USgamer Club: Final Fantasy Tactics, Chapter 1

The whole USgamer crew comes together to discuss their first few hours with RPG classic Final Fantasy Tactics. Join the conversation!

Column by USgamer Team, .

In case you missed it, we decided to enjoy a post-E3 palate-cleanser in the form of Square Enix's Final Fantasy Tactics. After reading Mike Williams' impassioned retrospective a couple of weeks ago, how could we not revisit the game?

Instead of just sneaking in a few minutes here and there, though, we decided to turn it into a group project for the entire staff to discuss — and we'd love for you to play along and share your own thoughts and experiences as well! Just try and keep spoilers for future chapters to a minimum. Any version of Tactics is fine. Jump in and share your thoughts. Today, we put the game's first chapter under the microscope. Veteran tacticians and combat noobs alike join the scrum....

Jeremy Parish

You know, this game goes a lot faster than I remember. I took the time to grind up enough experience that I was able to clear out the final battles of the chapter — roughly level 7, I guess? — without breaking too much of a sweat. And I still managed to cruise through this on a single Vita battery charge. Either I worked with ruthless efficiency, or else PSP games are very gentle on the Vita's battery life.

Whatever the case, I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to build my team and its protagonist, Lightning Beoulve. (My four-year-old nephew renamed Ramza for me; he doesn't know a thing about Final Fantasy XIII, but he loves Pixar's Cars.) I always feel like I should take Lightn—err, Ramza down a magic-based path. See, one unique feature of Final Fantasy Tactics is that the higher a character's Faith, the more effectively they can use magic; the downside is that a high Faith rating makes a character equally susceptible to magic. On the up side of things, that makes them much better at receiving healing spells and buffs, too.

Ramza has one of the highest natural Faith ratings in the game… but it's so darned satisfying to lay waste to everything in sight with raw physical power that I end up turning him into a Monk. That little rat Argath (formerly known as Algus) went down like a chump to a concentrated Aurablast. It felt pretty good.

What about you folks? Any particular stratagems strike your fancy this time through the game?

Jaz Rignall

I was extremely trepidatious going into this game, simply because I never play stuff like this. And without any kind of experience, I'm immediately running into issues. After some stilted introductory dialog, I find myself outside a building looking at a cute party of people who I don't know, one of whom is apparently me. My gang is facing an enemy group, and they're all walking on the spot. Combat is confusing, and I have absolutely no idea about the benefits of the different maneuvers on offer. Fortunately, there seems to be a button that makes the game play itself, and as I finish up writing this paragraph, I'm delighted to see I've won, and the dude that is me has leveled up.

But now someone's been taken away on a giant chicken and I'm watching text pop up slowly, one word at a time - no matter how many buttons I mash. I have no idea where I am or what's going on other than from only the most cursory perspective. But what I do know is combat seems to take ages, and now I'm dead. That was the second fight against some “tortured thieves." I'm doing something wrong, but I have no idea what.

So I've just looked at the tutorial, and now I just want to give up. Holy crap is this game complicated. I can't believe how much stuff there is to learn, and even after reading/watching the tutorial twice, I still can't quite tie everything together. Jobs. Stats. Monsters. How the hell do you get your head around all this stuff? It's crazy. Were earlier games of this ilk simpler, and if you grew up playing them, it was easy to transition from one to another as they became more complicated? Jumping straight into this one feels so overwhelming.

On the positive side, though, it's nice to be experiencing an area of gaming that is completely unknown to me. Even if it feels like it's impenetrable territory.

Jeremy Parish

Jaz, my heart goes out to you. I know exactly how you feel — I remember the first time I played FFT. All I could think was, “What in god's name have I gotten myself into?" But I soldiered on and figured out it. Then I got to the Dorter Slums (roughly the fifth battle) and realized I had done it all horribly wrong and needed to start over. After that sorrowful reboot, though, it was pretty smooth sailing.

So, don't panic! I know you love chess, and I assume that in all your years covering gaming in the UK you must have played something by Julian Gollop, yeah? X-Com or Laser Squad or whatever? Because FFT is very similar to those games, focusing on character placement and coordination, but with a slightly different sort of abstraction. Rather than taking turns one side at a time, the turn-based mechanics in FFT revolve around the speed rating of individual units. Once you figure that out, and get a feel for watching turn order, it all makes sense. And the palette of character roles (Jobs) and skills available to you slowly unfold based on your progression.

A handy tip — while random encounters (green map dots) level up with Ramza, the story battles feature enemies with fixed stats. Worst case scenario, you can grind Job points and experience levels until you're able to crush all who stand before you.

