Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Finally a worthy sequel

Is nobody playing the latest sequel to the best game ever made, or am I just missing out on all the discussion?

Ever since I finished Final Fantasy Tactics for the fourth time, I’ve been waiting for a game that I enjoyed as much. The Front Mission series is fine, but not the same; Disgaea was good but goofy and kind of random; and Jeanne d’Arc is really good, but was actually too story-driven for me, and I never thought I’d say that about a videogame. Even War of the Lions was missing something, because I never realized how much of the charm of the original was based on its goofy translation.

I was really disappointed in FFT Advance, mainly because of the annoying “law” system, but also because the interface was kind of clunky (thousands of equipment items, but no “optimize” option?), and it had the feel of “here’s a billion characters and races and missions and items and classes, go make your own game with it.”

The new one fixes almost every problem I had with FFTA, and I haven’t enjoyed a game as much as this one in a long time. It’s got a great balance of story missions and random missions. The job system is even more wide-open than FFTA’s, but doesn’t require grinding for “job points” like the original. And the whole loot->bazaar->weapon-crafting->job system ties everything together.

I read complaints on SA that the law system was “nerfed,” but I say it’s been “fixed.” It gives you an interesting side-challenge for every mission, but with a more reasonable penalty for losing it, and a much more satisfying reward for winning it.

It remains to be seen if it’s still enjoyable after the first few areas, or if the 400 quests and 50 job classes just gets overwhelming. But so far, I’m loving every bit of it.

I was going to start a thread but was wanting to wait till I put more time in it. Right now, 5-6 hours in, I absolutely agree with you. I couldn’t stand Final Fantasy Tactics Advance but Advance 2 is loads of fun.

The law system rewards instead of punishes (outside of not allowing phoenix feathers), the job system based on item skills is my favorite yet, and the overall feel of combat is significantly faster. I don’t even mind the Bazaar system since I enjoy the slot machine feel of it.

So if you hated FFTA but liked FFT then run, don’t walk, to pick up FFTA2. Also, no hour long snow ball fights before you get to the actual game, the intro is a fraction the size of the original.

Heh, ditto. I searched on the topic a few hours ago to see if there was a thread I could get advice from.

Right now I have nothing but rage for this game because I forgot that DS batteries don’t last forever and I played for like 12 hours over the weekend without saving. So I need to calm down before I can pick it up again. This is the kind of game where losing hard fought grindy (but in the good way) progress is very upsetting.

The critical question I have: does it still have as little guidance in the use of its job system as the prior games? I’ve tried both previous Tactics titles and ended up tossing them aside because I hit a point (usually pretty early) where I had approximately eight billion wrong choices I could make with my cast of characters, maybe a hundred right choices, and no way to tell one from the other without trying it and failing horribly.

So one thing that annoyed me about FFTA was that you learned skills via weapons. Yet what weapons went with what class wasn’t particularly clear in ever screen, and I felt like I had to juggle characters back and forth between classes to basically learn the skills in the order the game decided to give them to me in, since weapons were carefully and deliberately rationed in a specific order as time went on.

This is a pretty big change from FFT, where there was no limit on what skill or class you could be at any time, except for the class pre-reqs, of course. But the game never said “You can’t be a Dragon Knight until I say so.”

That point-spending-at-my-whim mechanics from FFT were a large part of its magic for me. Where does FFTA2 sit in that spectrum? Is it the same as FFTA, or is it different?

It’s more annoying that FFTA in that regard, at least to me so far. The weapons to unlock abilities are more random now as they come from a crafting system wherein certain materials are needed for certain weapons. Materials are rewarded randomly in missions though they do make sure that the main quest missions reward the important rare ones. But it can make for an annoying bottleneck where you go a long time without getting the weapon and thus ability wanted if you aren’t finding the right materials.

As far as I’m concerned FFT had the best job system ever and no other FF game before or since has come near it. FFTA and FFTA2 are good fun, but they are still below the FFT gold standard in a lot of ways.

One complaint I’ve read about is that battles take longer due to interface issues. Like having to confirm every action, how long are battles in FFTA2?

I haven’t noticed this. No worse than the original FFTA I guess. FFT games are all sort of slow paced and grindy by nature so I would think any fans of the genre already accustomed to other similar games would feel okay with the pacing of FFTA2.

That’s an odd statement, honestly it’s like identical to FFT, with the exception you can finally undo a move action if you find you can’t attack from where you moved to like you might like to (in FFT if you moved, that was it, no take-backs). So I guess battles could take longer if you undo your moves a lot, but I’d rather that than the alternative.

I don’t really have ANY problems with the interface, it’s unobtrusive, easy to follow, and everything seems to work like it’s supposed to. You have a nextra button press once you confirm your attack to clear the Me vs You quick-info card that pops up, but if you don’t press a button that screen drops away in just a few seconds on it’s own.

