This was my first Game Boy Advance game as when I bought the system I didn’t have a job and only had enough money for one game, so I thought this one would last me a long time and that it would be worth my hard earned money. Being as intelligent as I am (right!) I made an excellent choice. A few months later and nearly 40 hours into the game, I finally finished it. Square’s grand return to the good side was definitely worth the wait! But even though it has the name Final Fantasy on the box doesn’t mean that it’s a traditionnal Final Fantasy game. Surprised?
In fact, Square’s new game is some kind of “sequel” to the game Final Fantasy Tactics that was released a few years earlier on the Playstation. The game takes place in the same place, a world called Ivalice, but it is completely different, and so is the story and part of the gameplay. I had played a little bit of the original before playing this one, and since I am nearly 20 years old, I really appreciated the darker, more violent and more mature story of Final Fantasy Tactics as I thought it really made some sense with the medieval times and the killing between familly members and all that stuff to get to the throne. It was really well done, and you would continue playing just to know what was going to happen. This time though, they’ve made it a little more childish, which means the story is more suitable for younger people, while the gameplay can actually suit anyone as it is a strategy game, so teenagers and even adults will still have a hard time as this game definitely needs you to make some intelligent decisions at times, which means you’ll probably want to take your time and really think about what you are doing as one wrong decision could result in you losing the battle!
But before we go into the more technical stuff, here’s the story. You are Marche, and you and your familly live in a town called St-Ivalice. Your familly is having a hard time and all, and Marche, of course, goes to school as he is a young boy. He meets some poeple there and makes new friends. One day though, they find a magical book, and they get teleported into another world, the world of Final Fantasy. They are still in Ivalice, except it has completely been changed. Everything’s been given a medieval look of some sort, kind of what you’d expect from other Final Fantasy games. There are differnet kinds of races: Humans, Vieras, Moogles, Nu Mous and Bangaas. In the world of Ivalice, people join forces and make clans, and those clans travel around Ivalice and make clan battles with others. The thing is that there are judges on this land, and there are certain rules that you have to respect or else you can go to prison. When the game starts, you can only go to a few places, but the more you progress, the more places you can add on your map (it’s empty at first) and the farther you can go. By entering important battles, the story will develop. You get all of those missions at the pub, where you have to pay to get the information needed to complete them. Of course, when Marche gets into the new Ivalice, he meets new friends and he join forces. The first person to help Marche on his quest is Montblanc, a moogle. As they progress, they meet some of Marches old friends. Marche wants to go back to the old Ivalice, and he learns that he has to destroy several crystals in order to go back, but it seems his friends don’t want to go back as they like being able to do whatever they want, not having their parents restricting them. Of course, as the story develops, there are plot twists and things don’t happen the way you thought they would. And, for all of you hardcore Final Fantasy fans, there is indeed a Cid in this game!
So the most important aspect of this game are the battles, as they are what you’ll be doing the most. It works kind of like a game of chess. You move your characters on the board which is divided into squares, and then when you are finished moving, you can decide what type of attack you want to do, and who you want to attack. Depending on where you are, you are attack might be less effective, or not touch the ennemy at all. You can perform different kinds of attacks, depending on what your characters have learned. Some of you might remember Final Fantasy 2, where you learned new abilities by levelig up, or Final Fantasy 3, where ou had to equip Espers and gain points in order to learn new spells. This game is similar as you’ll learn new abilities by equiping your weapons and getting points. When you have enough points, you can use the ability as much as you want, without needing the weapon again. Of course, if all of your characters knew all of the spells, you’d be invincible, that’s why they have added a job system.
The job system is the most important aspect of the game, as this is where all of the planning of the battles takes place. You have to decide what job each of your characters will use, like White Mage, Black Mage, Gladiator, Soldier, Elementalist, Archer, etc. Since you are also using different races, you will be limited since some races can only use certain jobs. Not only that, but certain races will be better at certain jobs, making you think even more about what each of your characters is gonna do. And, of course, you can’t take all of the jobs at the beginning. Some jobs have pre-requisites, like sometimes ou will need a few abilities from some jobs in order to unlock a new one.