I wanted to like Fantasy War Tactics. The premise is cool, the graphics are shiny, and it’s populated with an assortment of zany anime characters, which I’m generally all about. Plus, it’s available for the low price of zero dollars, making it easier for skeptics to take a chance on my recommendation if I enthusiastically endorsed this strategy RPG. Unfortunately, I don’t.
The game starts with a misanthropic wizard, the player’s character, resurrecting an ancient warrior to help with his quest for world domination. It was interesting at first to play from the point of view of a villain, since RPGs are usually carried by either lawful types or reluctant heroes. But the plot, and thus the wizard’s motivation for being an evil jerk, is doled out so slowly that the novelty of this twist wears off pretty quickly. His plan (which isn’t described more fully than ‘take over the world’) is soon threatened by a mysterious organization also bent on taking over the world. But he’s such a jerk—and not a well-developed one—that I don’t find myself particularly invested in whether or not he ever succeeds.
Combat is similarly underwhelming. A good deal of fuss is made in the tutorial and load screens about battle strategies, but the fights aren’t particularly complicated and most enemies can be destroyed in a single hit. Whether or not I’m standing on a higher elevation, for example, doesn’t seem to impact the success or failure of my attacks. Instead of the complicated war tactics I expected from a game called Fantasy War Tactics, I was presented with tedious mini-games for upgrading weapons and so forth. Though, with such stunted combat, a sharper sword hardly seems necessary. The lackluster fights (and over-abundance of fluff) in this title brings to mind my earlier review of Taichi Panda. Both titles also allow the player to auto-pilot (read: skip) boss battles, to my great dismay and confusion.
I would have strongly preferred more robust battles to all of the bells and whistles outside of the main story missions—and there are a lot of bells and whistles. For one, the game gives out useless prizes for almost no reason at all. Opening the game multiple days in a row, leveling up, and unlocking achievements all earn you random gems and coins. There are no less than 18 tabs on the home screen between missions, all blinking with new updates at one point or another. Add that to the constant chat channel flashing (borderline spammy) messages from random users on the home screen, and it’s almost enough to give someone a seizure.
These things could be forgiven if the game itself were more captivating, but it’s just not quite there. The dialogue falls flat, and some of the animations bend a little too close to fan-service for my taste. What’s worse, the player is constantly bombarded with requests for micro-transactions. And because the combat is so easy, these ads are confusing as well as annoying.
This game is clearly a hollow imitation of Final Fantasy Tactics. But even if you’re too broke to splurge on the real thing, this knock-off isn’t quite going to cut it. As always, the trade-off of a “free” game is our valuable time, and Fantasy War Tactics won’t be getting any more of mine.
Fantasy War Tactics
It’s flashy and colorful, but in this case, you get what you pay for.