Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a strategy role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance. It is not a remake or a direct sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics, but takes place in the same setting, Ivalice. The gameplay is similar with a few exceptions. The player is free to put together a group of fighters known as a "clan", and control their actions over grid-like battlefields. For the most part, players are free to decide the party's classes, abilities, and statistics. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance spawned a sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
The game begins in a modern world, in a city called St. Ivalice, and in the initial stages controls and actions are explained. The main character, Marche, his brother Doned, their friend Ritz, and fellow classmate Mewt, find a strange book that transports them to a fantasy world.
The player takes the role of Marche, who is accepted into a clan and must organize its members and take part in various missions to gain experience and status. The missions of varying difficulty are offered in pubs scattered around the world map, and a fee must be paid to partake; they are essential to advancing the story and obtaining valuable items and experience points. Some missions require a special item to accept it; this may mean another mission must be done first. Others require a certain skill or job class.
The enemy parties consist of monsters, bosses, or members of each of the five humanoid races who populate Ivalice. The player guides their units' actions across the three-dimensional battlefield in turn-based gameplay.
The four types of missions include regular, encounter, dispatch, and area. Marche's party ventures to a particular location to do battle in regular missions, and many are used to advance the story. In encounter missions Marche's group battles a rival mercenary clan by purchasing a mission, or by meeting them while moving about the map. They are represented by a character icon that freely moves about, and sometimes must be pursued to engage in combat with them. Dispatch missions do not involve battle, and the player must temporarily send away one party member for a time to complete it. Area missions are usually a dispatch mission where Marche's clan can liberate certain regions to obtain bonuses and discounts at shops.
The world map is initially empty save for the starting location. The map is customized as the player wins "area tokens" after completing certain missions. The tokens are placed in slots on the world map of the player's choice and represent different terrains and settlements, such as plains, mountains, deserts, forests, and towns. Depending on the placement of the tokens, items are rewarded but to get to them the player must travel to the newly placed location and engage in a "treasure hunt". A menu will appear above the location and enable the player to select this option, and the game automatically scans the area for items, which are put into the items menu for future use.
There are two side plots: the Redwing Arc and the Judge Arc. The Redwing Arc centers around the Redwings clan, a foreign crime ring, their subordinate clan Borzoi, and their smuggled foreign monsters. The other is the Judge Arc, unlockable after beating the main three hundred missions. This serves as an alternative ending.
Multiplayer is available for up to two players using a link-cable peripheral, which enables battle against one another and to trade items and party members. Additional missions and items are offered when players link.
There are 25 classes that govern a character's stats, equipment, and abilities. Most items that can be equipped have various abilities, each available for use by characters of a certain job while the item is equipped. When a battle is completed, characters will receive Ability Points (AP) distributed over their currently equipped abilities. Once a target amount of AP has been accumulated for a given ability, the character will master it allowing them to use it at any time, regardless of items equipped and job chosen. Mastery of abilities in different jobs will eventually allow the character access to more jobs.
Units have a primary job that determines the stat boosts they receive when they level up and the attributes associated with that class. A unit may also have a secondary job where they can use any abilities of the selected job, but with the stat profile of the primary job. For example, an Assassin with a Sniper secondary job can use abilities from both jobs, but has the stat profile and appearance of an Assassin.
The five racesEdit
In addition to humans (called humes in later renditions), there are four character races. Moogles, represented most prominently by Marche Radiuju's best friend in Ivalice, Montblanc, are small and friendly. Their jobs inflict status effects and have surprisingly high defensive stat growth despite not having a class like the Paladin or the Defender. Nu mou specialize in magic, and have one melee job, the Morpher. Bangaa are the most physically tough, specializing in melee. Viera are an entirely female species who can be ranged, melee, or magic, with all their jobs speed-based, and are the most versatile race along with humans. Each race has a list of jobs they can be, many of which (though not all) will be unique to them, and each race has access to its own Totema. The shops in various towns will have discounts on items for particular races.
