I just want to you to be warned. Real time combat meters and limit breaks won't save you here. Check it at the door, but don't be afraid. You FF7 and 8er's can breathe in the olde worlde flavor of final fantasy's roots- gone are the technology found in those two playstation rpgs, this being more than a nod; at least world and character design wise, to FF 1 and 5. Real sigifigance to the namesake is in the areas of the spells and items (and a few character models). Now that's settled, be careful to play this only when you have at least two hours to spare. That's how long the battles take. Yikes! That's right, it's on par with Ogre Battle SNES and Chess - it takes forever before you can finish a session and save. Each fight is a classic struggle of wills and force - many fights require a lot of time invested in strategy (what's that?) and prior development. It starts of simple enough, but if you get sucked in, you'll find yourself staying up until four in the morning just trying to finish another level of that dungeon..
Man this game is deep! Over a dozen job classes and the diversity of male and female added to that! You can expect plenty of time spent in developing you a multi-jobber.
Finally a FF game I can't beat with a hand behind my back. Maybe it's just me but I always considered the series a little too on the easy side.
Side quest jobs!
Hey for a thorough guy like me, these little jobs for my jobbers were a blast! They gain your people experience too, a great help since you are limited in how many you can bring to a fight.
Ever heard of a map??
What's with not being able to look at the area you're placing your troops at? For all you know you're seperating them between a lake and a ravine! The enemies always have the home court advantage in placement.
Sheesh!! Ok, ok - it's difficult, but there are one or two fights that are downright frustrating.
Yawn! I wish this fight would end so I can go to bed!
Never play before going to work - chances are you'll be late if you see the battle all the way through. A save halfway would have been nice.
The artwork is Square caliber, a little unusual in how young most of the people look and that they seem to have no nose; but hey, that little black wizard with no face took awhile to get used to back in the old days. The summons are not as detailed as you're probably used to, but they still look nice, and the effects in general are very well done.
Anyone that complains about the controls moving their person where they didn't want to go has itchy fingers, this area succeeds well. The abilites are all easy to figure out and perform and while their mechanics are different, none detract from the experience by being too hard to execute. Thankfully the summons are not as drawn out and hideously long as FF7 (why can't I hit start so I don't have to watch Bahamut Zero do this again??) and you'll be pleased they don't change the pace off strategy and into a lightshow.
It's not quite as catchy as the other Square titles, but you should expect lots of moving orchestras and other assorted video opera. Nothing spectacular, but never bad.
The sound effects are nothing special, the dying cries of each girl and boy all sound the same.
It is interesting to how all the chapters progress into one another, but halfway through I found myself not really figuring where this was going. Not to say it's unpredictable, but some of it's just strange. I also found it a little odd that several of the characters that you take along with you serve no purpose. Why are in here? What's really the point? Kind of like the cast of FF8.. some are just hampered by not having a real story to them.
The turn based combat and multi-leveled battle areas are sure to attract many imitators. Everything from the height to the terrain itself plays a part in how you can attack and where you can go. It's depth is almost stunning.
Some of the premade characters may be a bit drab in the ability dept. (so many have skills only in their starting profession), but there is no denying you can have it your way by buying peoples and giving them the jobs you like. Heck you can even take the story personas and turn a temple knight to a chemist or an oracle.. the possiblities are endless.
It has a learning curve, but it's tolerable with some patience. Remember there is no weak enemies in this game, the pebbles of previously fought foes in the FF worlds are boulders here. Each enemy will be near your level if not above. Some of the fights are a tad unfair though.
After I beat it, I didn't play it again. Why? One; it took so long just to accomplish that, and two - the ending is pretty lame. It is quite a ride, but once you've done it, it's probably enough.
Overall- If you like Ogre Battle give it a try. If you want a bit more think with your tanks then spin this one in your 'station. If you like killing those little goblins in a single hit with your level 99 torquewrench and call that leveling - better stay to the regular rpg series, only those with patience and persistence need apply.