Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

Posted by staff | Posted in Role Playing | Posted on 05-11-2010

5

  • Animated sequences combine hand-drawn style visuals with computer graphics
  • Enhanced widescreen presentation, new jobs and new characters
  • Challenge friends in head-to-head battles with the multiplayer function
  • team up in the co-operative mode and try to outwit the game’s computer opponents

Product Description
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions PSP… More >>

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

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Final Fantasy Tactics was without a doubt one of the greatest Playstation games out there. Starting off as a cult classic it became a big success when it was released later as a Greatest Hits package. Ten years later and Final Fantasy Tactics is still one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made.

Of all the Final Fantasy games, Tactics has arguably the best story out there. It’s full of emotion, political intrigue, fantastic characters and it’s very deep. If this is your first trump through Final Fantasy Tactics, prepare to be dazzled. It’s still one of the most absorbing in the series. To the point where you’ll be sad to leave when the whole thing is over. The game is also backed up by a fantastic new translation that out does the original and makes the world of Ivalice come alive. The translation alone may actually warrant Final Fantasy Tactics The War of the Lions worth a buy even for those who played through the original game.

It’s the gameplay that makes Final Fantasy Tactics a treat, though. Thanks to the job system, customization is nearly endless. Before each battle you can assign jobs to your characters. Each job has specific traits about them and can greatly affect how you perform in battle. Mages have devastating magic abilities while Knights are strong physical attackers. They also bring their own unique abilities to the table. Because there are so many job classes to choose from, there’s a lot of experimentation you can do. As you master abilities you’ll also be able to mix and match. You could have a Squire casting white magic, for example provided you’ve learned some of the white magic abilities.

As battles progress you gain experience. You pretty much gain experience after each and every turn, which is nice. Not only do you gain experience but you also gain job points to help you master the abilities in your job class. It’s pretty simple stuff and you’ll be surprised at just how fast you can learn abilities here.

Final Fantasy Tactics provides its own challenges, though. Not all your enemies are taken down easily, and if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities to improve your characters abilities you’ll be overwhelmed before you know it. When they say Final Fantasy Tactics, they’re not kidding. Sometimes little simple mishaps in your strategy can cost you a battle. Not only that, but even doing things such as casting spells you must be careful with because if any of your characters are in range, they’ll be struck by that spell. You also have to be quick about reviving characters otherwise you lose them forever. If your first plunge into Final Fantasy Tactics was with the GBA version released in 2003 you’ll be in for a rude awakening.

There is also a multiplayer thrown in there. You can work with a friend or battle friends. First there are melee battles where you can battle up against friends and then there’s the Rendezvous Battles where you’ll team up with a friend. These let you get some rare and hard to find items that are otherwise unable to be obtained.

While Final Fantasy Tactics is a great game, it certainly doesn’t do as much in the technical department as it does in the gameplay. The game itself doesn’t really look any different from the game released ten years ago. There’s little, if any, enhancement to the graphics at all. For the pleasure of story, however, there are some pretty cool cutscenes thrown in that are incredible looking. These cutscenes are truly artistic and in depth. While those cutscenes are beautiful, it’s a shame Square-Enix did little to update the games other visuals. Despite the cool cutscenes, though, there are some slow down issues in battle.

Music wise, though, Final Fantasy Tactics easily has some of the best music in the series. It’s still memorable to hear and can still give many video game soundtracks a run for their money. While the voice acting isn’t as good as other video games, they add a lot of depth to the cutscenes.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few differences outside of the translation to Final Fantasy Tactics The War of the Lions. New characters such as Balthier appear. There are new missions exclusive to the PSP version as well as the multiplayer aspect of the game. While there aren’t a huge assortment of new items and abilities, you’ll find War of the Lions takes a much longer time to master than the original.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions is a great re-release of a great classic. While it’s still a good game a bit more could’ve been done to update it. The technical issues will probably annoy some fans, but for the most part you’re getting a good game. Even if you have the original, this one is worth a look.

