Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Nostalgia Lane: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

After Final Fantasy VII and perhaps IX, the Final Fantasy title that holds the greatest nostalgic power for me isn’t one of the core RPGs — it’s the tactical battler offshoot.

I never got/purchased a Gameboy during the ’90s, but once I got a job and some disposable income in the early 2000s, I figured I’d see what I’d been missing out on all those years. I sprung for a Gameboy Advance — and later a Gameboy SP — and… kind of had a good time? I liked the handheld, but I wasn’t IN like with it, if you get my drift. I think I only had maybe five or six games for it and played them sporadically, preferring computer or console if I had the time.

But the real killer app for that system, at least in my opinion, was Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Oh man, this game was made for me. You ever get that feeling, that a title is hand-crafted to your exact likes and preferences? That was FFTA.

By taking the Final Fantasy feel and tropes, downplaying the story a bit, and making it 99% about turn-based tactical combat on a grid, Tactics Advance became an obsession for me. There was so much choice as you hand-tailored your army with the characters and jobs you wanted. I honestly never minded grinding this because there was always a new skill or unlock ahead that I wanted for my team.

I also liked how there was a judge who would levy “rules” during matches that would literally change the game. It kept me on my toes to have a regular asset denied to me or to be forced to play in a different way, and I kind of dug that.

And that pseudo-3D pixel art was a huge selling point as well. If a game looks charming and cozy, I tend to gravitate toward it.

I haven’t played this in a long, long time, but in remembering it, I’ve put it back on my “must revisit” list for 2022.

One thought on “Nostalgia Lane: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

  1. The judge system killed that game for me. When I realized I was spending all my time walking back and forth to game the system and then save scumming every time a random battle would trigger with the wrong rule, it just killed the fun for me and I stopped playing. It was a great game otherwise.

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