Each race is tied to a Totema, which can be called for an attack, providing the user has defeated the Totema and has ten Judge Points.
The five Totema are:
- Famfrit, the Totema of the moogles.
- Ultima, the Totema of the nu mou.
- Adrammelech, the Totema of the bangaa.
- Exodus, the Totema of the viera.
- Mateus, the Totema of the humans.
The Law SystemEdit
Laws are set by judges, invincible arbiters present at each battle, with some exceptions. In a battle, a judge is present on the map who will not fight for either side, but will merely move about, keeping himself out of the way. At times, he will move the unconscious bodies, of enemies and allies alike, from one space to another. Laws may forbid the use of certain weapons, items, elemental spells, or status changes. Breaking a law results in punishment by carding, the receipt of a red or yellow card. Imprisonment happens if a character infringes a law twice or knocks out another unit with a forbidden ability or weapon. Jagds have no judges or laws; units knocked out in the jagds will die and permanently leave the clan if they are not revived by the end of the battle.
To offset the difficulty of having things forbidden for use, there are certain things that are recommended by the judges, and grant Judge Points. Judge Points (JP) are used to carry out combos with nearby allies or to summon a Totema. JP are also received upon killing an opponent. Later in the game, the player can add new Laws and cast "Antilaws" to nullify laws that are already in effect.
Law and Antilaw CardsEdit
After Marche rescues Ezel Berbier, he will have access to Law and Antilaw Cards used to change the laws in effect on the battlefield. Law Cards (white) impose new laws, though the maximum number of Laws cannot be exceeded. Antilaw Cards (black) nullify laws that are already in effect. These can be used to grant a tactical advantage during battle, as enemies must obey the law or they will suffer the same penalties the heroes do (assuming they are not wearing Hero Medals). On two occasions, cutscenes show characters using special Antilaws to help Marche out: Ezel uses one to avoid capture by Cid, and Cid uses one to nullify Llednar Twem's protective Fortune Law, rendering him vulnerable.
Although Laws govern the majority of Ivalice, there are three lawless locations called jagds, which judges avoid. No actions are forbidden, nor can Judge Points be earned. A character that is KO'd in these locations will, unless revived before the end of the battle, permanently leave the party (and in the case of Marche, a Game Over will occur). This applies to Montblanc and any other "storyline characters", including Ritz Malheur. The three jagds are: Jagd Dorsa, Jagd Helje, and Jagd Ahli.
- Marche Radiuju - The hero of the story. After the world changes into Ivalice, he wants to revert it.
- Ritz Malheur - Marche and Mewt's outspoken friend. In the real world, she had to hide her white hair by dyeing it pink. She is the only human who obtains the abilities of the viera race.
- Montblanc - A young moogle who saves Marche right after St. Ivalice's transformation.
- Shara - A viera and member of Ritz's clan in Ivalice.
- Babus Swain - Prince Mewt's nu mou caretaker and loyal servant.
- Ezel Berbier - An eccentric, self-styled nu mou genius and inventor of the Antilaw cards.
- Cid Randell - Mewt's father. A drunkard in the real world, he is head Judgemaster and the highest authority in Ivalice.
It was a day like any other...Opening credits
Marche and his sick brother, Doned, moved into St. Ivalice following their mother who believed a change in environment would be good for Doned's health. The Radiuju family had lived in a hot place where it never snowed.
At school, Marche receives the nickname "New Kid" by the bullies Lyle, Colin, and Guinness, and is teased at for being quiet like "a little girl", but he ignores them. He befriends Mewt Randell, and Ritz Malheur, the Class Head.
After school, Marche and his new friends meet at his house to look at Mewt's new book on monsters and magic. On their way to Marche's house, Marche explains about Doned, his little brother, who always visits the hospital for his unknown illness.
