Of course with every mission/job there is a battle to be had and at the start you are given the option to let out a certain amount of characters for the battle, once completed the battle begins and a judge appears. The judges appear in every battle and are there to govern the laws of Ivalice. The laws are probably the most annoying factor of the game when you are first getting started. The laws prohibit certain actions from being used during the course of the battle, of course the laws change from day to day but you must take care not to get stuck in a battle when the law for the day prohibits using the basic action of “Fight.” After a couple of missions you are introduced to a character who is able to make cards that can nullify and enforce laws in the middle of battle, which can lead to quite a bit a madness for your opponents. There is a lot of experimenting to be done here just remember to check the law before going into battle, for if you would happen to break one of the laws you can have the character go to jail or receive a penalty, some of which can be quite harsh, for instance, if you break a certain law you can get the volunteer penalty and not receive any gold for the fight. If Marche should go to jail then the game is over so be sure to take care.
There are five races that inhabit Ivalice, Humans, Moogles, Veria, Bangaa and the Nu Mou. Each race has exclusive jobs that only they can have, for the Humans you’ve got hunters, blue mages, fighters, and paladins. The Moogles have jugglers, gunners, gadgeteers, and the powerful mog knight. The Veria have fencers, red mages, summoners, and elementalists. The Bangaa have the heavy hitters like white monks, dragoons, and gladiators. And the Nu Mou has sages, alchemists, and morphers. There are a large number of other jobs that are shared between the races so make sure you check them all out. Every ability that a character acquires is earned through the weapon they have equipped. The system that is used for this is like that of Final Fantasy 9. As you complete battles you gain Ability Points (AP) that goes towards the skills you are learning. Once you earn enough AP the skill is mastered and then a new weapon can be equipped. The same goes for armor and accessories.
For a GameBoy Advance game there are sounds and visuals that would lead you to think that this were a first generation PSOne title. I am seriously amazed at the audio quality of this game, and graphically the game looks amazing. There is a good amount of animation for all the characters. The interface of the game is also superb, all the information that you need is conveniently packed onto the small screen and you’re never left wondering what the menu says.
Square Enix has done a great job in stuffing so much gameplay into such a tiny little cart and I recommend this game for any gamer on the go. The game starts off slow but the story really starts to pick up after just a short amount of time. The best part about this game is how easy it is to just pick up and play. Thanks to an excellent in-battle save function you can easily stop playing when you need to. So for you students out there this one is for you as well. Head out today and pick up a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and be sure to snag a strategy guide, you’re going to need it to find all the missions in the game.
Square gives a solid portable effort, with a few nagging issues.
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