Why I enjoy Final Fantasy Tactics gameplay more than other RPGs

I tried this game before but I got permanently stuck in one of the story-dungeons when I was under-levelled for a temporarily 1 on 1 boss fight. I recently started a new game, with saves on the world map (turns out I didn't need them), this time completing the game. It's one of my favourite RPGs I've played. It has:

  • A levelling system that allows customisation within certain limits
  • Combat which has strategic movement that is more than old-school turn-based RPGs but less than free-roaming RPGs
  • Putting time into levelling doesn't simply increase your level but isn't too complex to the point of multiple branching skill trees
Many enjoyable systems make all classes fun

Some of my most fondly remembered titles of the genre include Persona 4, Dragon Age: Origins and The Legend of Dragoon. All three have their positives and negatives but I can always say that while I enjoyed the gameplay in these, story progression and character development always held my interest more. FFT is the only one which is the opposite. Gearing up characters in certain ways, grinding out job points to buy useful passive skills, doing the math to see whether my dragoon's jump will land on top of an enemy in time etc.

Towards the end I found my class-specific created characters dropping out of my squad for the various storyline characters with their many Holy/Divine/Fell/Templar Knight Job Skills, but all that meant was that I had new characters to grind out Move +2, Critical: Restore HP, Treasure Hunter, Equip Heavy Armour or Counter for, which the aforementioned created characters would be very useful for. When four Monks go out into a battle with a White/Time Mage, equipped with Job Points Boost, you can be guaranteed that you'll be coming away with plenty of JP at the end.

Insert Sword and Shield here

I would be more than happy to play a FFT game on current and/or next generation consoles and I have the perfect PS3 game to be used as a base, Valkyria Chronicles. The real time/turn-based hybrid style of Valkyria Chronicles, combined with what makes FFT one of my favourite RPGs could make for a game that I'd take over some of the recent Final Fantasy games any day.

Now once I've played the shit out of Torchlight II I'm going to try another isometric turn-based RPG on the PSP, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

28 Comments
28 Comments
Posted by FLStyle

I tried this game before but I got permanently stuck in one of the story-dungeons when I was under-levelled for a temporarily 1 on 1 boss fight. I recently started a new game, with saves on the world map (turns out I didn't need them), this time completing the game. It's one of my favourite RPGs I've played. It has:

  • A levelling system that allows customisation within certain limits
  • Combat which has strategic movement that is more than old-school turn-based RPGs but less than free-roaming RPGs
  • Putting time into levelling doesn't simply increase your level but isn't too complex to the point of multiple branching skill trees
Many enjoyable systems make all classes fun

Some of my most fondly remembered titles of the genre include Persona 4, Dragon Age: Origins and The Legend of Dragoon. All three have their positives and negatives but I can always say that while I enjoyed the gameplay in these, story progression and character development always held my interest more. FFT is the only one which is the opposite. Gearing up characters in certain ways, grinding out job points to buy useful passive skills, doing the math to see whether my dragoon's jump will land on top of an enemy in time etc.

Towards the end I found my class-specific created characters dropping out of my squad for the various storyline characters with their many Holy/Divine/Fell/Templar Knight Job Skills, but all that meant was that I had new characters to grind out Move +2, Critical: Restore HP, Treasure Hunter, Equip Heavy Armour or Counter for, which the aforementioned created characters would be very useful for. When four Monks go out into a battle with a White/Time Mage, equipped with Job Points Boost, you can be guaranteed that you'll be coming away with plenty of JP at the end.

Insert Sword and Shield here

I would be more than happy to play a FFT game on current and/or next generation consoles and I have the perfect PS3 game to be used as a base, Valkyria Chronicles. The real time/turn-based hybrid style of Valkyria Chronicles, combined with what makes FFT one of my favourite RPGs could make for a game that I'd take over some of the recent Final Fantasy games any day.

Now once I've played the shit out of Torchlight II I'm going to try another isometric turn-based RPG on the PSP, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

Posted by TooWalrus

I've never played Tactic's before. It's been ported a few times, eh? What's the best way to play right now, the PSP version?

Edited by Illuminosopher

Tactics is a great game it just did everything right. The only other console strategy game I remember putting a lot of time into was Ogre Battle : march of the black queen.

I have high hopes for X-Com in october.

Edit : I also really liked Phantom Brave as well

@TooWalrus said:

I've never played Tactic's before. It's been ported a few times, eh? What's the best way to play right now, the PSP version?

PSP is the best version.