Hiro, I don’t know whether you’d consider FFTA2 to be better or worse. You still learn abilities from equipment, but instead of the game handing items out (which it still does, as rewards for lawful fights), there is now a bazaar loot system. You turn in various materials (“loot”), obtained as dropped items and quest rewards, to the shopkeeper, who learns how to make new gear to sell you. The items are divided into a number of categories, so you can usually guess which will produce guns, robes, armour, greatswords, bows, etc. However, unless the item is one you’ve already seen, its identity and abilities will be unknown until you commit the loot items to the bazaar.

In the short term, this system gives some additional control over the item acquisition process (by letting you prioritise which type of items you get first), but with five different grades of items (A-E), I wonder how many of the ‘gee whiz’ abilities are going to be tied up in high-grade items that I don’t have loot to make yet. Most of the loot I’ve seen so far, six hours in, is grade E stuff, with occasional rare items that might be as good as C. But for the purposes of unlocking jobs, it’s the number of abilities that counts, not their power.

In addition, some jobs require completion of quests to unlock, in addition to having ability prereqs. I’ve unlocked three jobs in quests already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other job quests in the available quest list.

In passing, I agree that FFTA2 is an improvement over FFTA, but I still think that FFT has a better story, from what I’ve been able to see so far. Regardless, I’m enjoying it. The game is a tweaker’s dream, for sure. :)

As the other guys have said, job abilities are still item- and class-based. So, for instance, this sword will teach “Rend Power” to Warriors as long as they have it equipped. And so far, it looks like some jobs are locked until you find the character who’ll teach it to you – you rescue a dragoon, and then the Dragoon job becomes available.

But the end result for me is actually more interesting than it was in FFT. In the original, you could theoretically just go up the class tree whenever you wanted, but in practice it meant a lot of job-grinding. I’d have to start a random battle and have my main guy flinging potions around to people who didn’t really need them, just to get the ability points for the Chemist level I needed to get to the class I really wanted.

In this one, since every character gains ability points for being in a battle, you don’t have to think about grinding during the battle, just during the equip phase. And you get plenty of loot over the course of the game, so you can go back to the Bazaar and experiment with weapon-crafting. You don’t know in advance which skill you’re going to get, but you do get an idea of the class from the name – “Stealth armor,” so you know it’s for thieves and ninjas, and “Flaming swords,” so you know it’s for warriors and red mages.

I am kind of stuck right now, because I want my main character to switch jobs to Paladin, but for that you need 3 Soldier abilities, and I’m still trying to find items that teach another soldier ability. But it’s still kind of fun and feels like exploration, and when it becomes available I feel like I earned it instead of just unlocked it.

Hmmm…I’m surprised to hear this one is good. FFTA was awful, IMO, and I loved the original game. I’m still not big on the equipment giving skills thing though. Doesn’t that become prety annoying?

I really like the idea of every character gaining APs for being in battle though. That could sell me on the game right there.

I forgot this question:

I guess it depends what you mean by “wrong choices.” You start out with a well-balanced team, and as long as you keep one guy with the black mage abilities and one guy with warrior/soldier related abilities, you can experiment as much as you want with the jobs. I haven’t run into any really punishing battles yet (like you do pretty early on in the original), but it hasn’t seemed too easy, either – I’ve had to keep the team fairly balanced, and not gone in with a whole team full of Beastmasters, for example.

Totally digging this one as well, and I was turned off pretty quickly on FFTA. A2 solves my problems with FFTA and just puts the whole package together much more nicely. So far the story isn’t really going anywhere, but the gameplay is quite nice.

Yes, in fact there are several maps that dictate the “optimal” game progression of where you expand your clan influence to next because the ordering determines which free items you will receive. These items are critical because it determines how fast you can progress your clan characters into the uber jobs.

Wait, are you talking FFTA or FFTA2? I remember the annoying-as-shit map layout stuff in FFTA and I was hoping there wouldn’t be anything similar in FFTA2.

For me, while I hated the laws, they weren’t my biggest stumbling block in the previous one. Two things that ruined the game for me were:

  1. Each race had a limited selection of classes, so you couldn’t mix and match every possible combination like in the original
  2. Assassins were ludicrously broken, and once I got a second one I lost interest because the challenge was gone (maybe this changed later, but the story got so retarded that I sold it in disgust before finishing)

Have either/both of these issues been addressed?

Ack! So yeah, I’m also curious whether or not this is part of the FFTA2 experience. I mean, it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me, but the completist part of me was annoyed with the idea that there were optimal and, er, “pessimal” ways to set up the map in FFTA.

The FFTA laws were no longer a problem for me after I hit a certain threshold and used a subset of skills almost exclusively (assassins, anyone?). That said, I’m glad that the law system is now set up mostly to provide bonuses, with only minor infraction penalties.

  • Alan
  1. No, it’s still fairly restrictive.
  2. Yes, balance was supposedly given a once over at least, with Assassins no longer being crazy powerful.

As far as story goes, I didn’t think FFT was all that, mostly because of the godawful/humerous translation. Haven’t tried the PSP version. FFTA was terrible, annoying, and infantile all wrapped into one little package, but FFTA2 is a marked improvement so far. It’s not like I really care about the story, but some of the lines are surprisingly clever.

The new localization in War of the Lions is honestly one of the finest I’ve ever seen. SE did a fantastic job with it.