Welcome to my take on Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the iPhone! The review device used was an iPhone 4, so you might have a slightly different experience with an iPhone 3GS (or the iPad). The focus here will be largely on the differences from the port of the PSP version, so read on to find out~!
To start off: little has changed really. You’ll notice that much has remained the same from the PSP version. But most of what DID change, changed for the better.
For one, the controls have been redone to incorporate the touch interface into the gameplay – so you’re able to shrink/magnify the battle maps as well as rotate it around 360 degrees and pause whenever. Remember the PS/PSP’s annoying camera angles that locked you to just 4 viewing angles, resulting in obscuring some enemies that hid between terrain? Well, that problem is resolved now. 🙂
Another thing that has improved is the much-loathed loading times found in the PSP remake. In particular, the spell animations no longer freeze for a few seconds prior to casting, and the animations themselves are smooth in execution as well (from summons to big spells like Holy).
That doesn’t mean it’s lag free though. There’s noticeable slowdown especially when you’re navigating big menus, such as that of the arithmetician’s (which allows you to cast almost all important spells in the arsenal of the 4 mages – black, white, time, mystic – instantly), but not to the point where it’ll be game-crippling. You still don’t get the option to turn off spell animations though.
The new CG sequences introduced in the PSP are also ported in full to the iPhone, and runs without a hitch. However, nothing new was introduced there, so those hoping for new story sequences would be disappointed.
And now for what they removed – essentially all aspects of multi-player. Meaning all missions and the melee (team versus) mode. Well, they weren’t all that great either, but completionists would be wondering: “What’ll happen to all the items that can only be obtained through the multi-player?”
Rather than having you gain all those items by playing against or with a friend, you get one of each unique item ‘credited’ into the poacher’s den upon completion of the main storyline – which you can purchase for 5 gil each.
Want a few more copies? Easy, just buy up everything, save, then load up a save you have at the final boss and beat the game again. Reload that previous save, and the poacher’s den will be fully stocked once more. Legitimate cheating at its finest. Sure beats playing numerous multi-player games and playing guess-the-treasure-chest doesn’t it? 😛
The image above shows what I used to clear the game without the foes being able to make a single move – 4 ladies of identical build with Ramza similar (minus the chantage and ribbon) – without the need for any of those unique equipment. Of course, this’ll take you a lot of time (especially getting those Excalibur/Chaos Blades from the Ninjas), but that’s part of the fun too. 😀
Of course, seeing that you don’t actually have a reason to get so ridiculously overpowered with the removal of the missions, I’m hoping that future updates introduced (if any) will see the game get some optional side-quests and (hopefully) the return of multi-player.
If you’re already a proud owner of the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics, there’s actually little reason why you’d want to get this game again. However, if you’ve yet to play the remake of Tactics, or for some strange reason missed playing Final Fantasy Tactics altogether, then this is the definitive version to own. You might also look toward the version soon-to-be-released for the iPad.
With decreased load-times, a freely rotating camera, as well as the great auto-save feature that activates whenever you exit the application so you can begin from exactly where you left off if you needed to make a call or send a message, you’ll find you have greater convenience than ever before.
More than a decade on, and this still remains as one of the greatest RPGs I’ve had the pleasure of playing (and re-playing), with a splendid story, excellent gameplay and visuals that never feels old in this era of high-definition gaming.
A must-have for the RPG-affectionado.