I jumped right into playing Final Fantasy Tactics: Shishi Sensou, now known as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions in North America, last week. It’s an upgraded port of Final Fantasy Tactics, which tells the politically charged tale of Ramza Beoulve and introduces the Ivalice to the world. Final Fantasy Tactics also resurrected the job system introduced in FFIII and revised in Final Fantasy V. Players could change jobs to learn skills and build an ultimate fighter out of a mix of action, reaction, support and movement abilities. Everything that made Final Fantasy Tactics one of the greatest games in the strategy RPG genre, the story, the gameplay and the job system is back on the PSP port.
The PSP does have a couple of additions, on the negative side the loading times are longer. Are they unbearably long? No. Noticeable? Absolutely. Before you enter a battle a splash screen tells you where you are like Mandalia Plains or whatever the area is there is a few seconds of loading. While in battle Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions suffers from loading issues when you cast a spell or make a move. Let’s say you cast cure on four characters at once, you will hear the spell sound effect is out of sync compared to the animation. Speaking of the sounds, some of them don’t sound quite right. Thundara is a squeak and the Gafgarion’s Night Sword sounds warped. If you’re a perfectionist these issues might bother you, but I really don’t think the loading times are that bad. They exist, yeah, but they haven’t stopped me from enjoying playing Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions while I’ve been travelling.
If you already own Final Fantasy Tactics the real reason to get the PSP release is for the new content Square-Enix added in. Right away you’ll notice full motion video sequences with the unique pencil sketch art. In pivotal scenes, movies replace the in game text. Right after Teta gets kidnapped Delita and Ramza talk speak about rescuing her and reminisce about playing the reed flute. The entire cutscene has been changed into a movie sequence. The critical moment after you battle Algus you see Delita hold Teta’s body through Ramza’s eyes right before he falls unconscious and when Delita kidnaps Princess Ovelia the entire scene is a movie. The movies really look fantastic and even though they are silent films they add a new level of emotion to the story. Other new content that I haven’t reached yet are tie-ins with other Ivalice Alliance titles, Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy A2. Plus there are new jobs and new scenes post chapter three. I’m getting up to the point where I should see what’s “new” real soon and I’ll post another update in the future.