Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

aka: FFTA2, Fainaru Fantajī Takutikusu Eitsū Fūketsu no Gurimoa
Moby ID: 34962
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Description official descriptions

Though a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the direct story links are few. Luso is a young student ready for summer vacation, but forced to stay late and help the librarian Mr. Randell clean up. Luso arrives in the library to find himself alone, but notices a strange-looking book with only half its pages filled. It seems to leave off waiting for a name, so Luso provides his own. All of a sudden he's transported to the other world of Ivalice. From that point on his time is filled with exploring the world, trying to figure out what happened to him, and how he can return.

As in the other Final Fantasy Tactics titles, gameplay is centered around a grid battle between two small parties. Characters take turns one at a time, with order and frequency determined by their speed. In each turn they have the chance to move as well as perform a single action; not necessarily in that order. Battles usually end by defeating the other party, though there are occasionally other goals, such as defeating the leader or examining special spots in a stage in search of an item. As in Tactics Advance most of the battles are optional rather than necessary to complete the story. Battles, as well as other jobs like deliveries, can be accepted at pubs in cities. No longer do you fight other clans directly for control of areas, but annually attempt to earn control of an area through auctions. However, jilted clans may want to have it out with you after.

In Tactics Advance, the Law system was primarily one of punishment. If a character didn't follow the laws (Such as "No magic" or "No ranged weapons") for a given battle, they could end up in jail. In Tactics A2, however, laws are primarily a system of benefit. In each battle you get to pick a stat bonus from a list you earn throughout the game. If you break one of the laws you'll lose the bonus, and fallen characters can't be revived for the remainder of the battle (though they aren't permanently lost). You also won't get extra loot at the conclusion of the battle.

This game retains Tactics Advance's Job and Ability system, where each race (hume, viera, moogle, nu mou, bangaa, seeq, and gria) has access to certain base classes, and abilities are earned by equipping an item and earning Job Points. A difference is that even characters that don't take place in a battle will earn JP. Certain later classes must be earned by having characters learn enough abilities in earlier classes, and/or completing certain quests from the pub.

Spellings

  • ファイナルファンタジータクティクス A2 封穴のグリモア - Japanese Spelling

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Credits (Nintendo DS version)

234 People (218 developers, 16 thanks) · View all

Director
Main System Programmer
Scenario Direction
Event Direction
Lead Quest Design
Map System
Character Design
Lead Menu Design
Lead Visual Effects Design
Lead Background Design
Music Production
Music Composition
Sound Effects Director
Quest Design
Event Script Editors
Battle Data
Battle
Map
Menu
Visual Effects
Visual Effects Tools Support
Programming Supervisor
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 80% (based on 52 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)

Great spin-off but has a few significant flaws

The Good
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 : Grimoire of the Gift is the sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics, themselves a spin-off of the Final Fantasy series. Instead of being a RPG (like the main series) it's a T-RPG, so you have to move your party on a gird-aligned map.

Unlike the vast majority of T-RPGs, this one doesn't have player turns and enemy turns, the speed of the characters simply affect how often they get turns. The upper screen shows which characters are going to have turns and their status alterations while the lower screen is for the gameplay. I think that this game was originally planned for the GBA, and later ported to DS - so they didn't use the touch screen or dual screens too much. This system actually works quite well, and is very convenient for playing, you just have to get used to it. The removal of player/enemy turns lowers the amount of strategy needed to play the game - because it's unlikely all enemies will rush on one character between two ally turns (unless you are too slow), but even then the game is still very fun to play.

The story is really a lame excuse for the game - you take the role of a guy named Lusso Clemens who is going to get holidays but falls in a book and end up in Ivalice. He get rescued by a guy named Cid (how original) and become a ranger. Your goal is to write a book with your adventures so you can get back home, a pretty lame excuse for a game if you ask me. Anyway the main story is very insignificant here - what is significant is the mission you'll take on as rangers.

Missions are quite varied in what you have to do, sometimes you have to fight people or monster, sometimes protect people, sometimes you'll have to collect stuff within a limit of time, or, the hardest ones, prevent enemies to reach a fixed area in the battlefield for a fixed amount of time (those are HARD because you can't completely prevent enemies to pass so you'll need luck). Sometimes you'll have to protect very weak people that you can't control - and their AI act suicidal - which requires a lot of luck as well.

A cool thing is that you can recruit many characters in your clan, there is 2 types of characters. The "important" characters which have their own sprites and portraits and that, once you did the mission to get them in your clan, they join you for good. The "generic" character join you more or less randomly, and have generic sprites and portraits and don't have any importance in the story. You can fire them out if you want (and you will have too if you hire too much of them - because important characters will have to take their place).

Then the battle system is a crossover between FF5 and FF9. Like FF5, your characters get a job, the first command in the battle menu is fixed for a job, and you can use a secondary skill from a previously learned job for the second command in the menu. Like FF9, you learn skills with the equipment (weapons, armor, accessories, ...) you wear, and once you got enough ability points, the skill can be used even after you take the piece of equipment off.

Van and Penelo, characters from FF12 makes a cameo appearance here, and they can even join your team as important characters, so people who like them will probably be happy about it.

