Review By: Jesse Mason
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
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.