The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.
I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.
With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Platform: Nintendo DS
- Genre: Tactical RPG
- Release date: 6/24/08
- Rating: 8.9
What is Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2?
Following the severely underrated and seriously addicting GBA release years prior, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 is a more light-hearted approach to the tactical RPG genre when compared to the PlayStation incarnation.
What warrants Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2‘s inclusion on this list?
It’s rare when it feels like I’ve played a game for so long that the cartridge/CD/DVD fused into the system its self. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 was one of those titles, where I logged on over 256 hours before I even completed the game, and it was some of the most enjoyable time I’ve spent with a handheld title.
The first game, on the Game Boy Advance, I logged in about half as many hours, but it began my slow infatuation with the tactical RPG genre. While the Disgaea franchise might have whet my appetite for the genre, it never satisfied my hunger for the genre like the Tactics Advance series has. Final Fantasy Tactics on the PlayStation was fine and dandy, though it felt a bit too harsh with its difficulty at times. That was never the case for the Advance line.
There’s something to be said about its simplicity, where newcomers to the genre could easily begin to understand the nuances more quickly, yet still be just challenging enough to satisfy seasoned veterans. Each class has multiple skills, and acquiring new classes is always a thrill. The minimalist visuals add to the charm, and even the sense that this is more geared towards a beginner or intermediate to the genre. That’s not a ding against FFTA2; it goes hand in hand with the rest of the package.
And even still, it didn’t feel like it was a dumb down experience, or that it was a little too simplistic. It was such a perfect balance of easing players into the genre with a more streamlined and simplistic approach, yet the experimentation with different classes and such opened the door for enough depth and strategy that the experience felt properly paced and fairly challenging, without going to either extreme. It was the completionist in me that occasionally appears with some games, that had me trying to get every class and max them all out on at least the main protagonist. Even when I was a small handful of missions away from completing the main quest, I would work side missions and forego concluding the adventure.
I remember taking the bus to work instead of the subway, waking up earlier to accommodate the extra time needed to make it on time, just to have more time with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2. It was easily enough time for at least one full encounter, and it made me look forward to tackling more encounters during lunch and after my shift. Hell, even during my shifts I would get some playtime in (I did work as an assistant manager in a game store, so that was more than encouraged, so long as everyone was attended to). Even after I was laid off, I sought the enjoyable gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 to ease the uncertainty.
The gameplay though, regardless of whether it may be skewed more towards a non-hardcore crowd, was addicting, and oh so satisfying. If you’ve ever wanted to give the tactical RPG genre a try, but didn’t know a good starting point, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 is the single best starting point you can ask for. There’s more than enough depth underneath it’s more lax difficulty, and it’s always a blast leveling new classes. A third installment really should be released on the 3DS or the Switch. Hell, I’d take a compilation of the first two games on said systems. It’s a franchise that deserves more press and more eyes on it, and the second title is as good a tactical RPG as it gets, IMO.
Record setting performance.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 holds the record for longest time a disc or cartridge has ever stayed inside said unit, just north of six months. While I may not have played it for six months straight, the fact is the game was never removed in all that time. Culdcept Revolt had a three month stay in my 3DS, although I did finally swap it out for something else.