Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift Review

Player(s): 1-2
Extra Support: Wireless multi-card play

Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is another RPG title developed by Square-Enix's Ivalice Alliance that once again takes us back to the world of Ivalice. Ivalice was first introduced in Final Fantasy Tactics when the world was shown in much greater depth in the later Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. The original Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was the story of a young boy and his friends that found themselves suddenly plucked from their normal lives and whisked away to the world of Ivalice. Final Fantasy Tactics A2's story follows a similar path, placing the player in the role of an energetic boy by the name of Luso who happens upon a strange book and then suddenly finds himself thrown into the world of Ivalice after signing his name to the book's pages. Basically the book keeps a journal of his adventures and tells his story while in Ivalice.

The tactical RPG gameplay of Tactics A2 plays out much like Tactics Advance. The player is still offered control of several races ranging from Humes and Bangaas to Seeqs and Nu Mous plus other types. Battles take place in environments that resemble chessboards as each move from two opposing sides is played. Each party is granted turns based on each individual party member's stats or action from their last turn. Much of the action is showcased on the bottom touch screen of the DS while the top screen displays the sequence of turns for each ally and foe along with the stats for the currently active player and the rules for each particular battle.

Once again, a knighted figure (a Judge) sets the rules for each battle. The Judge will impose certain restrictions for the player's party and those restrictions are best followed. A Judge may set up a rule of no ice elemental attacks or may even go as far as to say that a certain race may only use physical attacks. Some of the rules imposed by Judges can really make for some difficult battles at times. The temptation to break a rule can easily take over when the forbidden element happens to be the weakness of all enemies on the field or your party is composed of mainly attackers that can only attack to the sides or in front of them and the Judge lays forth a rule of no adjacent attacks.

The Judge will also allow the player to choose from a range of bonuses that will only remain in place if the player follows the rule set forth by the Judge. Rules may be broken, but the Judge will withdraw from the battle and the player will not receive any type of bonus at the end of the battle nor will the player be able to revive his fallen comrades. Following the Judge's rules will allow you to obtain bonus items and possible points at the end of each battle so it is usually in your best interest to follow the rules.

There are no random battles in Tactics A2. All battles are fought through quests that may be engaged in through buying information at the local pub. Each pub contains a few quests as the adventure starts out but will quickly fills with a variety of other quests as the game progresses. There is always a main story quest that will further your progress through the main game and there are also tons of extra quests that can be engaged in for extra items. Each quest has a number of days in which the quest must be selected except for story quest which never disappear. Not all quests are battles - there are a few that are fetch and retrieve quests that will yield a special item. Some quests require certain levels based on the overall clan ranking in order to engage in so not all quests on the pub list are necessarily available once they appear.