They encounter Mewt Randell's father, Cid, who greets Mewt and asks if he had a nice day. Ritz comments they rarely find a father acting like that. In the Japanese version, Cid appears drunk, while in the English version some citizens are charging him money. Mewt explains that after his mother died his family went into financial trouble. After the conversation between Mewt and Cid, they continue on to Marche's house which is "the house with the yellow roof".
As Marche arrives at the house he encounters Doned, who sits in a wheelchair. Doned inquires how Marche is doing and after Marche answers he had a snowball fight, Doned teases him that he cannot play sports well.
Ritz and Mewt come to Marche's house and introduce themselves. Mewt opens the old book, which has the illustration of the bangaa, viera, nu mou, human, and moogle. Ritz states the language written on the book looks like Latin, and Mewt reads Alta Oron Sondus Kameela. The kids think it would be great if a game world like "Final Fantasy" becomes the real world. As the kids sleep St. Ivalice transforms into a dream Ivalice; the snowy landscape changes into a hot climate filled with fantasy creatures.
When Marche wakes up he finds himself stranded in a strange land. Unintentionally offending a bangaa, he receives Montblanc's help who becomes his guide in the country called Ivalice, and joins Montblanc's clan, Clan Nutsy. Marche makes it his mission to return the world to normal and to find his friends.
While on the mission "Twisted Flow", Marche is transported into a strange dimension with a crystal. Before he can approach it, a being known as Famfrit appears, proclaiming himself a Totema, a defender of the crystal. Marche engages the Totema in battle and is victorious. After Famfrit joins Marche's cause, the crystal shatters and an image of Mewt in pain appears. A voice tells Marche that what he destroyed was one of the world threads, and that if all are destroyed, a new world would be born. Taking this as a hint on how to get his world back, Marche resolves to destroy the world threads.
Marche's next mission introduces him to the famous Ezel Berbier, who is under attack from several warriors aligned with the judges. After helping Ezel, Marche is shown first hand the power of the Anti-Law cards. From then on, Ezel considers Marche a close friend and valuable customer.
In the mission "Hot Awakening" Marche finds the next world thread. While at Roda Volcano, an earthquake opens up the portal to the crystal. He is confronted by the next Totema, or at least one of its forms, the Ultima Crystals. Upon defeating Ultima and shattering the crystal, another image of Mewt appears, this time demanding to know who is trying to destroy his dream world. When Marche returns to Ivalice, he has second thoughts about going about destroying his friend's world.
During the mission "Pale Company" Marche is ordered to find a ghost. Entering the Nargai Cave, Marche finds a spirit, and follows it into a portal and into a crystal chamber. The ghost is here too, but is absorbed by the next Totema, Adrammelech, who claims only his master may approach the crystal. After defeating him and shattering the crystal, Marche finds himself back in the cave where Babus Swain is waiting for him. Before Babus can do anything, another image of a pained Mewt appears. Babus asks Marche whether it is worth causing Mewt so much pain to revert the world.
Later at Muscadet, Marche finds judges taking away people for questioning, as they look for the people trying to destroy the world. When Marche sees a moogle being mistreated he runs in and claims he is who they are looking for. The judge sends in some units to see if he truly is whom they want. After defeating the units, Judgemaster Cid appears and takes Marche in for questioning.
While Cid wants to know why he is destroying the world threads, another portal opens taking in Marche, Cid, and Babus. Inside the chamber Marche concludes this Totema is severely weakened as the Exodus Fruit can do nothing. Babus claims he will not allow anyone to destroy the crystal and tries to defend Exodus. Upon destroying all the fruit and Babus, the crystal shatters, and Marche and Cid are exposed to a scene from their past, and Cid regains his memories. Now realizing what Marche is doing is right, Cid allows him to leave.
On the mission "Desert Patrol", Marche finds his brother, Doned, who has regained the use of his legs. Instead of being equally happy to see his older brother, Doned runs to the nearest clan group and turns Marche in. Dumbfounded, Marche fights off the group and wonders what is wrong with Doned.
