Friday, October 05, 2007

Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSP

I've been messing around with "Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions" for the PSP. Lovely? Yes. Still the same tactical goodness with the delicious choices (mix Knight and White Mage powers? Have a Wizard with Monk punching abilities? Or perhaps a Calculator?). And the story with the updated translation is just joyful to read, much like the dialogue of "Final Fantasy XII" (though I was annoyed how the ending basically boiled down to "get the big ancient weapon and kick ass).

And the cut scenes are so very, very pretty. Like paper cut outs moving, the characters animated with a kind of static reminiscent of parchment paper. It really grounds you in the idea that this is ancient history retold. The voice acting is also pretty good as well, though I wish the main character didn't sound like he was 15. As an online friend of mine mentioned not too long ago, it seems like Square main lead voice actors always sound like guys who's testicles haven't dropped yet.

But - there is the slowdown. It's a *little* annoying when you're doing some action like Tailwind (formerly Yelling), and you can feel the PSP chugging along. But it gets worse when you cast a spell like "Cure" or "Protect" that can hit up to 5 people at once. And then - chug city. The same spell, hitting 5 people, each time moving through very pretty sprite slowness.

Which makes no sense. It's like the developers have their own PSOne emulator, and it's not nearly as good as the one that Sony made. The good news is that it hides a lot of the PSP's pinnings, such as the save system. When you save your game, all you see is Final Fantasy Tactics, not the big glaring PSP system going "Hey! I'm saving! Look at me! I'm a PSP!"

But the slowdown. It's something you try to ignore, but there's really no excuse for it. It's the same problem Square-Enix had with "Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth", another PSOne to PSP remake. And it seems like they still haven't figured out how to fix it. Which is so odd, because I can take my copy of "Final Fantasy Tactics" for the PSOne, run it through the PSP emulator machine, and it runs faster (minus the additions that the native PSP version give).

If you never played it before and want a good PSP game, you'll want it, even with the slowdowns. If you are a major fan, I don't have to tell you - you'll get it. And if you're on the fence, you might want to play the PSOne version since you can find it pretty cheap.

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