The Great Final Fantasy Retrospective - Let's Mosey

meiam

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I'm Captain Basch!

I noped out of FFXII after abour 25 hours. It was very brown. The combat system was OK, but a bit tedious (although I think this about most FF games). The job system was very lacklustre and really didn't open out that many interesting decisions despite the size and complexity of the skill trees. The story was fine I guess. The main things that wore me down were how stingy the game is with resources, especially gold, and how long dungeons could drag on for.
Oh you didn't play long enough, otherwise you wouldn't say the story was fine.

Dungeon dragged on, but the remaster has a fast forward mode, combined with the combat system where you can program your guy to do all the fight for you while you just watch and it makes the dungeon almost pleasant.
 

CriticalGaming

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Well we've reached the end of the era. The final game in the ps2 era of games, and it's basically almost all downhill from here at least for a while.

So FF12 then.

FF12 shares something in common with FF9, in that it released at the tail end of the systems lifespan where the next gen console was already hyped up and coming in quick. I feel like in a lot of ways FF12 was a very forgotten FF game and there is some good reason for that. It's very forgettable.

Having just played the game for 40 hours, I've already forgotten most of it. I wish I was joking but I'm not. I honestly can't remember most of the events in the game and I will be looking up some things just to pad out this post. The biggest problem I think with FF12 is that there is no real set up. No set up for the world (perhaps they expected you to have played Tactics), no set up for the characters, and no set up for the big moments.

Everything that happens in FF12 just kind of happens. The characters are together because....I dunno, they had nothing better to do. In fact I think that's why Balthier and Fran are literally on this journey, they had nothing better to do. Nobody has a drive to be a hero, nobody outside of Basch and Ashe even have a duty or loyalty to anything at all. Everyone's along for the ride and in that nobody has any chemistry with each other. In fact there is no moment where the characters just talk to each other, not about plot but just talk.

So let me rewind a bit. The story starts with some exhibition. There is an empire taking over the world because....uh well they felt like it? And the rest of the world would rather they didn't, even though there is no indication that life under the Empire is bad in anyway. We never see slaves, or people being killled for no reason under the Empire, and hell the Empire's leader actually seems like a good guy when you first see him. Then he is evil later for reasons that aren't well established.

Maybe the problem is we aren't given any time with Vayne. Nothing to set up his ambitions, motivations, showcase his manipulation, nothing. No other FF villian is like that, Kefka is shown a lot, Sephiroth is build up in legends, Sin blows shit up several times, Kuja is also shown being a dick sometimes, but in 12 Vayne randomly kills his father for some reason and he takes over and whatever.

Ok anyway you are playing Vaun, a street rat orphan kid who's upset with the empire because his brother got fucked up while fighting in the war. But other than that Vaun has no idea what the fuck is going on in the world, which makes sense because he's a nobody in a big city and who's going to explain anything to him. Like Tidus in FFX, Vaun serves as the player's window to the world. Like the player Vaun doesn't know shit about shit, and it's up to Vaun to ask questions to the party in order for explainations of events and why they are supposed to matter.

The problem with the story here is that most of the actual shit has already happened. For the most part the Empire seems to have won already, and the party is just trying to find ways to resist against a foe who's already settled in victory. Again we are told the Empire is fucked up but the Empire never attacks a city, never pushes for deeper war, instead they focus on the magical rocks that will allow for domination in a world they ALREADY dominate. It's nonsense.

So the story in this game just sucks. I'm sorry it sucks, it's a bunch of political jargon for kingdoms and people the player has no way of knowing because it's never explain or shown who is who in relation to everything and everyone else. Then the characters in the party are also bad because they have no personality, no emotion, no investment in each other NOR the events of what's happening in the game. Except arguably Ashe.

Gameplay then.