Pros:

+A fantastic storyline

+Beautiful soundtrack

+New job classes

+Good cutscenes

+Addictive gameplay

+Tons of customization

+The New Translation is far better than the original, making even the experience of the story completely different for those who went through before. This alone makes the game worth a purchase for those who already went through it and enjoyed it once before

Cons:

-Will be difficult for newcomers

-Some technical issues with the graphics and sound

-Not much of a graphical update at all, it looks just like the original Playstation version
Rating: 4 / 5

Final Fantasy Tactics has long been my favorite videogame EVER. Nothing, I feel, has ever matched the original PS1 version of the game. Unfortunately, that still statement still stands.

I’ve always wanted a portable version of Final Fantasy Tactics, and when I heard it was coming to PSP I went and bought a PSP JUST FOR THIS GAME. I figured that with the fixed translation, new movies, and new content it would be pretty much the only game I would need for awhile.

Well, after sitting down and playing for hours, here is what I have to say:

Pros:

- The new animations are beautiful! And the voice acting is very well-done. So, big plus there.

- The new content is fun, and helpful (for understanding the plot)

- Multiplayer mode looks like it might be fun – unfortunately no one I know (and no one in the entire area as far as I know) has a PSP and Final Fantasy Tactics … so I can’t play it.

- The load time is almost nonexistent.

- Rewritten and well-translated dialogue! Yay! The translation is not perfect, I’ve noticed several grammatical and spelling errors in the dialogue, but its a big improvement from the last translation. I’m bit annoyed that its not perfect, though. Last time I could chalk it up to the horrible translation, but this time I really did expect perfection. Oh well. The big plus is that the plot is much easier to understand now.

Cons:

- Sound: It sounds like several sound effects were cut. I got especially annoyed at the first fight, when some of the dark knight’s sword skill sound effects were cut. I don’t know why this is. If you’ve never played the game you probably won’t notice/care (though you might wonder at the strange silence for parts of moves …). If you have played the game you’ll be annoyed.

- Multiplayer: If you don’t have anyone to play with, there is no way to get any of that extra content. I don’t know why they couldn’t have made the multiplayer missions an option to do all alone – sure they’d be hard, but still … Very annoying that an entire section of the game is locked to you if you have no one to play with. Of course, you can disregard this if you actually have a friend, with the game, who is willing to spend time doing the multiplayer content with you.

- Graphics: The PS1 version has absolutely beautiful graphics; not a single pixel on the screen was was wasted. The grahics are still good in the PSP version, but in stretching out the game to 16×9 for the screen, everything looks somewhat … fuzzy. This was actually a big letdown for me, because the original graphics on the PS1 still look great. It just didn’t make the transition smoothly. But, this is a minor issue. If you haven’t seen the original, you’ll think this is a pretty beautiful game.

- Dialogue: Again, some grammar and spelling mistakes. Nothing big, but I really wish they’d been fixed.

- ANIMATION SLOW DOWNS. This was big. For almost EVERY special attack in the game, especially more

elaborate ones, there is noticeable disconnect between the sound and the animation. The problem is that the video lags so far behind the sound, sometimes the sound will finish playing almost before the animation has started … this also considerably slows down battles, as the framerate drops so much. The PSP has powerful hardware in it, I have no idea why there is this problem. Especially because emulated versions don’t have this issue. I thought that I would get used to it, but it just got more and more annoying, especially as I got stronger and stronger magic. This is the primary reason I gave the game 3 stars. It is not only incredibly annoying, it also considerably slows the gameplay down. UGH.

Conclusion:

If you’ve never played the game, do yourself a favor and go try it out. If the lag problem isn’t too annoying for you you’re in for an amazing game. The plot is sophisticated, and the gameplay is deep. Few games can really compare in those two aspects. And, if you’re a big fan of the game, you owe it to yourself to buy it. The new content and new movies are great, and you can’t get those on an emulator. That said … the technical issues introduced in the translation from PS to PSP really knock this game down … especially the graphics lag. I don’t know what Square was thinking releasing the game before they had the problem fixed (I really don’t understand why it would even be a problem, the PSP hardware is supposedly more powerful than the PS1 hardware …).

