|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Another thing that makes Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift stand out from other titles is it's sheer length. As I said before, the gameplay is made up of quests, and you won't encounter any part of the game that really deviates from the quest structure. But the good news is there are 300 individual quests, and with each one clocking in from about half an hour to almost two hours (depending on difficulty and battle style), if you go for 100% completion, you will be playing this game for quite a while. While you could feasibly stick to the story quests and be done with this game in twenty hours, one of the real joys of this title is playing to completion, a feat which will probably provide you with at least fifty hours of gameplay.
Visuals in this title maintain Square Enix's high standards when it comes to handheld graphics, especially on the DS. Environments and characters come to life in bright colors with a reasonable amount of detail. One thing I did miss from the graphics in this title that was very appealing in last year's Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and this year's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates was the amazing opening cutscene. Both of these titles had an extremely detailed and superbly animated CG movie. However, considering the length of this title in comparison to the former two, it is understandable that due to space constraints on the DS cart, such an amazing cutscene might have been cut out of necessity rather than style or oversight.
Sound in Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is very impressive, and fans of the Ivalice Alliance will at once recall new arrangements of some of their favorite tunes. The music is a very tasteful implementation of "fan service" and, as a longtime fan, I really appreciated that they didn't go overboard trying to appease everyone who ever played a Final Fantasy Tactics or Ivalice Alliance title.
But music isn't the only thing fans will recognize in Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. Several characters from Final Fantasy XII will make cameo appearances and a handful, including Vaan and Penelo, will actually be playable. Diehard Ivalice fans will also recognize several locations that are a familiar nod to other Ivalice-set games.
Overall, I don't think I could have been more pleased with Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. It is a solid title that will please both fans of the Ivalice Alliance as well as those who enjoyed the original Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. It is a great crossover title and has appeal both as an Ivalice adventure and as a full-throttle tactics title. While it may not have the pungent story Ivalice fans have come to expect or the extreme tactics Final Fantasy Tactics fans might have wanted, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift stands on its own as a great blend of these two sub-series and is one of the most lengthy and rewarding tactical RPGs to date. It is definitely a must-buy for fans of Final Fantasy or tactical gameplay, and even regular RPG fans will find some real enjoyment out of this one.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer