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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions Review

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RPG on the PSP - and it's bleeding good.

★★★★

For the vast majority of British gamers, War Of The Lions is the first time they’ve have the chance to enjoy this epic spin-off from the Final Fantasy franchise. But even if you were one of the few fanboys who bought the game on import or squandered a small fortune buying a second-hand copy on eBay, this polished PSP incarnation is still worth a punt.

At its heart the game is exactly the same as before, and sees players mooching around a fantasy world map with a gang of up to 24 cohorts, tackling turn-based battles that progress the plot and squaring off against plenty of random enemies into the bargain. And, like its PlayStation progenitor, the PSP edition boasts incredible depth in how you evolve your heroes, a complex routine that will delight RPG nuts as they squander experience and job points on developing their characters into world-class fighting machines.

But while a straight port of the PlayStation original would have been enough to sate most swashbucklers, this reworked version features a wealth of new features; stylish movies flesh out the story and help players get a handle on the convoluted plot, new character classes balance out the combat, and the new wireless multiplayer battles also allow players to experience the game in a completely new way.

Sadly, however, the multiplayer games are cruelly unbalanced, meaning that experienced players can hammer rivals with relative ease. The co-operative missions can also be a chore as enemies automatically spawn at the same level as the strongest player, meaning that their underpowered partner can quickly become a whipping boy for AI-controlled beasts.

But even with these quirks, and particularly if you’re only interested in single-player strategies, War Of The Lions is still an essential addition to any PSP collection.

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