Mike Williams

I have, as is common when I play Final Fantasy Tactics, gone completely off the rails. I have yet to even enter the Cellar of the Sand Mouse in Zeklaus Desert because I am grinding. The denizens of Mandalia Plain and I are Street Pass buddies and see each other all the time. Essentially, if you learn the Squire abilities of Focus and JP Boost, everything else is gravy. Focus lets you take an action, which nets you XP and JP for the turn, while JP Boost increases the JP you get for such actions. You'll need at least one strong unit to protect those that are grinding, preferably a Monk, but this is my current game loop.

I'm unsure if I have enough patience this early on to grind my way to Geomancer, which is one of my early game go-to job classes alongside the almighty Monk. I probably do. Here I sit with my Vita in hand and the Final Fantasy Tactics job chart (War of the Lions version) sitting on my screen. Where do I got from here? Monk is the vanguard and the building block, but do I go Samurai or Knight for my second heavy unit? Do I stick with the versatile Archer/Ninja, or switch in Mustadio the second I get him? And where is the team's resident magic user going? Questions, questions.

And Jaz, I feel for you. It's a long road to get to where we are now.

Kat Bailey

Believe it or not, I was with Jaz for a bit there. It's been years since I last picked up Final Fantasy Tactics, and jumping back in after a prolonged absence isn't quite like getting back on a bike (or a Chocobo, I guess). When I went to pick my first Jobs and Abilities, I found myself staring blankly at the menu, overwhelmed by the choices. All I could think was, “Geez, where do I even start?" I can see how a new player can feel like they're drowning. But like Mike and Jeremy said, you've just got to stick with it, because it can be a bit of a slow burn.

It's a mantra that I've been chanting to myself in the midst of wiping several times against random mobs on the road back from Arizona. My main flaw is that I'm impatient as hell, so I have a tendency to rush in and get my characters surrounded by mistake. On my first few runs to Mandalia Plain, I started to feel like Tank as my party members died one by one in the Matrix (‘90s reference for a ‘90s game, natch). It can be frustrating to have to restart again and again while trying to grind, since it makes the early levels in particular feel pretty trying. It's rare that I really get going until the mid-game in strategy RPGs like these.

Thankfully, things are starting to click. After grinding a bit,, I've managed to get the all important JP Boost and Move +1 on to the majority of my party members, and I'm starting to pile up helpful skills like Adrenaline Rush. I was shocked by how quickly I blew through Dorter Slums with my crew. But I guess it helps when the CPU Black Mage accidentally nukes two of his allies with a Thunder spell in the process of trying to take out a solitary Knight. I've yet to decide what to do with Ramza long term; but since he's a Knight already, I feel like Monk is a natural for now. I would love to hear some suggestions from the gallery.

I think the main thing to keep in mind about Final Fantasy Tactics, Jaz, is how enjoyable it can be once you really get into it. It's taken a few battles, but I can definitely feel it getting its hooks in me again. I've gotta say, it feels pretty good.

Mike Williams

You won't find me choosing anything but Monk for Ramza. I may have another job to augment Monk, like Ninja or Geomancer, but the class is a one-man army early on in the game and a powerful ally later on. If you want to keep him as a Knight or Samurai, hitting up Ninja is recommended to pick up Dual Wield. Or you can try Ninja with the Monk's Brawler ability, focusing on the Physical Attack stat. This is why I love Tactics, so many options and choices for your squad.

Jeremy Parish

Now you're making me feel like I should have gone with my instincts and made Ramza a mage. Maybe I will, and turn the lady archer I was going to train up as a ninja into a monk instead. There's something kind of great about using a female monk, anyway. It's like, “Check it, video games industry. I made my own empowered woman, because you won't make the effort!"

That's one of the great things about this game. Even after sinking six or seven hours into the story, I can still respec my hero and not feel like I'm running behind. And it's possible to get so attached to generics from the early game that you never want to use the story characters you recruit. Except Mustadio, of course.

Mike Williams

Mustadio forever. I also get a bit of mileage out of Rapha and Marach (Rafa and Malak for you pre-War of the Lions folks), who aren't the most reliable characters, but add a bit of randomness to any battle they participate in. And Agrias gets dragged everywhere I go because I simply love the idea of the character; when I was younger, I had Samus reveal-levels of excitement when I found out Agrias was a woman. She remains one of my favorite Final Fantasy characters to this day, sort of a proto-Brienne of Tarth. Which is odd, because after a certain point, Agrias doesn't factor much into the main story and the character type isn't all that novel when contrasted with the rest of Final Fantasy's stable.