FF12 got a lot of shit back in the day for playing like a single-player MMO. You walk around the map and enemies are there which will either attack you, or you have to attack them. Most shit plays out automatically through the use of Gambits on your character. The reason for the gambits is that combat in FF12 is actually kind of fast and a lot can happen very quickly. Gambits are a way to ease the burdon on the player by given each character a list of actions they are to perform whenever certain conditions are met. For example you can have your healer cure any party member who falls below a certain HP%, or remove blind when a character is blinded.

The gambit system gets very deep as you can program characters for a huge list of actions and then assign priority of those actions so that you know they'll be reliably done by the AI when you need it most. However the downside to this is that you as the player don't have to play the game much, as once you're in combat the gambits will take care of everything. Even to the point where the biggest and hardest bosses in the game can be handled entirely by your programmed AI. In fact the player is often too slow at selecting actions to really help the AI much anyway, outside of triggering Quickenings which are just Limit Breaks, or summons.

There is some novelty in that, pride that you've programmed the game good enough that you're party is nearly unstopable. However, once you're at that point you aren't playing the game anymore, there are no choices to make, no split decisions to pull off to save a combat encounter going wrong, nope you just prepare for as many situations as you can gambit away and the computer handles the rest.

Additionally there is the way loot and treasures work in FF12. I'm specifically playing the Zodiac age so somethings have changed here. Firstly each zone location has treasure chests that may or may not spawn. However you can reset the zones treasures by leaving and re-entering the zone. Some of these can be very rare and very powerful so sometimes it's worth it to run through a zone, get all the chests, then reset it and repeat until you get the rare item. Then loot from monsters works by typically dropping some random junk like fur, or gemstones, or whatever. Effectively instead of gil you build up a pile of junk, which you then have to sell to build up Gil to buy actual things. I don't like this system because it just adds a bunch of menuing for no reason. Instead of getting gil after every fight, i get some junk that I then have to sell one by one to a vendor (because there is no "sell all junk" button) before I can actually shop for shit I want. It's pointless.

The other big thing FF12 does is a very long gamewide sidequest called hunts. Basically there is a job board in which you will accept a job off the board, go speak to the guy who posted it, then go hunt whatever monster they need, and return for a reward. These Hunts are the most interesting and difficult parts of the game as every hunt is a beefed up monster with a bunch of added bullshit to give you a hard time. Some of which might require you to program your gambits specfically for them and them alone. It's like a mini monster hunter within FF12 and this is okay. It's nice and can be fun to get fucked up by a monster early, only to return the favor later when you are better leveled and prepared for it.

And last but not least, in fact this might be the most important thing in gameplay, is the liscense board. Each character can have up to two jobs, each of which has a liscense board that is required to be filled out in order for the character to do specific things like cast spells, or equip better and better armors or weapons. There are also power bonuses here like more HP, more attack, etc etc. You earn LP (liscense points) with each monster kill, usually 1-4 LP at a time, but you fight so fucking much that this builds up into the 100's very quickly. It's an okay system but really is kind of a waste because a lot of the board isn't useful and is padded with trash like "potions heal more", which is fucking dumb. But these boards are the core to your character's power because without it you wont get the HP or be able to equip decent gear to get you through the game. However the board does make it painfully clear that FF12 is strictly a numbers game. Assuming your gambit's are in order, victory only rests on if you have the equipment and HP numbers to get through the fight. If yes, you win, if not you wont. End of story.

In the end FF12 is just ok. While the story sucks a fat turd, the characters are awful, and the gameplay is automatic, there is something about farming monsters, building gambits, testing your builds that keeps you engaged with the game till the end. So this game would probably fall into the lower end of the middle group of my personal FF game rankings. Call it slightly-below-average?
 

meiam

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The game has nothing to do with FFT world (its technically a distant prequel, but nothing match). Although its not quite fair to say it has no setup, it literally start with a star wars esque long narration explaining the geopolitical situation, but most player will quickly forget it since it uses a lot of jargon and most of the info given isn't relevant for hours.

So I'll mention rocketeer long... analysis/rant? of FF12 from the old escapist forum (republished on Shamus Young blog with rocketeer adding a lot of details in the comment, sadly the last entry was published the day Shamus died). I mostly agree with his assessment so I won't go into too many detail.