The amount of jobs available depends on the character's race, and some jobs need to be unlocked by missions. "Generic" characters change their sprites when they change their jobs (which is cool), but as opposed to FF5, "important" characters don't, which I find is really lame considering this game is released ~15 years later, for a system which is much more powerful graphically (and square has a much higher budget). Another thing is that humanoid enemies are just palette swaps of generic characters, with blue mages being red, which is a bit lame.

Anyway with the variety of missions and the large arrays of skills available for each joy you won't get bored. What I didn't mention is that there is 20 "quest" missions that you have to do to make progress, and I think 280 "sidequest" missions. Sidequests are triggered by completing some other sidequests, and/or by the current date. Yes, time is simulated in this game, when you pass on the overworld map from a region to another, and when you complete a mission, 1 day passes. The world has it's own system of month/date numbering, it has nothing to do with ours.

Of course if you completely ignore the sidequests, you'll soon get overpowered in the main missions so you're forced to do at least a part of them. In addition of that is random encounters - which happens randomly on the map. Like in Final Fantasy 8, the monsters automatically adapt their levels to yours, which I find a bit dumb, because no matter how much you level up, you will still have the same trouble to beat them. It also make it harder for under levelled units to attempt to level up - since they'll fight enemies who are stronger than they are. However, the main missions and the humes in the sidequest have fixed levels.

So, after doing most all main missions and almost all sidequests, my playtime sums up to about 117 hours, which took me almost 1 year while I was playing regularly, it is the absolute record of the longest RPG I've ever played (the only exception is Final Fantasy VII, which timer stops at 100 hours so I don't know exactly, and there is probably many longer RPGs I haven't played). This is quite impressive to say this game is on a portable platform.

Eventually I should say that the music of this game is a very mixed bag. Some songs in the game are quite good, and a few are really really awesome.

The Bad
I said the music was a mixed bag. This means there were also music I really didn't like, from the most part imported from FF12. More specifically, the terrible boss theme of FF12 is back here, and this is bad news (thanks god you won't hear it a lot). Although they managed to import one of the few song from FF12 that I liked (Ozmone plain), and there is songs I didn't like that I don't remember hearing in FF12. In summary the music is really a mixed bag. The sound effects are quite poor too, and not very varied, but they do their work.

The other bad thing is something I've already mentioned, the missions where you have to protect a weak person who is controlled with suicidal AI, and missions where you had to prevent enemies from touching some area of the map. Those were extremely frustrating, but the majority of missions weren't like that, and with a bit of patience and a lot of luck those are eventually doable.

So what's really bad in this game is the AI. As I said above, even tough it's a tactical-RPG, tactics play a very minor role in this game because of the removal of player/enemy turns. This is even worsened by the fact the AI of this game is just plain terrible. Enemies takes usually very long to decide what they do. They often move first and attack next, even if the engine allows you to do the other way around, and enemies who are far away of your party likes to go back and forth each turn instead of coming attack you. In fact the extreme low speed of the AI is probably a significant factor of why the game take so long to beat.

Another thing that I think is bad is the confusion status and instant death attacks. Enemies really ABUSE of attacks that confuses your characters along the whole game, and also abuse instant death spells. I find it really unfair and annoying - and it further increase the luck factor and decrease the strategy factor that it takes to beat the mission.

One last thing I might not like is how naive the story is. All missions are like let's go and kill the big bad guys. No plot twists or whatever impressive. But despite that, they managed to set the game in an attractive and lifelike world which is a good thing. The game is childish and naive all the way along - but at least it has some atmosphere that will make you keep coming to your DS despite all it's bad points.

The Bottom Line
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 succeed in what it is supposed to be - it is a tactical RPG borrowing many elements of the main series. However, before playing keep in mind that the sense of strategy in this game is minimal, that the AI is terribly slow, that the music is not always very good, and that this is an overall childish and naive game. It still has many positive points and is still overall a very fun game, so whenever you want to play this or not is up to you.

It most certainly is better than the others Final Fantasy spin off for this system - and is probably better than the FF3 and FF4 remakes too, which I think Square Enix probably rushed on the market for easy income. It's very obvious Square Enix took their time to develop FFTA2 in good dept, so if you're buying any game on the NDS in the Final Fantasy series, I'd recommend this without a doubt. But if all you want is play a good TRPG - this one is not bad, but there is probably better games around, this one is only the shadow of previous Final Fantasy glories.

Nintendo DS · by Bregalad (937) · 2010

Satisfying long term game

The Good
This game delivers as most Final Fantasy games do, in plenty of content and replay ability, a great storyline, and good sound to go along with everything. The controls were designed well too.

The Bad
Dying results in the game restarting and you have to see all the creator's splash screens, this is a timely process you can't skip too easily. You could argue this is simply a means of punishment for dying, but it can be a bit annoying if you are trying to beat a tough part on hard.

The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a game you will be spending hours upon hours playing and trying to beat, this is the game to try out. With the combination of the loot system they added to this game and the ability to choose the job of all your characters, you really are allowed customization to make each game that much more unique.

Nintendo DS · by Xackery (26) · 2009

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – #2 Nintendo DS Game of the Year
    • 2008 – Nintendo DS RPG of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Joshua J. Slone.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Fred VT, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added July 6, 2008. Last modified June 8, 2024.