Final Fantasy Tactics – Shining Force II was Better

Though the series had been around for many years, this was the first offshoot of Final Fantasy for many gamers. With the overwhelming popularity of Final Fantasy VII, gamers scooped up anything with the FF name. As the title implied, Tactics took a different approach with its gameplay and battle system. While this was a market difference from most of what came before it, people still loved it, praising its depth and difficultly. I honestly don’t understand why.

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Released in 1998 on the original Playstation, FFT was an interesting game that did as much right as it did wrong. RPG’s are typically only as good as their story and battle system. The latter FFT has in spades. Returning from Final Fantasy III and V was the job class system. Tactics featured the best iteration of the system yet. A few classes were open on the outset, with more available after certain prerequisites were met, with others unlocked via quests. Battles were done using a tactical grid based system.

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Where the game lacked was the story. Players controlled protagonists Ramza and Delita (thought it was Delta for years) as they battle an army, or something. I honestly have no idea what the story was here. And I’ve played through it twice. It’s mostly a political war story that takes a sharp supernatural turn at the end with some god being resurrected. Part of the issue was the translation. Poor localization made many parts of the story unintelligible. A decade later an updated version was released on the PSP, subtitled The War of the Lions. Even with the new translation, and being 10 years older, I still couldn’t follow the story.

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Tactics was known for its incredible difficultly. Plenty of gamers have been stuck on a handful of bosses that sharply spike the difficulty. I didn’t have this problem. FFT featured something many other tactical games did not, random battles. Outside of the mainline battles, it was possible to level grind until your heart’s content. Somewhere around the half point, I became obsessed with grinding, unlocking all the classes and having a few units master them. Finished with my task some thirty hours later, I stomped through the game like some god. The enemies in story missions stayed level locked, while the ones in random encounters were on par with you, making this task all the easier.

I think the biggest problem with the game is the inability to connect with the characters. None possess enough or any personality, making them simple pallet swaps. In other games, when a character’s abilities define them, players have more of a chance to interact. Here, I could make any character anything I wanted. If a character is introduced with an awesome personality and can say, heal, chances are I already have someone who can do exactly that, and likely better. The same flaw exists in other games like Disgaea. When the cast is kept small, like in Final Fantasy X-2, or when the job defines the person like in Shining Force II, the story is strengthened.

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Final Fantasy Tactics if a fun game for its battle system and anyone who is obsessed with level grinding. There’s plenty here that can easily keep players busy for 100 hours. Anything beyond that, look somewhere else.

What was your favorite class (Monk)? Were you able to follow the story (don’t lie)? Comment below!

Tactics Advance was way better. 

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19 responses to “Final Fantasy Tactics – Shining Force II was Better

  1. FFT is right next to Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis as my personal favorite Strategy RPGs ever. Tactics Advance was an awful game, in my opinion, and I thought it was so bad, it ruined the FFT series. To each, their own, though…

    • I do love the Ogre Battle games. I put a lot of time into Ogre Battle 64. I rather enjoyed Tactics Advance. The story made more sense, wasn’t good, but made more sense. And it was the deepest handheld game I’d played up until that point.

    • Costume Quest sounds like a lot of fun. I haven’t avoid it purposely, just haven’t had the time. If you saw the amount of games I owned and haven’t played, you’d probably slap me.

      I think NIS and Atlus have done an exemplary job of keeping turn based games alive. This industry, like others, goes in cycles. Look at what’s in vogue now, indie and retro games. I bet even music games will return in some form years from now.

      • It’s like that in every industry. Everything new thing goes out of style, then gets old enough where it is ironic or trendy to like again. It’s funny to watch. I hardly have any time for games, but I do my best to play the games I’m interested in. I’m finishing Infamous: Second Son and have Ys: Memories of Celceta and FFX/X-2 Remastered not even open yet. Finishing college and working at a place an hour away from my house did some damage on my hobby time, but when I am able to save up and move closer, things will get back to normal. Haha. In the mean time, I intend on doing reviews for the RPGs I play. It’s one of the only fun things I get to use my Journalism degree towards. Lol.

