A Pair of Old-School Portable JRPGs Are Making Their Way to PSN and Wii U

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is returning for the first time since 2003. Meanwhile, Breath of Fire 3 PSP is making its way to North America for the first time.

News by Kat Bailey, .

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and the PSP version of Breath of Fire 3 are on their way to the Wii U and PSN respectively, giving JRPG fans a chance to finally revisit them while reopening the debate on their relative merits.

The arrival of Final Fantasy Tactics on the Wii U tomorrow will mark its first appearance since its initial release on the Game Boy Advance back in 2003. As for Breath of Fire 3, this will be the first appearance of any sort for the PSP version in North America. Up until now, North American fans have only had access to the original PlayStation version.

Breath of Fire 3.

Both have their merits and drawbacks. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance had the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of one of the genre's most beloved entries; and while it was in some ways ambitious, it brought with it some problematic additions. Judges, for all their significance in Final Fantasy XII, were frustrating in their application of arbitrary rules. There were also those who objected to Advance's new storybook fantasy world, which was a big departure from the grim and gritty politics of the original.

Still, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has plenty to recommend it. The Jobs system returns intact, and the story is more interesting than it first appears in the way that it addresses escapism. Having missed out on the original when it first came out, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, which was a solid gateway to the series and the tactics genre in general.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

Breath of Fire 3, meanwhile, is a port of the original PlayStation game. Originally released in 2006, it wound up being rejected by Sony Computer Entertainment America and never making it to North America. For hardcore fans of the series, that left the European release as the only alternative. With Breath of Fire 3 come to North America in February, though, importing the original - or buying the PS1 version - will no longer be necessary.

Compared to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Breath of Fire 3 is a much more traditional JRPG, which should appeal to the purists looking for a classic old-school experience. Its main conceit is that the protagonist, Ryu, is a dragon capable of taking a variety of forms, which are available via "Dragon Genes." It's not exactly groundbreaking, but for those looking for a bit of JRPG comfort food, it doesn't need to be. Alas, the port has an issue with loading times, which slows the action considerably. Still, it's an interesting alternative in an already strong lineup of PSP and Vita RPGs that can be played on PlayStation TV.

In the meantime, the long-delayed release of Breath of Fire 3 PSP in North America opens the door for other RPGs that were localized for Europe but never made it across the Atlantic. Tales of Eternia is one such RPG. Eternia received solid reviews back in the day, and its attractive 2D art still holds up well today. Like Breath of Fire 3, it would be a welcome addition to the Vita and PlayStation TV.

Regardless, downloadable platforms like PSN and the Wii U Virtual Console aren't perfect, but they're still a great way to revisit older games that you may have missed the first time around. And in the case of Breath of Fire 3, it offers an avenue for unreleased games to finally make their way to North America. Hopefully there will be more to come.

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Comments 18

  • Avatar for orient #1 orient 2 years ago
    Hmm, the Breath of Fire series. I'd skip the original. I played both BoF and BoF II on GBA, and loved the art, wacky characters and dragon transformations, but the encounter rate drove me up the wall, and the dialogue was barely coherent.

    I played BoF III on PSX; another great looking game, but flawed in many of the same ways. I recently bought IV for PC because I missed it on PSX, but it's sitting pretty low down on my backlog.

    Despite loving FE: Awakening, I'm still kind of too intimidated by FF:T, after hearing so many stories of its difficult if you don't build the right type of party etc. I still have Tactics Ogre: LUCT on my shelf, too, unopened.
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  • Avatar for Y7748837 #2 Y7748837 2 years ago
    "Alas, the port has an issue with loading times, which slows the action considerably"

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  • Avatar for Roto13 #3 Roto13 2 years ago
    Breath of Fire 3 was the first Breath of Fire game I played, but I never finished it. It got me to try 1, 2, and 4, and I liked and finished all of those, but I didn't have the opportunity to play more of 3, so I'm really looking forward to this release.

    @orient Final Fantasy Tactics is kind of unbalanced. You'll be doing fine for hours and suddenly you'll hit a massive difficulty spike that can actually ruin your entire playthrough if you're not careful with saves. It's possible to save in places you can't escape from, so you'll either have to win the next few fights or stagnate for eternity. However, as long as you don't save in one of those spots (or at least keep multiple saves), there's nothing you can't grind past if you need to. It's also not required to play the original Tactics before Tactics Advance, if that's what you want to do. Tactics Advance doesn't have the same problem. (It has its own problems. I loved it anyway, though.)Edited January 2016 by Roto13
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  • Avatar for becksworth #4 becksworth 2 years ago
    Wow, that Crunk Games watermark. That's a flashback to my college years...
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #5 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    @kat.bailey actually loading BOF3 from the UMD had bad load times. If run directly from the mem card (UMD ripped and *wink* juiced up PSP) runs great. So now having an option to play on the Vita via PSN I don't think there will be loading issue.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #6 ojinnvoltz 2 years ago
    I bought Tactics Advance even though I didn't own a GBA because I loved Tactics so much. Worked out borrowing a GBA from someone after getting the game. Boy, what a disappointment. Regardless of how disappointed I was, I did almost everything possible in the game. The law system had potential by limiting players' options, forcing them out of their comfort zone and encouraging creativity, but it wasn't well thought out. I love the equipment and the skill learning system. 3/5 stars.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #7 Kat.Bailey 2 years ago
    @naazimeaala75 My experience is that loading directly from the drive helps, but that it doesn't cure everything.
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  • Avatar for One_Vurfed_Gwrx #8 One_Vurfed_Gwrx 2 years ago
    I bought the European PSN BOF3 but haven't actually played it to see the load times...

