After the release of the revolutionary Final Fantasy VII that marked the passage from 2D to full motion video and 3D computer graphics in an RPG, it was hard to believe that old-styled video games of the same genre could obtain the same success they could enjoy in the Nineties, when 2D and pseudo-3D graphics were considered a miracle. Still less if we think about a saga like Final Fantasy that has always been idolized by its fans especially because of its use of the latest graphics innovations. However, wonderful virtual experiences like Final Fantasy Tactics have taught us that a good video game isn’t always the one with the coolest graphics, but also and above all the one which can keep you glued to the screen for hours. Some games can achieve it thanks to great plots, some other can do it thanks to their playability. What is amazing about Final Fantasy Tactics is that it was successfully created to be a perfect mix of both.
Final Fantasy Tactics was released by Squaresoft in 1997 and was received with great enthusiasm by fans of tactical RPG. Not for nothing, it has been labelled "the most impressive strategy RPG yet" by video game magazine Game Informer, and “worthy of being called a classical” by Electronic Gaming Monthly. The reasons for this label are attributable to its challenging battle sequences, which requires more strategic planning than ordinary RPGs, and to the in-depth plot rare in tactical games of the same genre. Thus, Final Fantasy Tactics made it possible for the player to enjoy an RPG with both battles and the story as strong points. The success of a game like Final Fantasy Tactics is hard to emulate, but not an impossible enterprise. Many other valuable games like Final Fantasy Tactics have been released over the years, so we collected for you a list to help you find them.
Similar Games to Final Fantasy Tactics
1. Disgaea 5: Allegiance of Vengeance
- System: PS4, NS, PC
- Publisher: NIS America, Nippon Ichi Software, IntraGames
- Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
- Release Dates: Oct 6, 2015
If a great tactical RPG adventure is what you are craving for, then you wouldn’t look any further than Disgaea 5: Allegiance of Vengeance. Created by Nippon Ichi Software and released in 2015 for PS4, Disgaea 5 is set in a fantasy land populated by supernatural creatures. With the help of an army of over one million soldiers known as The Lost, the evil demon emperor Void Dark has come to power and now devastates numerous Netherworlds to make them fall under his own jurisdiction. Thus, Killia, a young and solitary demon, teams up with the Overlords of the Netherworlds under Void Dark's rule to rise up and take revenge.
Disgaea 5 is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics in many ways; first of all, they both tell about a world fallen to war and a group of heroes which attempts to take the evil down in order to restore peace. Then, they are both games based on strategy and free character development. Indeed, as in Final Fantasy Tactics, also in Disgaea 5 all of the units you have control on can learn magic and abilities from various job classes – thus, not only that specific one they belong to – so that characters can grow with lots of variety. Actually, in this respect, Disgaea 5 is probably better than Final Fantasy Tactics, due to the fact its character development system is way more complex and requires hours and hours of training to be fully completed.
2. Project X Zone
- System: 3DS
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games
- Developer: Banpresto, Monolith Soft
- Release Dates: Jun 25, 2013
Another great title which deserves a try is Project X Zone, especially if you are a fan of Capcom and Namco crossover games, with Sega as a special guest. Released in 2013 by Banpresto and Monolith Soft, Project X Zone has no actual plot, but just a slight hint of a story. Main characters from the Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, Valkyria Chronicles, God Eater, and so on get enlisted – against their will – to become part of a huge army led by a young lady with pink hair. The reason why this girl wants a war is a mystery that characters will have to find out by exploring each dimension.
Judging by the plot, there is nothing in particular that could make you think Project X Zone is similar to the more complex Final Fantasy Tactics, but there actually are great similarities between the games from the point of view of the gameplay. Being a tactical RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics, Project X Zone is a team game in which the player can rely on – and thus switch to – different characters, who has their own special offensive or defensive abilities necessary to plan a good strategy that can make you win the battles. Like in Final Fantasy Tactics, in Project X Zone enemies are also divided into the same type of units. Plus, a great thing – and original element – about this game is that characters – both allies and enemies – can also perform a combined attack under certain circumstances which makes the battles look absolutely cool.
Project X Zone - Extended Trailer
3. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (Bravely Default)
- System: 3DS
- Publisher: Square Enix, Nintendo
- Developer: Silicon Studio
- Release Dates: Oct 11, 2012
The world of Luxendarc is kept in balance by four elemental crystals, venerated by a religious order, the Crystal Orthodoxy. One day, the crystals are consumed by darkness, throwing the world into chaos. Agnès Oblige, Vestal of the Wind Crystal, escapes before meeting her death. At the same time, the village of Norende is destroyed by a calamity and Tiz Arrior, a shepherd of the village, is the only survivor. Agnès and Tiz meet while the latter is searching for survivors. They will decide to team up in order to find out what is disturbing the crystal. This is the synopsis of Bravely Default, one of the most successful tactical RPG of all time, and if you are searching for a game which can basically relate to Final Fantasy Tactics from any point of view, this is probably the best you will find on the modern tactical RPG market. In fact, not only Bravely Default was produced by that Square Enix born from the merger between Enix and Square corporations which are the creators of the Final Fantasy saga, but it was also made to be the sequel to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.