Speaking of characters, Argath is a tool. I know that you're not supposed to like him, as he's a representative of the strong lure of nobility, but man I just want him dead from the moment he steps onscreen.

Kat Bailey

Argath makes for a pretty good classist jerk early on, and a backstabber besides. He would fit right in at King's Landing. I'm feeling better about my decision to go with my initial two Monks plus a Black Mage and a Cleric strategy. Of course, as I write that, I'm knee deep in a bloodbath at Sand Rat's Sietch because I accidentally let my Black Mage get up front. Oh, and there's a sniper shooting Ramza from behind. The humanity! I'm going to have to start this mission again. Where's Cidolfus when you need him?

Jaz Rignall

I downloaded the game to PS3, but now I'm switching it up and putting it on Vita. It seems to be a more appropriate game for that system, because I can use it whenever I have an odd moment and invest the time in it that I need to. If I stick to a big screen, I'll just never be able to get going. So I'm going to have it on my desk next to me and see how I can do.

I read up on it last night, and it's clear this is a really deep game in terms of the options and choices. What does worry me is that it seems to be really unforgiving. Make the wrong choice early, and it seems you can put yourself at a disadvantage. At least it seems that way. Players also talk a lot about resetting the game if you do things wrong. That's also a worry, but I guess it's part of the learning curve.

Oh wow. The game just finished downloading on Vita and it looks sooo much better than it does on PS3. It looks like a completely different game. The dark colors are richer, the lighter tones are vibrant and more saturated, the shading is pin sharp and the characters look far more appealing. I'm not sure whether the PS3 is adding extra pixels or what, but the game looks fuzzy and, frankly, pretty horrible on a big screen. But it looks great on Vita's OLED! What a surprise. And I actually won the first battle without someone in my team getting nailed. Things are looking up!

Jeremy Parish

I'm playing the War of the Lions remake, which looks better in some ways than the original and worse in others — it's stretched and a bit fuzzy in places. That distortion doesn't change the fact that this game still looks great. Mainly, I love the sprites. Not the walking-in-place-during battle sprites, but the insanely detailed little animations you see in cutscenes. Those tiny little people are so expressive, so lively! They demonstrate emotion, clutch at one another's clothes, die agonizingly, limp away in pain. I doubt we'll ever see such elaborate spriting in a game like this again; it's so much cheaper to use polygons, or to skip showing actions altogether and tell the story with static character portraits that slide in and out, a favorite of JRPGs whose after-hours beer budget is bigger than their production budget.

Seriously, I could watch the in-game cut scenes over and over. I wish they hadn't replaced so many of them with CG cutscenes for War of the Lions — the explosion that caps Chapter One is, to me, a lot more powerful and convincing with tiny sprites.

I feel like we've barely covered the first chapter of the game. No one talked about that bastard Wiegraf (though I suppose that'll come later, at the end of Chapter Three — word of advice, Jaz, always alternate save files so you don't get stuck in an impossible situation). And what about Milleuda? I always thought it was a shame that not only did such an important character in the early going never make it into the party, she didn't even get a fancy sprite all her own… just a generic female knight with a custom portrait.

Anyway, I'm ready to start working on Chapter Two now. AKA, the long middle section. I won't be truly happy until Chapter Four, when I can beat up the zombie version of… whoops, spoilers!

Those are our thoughts. How's your experience been, USgamer community? Love it? Hate it? Already mastered the Onion Knight class? Discuss your Tactics experience in the comments (and we'll be joining in!).

Come back next Tuesday to discuss the game through the end of Chapter Two!

Images courtesy of Talking Time.

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Comments 58

  • Avatar for MHWilliams #1 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    I like Milleuda, but I could never get her to fit in my team. The slots had been filled by the time she finally joins.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #2 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    I have been waiting all day for this article! I am very excited about this segment and I think I will join for every new game that gets started. Chapter 1 is so great. The ending with Delita and his sister just kind of changed everything for me when I first played this so many years ago. Having the excuse to go through this yet again is going to be great!
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  • Avatar for Keldorek #3 Keldorek 3 years ago
    I can definitely echo some of Jaz's bewilderment, and I actually played FFT on the PS1 back in the day, although not to completion (maybe not even half as I didn't own a PS1 at the time). I felt like I was playing it for the first time after all these years have passed. First, I wasn't even realizing I wasn't placing all my available troops on the grid pre-battle!!! What an idiot! I died and died and died and died and then I finally realized I was playing on the battlefield alone with the AI characters... haha.

