Final Fantasy Tactics Begins
The Lion War was a piece of Ivalice's history that seems less remarkable as Square Enix expanded the world's history. The War of the Lions doesn't feel that way while you're in the middle of it, full of depth and intrigue - both in terms of story and gameplay, but Ivalice became a notable bit of worldspace for a series known for completely reinventing that sort of thing every time.
I mean a person might have a hard time taking the original game on it's own merits if you are coming at it from the modern perspective. Ivalice turned from fanservice to some sort of actual marketing fixture in SE's attempt to sell this franchise. And while last year saw Nintendo release a game that perfectly updated on a sequalized series by tackling on of it's greats head on Square Enix doesn't seem to be willing to accept that sort of responsibility.
But before this world became more than just a wiki page almost as linked to as superboss it was a place just like any of the early Final Fantasy series: an inspiringly original and complexly crafted place home to great characters and heroic legends. Ramza's story is one of those.
Ramza Beoulve is one of those people. The bastard son of a nobleman he finds himself trapped in two worlds. From the very beginning of the game, Orbonne Monastary
There are like 3 or 4 different conspiracies going on the first scene alone. It's almost beyond ridiculous playing through the opening section knowing what's actually happening. FFT is regarded as having a fairly complicated plot, with a less than amazing translation effort. To say that a person might have a hard time piecing together what the important information was of any scene might be nice. However it's also told with great character designs that while more detailed than some of the earlier sprites could still get by with using those simple movements: looking down after something sad happens, turning around in the middle of a conversation, or many other ways that the early FF games got more their simple sprites than they probably deserved.
As the game begins you have a small group of cadets with you. After finishing up some sort of military enlistment Ramza has this squad that follows him and his friend Delita. As the game progresses they go from being this doughy group of regulars to a crack agency able to pull out the perfect tool for any job. Need a mage? Ramza has them, need a Knight? Oh, Ramza has you covered. As the game further progresses it goes further into this blissful extreme.
Need someone who can summon eidolons and sing a catchy tune, all while floating a meter off the ground and using a purse for a weapon? The game's job system is impeccable, leading to encounters where you wonder not just what might be the best team for the job but beyond that to how would you like to do it. This game pretty quickly breaks away from any sort of "gearcheck" battles and veers into a much more stylistic and challenging affair.
Would it be better to equip auto-potion or auto-regen? Heck, why not just auto-reraise? Well, at some point you're going to want to do the more daring thing and attach a passive like magic attack up on HP damage, or speed up. And why just stick to auto-blocking? Why not move up to counters, or even monk skills that have you attacking before you'd get hit?
There is a sort of revelry that goes on in some games regarding theorycrafting. The downside of course is it's often a mix of hypothetical and late-game. Yes you can do some silly things with the FF 7 materia system late game linking master and normal materia, but that doesn't come about until many, many hours. With Tactics you're doing that stuff in just a few hours.
The way it works is you have characters picking jobs. The jobs are filled with the series regular classes and while your active attacks are based off the current job you get a secondary set of actions based on whatever you have already unlocked. Also you can unlock skills that passively boost movement, how the character reacts to attacks, and a sort of open ended passive skill space. Yes, you could put something like magic attack up in that spot but you might want to include something in their that further creates a unique character.
While it's often pretty obvious that tactical RPGs want to limit characters from charging headlong into engagements I think Tactics actually gives you the best odds in that instance if you've actually thought about how you want to equip your characters.
Similarly it does a good job of laying out the classes well. While there definitely might be some obviously strong later job options(cough, arithmetician, cough) many of the later job options are really just specializations-another series of interesting choices to make on trade offs, and because they allow characters to be designed so thoroughly often you can keep their sub-class reminiscent of how you like playing the unit.
I like my summoner a lot. But he's really helping out a lot now that he's primarily a bard that turns invisible any time he gets hit. A character that enemies can't see who heals every character twice a turn is pretty amazing, a character that enemies can't see who heals every character twice a turn and summons Odin is spectacular. That's the kind of game Final Fantasy Tactics lets you play.