    As for Tales of Eternia it would be nice to have it digitally as it isn't in Europe either on PSN. Maybe being able to release in the US could give Namco the excuse to go for it while waiting for Berseria (as I doubt they will be porting Innocence R, their only other option for native Vita). Then again Destiny and Destiny II aren't in the PSOne Classics so I'm not getting my hopes up...
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  • Avatar for nilcam #9 nilcam 2 years ago
    I adore Final Fantasy Tactics Advance! It's my favorite fantasy tactics game. I cannot wait to play it again on my TV.
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  • Avatar for frothy-ham #10 frothy-ham 2 years ago
    I may be blaspheming here, but I sunk a ton of hours into FFTA before ever having touched the original FFT. I think it was a great introduction to the Japanese SRPG genre, and I have tons of fond memories of it. The Judges were pretty damn annoying and didn't add much value to the game, but I really liked the tone and atmosphere at the time.

    I went back to try FFT years later and I kind of bounced off of it. I've always wanted to go back to it, but it's just another game on the backlog pile now.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #11 Vonlenska 2 years ago
    I really like FFTA a lot. The shallow story was a disappointment (especially since Marshe is, like, a typical FF villain; so much wasted potential), but I find it a lot more fun to play than FFT, so it sort of balances out. I've revisited it a number of times, while FFT has slid a bit into a fuzzy nostalgia memory hole where it's remembered as one of the more engaging story games I've known, but something mechanically flawed in minor ways that contribute to grindiness where there shouldn't be any (or I'm just no good at it; that's possible!).

    Plus, FFTA felt like a huge stylistic departure for Hitoshi Sakimoto, and showed he had a lot more musical range than most of us had thought. I adore the gloomy, morose FFT soundtrack, but I find the chipper, upbeat melodies of FFTA much more memorable. It just puts me in a good mood; the happy music, the brightly colorful fields, all the cute little sound effects and cute little characters and a battle system that's sometimes stupidly arbitrary but mostly a lot more "pick up and play" than its older sibling. It's just a cute, happy game for me that evokes a cute, happy period in my life.
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #12 The-Challenger 2 years ago
    I enjoyed it more than FFT, although the whole Zodiac aspect of FFT will always be my favorite useless game addition. I enjoyed everyone having their own zodiac symbol and then using that to determine which characters will be able to overpower each other. Or you can ignore the whole damn thing, which I usually did.

    FFT advance let me save in the midst of battle and I could retreat at any time. That alone was enough to favor the handled over the PSX version. That and the playable races, love the Bangaa.
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  • Avatar for DemiurgicSoul #13 DemiurgicSoul 2 years ago
    It'll be nice finally playing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on a TV or Wii U gamepad. As much as I love the Game Boy Advance SP, the games were always either too dark or washed out from the built in light. Plus playing on a bigger screen will be nice. Never got around to finishing it.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #14 link6616 2 years ago
    FFTA was the first SRPG I got into and I REALLY got into it. It was probably my main obsession for the better part of 2 years? I played about 300 hours of it making it one of the most played games I ever owned, and did every single mission. And got 1 of every item in the game. Leveled up all the bonus characters to level 50 as well as having 1 or 2 of each race on level 50. Also had a pure Veira team of assassins, which were amazing.

    I did all this on the original gba. So needing to play under a desk lamp. I've tried to pick it up again every now and then, because I really love it, but it's been over played by this point.

    Admittedly, I was in Junior High at this point, so more free time. But yeah, as a few others have said, despite the places in history this and FFT have, I've always found FFT to just bounce me right off.Edited January 2016 by link6616
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #15 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    Like a few of you, I picked up FFTA before FFT. I loved it. Then I picked up FFT: War of the Lions for PSP and it was soooooo slooowww comparatively! It took forever for the people to talk, for the units to move, for the stuff to load. I know it was more serious storywise, but the gameplay was such a slog relatively. The graphics were so drab. I actually really liked the Judges in FFTA! It put a fun twist on each battle so you had to have different specialties instead of just brute forcing through the game. Also it had multiplayer! Also, multi-species Ivalice is awesome! I got a slice of Monteblanc cake because of this game! It was OK. The game is better!

    I didn't like the systems in FFT:A2 quite as much, but I still liked it! I was really hoping that they'd release a FFT: A3D! Same sprites and everything, I'd be super happy.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #16 link6616 2 years ago
    @donkeyintheforest I love the judges and laws in concept. And they nearly work. Except ultimately, they don't. My major annoyance is that you could never really use laws in your favor when it mattered, because any important and hard character was immune to it.

    And of course, the end game laws like "Damage to (race)" were just nightmarish unless you were built for them (instant death abilities plus concentration)
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #17 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    @Kat.Bailey yea maybe so ESP if the loading are built in the game code. One game which became better was Popolocrois. Tried from both UMD and mem card and the loading from UMD was unbearable.
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  • Avatar for Mrs-Taunt #18 Mrs-Taunt A year ago
    I bought the European PSN, but haven't actually played it to see the load times. As for Tales of Eternia it would be nice to have it digitally as it isn't in Europe either on PSN. Maybe being able to release in the US could give Namco the excuse to go for it while waiting for Berseria (as I doubt they will be porting Innocence R, their only other option for native Vita). Then again Destiny and Destiny II aren't in the PSOne Classics so I'm not getting my hopes up...Edited April 2016 by Mrs-Taunt
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