But yeah, no two way around it. The story suck and most of the character don't belong in it, shamefully that include the main character. The weirdest part is that you could literally remove the game party from the story and all the events would happen exactly the same, the biggest impact would be that it would have slowed down the empire a little bit, our only impact on the story is helping the bad guys. And there's just so many events that flat out makes no sense.

My personal experience of it was playing trough about halfway and at some point the pope tell you to go and find a sword in some ruin because it can cut nethicide (the game version of nuclear power) and wondering why it even mattered (spoiler, it didn't and you literally never use the sword for anything relevant).

Gemaply wise, the license board is a great system for another game. The problem is they didn't update the way the game played from older FF to account for the player programming their party member, everything is still pretty simple. There's no complex combo (ie "if the enemy gets frozen by party member, use shatter strike for extra damage") nor is there difficult decision to take because of resource management (mp is easily restored, limit break thing is just weird but summon are never worth using and quickening trivialize the game). Similarly the license board doesn't really have anything interesting in it that would fundamentally change how the character would play in combat. So there's no interesting character customization aspect (think diablo or something). Loot is also boring with every equipment piece just having bigger number. The hunt is indeed pretty cool, but its completely separated from the main game and if you spend too much time doing it you'll blow trough everything else in the game.

The game had a notoriously bad development cycle (something which we'll hear more about soon) and its clear that the game we got was awkwardly built atop the ruin of the old game. The game was apparently some sort of mmo esque thing at some point in development (explain the very large area) and Vaan wasn't the main character, Balthier was (which explain Vaan ceasing to exist after the first couple of hours and Balthier being de facto lead).
 

CriticalGaming

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I agree with you in regards to FF12. Especially about the overlong narration featuring terms and names that are meaningless to the player at the time they are spoken. Which is why it feels like there is no setup because any setup given to the player is too easily forgotten by the time the information becomes important in the story.

I hope there isn't any other games in the series that bombard you with random terms it expects to mean something to you with no context. They wouldn't do that again would they?
 

Drathnoxis

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Well we've reached the end of the era. The final game in the ps2 era of games, and it's basically almost all downhill from here at least for a while.

So FF12 then.

FF12 shares something in common with FF9, in that it released at the tail end of the systems lifespan where the next gen console was already hyped up and coming in quick. I feel like in a lot of ways FF12 was a very forgotten FF game and there is some good reason for that. It's very forgettable.

Having just played the game for 40 hours, I've already forgotten most of it. I wish I was joking but I'm not. I honestly can't remember most of the events in the game and I will be looking up some things just to pad out this post. The biggest problem I think with FF12 is that there is no real set up. No set up for the world (perhaps they expected you to have played Tactics), no set up for the characters, and no set up for the big moments.

Everything that happens in FF12 just kind of happens. The characters are together because....I dunno, they had nothing better to do. In fact I think that's why Balthier and Fran are literally on this journey, they had nothing better to do. Nobody has a drive to be a hero, nobody outside of Basch and Ashe even have a duty or loyalty to anything at all. Everyone's along for the ride and in that nobody has any chemistry with each other. In fact there is no moment where the characters just talk to each other, not about plot but just talk.

So let me rewind a bit. The story starts with some exhibition. There is an empire taking over the world because....uh well they felt like it? And the rest of the world would rather they didn't, even though there is no indication that life under the Empire is bad in anyway. We never see slaves, or people being killled for no reason under the Empire, and hell the Empire's leader actually seems like a good guy when you first see him. Then he is evil later for reasons that aren't well established.

Maybe the problem is we aren't given any time with Vayne. Nothing to set up his ambitions, motivations, showcase his manipulation, nothing. No other FF villian is like that, Kefka is shown a lot, Sephiroth is build up in legends, Sin blows shit up several times, Kuja is also shown being a dick sometimes, but in 12 Vayne randomly kills his father for some reason and he takes over and whatever.

