Game Reviews

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions

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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions

It's almost impossible to review Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions without mentioning the controversy surrounding its price. It is, after all, the most expensive iOS game available.

Epic has already proven with Infinity Blade that there's a ridiculous amount of money to be made from triple-A iOS titles, but Final Fantasy Tactics is a whole different kettle of fish.

But is it actually worth it?

A tactical advance

Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based strategy game, imbued with the sparky charm that first set Square Enix's series apart. It's also a port of a four-year-old PSP title, which in turn was a port of a 14-year-old PSone game.

You play as a young knight who ends up embroiled in conspiracy, tragedy, and a ruddy great war. With a party of fellow adventurers, you battle through the land of Ivalice.

Fights take place on isometric 3D battlegrounds. These range from cobbled village streets surrounded by buildings to barren desert plains populated by hyenas.

Strategic thinking is key to victory. You use the terrain to gain an advantage over your opponent, flanking, attaining the higher ground, and guessing their next move.

Once more unto the breech

As you fight through the game, your characters level-up, attaining new job ranks and gaining new and more powerful abilities.

Managing your characters on the battlefield is of the utmost importance. Every combatant has a role to fulfil, designated by their job, be they healer, damage-dealer, or magician.

It's your job to make sure they're in the right place when they need to be, and assessing all of those little balances and possibilities is what makes Final Fantasy Tactics so much fun.

The game can be a little complex for a first time player, but it includes a comprehensive tutorial that you can access at any time from an in-game menu.

The touchscreen controls work well, although they're occasionally a little fiddly. The pace of the game means you're rarely swamped with commands, which mostly negates that little niggle.

Tactical but tactless

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of The Lions is a great version of a great game that works perfectly well on the iPhone. The problem is, it's just a straight port.

There's no saving in battles, reams of unskippable cut-scenes, and vast swathes of menus and numbers to deal with. Whereas other titles are clearly designed with the limitations of quick pick-up-and-play gaming in mind, Final Fantasy Tactics ignores them completely.

If you're looking for the game that turns the iPhone into a gaming console, then Final Fantasy Tactics is for you. Everyone else will likely be put off by the price point, and the game's refusal to fit snugly into and around the strengths and weaknesses of the platform.

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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions

A huge, immersive experience that suffers because it doesn't bend to the whims and needs of the hardware it's being played on