Posted by ervonymous

I really should play FFT but the slowdown in the PSP version is just sad. These types of turn-based RPGs are such a time commitment already that the time spent lagging adds up.

Anyway, I guarantee you'll like Tactics Ogre. Having played way too much FFT Advance I felt right at home with the gameplay, the story had me hooked and the art and music are just great.

Posted by TobbRobb

Those games are so slooooow. I mean, regularass final fantasy is slow and tactics is taking it to a new level.

I wish I played tactics as a kid, I probably would've had patience for it back then. It looks legitimately awesome.

Posted by StarvingGamer

FFT is the best game ever made, but unless you have JP Up and Auto Potion / Blade Grasp you're doing it wrong :-P

Edited by ervonymous

@TobbRobb said:

Those games are so slooooow. I mean, regularass final fantasy is slow and tactics is taking it to a new level.

That's the main reason why I prefer playing them on handhelds, easier to multitask while waiting for your enemies' uneventful turns to play out. I'd be bored out of my mind if I gave every random battle my full attention.

Posted by Marz

FF Tactics definitely one of my favorite sRPG's.

Posted by Viking_Funeral

Easily my favorite game on the original Playstation. It was hard to get an original copy, and none of the local stores had it, so I rented it and 'lost it' from the local Blockbuster. The translation was poor in spots, and that one 1-on-1 boss fight is impossible unless Ramza has very specific skills, but damn did I love that game. I still play it from time to time on emulator on my PC, which makes the game look even sharper.

I'm interested in checking out the PSP version, but I don't have a PSP. They're cheap now, right?

Posted by Phatmac

I fucking love Tactics and any other Tactics like game. I want a new one so bad! :(

Posted by NegativeCero

I loved what I played of this game and Tactics Ogre, but I must be too spoiled because these games are really hard.

Posted by Ley_Lines

I've noticed no discussion here of final fantasy tactics advance. Now that, was an amazing game!

Posted by Ducksworth

I wish I could spend more time with this game but the turns pass by way too slowly for me. For whatever reason I chugged through most of Tactics Advance/A2 without much of a hassle even though they move fairly slowly as well. Matsuno makes some fantastic games, I've been meaning to get Tactics Ogre but knowing the huge time commitment it takes along with it potentially being slower paced is keeping me at bay.

Posted by FLStyle

@ervonymous said:

@TobbRobb said:

Those games are so slooooow. I mean, regularass final fantasy is slow and tactics is taking it to a new level.

That's the main reason why I prefer playing them on handhelds, easier to multitask while waiting for your enemies' uneventful turns to play out. I'd be bored out of my mind if I gave every random battle my full attention.

Agreed, allowing the AI to do it's thing with my party when those battles happened was incredibly useful.

@Ley_Lines said:

I've noticed no discussion here of final fantasy tactics advance. Now that, was an amazing game!

I confess, I've never owned a Nintendo console, hand-held or otherwise. Where does A and A2 start in reference to Tactics? As I understand it they're after Tactics in the Ivalice time-line?

Posted by coakroach

FFT was one of my favorite games ever until I played Tactics Ogre: LUCT, it just blew it out of the water on every level for me.

@NegativeCero: Archers. Tactics Ogre: LUCT becomes way easier if you train up a couple of archers, laughably so if you get Arycelle.

Posted by Turambar

@FLStyle said:

@ervonymous said:

@TobbRobb said:

Those games are so slooooow. I mean, regularass final fantasy is slow and tactics is taking it to a new level.

That's the main reason why I prefer playing them on handhelds, easier to multitask while waiting for your enemies' uneventful turns to play out. I'd be bored out of my mind if I gave every random battle my full attention.

Agreed, allowing the AI to do it's thing with my party when those battles happened was incredibly useful.

@Ley_Lines said:

I've noticed no discussion here of final fantasy tactics advance. Now that, was an amazing game!

I confess, I've never owned a Nintendo console, hand-held or otherwise. Where does A and A2 start in reference to Tactics? As I understand it they're after Tactics in the Ivalice time-line?

Completely different universe.

Posted by Ducksworth

@Turambar said:

@FLStyle said:

@ervonymous said:

@TobbRobb said:

Those games are so slooooow. I mean, regularass final fantasy is slow and tactics is taking it to a new level.

That's the main reason why I prefer playing them on handhelds, easier to multitask while waiting for your enemies' uneventful turns to play out. I'd be bored out of my mind if I gave every random battle my full attention.