Ok anyway you are playing Vaun, a street rat orphan kid who's upset with the empire because his brother got fucked up while fighting in the war. But other than that Vaun has no idea what the fuck is going on in the world, which makes sense because he's a nobody in a big city and who's going to explain anything to him. Like Tidus in FFX, Vaun serves as the player's window to the world. Like the player Vaun doesn't know shit about shit, and it's up to Vaun to ask questions to the party in order for explainations of events and why they are supposed to matter.

The problem with the story here is that most of the actual shit has already happened. For the most part the Empire seems to have won already, and the party is just trying to find ways to resist against a foe who's already settled in victory. Again we are told the Empire is fucked up but the Empire never attacks a city, never pushes for deeper war, instead they focus on the magical rocks that will allow for domination in a world they ALREADY dominate. It's nonsense.

So the story in this game just sucks. I'm sorry it sucks, it's a bunch of political jargon for kingdoms and people the player has no way of knowing because it's never explain or shown who is who in relation to everything and everyone else. Then the characters in the party are also bad because they have no personality, no emotion, no investment in each other NOR the events of what's happening in the game. Except arguably Ashe.

Gameplay then.

FF12 got a lot of shit back in the day for playing like a single-player MMO. You walk around the map and enemies are there which will either attack you, or you have to attack them. Most shit plays out automatically through the use of Gambits on your character. The reason for the gambits is that combat in FF12 is actually kind of fast and a lot can happen very quickly. Gambits are a way to ease the burdon on the player by given each character a list of actions they are to perform whenever certain conditions are met. For example you can have your healer cure any party member who falls below a certain HP%, or remove blind when a character is blinded.

The gambit system gets very deep as you can program characters for a huge list of actions and then assign priority of those actions so that you know they'll be reliably done by the AI when you need it most. However the downside to this is that you as the player don't have to play the game much, as once you're in combat the gambits will take care of everything. Even to the point where the biggest and hardest bosses in the game can be handled entirely by your programmed AI. In fact the player is often too slow at selecting actions to really help the AI much anyway, outside of triggering Quickenings which are just Limit Breaks, or summons.

There is some novelty in that, pride that you've programmed the game good enough that you're party is nearly unstopable. However, once you're at that point you aren't playing the game anymore, there are no choices to make, no split decisions to pull off to save a combat encounter going wrong, nope you just prepare for as many situations as you can gambit away and the computer handles the rest.

Additionally there is the way loot and treasures work in FF12. I'm specifically playing the Zodiac age so somethings have changed here. Firstly each zone location has treasure chests that may or may not spawn. However you can reset the zones treasures by leaving and re-entering the zone. Some of these can be very rare and very powerful so sometimes it's worth it to run through a zone, get all the chests, then reset it and repeat until you get the rare item. Then loot from monsters works by typically dropping some random junk like fur, or gemstones, or whatever. Effectively instead of gil you build up a pile of junk, which you then have to sell to build up Gil to buy actual things. I don't like this system because it just adds a bunch of menuing for no reason. Instead of getting gil after every fight, i get some junk that I then have to sell one by one to a vendor (because there is no "sell all junk" button) before I can actually shop for shit I want. It's pointless.

The other big thing FF12 does is a very long gamewide sidequest called hunts. Basically there is a job board in which you will accept a job off the board, go speak to the guy who posted it, then go hunt whatever monster they need, and return for a reward. These Hunts are the most interesting and difficult parts of the game as every hunt is a beefed up monster with a bunch of added bullshit to give you a hard time. Some of which might require you to program your gambits specfically for them and them alone. It's like a mini monster hunter within FF12 and this is okay. It's nice and can be fun to get fucked up by a monster early, only to return the favor later when you are better leveled and prepared for it.

