Reminder: Final Fantasy Tactics Is Still Incredible

Reminder: Final Fantasy Tactics Is Still Incredible

It has become clear, in the wake of the disastrous Unsung Story, that we may never get a proper successor to Final Fantasy Tactics. Fortunately, the original game is as good today as it was in 1998.

This past weekend, the game studio Playdek broke months of silence to announce that they’d put Unsung Story on ice for the indefinite future. This news came two years after they raised $US660,000 from unwitting backers — myself included — for the promise of a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics, designed by legendary director Yasumi Matsuno himself. After months of extended silence, directional shifts and broken promises, it’s become clear that Playdek is not going to deliver on that pledge. (Playdek has not responded to several requests for comment.)

I sympathise with anyone who pledged to this Kickstarter, especially those who spent significant amounts of money. Here’s some comfort, though: Final Fantasy Tactics is just as good as it ever was.

In the wake of the Unsung Story news, I spent some time this weekend revisiting Matsuno’s classic, which I’ve bought three times now (on PS1, PSP and iPhone). It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the game’s still great. The music is still stirring, the story is still twisted, the characters are still as fascinating and multifaceted as they were back in the day. Ramza’s still into milk. Building an army of characters and watching their job trees expand is still satisfying as hell.

The iOS version of Final Fantasy Tactics is particularly solid, bringing over the enhanced script of the PSP remake without any of the framerate issues. They haven’t optimised the game for bigger versions of the iPhone, so you’ll still see those black bars on the sides of your screen, but the touch controls are surprisingly easy to use, once you’ve adjusted a bit.

So if you’re bummed out about the Unsung Story mess — or you just want to play one of the best video games ever made — go play Final Fantasy Tactics. If you’re like me and you’ve beaten it dozens of times already, try one of the many challenges that fans have devised over the years, like the Single Class Challenge, which tasks you with beating the entire game as, say, a party of archers. Or you could go with a themed party based around Chrono Trigger or Lord of the Rings. Just don’t use Orlando, because that’s cheating.


  • You know, as a massive FF fan, I have tried on FOUR separate occasions to play Tactics, since everyone seems to rave about it so much, but I just cannot get into it. Even at the very start of the game I feel like I’m doing the battles wrong.

    • Yep, happened to me a bit at the beginning a decade ago. It didn’t help that when I checked the Gamefaqs’ most popular document, it turned to be a massive behemoth filled with formulae and minutia that made it seem like an overwhelming endeavour. But I learned the basics and pushed through and boy, was it worth it. Several replays later (each of 99+ hours) I was still digging into that document, understanding better and improving the way I play and experimented with new configurations.

    • Yup. Me too. Then I am sure I gave my guys the wrong jobs, started grinding the first little wilderness monster area, got lost… I may have to try again, but the start seemed vague.

  • By the way, in case there’s still someone who doesn’t know about this. There’s a huge modding community for FFT. One of the crown jewels of their efforts is the “1.3 patch” which fixed balancing problems (no more broken abilities/characters!), removed exploits, improved enemy AI, and added a crapload of content including new characters, classes, enemies and set battles. It all adds up to make the game massively more difficult, but not unfairly so. Each battle is now more of a puzzle which will require the development of new strategies and even if you had encyclopaedic knowledge about FFT mechanics, you’ll find yourself learning new things. It is such a new experience while still staying true to the spirit of FFT that I don’t expect we’ll ever get anything that is more a sequel to it than this.

    It may be found at Make sure of reading the wiki guide in the site if you decide to spelunk that dark abyss.

  • I wouldn’t really say it’s incredible. The game has a lot of problems in both its design and programming (even fans acknowledge this) but it seems that the people who manage to get past the barriers really enjoy it. Personally I got into a groove with the game, hit “that” problem and had to restart at which point I lost all interest in the game. Really enjoyed the Advance games though, despite that making me a heretic or something.

  • I havent played it in sometime, but I still have that opening chime in my head, One of the most memorable openings EVER.

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