    THEN! THEN! I realized I wasn't leveling anyone's jobs; I wasn't even using the LEARN feature at all. The truth is, I was being stubborn, and I was avoiding the incredibly lengthy, apparently unskippable tutorials because I just KNEW I knew how to play the game. Speaking of that, Jaz, I'm not sure if you're playing War of the Lions or not, but the X button definitely should be advancing text pretty quickly.

    All this said, I finally got past my pride and general idiocy and that wonderful addiction this game engenders has really taken hold all over again. I'm having a blast with this, and I'm LOVING reading everyone's reapproach (or first approach) of this amazing game. Maybe I'll even beat it this time.

    Jeremy, your point about the animations is just dead-on. I've been completely blown away by how charming and emotionally resonant those little, unique, one-off animations are. Death-bed clutchings and embraces, etc. Just astounding.

    Thanks again for starting this. I read the initial post about it and immediately bought FFT:WOTL on Vita to finally finish this bloody wonderful thing.

    Day Three Edit: I've restarted twice now. Haha... I'm feeling a lot better about about my third attempt. Tip: don't dismiss your "extra" Generics (boring story why I decided to do this; basically it was to streamline everything, I thought) because then people will die under hilariously tragic circumstances and cost you a ton of cash. It's been a while since I felt this stupid playing a game, and yet it has fired me up to charge back in every time. At this rate, I might actually complete Chapter 1.Edited June 2014 by Keldorek
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  • Avatar for elektrotal #4 elektrotal 3 years ago
    Perhaps my favorite non-civilization game of all time. And i'm with you, Mike- My Ramza was a monk/ninja for almost the whole game. Hell, I've taken out Weigraf with one (seriously buffed up) attack with him.

    But that's far off. In the early game, it's really important to get everyone jp up and move +1, and to have a chemist (or two) in your party, because you WILL die, and often. Hell, I don't even bother with mages outside of secondary skills until close to the end of ch 1, simply because throw is such an important skill early on.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #5 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @MHWilliams You're thinking of Meliadoul! Milleuda is Wiegraf's sister and I'm afraid she doesn't make it past Chapter One.
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  • Avatar for SigurdVolsung #6 SigurdVolsung 3 years ago
    First I'll give a bit of background so that my comments have some subtext. I purchased Final Fantasy Tactics on day one, even back then I purchased every Square game. I was a long time Final Fantasy fan (Jeremy and I are about the same age), and had played all US entries of the series to that point. The internet was still young at that point so I was not aware of this game's pedigree, however I had played Ogre Battle on SNES to it's conclusion. That was the closest I had come to a strategy RPG other than possibly the early AD&D games on PC like "Curse of the Azure Bonds" and such. I immediately got into this game, it combined my love of RPGs with my love of tactics such as Chess. After I beat this game several times it became the first game that I actually payed the significant price to import it's complete soundtrack from Japan, which I still have to this day. Also this kicked off a deep love, almost obsession, with Strategy RPGs. I am a major veteran of all NIS SRPGs, from Disgaea and beyond.

    With that out of the way, it's still nice to go back to this game even after finishing it many times. My preferred method is to go through most of the game with Ramza focusing on Melee classes such as Monk then Ninja and then Knight with Ninja dual wield, keeping his wonderful Fundamentals additions as the second slot. He has more Fundamental abilities than any other character, especially if you learn Ultima using it, but all of his additional ones are priceless and make him one of the best characters. However, for the final half of the game I keep his Fundamentals but switch him to more magical roles because you get a lot of better physical fighters than he is, the power knights such as the mighty T.G. Orlandu and his ilk.

    I love the story and the music and the world, that gets me in the door. But it's the grindy goodness that keeps me there and makes it home. So I'll be basically continuing to at least double the hours that are actually needed to finish each chapter we play. One warning for grinders, however. This game you have to be wary that you don't power level yourself into a conundrum. Shop armors and weapons do not level up with you. So you can be at the 20-30s in levels but only have level 10 quality weapons and armor, and that can make some random battles extremely difficult. But if you still want to do that, one way to help is to either focus more on magic, which doesn't have nearly the gear requirements, or always keep one or two captured monsters leveled up with your group to get you out of a jam.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #7 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    I never remember how rough the first two or three fights can be. I always wind up losing a grunt and have to hurry up and finish the enemies off before their death countdown hits 0.

    I'm with Mike, though, in that I get too easily wrapped in the grinding to do anything else. I just finished rescuing the Marquis after almost five hours of straight grinding. Part of it was just the peace of mind I need to be ready for the Dorter slums battle, but opening up all of those jobs in the process just tickles me.
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  • Avatar for Corran123 #8 Corran123 3 years ago
    Took me 6 hrs to beat the first chapter with little grinding. I didn't notice the passive abilities until I was 5 hrs in and suddenly the battles became a lot more managable - whoops! I was also wasting a lot of turns at the beginning without gaining EXP and JP.