And last but not least, in fact this might be the most important thing in gameplay, is the liscense board. Each character can have up to two jobs, each of which has a liscense board that is required to be filled out in order for the character to do specific things like cast spells, or equip better and better armors or weapons. There are also power bonuses here like more HP, more attack, etc etc. You earn LP (liscense points) with each monster kill, usually 1-4 LP at a time, but you fight so fucking much that this builds up into the 100's very quickly. It's an okay system but really is kind of a waste because a lot of the board isn't useful and is padded with trash like "potions heal more", which is fucking dumb. But these boards are the core to your character's power because without it you wont get the HP or be able to equip decent gear to get you through the game. However the board does make it painfully clear that FF12 is strictly a numbers game. Assuming your gambit's are in order, victory only rests on if you have the equipment and HP numbers to get through the fight. If yes, you win, if not you wont. End of story.

In the end FF12 is just ok. While the story sucks a fat turd, the characters are awful, and the gameplay is automatic, there is something about farming monsters, building gambits, testing your builds that keeps you engaged with the game till the end. So this game would probably fall into the lower end of the middle group of my personal FF game rankings. Call it slightly-below-average?
So, uhh, does your browser not have spellcheck? Also 'Vaan.'

I agree, the story is incomprehensibly told. I had a lot of trouble forcing myself through the game and never really had a great grasp as to what was going on in the wider political plot. FF12 is definitely the worst FF game that I've played (out of 4, 5, 7, and 12) and really killed my interest in the franchise. Also this was the first game where the music wasn't composed by Nobuo Uematsu and his absense was a severe detriment to the game.


So I'll mention rocketeer long... analysis/rant? of FF12 from the old escapist forum (republished on Shamus Young blog with rocketeer adding a lot of details in the comment, sadly the last entry was published the day Shamus died). I mostly agree with his assessment so I won't go into too many detail.
Links for those interested:

Shamus' companion articles: https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=53507
Rocketeer's analysis: https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=53030
 
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Silvanus

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I rather enjoyed FF12. Was a much reduced story, more focused on inter-imperial struggles, but I thought that was actually quite welcome.

The gambit system.... takes a fucking age to use. I ended up liking it.
 
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CriticalGaming

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I have encountered a small problem with Final Fantasy 13. My laptop for some reason cannot play the game without hitching every second or so. And there is no working fix online that i can find.

Then i thought about gamepass for the first time ever and 13-2 and 13-3 are there but not the first game. Which means i would have to pay 16 dollars for Ff13 on xbox and i dont wanna pay 16 bucks for this fucking thing.
 

09philj

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I have encountered a small problem with Final Fantasy 13. My laptop for some reason cannot play the game without hitching every second or so. And there is no working fix online that i can find.
Have you tried installing the mod FF13Fix? It fixes several things that could be the cause of hitching. https://github.com/rebtd7/FF13Fix (Only works on the Steam version, if you're on the Windows Store version you're buggered)
 

Drathnoxis

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It does not. And I purposefully called him Vaan because I couldn't be bothered to put more work into him than the game did.
No, you called him Vaun. What browser do you use? Because you should get a better one, it's driving me nuts.
 

meiam

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I rather enjoyed FF12. Was a much reduced story, more focused on inter-imperial struggles, but I thought that was actually quite welcome.

The gambit system.... takes a fucking age to use. I ended up liking it.
The inter imperial struggle is fine, the problem is that its all background stuff for most of the game, while the main party deal with crystal and alien god which ultimately accomplish nothing whatsoever.

Gambit is indeed pretty great, it just needed a more complex gameplay system to really take advantages of it. Otherwise it feel like too powerful of a tool to just do simple stuff (heal when low, cure debuff, buff if not buffed)
 
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CriticalGaming

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Also this was the first game where the music wasn't composed by Nobuo Uematsu and his absense was a severe detriment to the game.
I wanted to point this out as a highlight of what you said. Because I don't really talk about the music much as it is generally known that Uematsu is probably the G.O.A.T. of video game music and FF games have always had great music even as early as the original game despite the limitations of the NES.

But in 12, and I honestly didn't even think about it in the review, is the first FF game thus far where the music just....I don't know, it's there. The game HAS music technically, but I don't think my brain ever proceeded that I was listening to music and not just video game sound in a musical key. It's incredibly uninteresting and unmemorable in 12.

