Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Final Fantasy Tactics A2

I have been playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 pretty much all of my free time since I got it last Wednesday. I’m 20 hours deep and still going strong. Over the weekend, I played until my DSL’s red light came on, then switched to my wife’s DS. Coincidentally, when her red light came on, my charge light went off, so I was able to continue my playing without interruption. The language difference hasn’t been any trouble – in fact, it’s actually been a lot of the fun.

In FFTA and FFTA2, each battle is regulated by Law. In FFTA2, there are 100 laws, and it is crucial to know what those are so you can get bonus items at the end of the battle – and to prevent your characters from going to jail.

Thankfully, a wiki site exists (run by Penguin Knight) that has translations for all of the laws, skills, job classes, etc. I’ve printed out and made myself a little handbook to use at home (and I have a print-out of all of the laws that fits neatly in my DS case for on the go). Within the first two days of playing, I already started recognizing certain characters – which was a nice sense of accomplishment. There are some walkthrus on there too, but that's not my style.

As far as the story goes, I of course have no idea what is going on. But that can wait for the North American release. If you read my FFTA retro review, you’ll know I wasn’t a big fan of that story, so that’s not the real appeal for this game. This game might have an excellent story, and I will definitely buy it and play it all over again when/if it comes stateside.

There are two difficulty levels - normal and hard – and when I finish the normal mode, I have every intention of playing through again on hard. A great aspect of the Tactics series, and specifically in FFTA2, is that you can play through multiple times and have a different experience each time due to the fact that there are 7 different races and over 50 job classes to play as, and the maximum amount of people you can have on the battlefield is 6…

The side-questing can be a little tricky – I basically just take on 3 or so quests, and then hop around the map looking for where they are located. If I were really diligent (and I may still do this), I would make a list of all of the areas on the map, and then figure out exactly in the quest text where the location is. But one benefit of map hopping is random battles and recruiting new units.

There is also an item crafting process, where you use various materials you find from defeating enemies and winning battles to craft new items. This is the only way to gain access to new weapons, armor, and accessories, as once you use your materials to craft new items, you then have to buy the items from the store. It seems a little silly, especially as money was a little tight in the beginning of the game, but it’s all gravy now.

Here are a couple of vids I took to show off FFTA2 (sorry for the crackly button clicking!).

That’s my progress thus far – as you can tell, I’m very pleased with my purchase. I would have bought it months ago when it came out if I knew the NA translation was going to take so long (or possibly not happen…). I will not make the same mistake again in the future.


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