previewed on NDS
Back in 1998, Final Fantasy was at the height of its popularity. The seventh installment had just been released to an incredibly warm reception, and all eyes were on Square for its next project. This ‘next project’ was a spin-off called Final Fantasy Tactics, whose only relation to its brethren was the words Final Fantasy in the title.
Discarding the traditional battle system and exploration-heavy gameplay for a more streamlined overworld and a new Simulation Role Playing Game (SRPG) battle system took guts but in the end it paid off; Tactics is considered by many the top SRPG of all time, even now ten years later.
Five years after Tactics, Square ventured into the handheld market with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Game Boy Advance. The pseudo-sequel allowed players to take on missions in their clan, while building the kingdom of Ivalice however they imagined it. Tactics Advance featured a bunch of new ideas but at the same time, numerous aspects didn’t seem to reach their full potential. Several of these ideas are being re-explored in its – soon to be released – sequel, Tactics A2, which also looks to fix up its predecessors less desirable aspects.
Just as in Advance, Tactics A2 starts when a schoolboy named Luso opens the World of Ivalice via the Grimoire, a half-written book containing pictures of the kingdom. Once in Ivalice, he meets up with Cid and agrees to join his clan. Not overly worried about getting home, Luso decides to help the clan see Ivalice in its entirety before finding a way back into his own world.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 plays like any other SRPG, giving you control of multiple units across a grid-based board. Your units, as well as your enemies, take turns moving around the board and attacking or using special moves such as magic. The battles take place in bite-sized missions. Mission objectives range from defeating all enemies to beating a certain boss character to stopping enemies from advancing. With over 400 unique missions, there should be enough variety to keep things fresh for a long time to come.