Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

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Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
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Developer(s) Square-Enix
Publisher(s) Square-Enix
Release date(s) September 8, 2003
Genre Tactical RPG
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Everyone (E)
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a strategy video game for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. It is a spin-off of the popular Final Fantasy series, a sequel to 1997's Final Fantasy Tactics, and was produced by Square Enix. 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 is the story of Marche, Mewt and Ritz, three misfit children who live in a small town named Ivalice (sharing a name with setting of the PlayStation predecessor Final Fantasy Tactics), but find themselves transported to the realm of the same name after discovering an ancient magical book. This magical realm appears to be a manifestation of the video game "Final Fantasy," which the three children have played. Fans have speculated that the game in question is actually Final Fantasy XII, and that this is the link between the two games that developers have continually mentioned. This is currently unconfirmed.

The game is a strategy-RPG title in which the player assembles a Clan of individual characters, and marshalls both their efforts in battle and their role in the game. There is a strong focus on player freedom, with a great deal of liberty in deciding the roles, abilities and characteristics of characters within the ruleset.

The game's storyline and presentation have a light-hearted feel, although the game's popularity spans young and old alike. While many elements of the game play in FFTA are the same as those in its PlayStation cousin, this installment sees the introduction of a system of laws.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is sometimes called Tactics Advance or just Tactics. It is also commonly abbreviated as FFTA.


St. Ivalice

  • Marche: The hero of the story who is trying to return to his world.
  • Ritz: A girl who speaks her mind, who was friends with Marche and Mewt in St. Ivalice.
  • Mewt Randell: A boy whose mother died some time ago. He found the Grand Grimoire that altered reality as Mewt wished. As a result, he became prince of Ivalice.
  • Doned: Marche's little brother who is paralyzed as result of a disease.
  • Cid Randell: Mewt's unemployed, drunken father. In Ivalice, however, Cid is the respectable Judgemaster.


The World as Mewt fantasized.

  • Montblanc: A Moogle that befriended Marche.
  • Nono: Monte Blanc's kid brother, a gadgeteer.
  • Ezel Berbier: A Nu Mou trouble maker who created the anti-law cards.
  • Shara: A Viera who befriended Ritz. She is afraid of bugs.
  • Babus: The Nu Mou Royal Mage in Mewt's service.
  • Llednar Twem: A mysterious enforcer who replaced the Judge when they became independent from the palace. After his defeat, Llednar was revealed as the embodiment of Mewt's anger and hostility.
  • Queen Remedi: The ruler of Ivalice, she was the Grand Grimoire itself in a form modeled after Mewt's mother.


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A screenshot of battle in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

One of the central features of FFTA is the Laws system. Laws are set by Judges, invincible Chocobo-riding arbitrator characters present at each battle excluding those taking place in the Jagds. For example, there are laws that forbid certain weapons, such as rapiers, greatswords, or arrows. Other times, items, certain types of elements, or status changes (such as Sleep, Confusion, or Poison) may be forbidden. Breaking a Law results in punishment by Carding; the receipt of a Red or Yellow card (in a similar manner to red and yellow cards in Soccer) and possible imprisonment. Jagds have no laws but the down side is that you will lose chacaters that aren't revived by the end of battle.

To offset the difficulty of having things forbidden for use, there are certain things that are "Recommended" by the Judge for use, and therefore grant Judge Points (which enable the player to cast certain spells and use special abilities). For example, if "Items" are forbidden, but "Poison" is recommended, and a character uses an ability that changes the status of a character to poison, their party receives a Judge Point. Judge Points are also received upon killing an opponent. Some hours into playing the game, the player gains the ability to add new laws and cast "anti-laws", which can nullify laws that are already in effect.


Tactics Advance introduces a variety of races. Each race can take up certain "jobs," that govern what abilities the character can use in a similar manner to Final Fantasy IX. Each race has a Guardian Beast called a Totema to represent them and can be summoned to their aid.

The races are as follows:

  • Humans: Generic well-rounded characters that can take a wide variety of jobs. The Totema that protects humans is Mateus.
  • Moogles: As seen in other Final Fantasy games. They specialize in technological jobs and the use of guns. The Totema that protects Moogles is Famfrit.
  • Nu Mou: Small creatures with long floppy ears. They specialize in magic. The Totema that protects the Nu Mou is Ultima.
  • Viera: Tall tanned bunny girls. They specialize in Fencing and Archery, along with other agility-based jobs. The Totema that protects the Viera is Exodus.
  • Bangaa: Lizard-like creatures with immense strength. They specialize in fighting jobs. The Totema that protects the Bangaa is Adrammelech.

Jobs and abilities

There is a much greater range of jobs available in Tactics Advance than the original. Examples include Soldier, White Monk, Archer, Dragoon, Mog Knight, Beastmaster, Animist, White Mage, Black Mage, Gunner, and Thief, to name a few. Each job class has a specific type of weapon available to it, and various abilities specific to that class. The only way to use and master abilities is to join the class in question and equip a specific item.

Most equippable items have various abilities assigned them. These abilities are available for use only while that item is equipped. However, abilities can be mastered by fighting in battles. Every time a battle is completed characters receive a specific amount of Ability Points (AP) distributed over their currently equipped abilities, and once a target amount of AP has been accumulated for a given ability (anywhere from 100-999) the character masters that ability. The character retains it for use at any time, regardless of the items equipped and job chosen.

This gives the player long-term strategic goals, swapping characters in and out of jobs and changing their equipment in order to obtain a desirable range of abilities while trying to maintain a balanced, effective unit. A dilemma arises in the case of a weapon that is fairly weak, but has a good ability attached to it. This requires players to draw a balance between fighting power and the long-term goals of their characters.

Later in the game, creatures' abilities can be captured by using the Nu Mou job's Morpher ability. Usually these monsters' abilities are physical-attack based (with great attack power behind them to offset this) but occasionally will have a magical attack.

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