During the mission "Quiet Sands" Marche encounters his biggest threat yet, the mysterious Llednar Twem, who tells Marche to leave the Delia Dunes. Before he can ask why, they are pulled into another crystal chamber where Llednar tries to kill Marche with his ultimate technique, Omega. Cid appears and uses an Anti-Law to disable it. The two engage in battle, but Marche is no match for him. When Llednar breaks a law Cid red cards him and sends him away.
Marche is confronted by the final Totema, Mateus, who tries to trick Marche out of his will to fight. When Mateus is defeated, the crystal shatters, but the world does not revert. Queen Remedi's voice proclaims that even without the crystals, the world will remain as long as someone wants it to. Realizing his friends want the world to stay, Marche sets out to convince them to revert the world.
Marche watches other people having a conversation about giving gifts. Montblanc explains it is because the Audience Day is approaching. Also known as Gift Day, it is a special day where everyone gives Prince Mewt gifts. Whoever has the best gift gets to meet him.
Knowing it will be a chance to talk to Mewt, the clan sets out to get a gift, some Materite. In the Materiwoods the clan is ambushed by a group of viera bandits who knew Marche would be there. Upon defeating the bandits, Marche realizes it must have been Doned who told them where to find him. Doned appears and claims he does not want to go back since he has nothing and Marche has everything, shattering the Materite the clan had come to claim. Doned runs off with Marche exclaiming Doned did have something he had always wanted.
They make a gift in time to present to Mewt with Nono's invention, the "lugaborg" (a possible reference to the boss "Lugaborg" from Final Fantasy IV). Marche is worried because Ivalice has a bounty on his head, but Montblanc tries to calm him down. Inside the palace they are ambushed in the waiting room by the castle guards. After dealing with the initial batch, Babus appears to help them, wanting to know more about the other world.
Taking them to the throne room, Marche approaches an angry Mewt and tries to reason with him, but is cut short by Queen Remedi, who teleports Mewt away. They are confronted by Llednar, who is invincible to anything they throw at him. Cid arrives scaring to run away. Babus and Cid promise to find where Mewt has gone.
While the others look for Mewt, Marche searches for his brother. He goes to a mythril vein and starts digging, which gets Doned's attention. After disposing of his goons, Marche tells Doned he always envied the attention he got and he wishes he was as loved as him. Doned realizes it is wrong to be selfish and agrees to help Marche revert the world.
After finding Mewt is hiding in Ambervale, Marche starts his trek there. On the mountain path he is confronted by his other friend, Ritz, who wants the world to stay and attacks. Upon her defeat, she accepts her fate and allows Marche's clan through.
At Ambervale, Marche has a final engagement with Llednar, and using Ezel's ultimate Anti-Law, dispels his protection, allowing him to defeat Mewt's evil side once and for all. Inside Marche confronts Queen Remedi, and knocks her out. Marche begins to convince Mewt the world is not good for him and they should go home. Before Mewt can be fully convinced, Queen Remedi reveals her true form, the Li-Grim, the final world thread and the collection of all the world's wishes. Marche defeats her, convincing Mewt, who summons the Gran Grimoire and takes them all home.
Back in St. Ivalice, snow is falling and they learn to appreciate their lives outside the realm of fantasy. Ritz accepts her white hair after Shara tells her it is considered a blessing by the viera; Cid meets Biggs, his former business subordinate; Marche and Mewt defend themselves against Lyle, Guinness, and Colin. When they call Marche "New Kid", he asks them to call him by his real name. Doned gains will and helps another boy to play Final Fantasy.