I really wish I could give this game 5 stars, I really do. In my opinion, the graphics issues alone knocks it down a star, and the combination of everything else knocks another star off. I gave it 4 stars for fun because only the graphics issue really affects how fun the game is to play. Its still a great game, and if the graphics issue was gone I’d say it was a must buy. As is … :(

*edit*

Its been a few months now, and I’ve progressed quite a bit in the game. I have well over 100 hours of playtime (no idea how many, exactly, the playtime clock maxed out long ago) and have played through every class and seen almost every ability in the game. Some additional thoughts:

* No multiplayer is still a bummer – I want some of those items, but there is no way for me to get them …

* In my opinion (and feel free to disagree) graphics slowdown is still an issue. I purposely avoid white magic and use items instead, for example, to avoid some of the bigger offenders and speed up battle. If you read the comments for this review you’ll see people who agree and disagree with my assessment.

* I’m continually impressed by the cutscenes, voice acting, and redone script.

* I still feel that the game isn’t as crisp as the original PS version.

All of this said, this is still one of my favorite games out there (as evidenced by the fact that I still play it) … but I do stand by my rating. This game is, in my opinion, hampered by technical problems – which is sad. But … it is a lot of fun!
Rating: 3 / 5

This review was written by my son, James Shea

A remake of the hit game for the PS1, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions updates many of the little pieces of the original game in addition to carrying the game over to the Playstation Portable platform. It has been 10 years since the original’s release; now the update brings it to a new generation.

As a refresher for those unfamiliar with the original game, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based tactical game using many of the abilities and classes made familiar in the Final Fantasy series of games. The story takes place in the kingdom of Ivalice, where civil war has erupted following a great war against foreign enemies and the death of the old king. The main character, Ramza, must navigate these mazes of treachery and deceit to discover the true secret of the ancient prophecies that govern the kingdom.

The English translation to the original was notoriously bad, with such lines as “I got a good feeling!” and “Bracelet” used instead of “Breath” (as in, a Dragon’s breath). The main thing done by the remake was the rewriting/retranslating of almost the entire script to be much more period-appropriate. For the most part this is a good thing, matching the epic, elegant scale of the story, though certain fan-favorite lines were lost (“Don’t blame us! Blame yourself or God!” and “Surrender, or die in obscurity!” being two of those). Many names were also changed; besides the re-familiarization of characters (for fans who got used to the old names), the only other problem is the abundance of “th” sounds to replace “s” sounds (“Algus” becomes “Argath”, like how “Aeris” from Final Fantasy 7 became “Aerith” in later games).

In certain scenes, illustrated cinematics were used to replace the game-engine cutscenes or CG cutscenes used in the old versions. These cinematics have a distinct art style and coloring scheme and are very well done. These scenes also have voice acting, which is done with English accents similar to much of Final Fantasy XII. Several new scenes are also inserted to either add backstory to the game or to establish a new character. On that note, two new characters from other Final Fantasy games are recruitable through the story (much like Cloud from FF7 was and still is): Balthier from FFXII and Luso from the upcoming FFT Advance 2. Two new classes are also obtainable for regular (IE non-unique) characters. Onion Knight is gained by gaining levels in the two basic classes (chemist and squire) while, on the other end, Dark Knight is gained by gaining a high level of classes in many specialized classes.

The War of the Lions also adds a multiplayer mode, accessible through ad-hoc wireless (the PSPs must be within range of each other; no online mode is available). Through this, two players can either fight head-to-head or work cooperatively on unique missions. Characters do not die permanently in this mode, but there are treasures that can be gained from it, including some unique equipment. While it isn’t as developed as it could be, its addition is certainly welcomed.

Graphically, the game is the same. While the older sprites might seem dated, the smaller screen means that they seem more artistic than pixelated. The only troubling spot is major slowdown when spells are cast or abilities are used; this problem is recurring and noticeable, but such is only to be expected with the transition between systems.

Final Fantasy Tactics is still acclaimed as one of the best games of all time. With this remake, there were a lot of worries that the original formula would be watered down. Fortunately, this is definitely not the case; the additions are almost entirely good, and make for a much more serious, solid experience. This game has done a great service in many ways to this classic game, despite occasional troubles.

Rating: 9/10.

Rating: 5 / 5

Final Fantasy Tactics for the original PlayStation was one of my favorite games of all time, so I was looking forward to playing this game.

Only being two hours into the game, I have not reached any of the new content, and I have not tried the multiplayer yet, so I cannot comment on those aspects of the game.

