Final Fantasy Tactics

I don't like the difficulty curve in this game.  That's my initial impression.  I loved the first few missions of Final Fantasy Tactics, but then I ran into a brick wall as far as difficulty was concerned.

I should mention, I'm playing the remastered PSP version of this game on my PS Vita called Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lions.  Just another reason to love my PS Vita.  It plays so many classic Playstation games.

Despite the difficulty curve that I ran into, Final Fantasy Tactics is a good game.  All the underlying systems are solid.  I can see how it's been a huge influence on all the tactical RPGs that have followed it.  And the story is great.  It's a conflict on a grand scale, but the main character is right in the thick of it.  It seems like Tactics delivers on the grand scale conflict in a way that Final Fantasy XII failed to do.

In some ways the game is starting to show it's age.  It has unskippable story sequences which suck if you have to retry the same battle multiple times.... which you will have to do.  And the reason you will is because this game has permadeath for it's characters.  If you character falls in battle and you don't revive them before that battle is over they are gone forever.  These characters that you've poured hours and hours of effort into are just gone.  So, you'll reset to your last save and try the battle again.  And again.  Until you can perfectly execute it without losing a single unit.

I don't like this at all.  It's my single biggest complaint about the game.  My time is precious to me these days and if I'm just banging my head against a wall without making progress I get frustrated.  I have been able to consistently win battles one my first try, but I typically lose a character or two.  Then I have to redo the battle over and over until I get it perfect.  It feels like a waste of time.

Despite the really cool underlying systems,  the steep difficulty curve and permadeath combine to make Final Fantasy Tactics a very frustrating game for me.

I've seen so many people say that this is their favorite Final Fantasy.  It might very well have been mine too if I discovered it in my teens when I had all the free time in the world.  But I feel like I'm ready to give up on the game.  I'd rather play a tactical RPG without permadeath.  I hate it as a mechanic.  It's punishing and not fun at all.

I haven't completely written Final Fantasy Tactics off, but I'm very close to it.  Next time the game frustrates me I'm going to be done with it.


  1. Other than difficulty bump that came with Dortor Trade City and the later-on two-part Castle deal (which caused me to restart the game entirely because I didn't have a backup save), I don't recall it being that difficult. In fact, it never really occurred to me that there was even permadeath in the game. Do you not have 10 turns to get one person in range of a fallen character to use a Phoenix Down? I don't remember characters auto-dying if not revived before ending the map... perhaps it was changed? I dunno.

    One thing you can do, if you're struggling, is to go fight some random battles inbetween the story missions. In fact, during my 3rd or 4th playthrough, I power-leveled my random assortment of nameless party members in the one random encounter zone available so that I had a team of teleporting Time Mage Ninjas in time for Dortor City. While the random encounters NPCs level up with you, the story missions are fixed. It kinda trivialized the rest of the game, of course, but it's something you can think about if a particular mission is giving you trouble.

    Also, Throw Rock is an OP ability for acquiring Job Points. I would typically kill every enemy except for one, then have everyone use Throw Rock at it, then heal the enemy, then throw more rocks until my healers ran out of MP. A bit cheesy, sure, but not a whole lot different than all the random battles in every other Final Fantasy game.

    1. I tried this for a bit. I really didn't like the random encounters in this game because they're always the same. In a tactics game the fun for me is doing different encounters, not the same ones over and over again.

      I just got so frustrated with the permadeath. I think I'm going to move on to FFTA and see how that holds up instead.

  2. I havne't played this since the mid-90's, but as I recall it, the difficulty scaled with you, so even though I ground out a few "extra" levels to (I thought) make it easier to do the later story missions, I got to 1 mission that I just couldn't get past since I'd bumped my levels enough that it had done a serious difficulty jump and.... that was the last time I played it. Probably sometime in 1996, maybe 95.

    1. The main story levels don't scale, but all the random encounters do. So it's a little bit of both.

      Unfortunately, the random encounters end up being identical every time since they scale to your level... and they have the exact same enemies on the exact same landscape. It got boring quickly, which is why I decided to give up instead of grinding out levels.

  3. Final Fantasy Tactics has the best story of any game in the series. I understand your issues, but I feel it is totally worth one night of serious grinding and then breezing through just to enjoy the plot!

    1. I was really enjoying the story when I stopped playing. I could already tell it was good.


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