    Now I'm right at the beginning of chapter 2. My Ramza is currently a monk with the knight's heavy armor ability. Additionally I'm using a knight, a white mage, a black mage and an archer in my default party.
    The last battle in Chapter 1 gave me trouble because of the 2 black mages. After a few tries I got lucky when one of the mages took down Ramza and Argath in one blow. Wiegraf was also pretty tough.
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  • Avatar for Outrider #9 Outrider 3 years ago
    I didn't really play Tactics until after I had watched my younger brother play it for hours and hours, so I had some pre-existing knowledge of how to play the game before I jumped in. I was just talking to my bro about how surprisingly easy the game became once I had Ramza as a knight with dual-wielding and a random PC as a monk. Like, they would steamroll through any opposition. It was kinda great. I guess I never realized it before, but Tactics reminds me of Final Fantasy VIII in the way that players can break it pretty easily (but that can be part of the fun).

    I'd love to play it again, but rather than dig the old PS2 from my parents' place and track down the copy of the PS1 game, I'll hold out until I can get a good deal on a Vita and pick up War of the Lions. Honestly, the feature in that game I'm most looking forward to is the increased party count because then I can still get all the special guest characters without having to remove the faceless goons who have been with me from the start.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #10 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    I finished Chapter 1 this past Saturday and just sat in one battle for like 3 hours just using accumulate (forgot what is was called in the PSP version) and I got Ramza up to 20 and he is currently a Knight.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #11 Kat.Bailey 3 years ago
    @ZenRain You just made me look up Tactics Double Dare. Fascinating.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #12 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Oh. So I am.
    @ZenRain That's insanity.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #13 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @nimzy The moral of Delita's story versus Wiegraf's is, you gotta work within the system to take down the system.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #14 jeffcorry 3 years ago
    Like most of the rest of you, I am really enjoying my play through. I have pretty much gone the route of tanking all my party through grinding and have enjoyed mowing down the competitions. Fair? No. Do I care? Maybe. But it feels really good!
    The story has been more fluid for me this time around. Last time I played it took me a long, long time to get through anything...I mean I was probably 2-3 years from beginning to end. This time, speeding it up has brought Wiegraf, Delita, and Ramza more alive. It is a lot easier to see and understand their motivations for each of their choices. I am seeing little story nuances that I missed when taking so much time in between.
    I guess I'll be working through Chapter 2 now! I am excited to come back next Tuesday to discuss more!
    Oh...and I really wanted Milleuda to kill Argath...but I should know better by this time. She would have been an awesome character to know better.Edited June 2014 by jeffcorry
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  • Avatar for sakicfan84 #15 sakicfan84 3 years ago
    Well I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I failed to complete the battle where you rescue Argath twice. I've beat this game a few times already, and the battle still got the best of me.

    First time I chose the option to save Argath, and he made a few bad decisions leading to a quick death. The second time, I forgot to teach my newly made generic characters any abilities. Chemists without potion didn't do much for me. I reset the game after one of my generics was about to turn into a crystal on me.

    After a couple setbacks, I'm getting back on track. Just finished up getting JP Up and Focus on the last of my generics. I'll probably spend an hour or so tonight leveling and then a little more time on my lunch break tomorrow, before I move on with the rest of chapter one. I'm trying not to go too overboard this time.
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  • Avatar for TBurg123 #16 TBurg123 3 years ago
    I know I'm a little late, but I just downloaded it today. I've never played Tactics before, but I love the Final Fantasy games and strategy games like Fire Emblem!

    I'll be sure to be caught up by next Tuesday. I look forward to finally being able to play through this game and can't wait to discuss it with everyone!
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  • Avatar for Critical_Hit #17 Critical_Hit 3 years ago
    I love the idea of this, but man, I can't wait until you guys pick a shorter game. No way am I gonna hop into FFT for this kind of thing. Maybe if I was still a teenager, or got paid to play games, but I just can't fit it into my life now. Not with the work I gotta do, the TV shows on my DVR, and the current games I'm trying to play through :P

    But this sounds rad and I hope everyone who participated this time had fun! Reminds me a bit of the "Four in February" that Joystiq's done for the past two years, where there's a community who picks 4 of the games on their backlog to try and play through that month. I've tried that before. It's cool when a community gets through a game/games together :)
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  • Avatar for wyattblair74 #18 wyattblair74 3 years ago
    I've decided to make my playthrough Wizard only. I've always ignored that class, instead going for later classes like the Summoner. It's very fun in its simplicity. Dorter was hard because of MP issues, but now that I have access to robes it's a breeze. I should be done with Chapter 1 tonight.

