So, oh loyal readers (all three of you), you may have been saying lately, where in all the nine bloody hells has FlonneMcNinja been, and why isn't she talking about tacticals?
Well, there are several answers to that. One is that I'm lazy and forgetful. A second is that Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker has been distracting me, because my other great weakness besides tacticals is collecting little monsters, cute or uncute as they may be. But the third is that I was waiting for this game to come out.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance ate a good chunk of my life. Several months were dedicated solely to schoolwork and collecting every item, learning every job skill, and completing every
quest in that game. Well, not every--I haven't finished all of the optional quests at the end that aren't on the counter, but I don't know that anyone could fault me for that. My thumbs were about to fall off. But anyway, I was excited about A2 before there was even an American release date. I preordered it a few weeks ago, and had intended to wait, sensibly, until Friday, when I would be near the Magic GameStop anyway. However, no. On Tuesday, I spent my entire workday bouncing up and down quietly, being excited about the game and wearing out my knees in the process. Then after work and dinner I made the forty-five minute drive to said Magic GameStop and got my game. I also picked up The World Ends With You,
, because I'm weak. (My little brother, meanwhile, tagged along and got Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
I made the unfortunate mistake of buying him MGS2 for his birthday, and haven't been able to get any time on the PS2 since. But that's another issue altogether.)
jazzed. I get home and settle down. The game is, of course, already in my DS--I brought it to the Magic GameStop with me so that as soon as I got the game I could pop the cartridge in up top of Tactics Advance. But now I'm done driving and it's time to see some game play.
Those of you who played Tactics Advance know how awesome it is. Tactics A2 takes what was done in Tactics Advance and makes it all
better. Well, I still can't rotate the camera, but that's a small price to pay. There are more jobs for the original races, and the way you obtain them makes way more sense--they are not unlocked by getting the necessary prereqs, but by meeting a holder of said job who will teach you; once it's on your job list you can find out the prereqs whenever you want. There are two new races. They look like this:
The big guy is a seeq, and the bikini chick is a gria. I don't have any gria clanners yet, but I want one. Don't be deceived by the pixie look--they kill shit. With weapons.
Combat is much the same, but with a beautifully revised law system. In Tactics Advance, I will admit, the laws were a bit of a nuisance, though they did add an exciting air of danger. In A2, there are still laws, but they're very different--you are rewarded at the end of combat for not breaking the law. If you do break the law, though, you don't go to jail; jail cells appear on the top screen, but this symbolizes, not a physical jail, but the inability to resurrect fallen allies. You also lose whatever little bonus privilege you chose at the beginning of combat. So basically: in Tactics Advance breaking the law made you bad. In A2 it doesn't make you bad--you're just no longer special.
On the subject of the top screen, it's used very well here. Normally it just displays some little plot related thing, but in battle it's very useful. In battle it looks like this:
Provided is the goal for this battle, the law in place, the clan privilege currently in use, and the turn order. The bubble over the sprite's head is a description of her strengths and weaknesses. Very useful.
Now, what really annoyed me about Tactics Advance was that bloody build-a-map thing. When I didn't pay attention, I got screwed over; when I did pay attention, I devoted too much time to it, and then that meant that I couldn't advance the plot without access to a computer to check my build-a-map FAQ. In A2, instead of the previous map system, you have regions. This one, for example, is Moorabella, home to the city of Moorabella, and an airport which I haven't yet been allowed to use.
The arrows take you to different regions--or, more accurately, they take you to a world map, from which you can go to any other available region. Clan control of regions is gotten at auctions, which mostly gets you discounts on shit.
Speaking of discounts, the shops have also been improved, through the interesting and very fun loot and bazaar system. I won't go into detail about that one, though, because it's way more fun to learn, and it adds a whole new level of exciting obsession.
The story is weak. But then, the story was weak in the previous game. I don't play these games for story. If you're curious, though, this is the main character.
According to the game manual his name is Luso--full name Luso Clemens--but I named him Serret instead, because that's my favorite name from the Earthsea books. He's ok as main characters go, but not terribly exciting. I prefer this game's Cid. He's the leader of the clan the main character joins. According to the manual he is a "revgaji," though I don't know if we'll meet any more of those. He has a luxurious golden mustache and it makes me smile.
So basically: shit, this is an awesome game. Get it. Get it now.