A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that combat is a crucial component of this game, but that it's turn-based so that while you plan it, you don't directly participate in it. The battle animations are not overly graphic. The game offers a compelling fantasy world with loads of depth and replayability. The characters are squat, noseless, and very ... cute.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The Final Fantasy series of video games is very popular, but only older fans remember the game's brief foray into the smaller "tactics" genre. Now new fans can explore the "tactics" version with FINAL FANTASY: THE WAR OF THE LIONS. It's the original 10-year-old game with new stuff added, everything updated, and the gameplay intact -- now presented in a portable form for the Sony PSP handheld. For those new to the genre, a tactics game, particularly one like this one with role-playing elements, demands a lot of strategic brain power. You must read a lot, constantly fiddle with your characters' stats and equipment, and pay close attention to the weaknesses of your enemy.
Is it any good?
The game is beautiful, with lovingly rendered battlefields and well-defined characters. The turn-based combat found in War of the Lions is tactical war-gaming at its best. The game offers challenging battle after challenging battle. This is the type of game where party composition and how characters are moved and positioned matters above all else. Side attacks, back attacks, making extra sure to maximize the power of a certain spell -- all these matter a great deal, and these battles and your progress in the epic story hinge on learning them.
The only problems with this game are the substandard manual and the shallow and tedious tutorial. It's almost like the designers figured that only fans of the 1998 version were going to buy this game, so they didn't really need to spend much time explaining how to play it. Players must be willing to learn mostly by trial and error. Fortunately, for those willing to put in the time to learn the complexities, the game rewards the players' efforts with a deep, rich, and challenging game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether playing a medieval fantasy game sparks interest or questions about real medieval history. How do you feel about the "might makes right" nature of this kind of game? How did you solve particular problems and difficult missions in the game? Also, the characters are cute and child-like -- how do their looks affect your response to the game?
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