    I should also note that I'm playing on LFT, a fan made patch aimed at balancing classes, reducing grinding and adding enemy variety. Monsters are much more dangerous. A common problem with fan made patches is that they make the game too hard, but this doesn't go overboard.
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  • Avatar for Namevah #19 Namevah 3 years ago
    Truthfully, I've found this game frustrating. I've not yet reached the end of chapter one, but the game isn't afraid of punishing the player. (Those damn black mages can be exceptionally annoying.) I'm not new to this genre, but perhaps I'm too accustom to Fire Emblem's brand of strategy. Either way, I'm slowly moving forward, despite my issues. I might consider grinding for a fair bit, as much as wish not to.

    How early should I change my characters' classes? I've been keeping most of mine as squires or alchemists, but would I have an easier time if I just started jumping them into other classes?Edited 2 times. Last edited June 2014 by Namevah
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  • Avatar for ericturner92 #20 ericturner92 3 years ago
    This is my first time playing after years of passive curiosity in everyone's other favorite PSX Final Fantasy. I had tried out Advance years ago so I was expecting this to be the same. I'm glad to be proven wrong.
    Not that the Advance title is bad by any means, but this game seems to be crafted with a care for details that is unique. As Jeremy mentioned, the sprites' subtle movements convey so much and help a great deal in pulling me into the political story. On top of that, the field of battle changes from match to match with striking dynamism. Crumbling rebellion forts transition to rocky fields populated by monsters. The end-chapter setpiece, a bridge between two stone structures blanketed in snow, facilitates the storytelling. Delita's first move is to climb the rocks to be at eye level with Argath and throw a stone at his face. It is a perfect moment.
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  • Avatar for scottskocy03 #21 scottskocy03 3 years ago
    I didn't make it to the end of Chapter 1, but I'm close. I played the crap out of the game on the PS1 (I maxed the clock on several files) but this time I am playing the War of the Lions version for the first time. I like the new translation so far.

    It has never really occurred to me to make Ramza anything other than a Monk. It just works so well. This time I have been trying to use classes I usually ignore. Like Archer. I've only ever used Archer to get the job levels to move on to other classes. This time I am trying to incorporate one into my team. It's not going so well. Their range is awkward and so far they do minimal damage. I might also try out Oracle and see if I can make anything happen with it.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #22 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @sakicfan84 Argath makes rescuing him very difficult, in classic TRPG style (see also: Any rescue character in Tactics Ogre or Fire Emblem). AI is always so much smarter when it's working against you....Edited June 2014 by jeremy.parish
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #23 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago
    Oh Jaz will be in AGONY multiple times before Chapter 4. AGONY.

    Free tip: Two Saves.
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  • Avatar for Murbs #24 Murbs 3 years ago
    Argh! I'm well behind.
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  • Avatar for matthewjohnson31 #25 matthewjohnson31 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Regarding your Ramza build, have you ever tried Wizard with Draw Out? It's a good unorthodox alternative to traditional casters, and I remember it being pretty powerful when I tried it.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #26 VotesForCows 3 years ago
    Has anyone played this on ios? I have an ipad mini - thoughts?
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #27 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @Anjaneya I've read reviews that say it runs pretty poorly, but that was right after it came out. Haven't seen if they updated it at all, but it's a game that would lend well to the format, I think
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  • Avatar for Murbs #28 Murbs 3 years ago
    seems like it had a major update some time after it was originally released... Looks fairly slick.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #29 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @matthewjohnson31 Draw Out is a pretty advanced skill (I didn't grind THAT much in Chapter One!) and gets pretty expensive with all the katana-breaking... but if I go the magic route, I'll consider it. I've seen Let's Plays with that build and it's kind of hilariously overpowered.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #30 nilcam 3 years ago
    I love Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I've tried FFTA before and always felt it moved too slow. I figured this club would be a good chance to revisit. Before work, I had about 20 minutes to kill so I got started on the PSP version. Needless to say, I had to go before I got the chance to save so, once again, I find myself frustrated before the game has even begun. I don;t understand why SquareEnix didn't add in a portable-friendly save system on the portable version of the game.
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  • Avatar for matthieugalley90 #31 matthieugalley90 3 years ago
    I picked up War of the Lions again after never having put in more than 4 hours, even though I had bought it on release. Only did an hour or so of play so far, and I intend to stick on with it but I've barely reached the Sand Rat's Sietch battle and I'm already feeling a bit overwhelmed at the raft of options. Think it's time to do some grinding in order to get some more abilities. Unfortunately I won't be able to play again till Monday at the earliest so will probably be even further behind by the time the next installment is published...
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #32 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @nilcam You know you can just put your PSP/Vita into sleep mode and your game will be suspended as-is for when you come back, right? It's not as permanent as a save, but you won't lose your progress while it sleeps unless you let the battery run empty (which takes a week or two under normal circumstances).
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  • Avatar for Damman #33 Damman 3 years ago
    Didn't get a chance to play yesterday, so I'm two missions shy and needing to get a couple monks going to take out Wiegraf. I agree about Milleuda. Always felt it was a shame the way she dies for being in your way to stop things she isn't really a part of. I'm always impressed with the early goings of the story in this game. It can be a burden to keep track of, but the political machinations combined with the nobles v. peasants really play well into the world. I also love how the narrator at the beginning sets up the whole story as a clarification of a historic tale. One where Ramza, banished and labelled a heretic, is the actual hero rather than Delita. Come to think of it, I would totally play a FF Tactics 2: Delita's Story (maybe not written by modern day Square, though).