What's interesting about the flop of 12 is that 13 genuinely has great music again. Which as you said probably has to do with 12's troubled development, but I don't think 13's dev cycle was all roses and rainbows either though maybe that was just Versus13's.
 
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CriticalGaming

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Chrome should have spellcheck, it did when I tested it just now. Maybe it's turned off? The setting is under languages:
Interesting. It was off but it wasn't working in this forum's text fields. It works on search bars and on twitter and other places. I toggled it back and forth and it works now, but it's weird that it was so random.
 
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meiam

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While we wait for CG to slowly go insane replaying through FF13, someone no sane person has ever done, not even the people who made it, I figured I'd talk about final fantasy tactics since its sorta (well """""""""""""sorta""""""""""""") related to 12 and I think its the best damn game in the franchise (plus I'm stuck at a synchrotron doing experiment with lots of downtime and too tired to make any meaningful work).

While FFT was by no mean the first tactics, it pretty much set the standard that almost every subsequent tactic tried to emulate. But imo none of them has ever gotten close to it and that's because the game excel at both gameplay and story.

Lets start with story, FFT is setup in a pseudo European medieval setting. The two large power on the continent just went trough a massive war of succession and now both crown are too poor to pay the soldier their due so they have to deal with rebellion from their former soldier. And this is where FFT goes above and beyond most game, the game has a pretty deep geopolitical story, with a long timeline and event unfold for many complex reasons. But, if you don't feel like following all this, the game has also another story layer where the main character (Ramza) has a fall out with his best friend (Delita) and family while trying to understand the world he lives in better. This is pretty nice because just has Ramza learn more about the world the player is along for the ride with him. Delita is essentially a secondary protagonist, and could have very well being the main character. His story is the classic tale of revenge against the world. While he deal with the geopolitical side of things, Ramza follow some underground element to discover conspiracy. I'd say in a lot of way Ramza gets the more boring story since at some point it just devolve into fighting random demon, but it also mean you get to move around and see multiple side of the conflict. Anyway I won't go over it all, cause its pretty long, but it set up in a way where you don't necessarily need to understand the minutia of the succession crisis to enjoy the story, but all those element are there if you want to explore them (trough a pseudo codex system) and are shockingly well written.

The game also does a couple of fun things with the story too, like for most of the game one character is constantly talked as the greatest swordsman in the world and when he does join you, he turn out to really be insanely overpowered, unlike most games where the hype character join you and turn out to be no better than the random farm boy you recruit at the start of the game or w/e. The game is also technically setup as a researcher hundreds of years in the future trying to piece together the actual events that happened from a manuscript written by one of the NPC in the game, and there's a few time where this is relevant. The game also has multiple time skip, which allows the world to evolve and react to the actions of Ramza and Delita, which helps makes it feel alive.

Gameplay wise, what a lot of tactics game seem to miss is that FFT system works well because it force the player to constantly switch jobs so that even very similar battle will play differently because the class you'll bring won't be the same. You need to keep changing class so your character unlock new classes (which require leveling lower tier class) and to obtain skills from other classes. So compare to FF5 system, where you usually stick to one set of class once you unlock them, and there's not that many reason to switch classes on a semi regular basis, most of your character in FFT will spend relatively little time in the class your building them to be, which really help keep things fresh. It's not all great though, a lot of classes have significant overlap and the game does a piss poor job of telling you some pretty important details, like for example samurai, a class at the top of the physical class tree actually use magic stats when they use their special ability. The game also use small number for the most part, like max str/int is 99, but realistically most character won't even get anywhere near close to that, which makes it really hard to tell what the growth rate of the various class stats are. Classes are also very poorly balanced, with plenty having almost 0 use, archer are infamously useless while calculator break the game. The game also let you add monster to your team, but their so boring that I doubt anyone bother with that.