That alone should be enough to understand how similar Bravely Default can be to Final Fantasy Tactics. Indeed, they both take elements from the Final Fantasy saga, such as the fact that players can interact with non-playable characters, purchase items or magic at specialized shops, buy or sell weapons and equipment, or rest at an inn to restore health points and magic points. Around the world, the party can find chests containing items, weapons, or equipment, and so on. The battle system of Bravely Default also shares lots of similarities with the Final Fantasy saga, and especially with Final Fantasy Tactics. First of all, it revolves around turn-based combat and the player can decide to develop a character according to a Job system. Finally, the art and direction of the two games were conceived by the same staff.
Nintendo 3DS - Bravely Default - Adventure Trailer
Any Game Like Final Fantasy Tactics ?
4. Children of Zodiarcs
- System: PC, MAC, PS4
- Publisher: Cardboard Utopia, Square Enix
- Developer: Cardboard Utopia
- Release Dates: Jul 18, 2017
Another good game you should take into consideration is Children of Zodiarcs, especially if you like games signed Square Enix. Children of Zodiarcs is about Nahmi and her companions. Their initial mission is to infiltrate the chambers of a noble in order to steal a legendary relic. Detected by the elite city guards, Nahmi and her friends are forced to run and fight for their lives who were ordered to capture them. They find a cover in the city’s underground slums and catacombs, where laws seem to have been forgotten. Indeed, besides the guards, rival bandit gangs and a clan of psychotic subterranean cannibals are now on their trail, and they will have to try surviving without sacrificing their own humanity.
Differently from Final Fantasy Tactics, Children of Zodiarcs is a single-player tactical JRPG more story-driven than focused on free playability, which means that you cannot choose to play a character in your team according to your needs in a certain mission, but that a character will be automatically assigned to you as the story goes on and you will have to adapt to the situations, taking account of your strengths and weaknesses. However, what Children of Zodiarcs shares with Final Fantasy Tactics is a great plot, deep and intricate, and that turn-based combat system played on a grid that Final Fantasy saga’s fans of the older generation love so much.
Children of Zodiarcs | Launch Trailer | PS4
5. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
- System: DS
- Publisher: ATLUS, Ghostlight
- Developer: ATLUS
- Release Dates: Feb 28, 2012
Shin Megami Tensei saga, especially Devil Survivor 2, could be a good choice for fans of tactical RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics. The story has a modern setting as it takes place in Japan. One day, mysterious invaders called the Septentriones arrive in the islands and begin attacking the country. To fight back, the Protagonist, his friend Daichi Shijima, and the apologetic Io Nitta sign a pact with the devil to become the Thirteen Devil Messengers. The heroes will have a time limit of seven days to defeat them before Japan gets destroyed.
What the two titles have in common is certainly the classical turn-based battle system, that for Shin Megami Tensei was the key for its success. Indeed, strategy in Shin Megami Tensei is the core of the game and what the player should focus on since victory could become extremely difficult to achieve, at times. In fights, it is essential to assign each character in the team with a role so that they can assist each other while avoiding conditions that will end the mission in failure. When not involved in a fighting, there is the possibility for the player to freely explore the country, like in most of the titles belonging to Final Fantasy saga, or – in addition – develop relationships with other characters, which makes the game even more intriguing.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Break Record - Japanese Trailer
6. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
- System: PS, SAT, SNES, PSP
- Publisher: ATLUS, Artdink, Riverhillsoft, Quest, Square Enix (PSP version)
- Developer: Quest, Square Enix (PSP version)
- Release Dates: Oct 6, 1995/ Nov 11, 2010
Least but not last, here is an amazing game developed by Quest, and later adapted for PSP console by Square Enix. Yeah, it looks like Square Enix has its hands in a lot of tactical RPGs, but Tactics Ogre is quite special if compared to the other titles similar to Final Fantasy Tactics we have talked about before. In fact, the two games share even more than later developers and production, and that “more” is the director Yasumi Matsuno, author of Final Fantasy Tactics and re-developer of the Tactics Ogre 2011 version for PSP. Tactics Ogre's story follows three young characters of the Walstanian ethnic minority: Denam, his sister Catiua, and his friend Vyce. The three join a rebellion against a campaign of genocide run by Hierophant Balbatos of Galgastan, but they get caught up in a web of political intrigue, and are forced to make unimaginable sacrifices for the freedom of their kinsmen.
Originally released some years before Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre have been defined a real masterpiece, to the extent that it was ranked seventh on the 100 all-time favorite games in the Japanese magazine Famitsu. “Purer and more playable than its hi-tech descendant” as it was described by GameStop, Tactics Ogre has all classical elements typical of a tactical RPG like Final Fantasy such as the turn-based strategy style, the possibility for the player to build up a team of several characters with changeable classes, and fights battles on isometric grids. Plus, in the PSP version, it was made even more similar to Final Fantasy by the addition of the so-called “World system” by Matsuno, which allows players to revisit key plot points and make different choices to see how the story unfolds differently. The choices Denam makes affect the state of the world around him and the fates of him and his friends.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - Launch Trailer
Tactical RPGs have a long story behind them, and their fortune was made by games like Final Fantasy Tactics which represents one their best examples. Of course, even the best had to learn from valuable progenitors such as Tactics Ogre so that they could become a reference model for later great titles like Shin Megami Tensei or Bravely Default. Playing these titles can be a good opportunity to explore the changes tactical RPG genre has made over the years and a good way to predict the future of this still current genre, that survives with more strength than ever even in a fully 3D era.
Which side are you on? What are your favorite tactical RPGs? Don’t forget to tell us your opinion!