Reminder: Final Fantasy Tactics Is Still Incredible

Illustration for article titled Reminder: iFinal Fantasy Tactics /iIs 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.

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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 $660,000 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 sympathize 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.

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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 optimized 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 can reach the author of this post at jason@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.

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DISCUSSION

I dunno, there are loads of cheap moments in the game (without getting into spoilers, bosses that are extremely difficult where you can get “stuck” because you saved after the last point where you can gain levels, NPCs you have to save who constantly try their best to get killed, etc.), I think Orlandu is one of the few times you get back at the game. That, or when you (playing the PSP version) make Ramza a Dark Knight, and then run around absolutely destroying everything with his incredible moveset (which would never be complete without Scream).

Currently playing Tactics Ogre to try and recapture some of that FFT magic!