If you're anything like me, you've been eagerly anticipating the release of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. At the start of 1998, Squaresoft released Final Fantasy Tactics in the United States. Despite a warm reception from fans, it would not be for another five years and nine months that the US would see another game bearing the Tactics title. If you loved the first game as much as I did, you probably ran out and pre-reserved it right away, without even thinking about the release date. To those wondering whether FFTA will live up to their beloved FFT, let me say this: go away. The last thing I need to pull this off is well-informed know-it-alls snooping around.
Okay, I can't assume that everyone who came here to find out how FFTA compares to FFT has stopped reading, so I'll devote a little space to that issue. While you might be inclined to think so, these two releases are definitely two different games. For starters, FFTA is being released for the Game Boy Advance, as opposed to the Playstation. Also, FFTA has "Advance" in the title, something FFT definitely lacks. I suppose those two points tell you the same thing. Well, I also know the main character in FFTA is named Marshe, while the main character in FFT was Ranma. Bad translation on Square Enix's part, or are we looking at an entirely new hero? Why, the concept art alone is enough to let this reviewer cut through the confusion: this new guy is even girlier looking than the old one. What's up with that?
Here are a list of features:
Play a blond-haired kid who gets sucked into a storybook and must figure out a way to return home.
Over five terrain types for your characters to stand on!
It has a Job System.
Rename your characters using all twenty-six letters of the Roman alphabet, upper- and lower- case!
Calculate stats like JP, Magic Resistance, Evade and Jump!
Only for Game Boy Advance, possible only for the purple ones.
So, what else do we know about this title? Well, we also know that it's "Final." So for those of you who are too eager for FFTA's sequel to care about FFTA itself, looks like you're out of luck. And it's a "Fantasy," which sounds to me like Square Enix's way of explaining away that goofy sword the hero in the concept art is carrying. Look at that thing, there's no edge to cut with, even if whoever that is could lift is normally! Pretty "fantasy"-tical, if you ask me! And, if you can trust the title (I really hope so), this game also has "Tactics." Sounds good to me! That's about it.
No, wait - you like numbers, right? Well, as befitting as "tactics" game, FFTA's got numbers galore! Check this out - a character named Dylan has HP (short for Hit Points) equal to 125 out of 153, MP (short for Magic Points) equal to 33 out of 33 and JP (I have a friend who goes by JP, I guess he works for Square Enix or something) equal to 10. He also has... something equal to 8 (there's a GBA icon over the screenshot), Exp (Expose? Expire? Expedite?) equal to 4 and WT (short for WTF) equal to 1 out of 13. That's a lot of numbers! And that's what "tactics" means to me.
The question you must ask yourself, though, is what does "tactics" mean to you? No, wait, screw that, it's too confusing if everyone's just going to come up with their own definitions for everything. Let's just refer to dictionary.com.
1a. The military science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy, especially the technique of deploying and directing troops, ships, and aircraft in effective maneuvers against an enemy.
1b. Maneuvers used against an enemy.
2. A procedure or set of maneuvers engaged in to achieve an end, an aim, or a goal.
I'm sure you can see from that description that FFTA achieves what video games let us do best - strategically maneuver against an enemy in order to achieve an end, an aim, or a goal. And isn't that what it's all about?
In conclusion, FFTA is definitely a game you should all run out and buy, but not right away. Wait until... oh, say... September 8th, then run out and buy it. I can guarantee that you'll return home with a game.
--Shepard Saltzman would never be so foolish as to confuse 9/8 and 8/9.
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