‘ve always loved strategy RPGs because they’re devoid of all of the things the waste your time in JRPGs. In most strategy RPGs the structure is just a series of fights with cutscenes that flesh out the story before and after each fight. I was introduced to this genre by Final Fantasy Tactics on the PlayStation. Little did I now that I was not only playing my first strategy RPG but also my favorite. Now, while the reason Final Fantasy Tactics is my favorite strategy RPG has more to do with its narrative that doesn’t mean its battle system isn’t noteworthy.
The job system in Final Fantasy Tactics is an expanded version of the job system in Final Fantasy III. Final Fantasy Tactics sports a staggering 20 job classes that the player can learn with 12 extra jobs being unit exclusive. Leveling up job classes by gaining experience points (JP) is how you unlock new job classes in Final Fantasy Tactics. This does make it difficult to know exactly how to get the job you want but it does encourage the player to experiment with many different job classes. Unlike Final Fantasy III skills from jobs can still be used when you change jobs as long as the player has mastered that skill. This gives the player the freedom to create the character they want by combining abilities from different job classes.
One of the things that sets Final Fantasy Tactics apart from top-down strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem is its isometric presentation. Because of the added depth of its isometric presentation, Final Fantasy Tactics is able to have elevation levels. These elevation levels come into play in regards to movement and attack accuracy. For example, there are job classes that can leap onto ledges (Dancer) and there are job classes that are accurate regardless of the elevation (Archer).
The sad thing about this great game is that it really doesn’t have a direct follow-up. Sure there was the Final Fantasy Advance series spanning two games but it features a completely different universe than Final Fantasy Tactics. Thinking about the series just makes me wonder about the different features from some of the newer Final Fantasy games that could be included in a new Final Fantasy Tactics game. If you want to give Final Fantasy Tactics a try your best bet is purchasing the original game on PSN. If you have already played Final Fantasy Tactics I recommend checking out the mod Journey of the Five that features Dante, Link, Solid Snake, and Cloud.