Rumors of the game's development began when Square announced its publishing agreement with Nintendo, and it was later confirmed by the producer Yasumi Matsuno. The development team was constructed from employees of Quest Corporation, and work began in February 2002. This comes after Quest announced the handover of its software development team to Square, of which the former is famed for its Tactics Ogre series. Initially thought of as a port of Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was developed with a new storyline and setting, and received significant changes to make it more user-friendly for the Game Boy Advance handheld console; e.g. a quick-save function.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance uses the gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics, but introduces certain changes, such as a customizable map for the world of Ivalice. While built for the Game Boy Advance, the graphics are vibrantly colored and detailed, and though environments and characters are sprite-based, facial expressions are identifiable and many motion frames have been given to create a smooth animation. The game introduces an option to switch between three display modes. Two of the modes are optimized for gameplay on GBA and the new GBA SP, and one mode may display the game into a television screen using certain peripherals.
In Japan, the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance story was expanded and broadcast in Japanese radio stations. The radio drama titled Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Radio Edition was broadcast in four radio stations within Japan from early January 2003 to late March 2003.
In Japan a "Deluxe Pack" (デラックスパック, Derakkusu Pakku?) was released, featuring:
- The game
- Cellphone strap and case
- Mini picture book
- Moogle keyring
- Mewt's teddy bear keyring
- Tattoo sticker
In the Japanese version, not only can the player not steal boots, but gloves cannot be stolen either. However, the player can steal Blue Mage abilities. The Law system contains only prohibited action. Some are JP-only laws, for example "Don't inflict damage above 20 point" or "Don't Cure lower than 50 point." There's no picture graphic to show job-availability for each item. Instead of picture graphics, they show it with abbreviation of each job.
There is a special feature in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 that only occurs when a Final Fantasy Tactics Advance game card is in the GBA slot of the Nintendo DS while the Final Fantasy Tactics A2 game card is in the DS slot. The setup unlocks the Clan Privilege Libra in Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: Original Soundtrack is composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Kaori Ohkoshi, and Ayako Saso. It has a remix album named White: Melodies of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and an Japanese exclusive advertisement song named "Shiroi Hana".
|Executive Producer||Hironobu Sakaguchi|
|Producer & Original Concept||Yasumi Matsuno|
|Main Programmer||Shinichi Fujisawa|
|Assistant Programmer||Hisaharu Funaki|
|Composers||Hitoshi Sakimoto, Kaori Ohkoshi, Ayako Saso|
|Main Theme Composer||Nobuo Uematsu|
|Scenario Writer||Kyoko Kitahara|
|Character Design||Ryōma Itō|
|Art Director||Satomi Hongo|
|Artistic Supervisor||Hiroshi Minagawa|
|Quest Planner||Kazutoyo Maehiro|
|Battleground Creators||Chiho Kawase, Rie Koyama|
|Sound Editor & Engineer||Jun Nakamura|
|World Map Programmer||Toshiaki Imai|
|Field Programmer||Noriyasu Arata|
|Visual Effects Programmer||Mitsuru Nagai|
|Visual Effects Creator||Taiji Tsuchiya|
|Animation Creators||Ikumi Hachiro, Noriyuki Komoda|
|QA Director||Kenichi Miyake|
|English Translation||Alexander O. Smith|
|Production Executive||Yoichi Wada|
- Marche mentions Final Fantasy is a computer game. Which game he is talking about is unknown, but Marche admits upon meeting Montblanc that he recognizes bangaas from the games, but never heard of a moogle before, which hints that the Final Fantasy games he plays may be completely different from the real world equivalents.
- Though developed and published by Square in Japan, the game was released in North America after the company's merger with Enix, and bears the Square Enix brand. It shares this distinction with Final Fantasy X-2, released one month later.
- The game was released in Japan on Valentine's Day, which might explain the pink calendar that appears on a wall of Marche and Doned's room.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was the winner of Penny Arcade's 2003 "Just One More Round, Is It Really Four In The Morning?" award.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and its sequel share many icons with fellow Square Enix tactical series Tactics Ogre, in particular weapons and armor icons.