The story follows a Young Boy; as most j-rpgs do, named Luso Clemens. It’s the final day at school before summer, Luso is ready to storm out of the class and go enjoy himself, like any kid would.
However his teacher orders him to go clean the library, and it is here he finds an odd book. For some reason he decides to write his name in it, and is teleported to the world of Ivalice.
From here there isn’t much story at all, you meet an old wizard who created the Judges…and judges are made out of magick? He tells Luso to simply live his life in Ivalice, to fill up the book.
This is quite literally all that drives the character.
There is a cameo by Penelo and Vaan, the protagonists of FF12 in this game, they contribute most to the Story, being framed for thievery and the like.
About 40 hours into my game is when the antagonist was sloppily introduced, her only motivation for doing what she does is because she wants power, lots and lots of power.
She leaves quickly, considering she comes into the game about 4 or 5 battles from the final battle…which we’ll get to in a bit.
The main character Luso is terrible, all he cares about is completing quests and little else. Barely mentioning the grimoire and never even questioning HOW or WHY he’s in Ivalice, I’m certain the only time he does is at the very beginning where he asks “Where am I?” and nothing after this. You just don’t care at all about him, he’s so poorly written he may as well be a silent protagonist; Ramza he is not.
The most interesting characters by far are the supporting characters mainly Adelle and Cid, Hurdy comes into the game too late to get a lot of screen time, but he is an interesting character to be sure; being Montblanc’s brother.
My favourite of the characters by far is Adelle, she’s a hunter who was always alone, she then runs into Cid and Luso and (after stealing from them and trying to steal from them again) joins your clan, she seems rather boring at first however a little later she becomes incredibly interesting, she has her flaws, she’s conflicted and she’s incredibly interesting.
Cid is also quite interesting, having a shady past he has to live with, he doesn’t mention it often and distances people when it comes up. (he refers to Luso as ‘Boy’ and tells him it’s none of his business, etc) While he certainly isn’t as interesting as Adelle
A2’s music isn’t very good when compared to other games in the series. Alot of the music doesn’t fit where it’s played, the battle theme is always the same cheery one; unless it’s a story boss battle and it’ll get to the point where you just simply don’t notice it. You’ll drown it out because it’s so uninteresting.
It’s disappointing to see this from a Square Enix game, usually the music is still good despite it being a terrible game.
Let’s delve into the system, shall we? Like the other Tactics games movement between areas is done via a world map, with new areas unlocking as you progress in the story, time passes by one day when you pass through an area and doesn’t pass when you’re inside an area. Random events can pop up on the map, such as rival clans yelling at you, monsters or even clan mates.
Clan mates are recruited randomly in the world map? Yes, we’ll get into that later.
The battles are just like the other Tactics games, however something that annoyed me to no end was the fact that you can’t change the camera angle, this is never really that much of a bother but there are some maps that will trick you, thinking you can go one way but there’s actually a gap there, you just can’t see said gap because of the camera angle.
There’s no challenge to be had in the battles, the only difficult fight is the last one, which is disappointing. As soon as you learn Dual Wield nothing will stand a chance, attacking something from behind pretty much kills it completely.
What Dual Wield does is let you attack twice with normal attacks and counters. Using a special ability named ‘Flurry’ (which activates randomly) allows you to attack 4 times in a row; this kills anything.
Now let’s get on to the units, shall we? You have the basic Ivalice races with two new ones; Humes, Bangaa, Nu-Mou, Moogles, Viera and the new additions Seeq, who are pig-like humanoids and finally the Gria, who are a race of half dragon females.
Recruitment is random, unless you take a quest that allows you to meet one unit depending on the month, their class decided by questions you answer.
You really won’t bother with recruitment, there’s no reason not to use the characters you get at the start and just stick with them until the end. Story characters tend to have better abilities; but they’re quite literally
only recruited before the final battle, some recruited after the game is complete even.
Another interesting addition to the game is Auction Houses, which you can spend your Clan Points on to gain control of the area. After gaining control of all the areas in a Segment you become the ‘Master for life’ or something to that effect; after this you can then bid on high level items rather than the areas.
By doing this you can get incredibly powerful equipment, and the Bazaar becomes useless…which we’ll get into now.
The Bazaar will be your main source of equipment, which you use all your loot obtained from battle on. This system is flawed, however I ended up getting low level equipment right at the end of the game; if you don’t steal loot from your enemies you can’t get the best stuff, when completing the game I had less than half of the bazaar complete, the other items would be obtained from quests or stealing.
Now, let’s move onto the Advance game’s reoccurring feature. Judges and Laws.
Judges do LOOK very cool, sure but they make absolutely no sense. An old wizard apparently made them from Magick, they’re just Magick in a humanoid form and then there are the laws they uphold.
Some of them are just ridiculous, like “Don’t attack”, “Only move 1 space per turn”, “Don’t attack Bangaa” and one of my favourites “Don’t miss” any other laws you won’t even notice, and will probably break by accident…the rewards you get from it are only worth it right at the beginning of the game, the bonus for upholding the law is only helpful in a select few fights.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift isn’t all that bad of a game, there are certainly worse games out there. However having ‘Final Fantasy’ and ‘Tactics’ in the title, you expect so much more from it.
The game just fails to deliver anything amazing, or even deliver anything at all. There are much worse games out there, and there are certainly much better games out there.