Square Enix Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
- An amazing remake of an already amazing game
- In-game graphics won't blow your mind, minor slowdown still persists
Whether you've played the heck out of Tactics, or are just being introduced to the game, the PSP edition delivers hours of portable strategy and experimentation. A decade after the original's release, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a faithful improvement on what is still one of the best tactical RPGs around.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
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Yes, the name is familiar but don't confuse Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions as just a part of the old Playstation game. With a brand new translation, smoothed out graphics, beautiful animated cut-scenes, an expanded job system, and versus and co-op multiplayer modes, this is a remake that is definitely worth the full retail price.
The story in War of the Lions remains the same as in the original game, but the key difference is that you can actually understand what is going on this time around. A war breaks out between the Black Lion, Duke Goltanna, and the White Lion, Duke Larg, over succession rights to the throne and the player is thrust in the mix as Ramza, a young cadet of the Royal Military Akademy (and no, that's not a misspelling on our part -- as good as the translation is, it has its weird quirks).
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Right away you'll be struck by how great the CG scenes look. The style is reminiscent of coloured pencil sketches and it's tremendously pleasing visually, which is no surprise considering Square Enix's track record of quality cutscene work. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the in-game graphics; they're decent enough, but we noticed some slowdown during game play. However, it is an improvement over the original game where even entering the equipment menu would result in a noticeable hitch.
Character progression in Tactics is still focused on the job classes, and the remake has two new ones to shoot for: Onion Knight and Dark Knight. The curiously named Onion Knight survives on the most basic attack moves, but he's built to last with tons of hit points and defence plus special armour, making him an ideal tank for your army. Meanwhile, the Dark Knight relies on an arsenal of twisted sword moves, including a strike that will steal away enemy hit points.
If the updated classic itself isn't quite enticing enough, the new multiplayer modes should seal the deal. Not only is it cool to battle your friends in Melee mode, with special additions like timed knockback moves and trap laying, but it can be used as an alternative to grinding random battles to level your characters. Same thing with the co-op Rendezvous missions -- you will never lose anything (even inventory items you use), but get to keep the items and job points/levels earned.
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