The reanimated cut scenes are gorgeous. However, not all cutscenes were animated, and only being in chapter one, I’ve only seen one, which is when Ovelia is abducted by Delita. The other scenes so far have been with the in-game sprites. The voice acting is a nice touch to the animated scenes. The new translations give the speech in the game a similar feel to FFXII, which works considering the setting. Gameplay works exactly as it did in the original, which is part of the reason I love the game. If you are not into grinding levels, this game won’t be for you. On tip though, the glitch in the original that allows for quick mastering of certain job classes is gone. Looks like he have to be honest men and women from now on. No big deal though.

The two big issues I have with the game are technical in nature. The game expierences slow down any time there is a special effect of sorts curing battles. This occurs during spell animations, mainly, but I’ve experienced it even using things like “Throw Stone” and items, and even during monster attacks. The sound effects during the battles and the cut scenes that use sprites leave a lot to be desired as well. The sound of wind blowing is particularly horrific.

One more thing to note is just that you may have to get used to new names of abilities. It’s nothing big, but every one in a while I check to make sure that it’s the same ability it used to be. No big deal.

The game still looks great. Some may find it a little dated, but I think because it’s on the PSP, it’s not that big of a deal. The music is still excellent, although it doesn’t sound re-mixed or re-arranged to me, which would have been a nice touch

Overall, it’s a good game that improves on the original, but I would have been willing to wait longer to have some of the technical issues ironed out.
Rating: 4 / 5

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a remake of the original Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1. The original was perhaps the most popular turn-based tactical RPG ever made, and this newest version remains true to the original.

Not much, in terms of plot, has changed in the remake. The new translation is far better than the often laughable Engrish of the original, and some names have been changed to make the game fit better into the more fleshed out Ivalice of Final Fantasy XII. This doesn’t change the story, but makes it easier to understand and far more enjoyable to witness.

Graphically, the game is a bit of a mixed bag. The original PS1 graphics remain, and they haven’t aged very well. Characters and monsters are depicted by the now familiar Square-Enix superdeformed sprites. The maps are pseudo-3D. They can be rotated so the player can see around obstacles, but they’re not exactly stunning to behold. On the flipside, the new cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous. They’re fully animated, and very fluid, but retain an almost parchment-like quality to them. The style mimics the official art very closely, and helps to bridge the gap between the art and the sprites.

The audio, again, is a mixed bag. Some of the music is beautiful, but there are a few annoying tunes thrown in, which quickly becomes a problem as the track repeats itself for the nth time while you’re grinding for experience and job points. The sound effects are pretty standard. The voice acting, on the other hand, is superb. It’s a shame that its limited to just the cutscenes.

The gameplay is familiar to those experienced with the genre. Battles are fought on a square map. Obstacles – buildings, trees, lava…it all depends on where the battle is taking place – and monsters litter these battlegrounds. You control a squad of up to 5 characters. Each combatant – both the characters you control and the enemy NPCs – gets a turn, which allows them to move and/or perform an action. Most battles simply consist of defeating all enemies on the map or one particular enemy without getting the main character killed in the process.

The tactical side of the game largely comes from which jobs your characters have mastered. Jobs are essentially character classes. You have the standards: warrior, healer, wizard, etc. There are other, more esoteric jobs, like mathematician and dancer. Every defeated enemy gives that character job points, which allows you to purchase an ability from a job, which grants that character permanent access to that ability. So, you can have a warrior capable of casting offensive magic if you purchase the right abilities. Access to jobs is predicated on which jobs that character already has access to, and what levels they have obtained with those jobs. The more useful or powerful the job you want to give your character, the more levels in pre-existing jobs they need. So, expect lots of grinding for both experience and job points, especially early on in the game.

The last aspect of the gameplay I must mention is the steep learning curve. This game is not new player friendly. You’ll die A LOT in this game, especially in the early stages. What’s worse is that you’ll die from creatures that are typically cannon fodder in other Square-Enix games. Trust me when I say that you’ll learn to fear Chocobos. The game becomes much easier if you grind for abilities early on, but the beginning portion is hellish, especially during a first playthrough.

All in all, The War of the Lions is a great remake. It’s difficult, and parts of it haven’t aged well, but it’s definitely more than the sum of its parts. This version, given its portability and well-written (properly translated?) story, is perfect for those who missed it the first time.
Rating: 4 / 5

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