    As for my playthrough, as always I'm on a race to the samurai. Bar none, my favorite class. Something about sword magic really clicks with me. I would have a team of Holy Knights were that possible. Time allowing, I may try out Arithmeticks for the first time. I've always heard it can be incredibly game breaking OP, which, given a time table to progress through the chapters, might be just what this play through needs. Then we'll see who should be blaming who's God!

    Lastly, I'm also playing War of the Lions on PSP. Looking to pick up all the side characters too.
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  • Avatar for Damman #34 Damman 3 years ago
    @Namevah You definitely want to start playing around with different classes sooner rather than later. Unlike in Fire Emblem, class switching is easy and infinitely reversible without penalty. The early classes (Squire, Chemist, Knight, Archer) really only have a couple abilities each that you'll want (eg. Focus, Move+1, Autopotion, Equip Armor/Swords). It's best to play for those, then hop to something more useful like Monk, Geomancer, Thief, Mage, etc. Even early on, you'll need better damage dealing than Squires and Knights can typically do.

    Edit: Somehow I left out JPBoost, the absolutely essential early ability to get.Edited June 2014 by Damman
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #35 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    I hope PETA never finds out that I just spent an hour throwing rocks at a giant chicken
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #36 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla The chicken can heal itself. The chicken is one of the worst enemies in the game early on.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #37 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @MHWilliams Oh yeah, that's why I did it. Toss a few stones, let it heal, toss a few more, etc.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #38 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @MHWilliams Oh, they're so much worse later. The Zodiac demons got nothing on a flock of black and red Chocobos dropping Choco Meteor on your party.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #39 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @SatelliteOfLove That sounds like a really good idea! I'm not exactly in agony yet, but those teeth marks on my desk better buff out...
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #40 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @ZenRain You know that's not a bad idea. Maybe I can set it up that way while I'm working and cheese my way through the game. Yet another way to break it over your knee, I guessEdited June 2014 by kidgorilla
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  • Avatar for secularsage #41 secularsage 3 years ago
    I'm playing along too, guys, but I doubt I'll be able to make it through Chapter 2 in a week. But I'll still follow the series!

    After reading all the grinding Mike's made time for in Week 1, I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off setting up my early game dream team before moving on. I've barely scratched the surface, let alone ground.
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  • Avatar for scottskocy03 #42 scottskocy03 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Oh God, I'm having flashbacks. I forgot to save. Why didn't I save?
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  • Avatar for scarritt #43 scarritt 3 years ago
    I've never been very good at tactical games, but I somehow made it all the way to the final boss on the PSX version years ago. I've always had difficulty thinking strategically, so I think I might have gotten away with just grinding, for the most part. A sleepless night thanks to trying a new ADHD medication made that pretty easy, too.

    I love games like this, though. It's greatly satisfying to get through a particularly challenging battle relatively unscathed. Maybe this time I'll actually defeat the final boss...

    Oh! And I LOVE the Tutorial music.Edited June 2014 by scarritt
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  • Avatar for nilcam #44 nilcam 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Good point. I never think about that feature as I never use it. Still, a portable tactics game that does not allow for saving anywhere is poor design. I've been able to do that since the GBA.

    I started a new game and will start the first chapter tonight.
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  • Avatar for Damman #45 Damman 3 years ago
    I just squeaked past the last battle in Chapter 1. Some bad decisions were made. Ramza followed Delita into a suicide assault and lay face down with a 0 over his head (who knew that mage had thundara?). My other knight fought his twin and lost (largely because I healed the wrong one). My white mage was trapped in the corner, helpless. Only my black mage still posed a threat, perched at the highest point in the level and juiced up with arcane power. Arrogant to the last, Argath followed after him, wanting to finish things with his own crossbow, and perfectly set himself up for some death-fire from above.

