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Stream Journal: Tactically Sound


og:image, Stream Journal, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy

I have a complicated relationship with strategy games. I really like the genre, and I love the idea behind it; using pure strategic thought to outwit and defeat your enemy. But I've only recently come around to this way of thinking, and as such have only played a few of the more recent high-profile games in the genre. Games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Fire Emblem: Awakening were wonderfully formative experiences for me. And yet, I'm really just not so good at them. True, I haven't been playing them for years, and these games usually tend to have a steep learning curve. Yet I still can't help but feel somewhat self-conscious of my performance. Victory tends to be a fleeting vision, and even when I do clear an encounter, it often comes at heavy losses.

Perhaps I'm not a strategic mastermind. Maybe I never will be. But I still enjoy strategy games. So, I decided, at other strategy fans' (Brad's) suggestion, to try a staple of the genre; Final Fantasy Tactics. For the purposes of my play through I went with the PSP re-release, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. I've only had one session with the game at the time of this writing, but I already know two things:

  1. I really like the story elements of this game so far.
  2. This is going to be an uphill battle.

The first thing I noticed about Tactics is that it seems quite dense. The correlation between the games Job System and Abilities offers a lot of options in terms of customizing your unit's roles in combat. For a noob like me, that also poses a lot of questions. Which character is better suited for what role? Which job abilities complement other job classes well? Which ones don't? Of course, these answers come with experience, but that experience is paid for with many a frustrating, nigh, hopeless battles. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it does tend to sap my enthusiasm for these sorts of games. I begin questioning every decision. I start thinking that maybe there is some esoteric quality that I'm missing, like somehow the genre itself is rejecting my interest in it. It's a weird thing, feeling like you are getting turned down by a game. I can almost hear it saying “Wouldn't you rather play something else? You don't quite belong here, do you?”

But, I play the game that I decide I want to play. Some games may be more forgiving to newcomers than others, but I'm not playing those games. I'm playing Final Fantasy Tactics. I'm going to get to the core of this experience. Not because I feel like I have something to prove, not because of other peoples' opinion of this game, but because I genuinely want to. Tactics seems like a genuinely interesting game, and I'm intent on getting to know it.

That being said, I'm going to go run through the tutorials. Again.

og:image, Watch Kris Play Final Fantasy Tactics


  • DeputyDangle 5 years, 10 months ago

    From my experience, I agree that FFT doesn't ease you into its combat and mechanics as much as recent SRPGs. But everywhere I go, I see praise for the game, so its gotta be worth sticking with.

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  • overlordbaal 5 years, 10 months ago

    I can understand your feelings towards FFT Krispy, that beginning is a little rough to get through. I always have a difficult time getting back into it even though I beat it years ago. That might just be my problem with SRPGs though since I fatigue quickly when playing them (unless it's Disgaea).

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  • jeffrey 5 years, 10 months ago

    Oh man, do I know how you feel SRPGs. Honestly, it sounds like you read my mind when it comes to this type of game. I've tried FFT, Disgaea, and Tactics Ogre. But reading your article makes me want to give SRPGs another shot.

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  • theottomatic91 5 years, 10 months ago

    I could never get into Tactics because from the start you can tell the game was not made for newcomers to the genre, so I decided instead to play some of the more lenient one's and had a blast with the genre. Perhpas Kris you should find an intermediate level srpg (since you played awakening and Xcom) and if you can get past that have another go at tactics.

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  • Alucard95 5 years, 10 months ago

    A good read Kris, I can totally relate to your experience with SRPGs. I had the same problem with games like Tactics Ogre on the PSP, even though I put in like 40 hours into that game I still felt confused and not informed about the systems at play. I'm beginning to think I am not cut out for these games but I still try here and there with games like Fire Emblem Awakening despite my lack of enthusiasm for the genre.

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  • Liam du Preez 5 years, 10 months ago

    Really loving your new take in SRPGs. Really want to hear what you think on the podcast too! Great Read!!!

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  • Iamthedude 5 years, 10 months ago

    Kris-P you got this, brother!

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  • grenouille 5 years, 10 months ago

    Nice perspective on an introduction into a new genre. Also, really like these new stream journals.

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  • Toast 5 years, 10 months ago

    Don't worry Krispy, chat's got your back. You got this.

    ...Unless we die in the heat of battle like in XCOM. Then you're on your own.

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  • Big Wazu 5 years, 10 months ago

    It's great to see you playing these games and enjoying them Krispy. I totally understand the struggles with these games and you can only get better. I played Final Fantasy Tactics for the first time a couple years ago and had some trouble getting into it but, when I did, I really enjoyed it and it was a great experience.

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