940th played so far

Genre: Role-Playing/Strategy
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix

It’s time to start mopping up some franchises that had several entries still left – and with the immense series that’s Final Fantasy I need to tackle entry eleven out of twelve (and yes, I’m leaving a mainline series game until last… the lowest numbered on the list after we covered Final Fantasy VI a bit earlier than I expected).

The Final Fantasy Tactics subseries has two entries on the list and we’ve covered the original already. We’ve seen from games like Jeanne d’Arc that these type of strategy games work really well on a handheld system and I’m quite looking forward to trying this entry on the DS as well.

Our Thoughts

There are no real surprises when you start to play Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. You go out with a team of characters and fight your enemies on a 2D isometric field. You give them orders to move around, attack or cast spells in turn. The game adds a bunch of different objectives to this – aside from killing all or some enemies, you’re also tasked to hold them off for some time or weaken an enemy without killing it. The guest characters stick around for quite a while, which is pretty nice as well.

Although there is obviously a fairly lengthy storyline to follow, there is a big quest focus – almost immediately you can play a bunch of side quests that’ll power you up and take you around the map. If you follow extra restrictions during the battle, you also get a bunch of additional powers. They include your characters being revived if they die during the battle, so they actually feel mandatory, especially as all the other bonuses are worth it. On the other hand, it can be hard to follow them sometimes (especially when you forget to unequip your passive abilities).

As a strategy RPG, you also get to spend time on your characters. As I believe is tradition for the series, there’s a job system which means you get to change your characters’ classes around. They work well as they are, starting you with a solid party, but there’s a lot more management to do there. At the same time your clan gets to do the same – increasing it ranks gets you additional bonuses during the fights that I felt managed to customize them nicely per battle as well. It’s a neat chunk of game to work with.

Final Thoughts

One of the great things about the game is that it gets you started quickly – you get an open world with a list of quests to play with within a few battles. It lends to that feeling that the main quest isn’t what matters – you should go out there and play the many, many side quests on offer and unlock what they give you. It’s a great way to get you started, which I guess shows that they would have trusted their audience. I want to keep immersing myself in it and play around more.