FF Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

My big thanks to GameBoy Advance for introducing me to the Final Fantasy Tactics series, for good memories that it’s brought me, for keeping my high expectations of Square Enix gaming, for making me buy the DS tactics release without hesitation. Once an FF fan, always an FF fan and I am not alone in this. The little budding DS lights up happily, greeting with a charming chime because it is too a fan of FF games!

The tale begins with a young boy, Luso Clemens or “Shinji” as I chose to name him. (Come on, who plays with default names?!) Now this kid is stumbles across an ancient text in a library which magically teleports him to the world of Ivalice (familiar territory to those who’ve played FF12 on PS2 or FF Tactics Advance on GBA). He immediately joins a clan who are determined to help him back to his world and together they embark on many quests. Along the way the ancient text begins to write stories of the journey in it’s blank pages and only till the book is filled may it’s powers transport you back home.

Now my god the developers have upped their content in Grimoire of the Rift! Tons more job roles than ever, your clan members are guaranteed to build some hefty CV’s. The high maintanence game just pushes the perfectionist in me and my units will have at least some experiences in being soldiers, mages, archers, paladins, knights, etc etc. If only the item list would automatically sort itself in type and order, I’d have a little easier time remembering who’s wielded which weapons, who’s learnt which skills and what not.

The shops now have a new “bazaar” feature where you mold your collected items to make new weapons, armour and accessories. However it kinda makes you feel cheated as what you make from your materials is not rewarded to your inventory but to the shops list of sale items. Then you’ve got to fork out a little more gil to buy it. Harsh right?! Although it’s only a minor niggle considering that there’s plenty of gil to go around if you’re playing sensibly.

There’s a lot more flexibility with missions, whether you want to get the job done by yourself or if you dispatch a mini coop of your clan members. Learning from the GBA it was pretty easy to tell that if your chosen member was jumping up and down with hands in the air, you knew the mission was going to be easy for success. This time around it doesn’t seem to add up, sending out my hinted good men still bring 1 in 8 attempts for success. Unless there’s some hidden tact to who you choose as your dispatch leader and followers, someone tell me where I’m going wrong!

Pubs are where you go to seek out and accept quests, paying the barman for his tip of information. Quests range from delivering, retrieving, head-hunting, surveying areas, escorting, all contribute towards gaining item rewards and advancing the story. You can also take up clan trials which upon succession will benefit clan abilities to use during combat. Since I unlocked the clan ability “Regen” which does a nice job of replenishing small HP on each of my turns in battle, I haven’t really needed anything else since.

FF Tactics is more of the likes of Disgaea rather than the usual FF turn base gaming. So perhaps think more of a digital version of Chess. Moving your units to locations and performing attacks, spells, special abilities or using items in specific spaces. What also adds to the game play are the laws of the battlefield. Clans have their own judges who will reward you if you win the battle without breaking any rules. Failing to comply with the law of the battle the judges will take away your clan ability, any fallen members of your party will be caged and you can’t revive them. The laws seem to have become a lot more varied, most of the time they aren’t going to effect your battle greatly. Things like “dont use attack” is easily overcome when you’ve prepped up your characters with a good round of skills. However with laws saying that “counters are forbidden” can be a pain when you’ve forgotten to un-equip it from your unit. They get attacked by an enemy and your unit counters, boosh! Bye bye Regen-ability and revive rights, Noooo!







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