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

If you were to take Tactics Ogre (or if you've never imported, Vandal Hearts) then give it to Square's development team to tweak, you'd end up with Final Fantasy Tactics. When a one genre company ventures into new territories you never know what'll happen. A company might pull a successful hat trick like Blizzard did with Diablo. Or the turn may end up in mediocrity land like any of the non sim games by Maxis. Square has had success with its voyages into uncharted waters. Tobal. No 1, Tobal 2, Bushido Blade, and Einhander have all scored high marks from critics and Final Fantasy Tactics is no different. Square has a winner here.

When it gets right down to it, Final Fantasy Tactics is really just a souped up version of Shining Force. This, however, is a billion times more fun than the already fun Shining Force. Here's how it works. You choose 4 or 5 people (depending on the battle) to head into battle and place them in a starting position. You then head to battle. The characters take turns doing things. When a character of yours comes up, you are given a few options. The most prominent ones are: Wait - for when you aren't close enough to the enemies or when you don't want to attack Action - Use an item, heal yourself or others, attack, defend, battle skill, etc. Move - moves your character on the screen. You are given a chance to move and a chance to do an action. Afterwards you select the direction you want to face. You have an advantage when you are on higher ground or attacking from the side or the back. A few other things come in to play. For example: An archer has a bigger range of attack when up high on a ledge. And if you think you can shoot that arrow or throw that potion right through that other character, think again. You'll end up shooting the guy or feeding him a potion. You also can't throw things through buildings, rocks, trees, etc. It is no surprise that Square put in a tutorial. During non battle time, you have to tweak your characters. Use their job points to learn new skills, equip them, change their jobs, do all sorts of fun little things.

In a typical Square tradition, they have included a very complex story to go with the game. The game certainly has a much more political feel than other Square games and the amount of backstabbing taking place in the game leads me to think that Square found a copy of "The Congress Journal" and got inspired. However Square did a lackluster job on the translation. Right off the bat, you notice all sorts of mispellings, miswordings, and any other mis.... you can think of.

Like all of Square's efforts, the graphics are beautiful and especially aesthetic, but the 3D gets in the way many times. And it really sucks how Square's broadness of characters is just Arian. Every character looks EXACTLY the same with minor differences. Sad, sad, sad. But in all greatness the graphics are rather pretty. The music is in the Square tradition, great.

Basically Square's journeys around the video game world have been generally successful. This one doesn't break that mold. Chock another one up for Square.

Overall: 8.8
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