Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Final Fantasy Tactics

Poor Delita. By game's end all his ho's have left him and he's bloodied up his nice king outfit. He's FFT's real victim! ~ Glass Shard (Fan Art caption)

+++ Delita is the best video game character ever to exist
+++ Excellent Storyline
++ Good gameplay
++ Endless customization options
++ Extremely complex Battle System
++ Moderately difficult first half
++ Velius is one of the hardest bosses in any JRPG
+ Set the standard for every Tactical RPG to follow
--- Orlandu makes the latter half of the game too easy
-- Protagonist kind of sucks
-- Game would be much better if you played one of Ramza's brothers
- Villains that you actually kill get sort of samey and disinteresting rather quickly

Final Fantasy Tactics is the seminal tactical RPG, and somewhat rightfully so, many of the things used in this (whether first or near the beginning) have become standards in virtually every other tactical RPG. In addition it has one of the best storylines of any game period, though that is largely driven by one character. Tactical RPGs tend to be about political strife during a war or pre-war era as opposed to just random tales about 5 random people and thus tend to have a much better narrative and FFT is no exception on that front. The main character, Ramza, is nothing special but lots of the supporting cast is pretty solid and Delita is the best Iago impression of any game villain ever. While he isn’t directly antagonistic to Ramza he does sort of manipulate the whole plot to his own benefit.

In terms of actual gameplay this is a pretty standard tactical RPG, except that there’s special characters who have inaccessible abilities to random people that tend to murder everything. Orlandu essentially breaks the game once you get him but prior to that the game is fairly difficult and one point in particular tends to make everyone restart the entire game on their first try. Ramza can become any class you want but if you don’t level him appropriately (regardless of the class you pick, though some will make it easier) you’ll wind up getting massacred by Velius/Wygriff and typically you’ll only have one save inside the castle and be forced to try and fail that battle over and over, and then reset with new knowledge in hand.

Personally I used Ramza as a Summoner for that first go around, which suffice to say failed miserably. Velius is probably the hardest battle in any Final Fantasy main story portion, though I guess with XIII Bart is debatably harder. In this game overlevelling just makes random battles almost impossible (though admittedly fixed battles do get easier) so you have to prep for it if that’s what you’re going to do. Of course, T.G. Cid can just smack down everyone else for you when you get halfway through the game. Another thing that’s pretty overpowered is stealing equipment, several items can only be gotten through stealing and they tend to be the best items in the game, while they can be troublesome to get eventually you do get them and thus forth have invincible characters other than Orlandu.

Delita is one of the best characters in any game period, it’s tough to say if he’s my favorite villian but from an objective point of view I’d have to say he is the best. Instead of going some cheesy or sappy “friends will support me” route he decides to take over the throne via various political machinations and then sends his dog, Ramza, out on missions to wrap up loose ends prior to burying his name in the history books and swiftly glorifying himself. He even kills the main heroine (well, non retarded one anyway) of the game at the end, just because he feels like it. In short he’s ridiculously awesome while not being a crazy motherfucker, and considering virtually every other JRPG is a crazy son of a bitch this makes him quite special. He wouldn’t be out of place in any modern or classical piece of fiction of any genre or type, and would summarily dominate in any of those positions. He is as masterful as the man himself, Mr. Iago. FFT is still pretty fun to replay and has a huge amount of customization options but even if it didn’t it’s still worth playing at least once just for Delita and his Lion War.

Final Score: 9/10

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