    I had nearly given up on the battle two turns ago. By conventional logic, I should have. Yet a little persistence and a great deal of luck payed off. On to chapter 2!Edited June 2014 by Damman
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #46 Lord-Bob-Bree 3 years ago
    Deleted June 2014 by Lord-Bob-Bree
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #47 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    I'm curious how many people are playing the PS1 version versus War of the Lions. I know the retranslation takes heat for being "too fancy," but I love it. The story actual manages to be cogent, whereas the older version of the game left me scratching my head. Everything seemed like disconnected events in the original script, but War of the Lions made the connections much clearer. The first chapter is a great example; the way in which Ramza and Delita stumbled onto the stage of history and came to follow their own separate paths makes way more sense.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #48 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I have played both and I agree that WotL has a better translation I just like playing on a bigger screen.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #49 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    I kind of wish that PS3 could play PSP games full screen or that when I hook my PSP up to the TV it would display full screen.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #50 jeffcorry 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I'm on the PSP version and I have to say that for me it is much clearer. I think during this playthrough the backstory, as you mentioned, for Delita and Ramza came out so much clearer for me. I love both versions, but prefer the PSP translation and extras.
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  • Avatar for SigurdVolsung #51 SigurdVolsung 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I am playing WotL version. I've been through both versions many times. I mostly like the WotL version more due to the bonus classes and content. But I also prefer the translation change. As far as the "flowery" text, frankly I love it. But 17-19th century literature is a huge part of my reading life. So it's right up my alley.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #52 Lord-Bob-Bree 3 years ago
    I'm playing on the PSX version (the first PSX game I owned!). My thoughts on the translation are similar to ZenRain's: from what I've seen on the WotL translation, it makes more sense than this version (a certain line at the end of Chapter 3, for instance), but some of the... stylisations... it adds would have been better done without. And then there's bringing Fly back to it's inexplicably high cost...

    Anyway, I cleared Chapter 1 without much issue, though I had forgotten how it limits you to four characters for so long. Now to actually try to use propositions and poaching for the first time.
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  • Avatar for masoniter #53 masoniter 3 years ago
    Really like this article. I've been meaning to play this game for a long time, but it can be a little intimidating to get into. There are some good beginner hints here though. I am going to try again and use the monk class.
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  • Avatar for christopherhughes97 #54 christopherhughes97 3 years ago
    I put my game of War of the Lions down about a year ago when I got stuck on that fight where you have to open the castle sluice. Finally beat it this week though! So I've mostly been going through and using the in-game history to remember what was going on. I really appreciate when RPGs include a feature like that. Was it in the original game or an addition for the remake?
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #55 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @ZenRain Yeah, but the original translation for the chronicle stuff was some of the worst in the game. The cut scenes were a bit iffy but did the trick, but all the supplemental text was incomprehensible. WOTL is worth it just for the way it renders the behind-the-scenes stuff coherent.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #56 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    I'm playing the WotL version. I like the new translation fine, and I actually like how the cut scenes look, but I cannot stand the voice acting. I promptly turn the sound off when they show up.

    I'm also not so psyched about how slowly spells animate in this version, but that's also a minor gripe, I guess
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  • Avatar for JohnnyBarnstorm #57 JohnnyBarnstorm 3 years ago
    So based on reading the first chapter of the USgamer club I actually started playing Tactics again, and put five hours into it. (The first time I got stuck at Wiegraf, back in 1998). It seems to be clicking better. At least I have somewhat of a focus - or Accumulate, as I'm playing the original version on Vita. It's still *hard*, but things are much easier since I found out from you guys why I should level up Squire for a while and get the JP boost, Move+1, Yell and Accumulate. Since Jeremy said the random encounters were based on Ramza's level I kept him out of the fights but they seemed to be scaling with the remaining fighters.

    That fight in the slums was BRUTAL though.
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  • Avatar for choog #58 choog 3 years ago
    I started late and on the last stretch of chapter 1.
    Let's see if I can catch up during the chapter 3 week.
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  • Avatar for Whimsee #59 Whimsee 3 years ago
    I definitely remember playing this game for the first time because it was one of the first games I ever played.

    It just blew my mind because I couldn't get how things worked back then and I didn't play it until a few years later then stopped again because of Gafgargion. Then suddenly, I wondered if stripping him of all his items early on would affect him in the boss battle later and it worked!

    Still one of the best "What if?" gaming experiments of my life.
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