        I try not to buy games I’m not going to play, but I don’t always succeed. My house burned down over a year ago and I had four or five games still wrapped in the plastic it came with.

    • I try not to buy too many games, but between flash sales on PSN and Steam sales, I can’t resist. Right now I’m playing Titanfall. Though all the games you mentioned I’d love to play, even run through FFX again.

      College and work is a hectic time. Good luck with that. I promise you’ll have less time as you get older.

      I’m sorry your house burned down. That is a terrible tragedy that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

      • Thanks. It was a shocking at the time, but I’m over it now. I’m a sucker for the Steam sales and PS Plus sales too. I try not to look because I don’t trust myself. Haha. Yeah, I figure I have a window before the kids come… then there will be no free time anymore. That’s life, though.

        I still haven’t gotten Titanfall. I’ve seen friends play it and it looks fun, but I am on the fence because I hardly play games online.

      • I will! I played Halo religiously but the mixture of me going with the PS4 and Bungie not making halo anymore has me very excited for Destiny to fill that spot in my soul.

        That’s a great way to look at it. One day, I’ll be able to go back and play these games. Haha.

    • I’m pretty excited for Destiny. A combination of jumping on the bandwagon early along with a low install base has made Titanfall work for me. I imagine it will be the same for Destiny.

      I have an article coming up about my backlog. I haven’t even played Super Metroid. Still, I hold out hope for that mythical ‘one day.’

  2. I can understand that. Everyone’s life events are different. FFT had an incredibly deep story showing just how crazy the lust for power can make people. Dycedarg killed his own dad for the throne and the Church was incredibly corrupt. Everything in the whole world of FFT seemed to be messed up (which hurt the story a bit.). FFTA was a kiddy game and the entire story of the game didn’t actually happen, but rather was a dream, which took any feeling of importance from the story. Also, the random addition of the Viera and other half animal/half human killed me… Why were there suddenly bunny people and lizard people walking around when there only humans in FFT? It just…. made me mad for so many reasons, probably because I held FFT to such high regards.

    • I know what you mean about life events. Games I hold in high regard, because either they came to me at the right time or they were all I had to play, mean a lot to me and likely don’t register for others.

      As for FFTA, you’re right about it being a kiddie story. Again, I was there to level grind, much like I do in Disgaea. The story took place in Ivalice, the same world FFXII occurred, hence the addition of Viera, Judges, and other mainstays from that game. This was only meant to be a continuation of Tactics in name and gameplay.

      • I know but I still question Square Enix’s decision to do that. I didn’t care for XII either. FF has taken a bit of a fall since FFX and I have looked elsewhere for my RPG fix. Haha. I have gone back and found some great RPGs I missed like Suikoden III, Eternal Sonata, and Tales of Vesperia so I thank SE for that.

        I am the same way. Costume Quest is a game I hold dear because of the nostalgia I get from playing it, Many people probably wouldn’t get that because it’s such a kiddy-looking game, but it is actually a great game. Costume Quest 2 was announced couple weeks back and it made my year! Haha.

    • We are in complete agreement. I never finished FFXII and stopped after that. Nothing Final Fantasy has caught my eye since then. While there have been plenty of great games from others (you nailed a few), I think the genre is worse for not having a competent Final Fantasy in over a decade.

      As for Costume Quest, I never judge a book by it’s cover. I’ve heard great things. I’m sad to admit that thought I’ve owned the game for years, I have yet to play it.

      • Costume Quest doesn’t blow any doors down. It is just a competent Indie RPG that taps into the feeling of grandeur that children give Halloween. You put on the costumes and your characters thinks he actually IS that costume. Like a little blue cardboard outfit somehow becomes a 30-foot tall robot that can shoot missiles. It’s just… fun. I recommend trying it when there nothing else to play/do. You might be surprised by it. If not, it’s a sunk cost because you already bought it. Haha.

        The video game industry seemed to think that no one would play turn-based RPGs anymore and I’m not sure why. Every RPG became active-time, and while they can be fun, there wasn’t a reason to completely do away with the turn-based because it brings a different kind of strategy to the table. Button-mashing usually detracts from RPGs, although that isn’t always the case (like Kingdom Hearts and others).

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