Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (ファイナルファンタジータクティクスアドバンス?) is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. A spin-off of the popular Final Fantasy series, the game shares several traits with 1997’s Final Fantasy Tactics, although it is not a direct sequel. The player assembles a clan of characters, and controls their actions over grid-like battlefields. Players are mostly free to decide the classes, abilities, and statistics of their characters.
The game’s story centers on four children; Marche, Mewt, Ritz, and Doned, who live in a small town named St. Ivalice. The children are transported to a realm of the same name as their town, “Ivalice”, after discovering an ancient magical book. The story then focuses on the exploits of Marche as he attempts to return to the real world while facing opposition from those around him.
Tactics Advance is one of the initial products from the cooperation of Square and Nintendo made for the Game Boy Advance console; it was developed by the team brought over from the game company Quest Corporation. Following its release, Tactics Advance-themed merchandise was introduced. The game was positively received. It has a sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift for the Nintendo DS.
In Tactics Advance, turn-based tactical battles take place on a three-dimensional isometric field. The player takes the role of Marche, a clan leader; he must organize the clan’s members and advance their status through missions that are offered in pubs. The player competes against the computer’s team in turn-based play, although unlike Final Fantasy Tactics characters execute their actions instantly.
Missions are tasks undertaken by a clan. There are four types of missions: regular, encounter, dispatch, and area. In regular missions, Marche’s entire party ventures to a particular location to do battle. Many of these missions are used to advance the story. In encounter missions, Marche’s group battles a rival mercenary clan by purchasing a mission or meeting them on the map. In dispatch missions, which do not involve battle, Marche temporarily sends away one member from his party. Area missions are usually a dispatch mission where Marche’s clan can liberate certain regions to obtain bonuses and discounts at shops.
Some missions, typically dispatch missions, require a special item to be in possession in order to accept the mission. Others require a dispatch character to have a specific job class. In regards to items, this may mean another mission must be done to get an item that would allow you to perform the later mission.
The world map is initially empty except for the starting location; it is customized as the player wins location “tokens” after certain missions. These tokens represent different terrains and settlements, such as plains, mountains, deserts, forests, and towns, that can be placed in slots on the world map. Items are rewarded to the player depending on the placement of the tokens. Ivalice also introduces areas called jagds, lawless slums that Judges avoid. Jagd is a German word which means the hunt. Jagds are the only places in the game in which a character can die; everywhere else, they are protected from death by the Judges and are simply knocked out.
Tactics Advance also offers multiplayer capability for two players. Players may cooperate or compete using a link-cable peripheral, and also trade items and party members. Additional missions and items are also offered when players link.
There are 34 “jobs” in Tactics Advance that govern a character’s stats, equipment, and abilities. Most items that can be equipped have various abilities assigned to them, each available for use by characters of a certain job while the item is equipped. When a battle is completed, characters will receive Ability Points (AP) distributed over their currently equipped weapons or items (such as armor). Once a target amount of AP has been accumulated for a given ability, the character will master that ability, allowing the character to use them at any time, regardless of items equipped and job chosen. Mastery of abilities in different jobs will eventually allow the character access to more jobs. For example, if a human unit wishes to change jobs to Paladin, it needs to master at least two “action” abilities from the “soldier” job.
Units have a primary job which determines the stat boosts they receive when they level up and the attributes associated with that class. A unit may also have a secondary job set of abilities, where it can use any abilities of the selected job, but with the stat profile of the primary job. For example, an Assassin with a Sniper secondary job could use abilities from both jobs, but has the stat profile and appearance of an Assassin, its primary job. This may deny the use of some abilities depending on their equipped weapon. In the previous example, any abilities that require the possession of a great bow, will not be allowed for use if the character has a Katana equipped.
Tactics Advance also introduces five playable races: Humans, the small rodentlike Moogles, the strong lizard-like Bangaa, the agile rabbit-like Viera, and the magically-skilled Nu Mou. Certain jobs are only available to certain races. Along with the abilities obtained with experience, each race has a guardian beast called a “Totema” to represent whom and which can be summoned to whose aid when a member of that race has 10 Judge Points, that is after your clan has defeated that Totema as part of the main story line.
One feature of Tactics Advance is the Laws system. Laws are set by Judges, invincible arbiters present at each battle, with some exceptions. Laws may forbid the use of certain weapons, items, elemental spells, or status changes. Breaking a law results in punishment by Carding, the receipt of a red or yellow card. Imprisonment happens if a character infringes a law twice or knocks out another unit with a forbidden ability or weapon. However, Jagds have no Judges or laws; units knocked out in the Jagds will die and permanently leave the clan if they are not revived by the end of the battle.
To offset the difficulty of having things forbidden for use, there are certain things that are recommended by the Judges, and therefore grant Judge Points if used. Judge Points (JP) are used to carry out combos with nearby allies or to summon a Totema. JP are also received upon knocking out an opponent. Later in the game, the player gains the ability to use law cards, which can add laws, and anti-law cards, which can nullify laws that are already in effect.
|Final Fantasy Tactics Advance|
|Developer(s)||Square PDD 4|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Advance|
|Genre(s)||Tactical role-playing game|
|Media||128 megabit cartridge|
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