Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for IOS

I don’t really play video games that much these days. It’s not that I find them to be a waste of time but rather video games don’t get me excited like they used to anymore. Now I don’t know if I’ve outgrown them or I’m just stuck in nostalgia but one thing is for certain: they don’t make ’em like they use to. One game I definitely remember playing even till this day is Final Fantasy Tactics (FFT) on the original Playstation. You see, I grew up in the Final Fantasy VII era. That was the big thing back then. I’m sure you’ve also heard of that game. I wasn’t what you would consider a hardcore video gamer. I didn’t go to video game websites, watch video game reviews or participate in online or local gaming communities. Therefore, I wasn’t up-to-date at all where video games were concerned. How I got my hands on the FFT game is pretty funny every time I think about it but suffice it to say, it was one of the best spontaneous/random purchases I have ever made in my life!

Final Fantasy Tactics CoverI still clearly remember the events leading to the purchase till this day. I believe it was the summer of 1998 or so and I was in my local K-Mart store with my parents. As with most other stores, I quickly went to the electronics/videogame department. Upon looking into the glass display where all the games where kept, I saw a game with the Final Fantasy label on it. I thought “That’s it, I’m sold!”. This was coming from a kid who had just finished Final Fantasy VII and thought it was the best game in existence. So, having the knowledge I had concerning video games at that time, anything with the words Final Fantasy on it was a must-have. I begged my parents to purchase the game for me and made the usual promises every kid would make at my age when they wanted something from their parents (do more chores, get better grades in school, sleep earlier, eat more vegetables, etc). At this point, I had no idea as to what kind of game FFT consisted of nor what I was getting myself into. The only thing that concerned me was the title and the beautiful screenshots on the back of the case. Personally, I thought it would be something like FFVII. But after 15-30 minutes into the game, I was dead wrong. This game resembled nothing like it.

FFT is a game in the strategy-RPG genre. Where in FFVII allowed free roaming, big world maps and the ability to explore different areas, FFT was more of a chess/board game, sorta. You select a group of about 6-8 characters and head into battle on a grid-based map against your foes. Each character takes turn moving around the map and perform different actions. Because the map is grid-based, each character can only advance or move so many blocks during each turn in any direction. This my friends, is the strategy element. Initially, I hated myself for asking my parents to spend their hard earned money on this game for me because I hated the style of this game. After spending literally hundreds of hours into an open-world game, I felt restricted and tied down in FFT. Of course, I had no choice but to bare with it because I couldn’t return the video game and I had no other video game to occupy my time anyways. It turned out to be absolutely worth it.

Fast forward 10-11 years later after the initial release of FFT on the Playstation and you can now find yourself playing this excellent game on your iPhone and iPad (this version is yet to be released as of this writing). Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (FFTWotL) actually was re-released in 2007 on the Sony PSP handheld gaming portable system and on July 19th of 2011 in the PSN store due to its immense popularity. If you haven’t yet play the game on the original Playstation, Sony PSP or on the PS3, you can now get a chance to play it on your IOS device!

You can download Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the iPhone here in the Apple Store. The iPad version of this game is yet to be released. I have only tried FFT:WotL on the iPhone 3GS for a couple of hours. Although playable, it has considerable slow-downs and this issue makes it a pain to control/rotate the camera which you’ll need to constantly do on a regular basis on the small display screen. Many users are also complaining of the same slow-down issues on the iPhone 4 even though it has faster hardware than the 3GS. You can either wait for the iPad version, continue on with the iPhone version or play this awesome game on another platform. The app currently costs $15.99 from the Apple Store!

The Soundtrack

I’m not going to lie here. The soundtrack to FFT can make up for almost half the reasons why I consider this game to be the greatest of all time. Almost every track is a masterpiece and fits so damn well into the game. I can’t really remember ever playing a game where I considered the soundtrack to play such a big role in a game besides FFT and FFVII. A lot of users might dismiss the soundtrack but I’m telling you right now, do not underestimate it! Even till this day, listening to music that makes up FFT still gives me the chills and creeps. However, don’t take my word for it. Here is a quick Youtube video someone uploaded comprising of a couple of music score from the game. Once you play through the game, you’ll know what I mean when I say that this is one of the best music scores to accompany a game ever.

The Gameplay

In FFT, you can equip your characters with different job classes. You’ve got monks, geomancers, knights, archers, mages, chemists, etc.  Obviously, each job class has their perks and it’s your job to assign your posse with the right jobs and skills for each battle. As you level up, you’ll gain access to new skills. Fighting is turn-based. In FFT, you’ll definitely need your wits to win battles. This is where the strategy comes into play as there is no button mashing.

Playing FFT on the iPhone 3GS felt really cramped. You’ll have to constantly shift the camera angle and the slow-downs do not help at all. The controls themselves are fine but selecting grids on such a small display can be quite difficult if you’re not use to it. The game actually felt like a straight port from the earlier systems to the IOS. This is a shame because I would have thought the developers would revamp the interface or change something to make the game more easier to play with on the iPhone. Battles take fairly long in FFT and I’m sure it will take even longer when played on IOS devices.

Here are two gameplay videos to highlight the battle system of FFT:

Favorite Game of All Time

Without a doubt, FFT is one of my favorite game of all time. This is strange because I never would have thought my favorite game would be in the strategy-RPG genre. It’s also a damn shame that not much more of these games are being made today. I’m glad that the game is being finally ported to IOS devices but although the game was delayed in the past, the end product we have now could have been better in my opinion. For the $15.99 price tag, it’s not exactly cheap. But, I suppose that’s better than having to buy either a Playstation, Sony PSP or Playstation 3 system. I’m confident the game would be a lot easier to play with on the iPad but they really should fix the slow-downs.

Whatever the case maybe, I just wanted to write an article dedicated to one of the best games ever created. I highly doubt it but if they were to make a true sequel to FFT, I would literally jump up for joy and might even hug one random person on the street just for good measure.

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