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.
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.
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.
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.
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.