The game use an ATB system, where every character fill up a bar (based on their speed stats) and act when full. Personally I like that a lot more than the alternative system you often see where both side take turn using all their units. It avoid the problem of unit getting dogpiled on without the player being able to intervene and means you can differentiate class by their speed stats. The downside is that the game use this system for casting spell, with stronger spell taking longer to charge. In practice it means you never use the highest level of spell because they take so long to charge that by the time they're ready, units will have moved and with friendly fire on you might just do more damage to your guy than the enemy. This contribute to magic just not being that useful in general, MP slowly recharge and can be blown trough very quickly, while physical ability are instant and cost no MP to use and generally do about the same amount of damage. The only exception to do is the calculator that be use instant spell that cost no MP and hit every enemy at once (if your lucky, most of the time you'll get maybe half of them), but the calculator comes in very late and usually by that time your physical character can one shoot most enemy. This also apply to healing, with chemist (item user class) blowing the white mage out of the water, since they can instant cast and don't have to worry about MP.

But the biggest problem of the game is that at two occasion the game trap the player in a fight against a very strong boss with only the main character (although if you wait a bit your team comes and help you). This can flat out cause a player to quit the game because they maybe didn't build their Ramza in a way that they can take on very strong foe by themselves. If you're thinking of playing trough the game for the first time, make sure you send Ramza to the physical side but have him learn the skill auto potion, which will use the weakest potion available every time you take damage, if you make sure you have no "potion", Ramza will use "Hi potion" instead, which will heal for about as much damage as he take and make those section much easier.

Otherwise the game has this weird system where you can send your guy on expedition, where they leave for a certain number of days and then come back with a bunch of job experience, time passing whenever you move on the world map. I think the idea was to have the player make two team and have them rotate which goes on an expedition and which is used by the player. That's a decent idea because its a shame you only ever need 5 characters in your team and so won't get to experiment that much making all kind of crazy combination. But it doesn't work since its far easier to just send your real team and then wander around wasting time and just reloading whenever you trigger a random encounter. The game also has plenty of location where you can travel between two safe zones to quickly pass time. Plus this can easily be exploited to quickly gain class level in class that you'd rather avoid, which imo makes the game less interesting.

I'll mention music too, its fine, a few piece are pretty good, but I'd say its a bit too shy and you don't get many cool bold piece like almost every FF. Graphically speaking you have some very nice sprite on pretty crappy CG background, its okay overall, but its no graphical powerhouse.

But misgiving aside, I think FFT is an exceptional game and I can't believe they haven't re release it since the PSP port (they have to be working toward it since they just release tactics ogre port). Like I said, I think its still the reigning champ with none of the other tactics getting close, especially on the story side.

I'll mention final fantasy tactics advance, its not the worse game or anything, but it really fall flat compare to FFT. Gameplay wise it makes some strange decision, like having rule on what you can and cannot do in every fight (probably an attempt to make keep a large number of unit than necessery and swamping them based on the available rule). It also strangely enough has 5 different races but limit what class each races can be, limiting the amount of experimentation you can do. But the really weird part is the story. The character in the game get isekai from the real world into this alternate world. 4 of them get transported in. One of them is cripple in the real world but in the other world can walk freely. Another has a drunk loser for a dad but in the other world his dad is a respected judge. A third one... has a different hair color, this one is weird because the game treat it like this change is just as good for her than the two previous character even though it just mean she doesn't have to dye her hair. Then there's the main character who has a perfectly fine live in the real world and an even better one in the other world. But, for some reason, he decide that they have to return to the real world, even though all 3 other character strongly oppose this and he himself can't say why he wants to go back. This involve killing all the god in the world, which will make the world go back to normal, ie it'll genocide every other world person (and somehow the character you recruit in the game are perfectly happy with helping you do that). But really most of the game is made up of doing menial side quest, some of which have really obtuse requirement that pretty much mean you need to look up how to trigger them. It's not great and the sequel (FFTA2) is just more of the same. It's a real shame they never tried to make a true sequel to FFT, but to be fair, it would be almost impossible to top.