Among the most luxurious of the little luxuries in Square Enix's PSP remake of Tactics Ogre is the ability to save a screen capture at any time via a simple two-button combination. The game will save the image to the memory stick in pristine resolution, with an added copyright stamp to make it look extra legit, as though you got the screenshot directly from the publisher. Time was, even a leading enthusiast publication like Electronic Gaming Monthly would have a hard time getting quality images of games for its coverage. Moving forward, we should nowadays expect some sort of built-in screen (and video) capture feature to be standard on all consoles, allowing even amateur bloggers to share their best in-game moments across the web.
It's too bad I didn't take more screens during my playthrough of Tactics Ogre. I didn't originally plan to run an image-heavy blog. Since I'm not an artist, any picture I post would almost certainly be some stock image taken from somewhere else, so what would even be the point, right? But, in researching the traffic data on my old blog (which, despite not having had new content posted to it in several months, still gets several times more hits daily than this blog), I realized that it got far more hits via Google's image search than via plain Google web search. So, while playing Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for the PSP, I made sure to take several screen captures in preparation for an image-heavy blog post. Final Fantasy Tactics doesn't actually have a built-in screen capture feature—Tactics Ogre was a little ahead of the curve in that regard—but a few simple hacks will get you there (and, honestly, is there a single PSP owner who hasn't hacked their system?).
So, while admitting that this entire post is little more than a shameless traffic-grab, I'll just highlight some of the new content that The War of the Lions adds over the original Final Fantasy Tactics, since I imagine that's what would be of greatest interest about the game to my readers.
A lighthearted scene taking place on Agrias's birthday:
This yields the brand new "Tynar Rouge" accessory for female characters. Equip it on Agrias, and she'll give Orlandeau a run for his money as the game's most dominating character.
Luso, game hunter and protagonist of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 for the DS, joins the party:
His "Game Hunter" class comes with the same abilities as Ramza's unique "Squire" class, and Luso's stats are mostly the same as Ramza's as well. His one distinguishing characteristic is that, while in his default class, he has an innate "Poach" ability, meaning that any monster he cuts down will be transformed into an item for purchase at the Poachers' Den. Also, he can learn Ultima earlier than Ramza, then teach it to Ramza earlier than Ramza could learn it in the original game. Too bad Ultima sucks....
Balthier from Final Fantasy XII:
Balthier is awesome. His "Sky Pirate" class has all the same skills as Mustadio's "Machinist" class, plus he has a set of "Plunder" action abilities, which are higher-accuracy versions of the thief's "Steal" actions. But his best skill is "Barrage"—basically an "X-Fight" action that lets him attack four times in a row for half normal damage each hit, and none of the hits can be blocked or dodged. Add to that his incredible speed, high evade, and his versatility in being able to equip guns, bows, knives, swords, polearms, shields, heavy armor, and even knight swords, and he's one of the best characters in the game, at least among those without special sword skills. I only wish they had bothered to address the fact that he and Mustadio share a last name.
The new "Lionel's New Liege Lord" side quest introduces us to two new foes who have a history with Beowulf and Reis:
With it no longer being possible to steal from Marquis Elmdore, this quest is also where you'll get the Masamune and Genji Armor in the single-player game. For any of the rest of the Genji equipment, you'll have to find someone to join you for the multiplayer modes.
In the new "Disorder in the Order" side quest, Ramza hunts down some brigands formerly of his father's old unit. For some reason, Agrias participates as a guest party member in this battle. If you bring Orlandeau, he'll also have a few words. Otherwise, there's not much to see here:
An extra battle, wherein Meliadoul confronts another of the Knights Templar:
The above battle actually occurs before Meliadoul's original confrontation with her father, Folmarv, so this just fills in a small gap. Unfortunately, it's the only new Meliadoul scene, but, by the time she joins the party, you're practically at the end of the story anyway.
A pretty significant new scene that finally addresses why Agrias seems to abandon her original mission of guarding Ovelia:
As you can see, it also settles, once and for all, the age-old debate over whether Ovelia had a knife in her hand. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky.
Argath's last stand:
That's just a taste of what's new in The War of the Lions. For those curious to see more (but not curious enough to play the game for themselves), you can probably find the extra scenes and battles in their entirety on YouTube.
Next, some random shots of scenes that are not new (although they are newly translated) but that, for whatever reason, I thought were worth capturing.
A cute moment in the new translation:
Barich (AKA Balk) explains the way of things:
I didn't even remember this character from the first time I played the game, but damn if he doesn't make sense!
And, finally, more of Argath (AKA Algus) being unbelievably awful:
Yes, you read that right. He said "whoresons." And, since Google isn't quite sophisticated enough yet to connect searches to text contained in images, I'm typing out the word in order to make sure that, the next time someone does a search for "final fantasy tactics whoresons," this post will be there for them.