every time you attack someone, including a party member, or heal someone, or do ANY action using your character, that person will receive experience points and job points. Experience points have more of a value than on other games. Once you gain a level on your job (ex. from chemist level 1 to level 2), you not only gain more hp and mp, but opportunities as well. Here's how it works:

Once you get to level 2 chemist for example, you have the "understanding" to become a magician- black or white. Let' say that you pick a black magician. You get him/ her to level 2, okay? Then you learn the secrets to becoming a mediator and from there, a monk, and then and oracle. The list goes on and on and on. It's just amazing how much depth there is to this game.

Also, the job points take a great effect. Once you have acquired enough job points, you can trade them in for a spell. For example, if fire 3 cost 325 jp, you must save up your points to get that spell.

Everything on this game has been done quite a few times, but nonetheless, you can't help but love it. Battles are identical to those found elsewhere and the rpg/strategy game thing has been done before. Depending on what kind of gamer you are, you will know if this game is for you or not.

I've spent at the present time 20+ hours on Final Fantasy Tactics, and I can tell you one thing for sure- it never gets boring at any point. Time flies by and before you know it, your PSX is burning up. You will catch yourself saying frequently," Just ONE more fight. Just one more." This game brings back to us what gaming is all about- finding a great game, without need of anything spectacular. You'll keep coming back to play it cause the story and everything about it is so complex, that beating it only once is remaining clueless.

Good PSX games come all the time and nothing is spectacular about it, but a Square game comes once a year. This is not just a game, but a fantasy. Final Fantasy Tactics.

Overall: 9.2
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