Agreed, allowing the AI to do it's thing with my party when those battles happened was incredibly useful.

@Ley_Lines said:

I've noticed no discussion here of final fantasy tactics advance. Now that, was an amazing game!

I confess, I've never owned a Nintendo console, hand-held or otherwise. Where does A and A2 start in reference to Tactics? As I understand it they're after Tactics in the Ivalice time-line?

Completely different universe.

I'm not 100% familiar with the lore but if this interview is worth anythingthen Tactics Advance/A2 take place close to Final Fantasy XII, and XII is supposed to take place before Tactics. I can't remember if I read that the modern Ivalice was an alternate universe but with the way I've seen some people bicker about the timeline, an alternate universe might be the most sensible explanation.

Posted by FLStyle

@Turambar: So that Luso guy appearing in my Tactics play-through is non-canon like Cloud?

Posted by Gaff
Towards the end I found my class-specific created characters dropping out of my squad for the various storyline characters with their many Holy/Divine/Fell/Templar Knight Job Skills

This. This always annoyed me to no end.

You spend hours Throwing Stones at enemies, earning and spending JPs, honing your little Squires into a well-oiled war machine... and then a bloody Thunder God comes along. That's one slot gone from your six member party. Meliadoul. Another slot. Mustadio. 4 left. Agrias. 3. Ramza. 2. And one last spot for... Oh, just focus one making one healer from the start. Eugh. I just don't have the patience anymore. Then again:

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I've played way more Tactics Ogre than I have FFT. Something about the latter's grindiness really got under my skin, but I mean to go back to it at some point. Really. That slowdown on the PSP version is crippling though.

Online
Posted by Turambar

@FLStyle said:

@Turambar: So that Luso guy appearing in my Tactics play-through is non-canon like Cloud?

Well, Balthier also shows up in there, so I think it's safe to say that's non-canon. I mean, maybe A2 does have some connection with the Tactics world (A1 definitely doesn't because it takes place inside a book world), but FFT's lack of Bangaas and Vieras at the very least would mean it's happening in a vastly different time period.

Posted by WarlordPayne

Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my favorite games ever but I just couldn't get into Tactics Ogre. The shop interface is terrible and it lacks the cross class character customization of FFT which is what I really loved about that game. The branching storyline stuff seems really interesting in TO but no aspect of the gameplay holds up when compared to FFT.

Posted by FLStyle

@Turambar said:

@FLStyle said:

@Turambar: So that Luso guy appearing in my Tactics play-through is non-canon like Cloud?

Well, Balthier also shows up in there, so I think it's safe to say that's non-canon. I mean, maybe A2 does have some connection with the Tactics world (A1 definitely doesn't because it takes place inside a book world), but FFT's lack of Bangaas and Vieras at the very least would mean it's happening in a vastly different time period.

I'm almost certain that XII is FFT's past, Balthier at least can be explained by being thrown into the future by the Cache of Glabados he found in his time, which he's looking for in FFT's time to go back.

@WarlordPayne said:

Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my favorite games ever but I just couldn't get into Tactics Ogre. The shop interface is terrible and it lacks the cross class character customization of FFT which is what I really loved about that game. The branching storyline stuff seems really interesting in TO but no aspect of the gameplay holds up when compared to FFT.

Ah, that sounds a bit disappointing, I had heard that the PSP version was good too. Is that what you played?

Posted by WarlordPayne

@FLStyle: Yeah, I have the PSP version of Tactics Ogre. The game isn't terrible by any means, but there are lots of little things that all add up to make it a lot more of a chore than Final Fantasy Tactics was.

Posted by Ninja_Welshman

My PSP basically became my portable FFT machine. Used to take it to work and play it on nights. A truly excellent game. I dont think I would have played it as much if I had it on console. Some of the battles took ages.

Now if fraxis

Posted by Ninja_Welshman

(damn phone!!) brought XCOM to the Vita i'd buy one tomorrow!!

Posted by ripelivejam

there need to be more great strategy rpgs on pc in this vein. i'm almost tempted to take a crack at developing one myself. i dig the Heroes of Might & Magic style play but i REALLY want an isometric SRPG in the FFT/Disgaea vein so bad.

also for some reason SRPG seems like the absolute best genre to have on handheld, at least to me.

Posted by LarcenousLaugh

I think FFT easily is the best Final Fantasy story. The rising Church conspiracy that eventually awakens into full blown astrological craziness combined with the excellent combat (Calculator ftw!) is just top notch.