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Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
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Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is a tactical RPG developed and published by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS in 2007 in Japan and in 2008 in North America, Europe, and Australia. The game is a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and forms part of the Ivalice Alliance. It features cameo appearances from central and supporting characters from Final Fantasy XII, which takes place in Ivalice. In early 2008, the game received a spinoff, Crystal Defenders, a tower defense game set after the events of Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift.
The game follows a young man named Luso Clemens after he is transported through a magical book to the world of Ivalice. Rescued from monsters by a clan leader named Cid and later joined by the thief Adelle, Luso becomes involved in battles between rival clans as he seeks a way home. Gameplay carries over mechanics from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance including turn-based combat on a grid, a themed Job system, and a "Law" system placing limitations on player action during battles.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift uses an isometric turn-based tactics battle system. However, Square Enix further developed the game's grid-based system and increased the number of character jobs. Some enemies also appear in larger sizes, taking up multiple squares on the grid. The world map has also developed, with the introduction of "area maps". The area maps feature multiple battle locations and a town, which work similar to its predecessor. Enemy clans also travel the world map. The game differs from previous Final Fantasy Tactics games because one chooses specific missions from a screen. Some missions are central to the story and can be replayed until successfully completed. There are over 300 other missions in the game that may be replayed in order to level up the player's team. There are also random battles against creatures that occur on the map, which one can choose to fight.
The jobs have been expanded from the first game. Characters learn abilities by equipping job-specific weapons, armor, and items. Clearing battles nets characters Ability Points, which go towards the abilities in whatever items they have equipped. Once they have enough Ability Points, they can use the ability without having the item equipped by Mastering. Eventually, characters can use any abilities they've mastered from two different jobs.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is compatible with its predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. With Advance inserted into Slot 2, a player can begin A2 with the Clan Ability "Libra" already known. This ability is also available later through a mission in the game.
The game focuses on Luso Clemens, a young boy living in St. Ivalice, who is told by his teacher, as school ends, that he will be staying back and helping the school librarian, Mr. Randell, to clean the library as punishment for things such as turning up to class late, which he feels is unfair as summer vacation has started since school has ended. His teacher tells him otherwise and sends him to complete his task. Luso arrive at the library, only to find that Mr. Randell is not there, and so decides to look around, finding an old book. Reading the book, he finds it abruptly becomes blank in the middle. Just before it does, the book states that the reader should name the person who should fill in the blank pages. Luso decides to write in his own name on page after these words, which causes him to be transported into the world of Ivalice by it.
At the time of his arrival, a clan led by a warrior named Cid, is hunting a mark in Targ Wood, an infamous and large Crushatrice called "Klesta". When Luso appears before them, Cid decides to protect him from the mark by having him join the clan. When Luso does so, swearing fealty to the clan in front of the clan's Judge, he is magically given the abilities of a soldier, complete with appropriate clothing. As the clan begins to fight the mark, Luso offers to help, and discovers a knack for his new role.
After the fight, Luso tells Cid at a local pub in Targ Village about what happened, and how he needs to find a way home, as his aunt will no doubt be worried about him. Cid agrees to help him find a way back home to his world, and Luso agrees to help the clan out with quests while seeing the world of Ivalice until he finds a way home; at this point, he gives the clan the new name of Gully. After a bit of work in the woods, he and the clan move to Camoa, where inquiring for information on a wizard to know more about a magic journal recording Luso's actions, they meet Adelle, a thief known by the nickname of "The Cat", who steals loot from the clan before being trapped by them and deciding later to join the clan and helps Luso out when Cid is attacked in Graszton after they move there for more info. While Cid recovers, Luso clears out monsters in Aldanna range and meets with the great mage Lezaford, who tells him that the journal he carries is the key to going back to his world, as, since he wrote his name in the book, the book has focused its power upon him. Luso opts to do so, and after Cid is well, they travel to Moorabella to use an airship, running into sky pirates, Van and Penelo, while dealing with a mark at the docks. Before, this, it can be assumed that Luso acts as the interim leader of Clan Gully while Cid is incapacitated.
Hurdy the bard, a moogle who decides to join the clan as well. Together they face off against Khamja, a mysterious organization that specializes in illegal activities and assassinations. They also meet Lezaford explains that the more Luso experiences and learns on his journey, so shall the books' power grow, meaning that if he grows enough, he will be able to go home. While adventuring Luso comes up against Khamja several times, with one of these times being against Ewen, a Khamja agent who casts a spell to bar judges from battle, making it possible to die and be killed. Luso also meets up with the infamous sky pirates Vaan and Penelo at different points as well: at one point he must save them from headhunters. The tension between Luso and Khamja escalates when Khamja steals back a silver piece of magicite that Luso had found in the Rupie mountains after the fight with Ewen. Luso's clan is then invited to the Delgantua ruins by a quest, only to discover it was posted by Khamja as a trap to catch them.
There Luso meets Illua, a powerful agent in the Khamja ranks. Luso manages to defeat Illua and Ewen (the latter possibly dies as Khamja do not employ judges and he makes no further appearances); however the journal he carries with him glows and Illua recognises it as a grimoire and tries to attack it, only to have the book deflect her blade. The attack however transports the clan to the forbidden land of Jagd Zellea and has them face the hand of a powerful demon. After defeating it Lezaford shows the way back to the main land which is found inside Lezaford's cottage in the Aldanna Range. There Lezaford reveals that the book Luso carried around with him is named the Grimoire of the Rift, and it is named so for opening rifts to other places. This is said to be dangerous as powerful things lay dormant on the other sides of the rifts (such as the Neukhia, one part of which was battled in the Forbidden Land) and can destroy the world if they are allowed to come through the rifts. The book also has the power to close the rifts, which would hinder Illua as she seeks the power that is held beyond the rifts. This is what the secret organization targets Luso for, they see him as a threat to both Illua's schemes and their illegal operations including assassinations and black market operations.
As things progress for Luso, Adelle leaves the clan for an unknown reason. However, she is found by Luso almost immediately afterwards in the Kthili Sands when he takes on a quest. Unfortunately, she is not herself when she is found: her mind is overpowered by Illua's will, rendering her Illua's puppet as a result. She also uses a strange and powerful new attack she never used before when she attacks Luso, who tries to override Illua's mental programming and return Adelle to normal. Luso succeeds in awakening Adelle, and Adelle returns to the clan, learning that she has a unique power (the player can undertake a side quest chain to unlock her exclusive job).
Luso and friends finally confront Illua in Jagd Zellea and defeat her for good, however the confrontation shatters the barrier between places and a rift opens, allowing the Neukhia to come fully through the rift, instead of merely its hand. After he and the clan defeat the monster he finally feels he can go home. Luso bids farewell to Cid, Adelle, Hurdy, and Lezaford before finally returning home through the books new power. Once back, Mr. Randell appears in the library, where those who played Final Fantasy Tactics Advance will recognize him as Mewt. After listening to Luso, he believes his tale and decides to let him head home.
In the credit sequence, Luso begins his summer vacation, Cid and the clan continue questing, Adelle continues living the high life but with the clan, and Hurdy becomes successful as a bard.
The story of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 revolves around the protagonist Luso Clemens, and his exploits in the land of Ivalice. Upon his arrival in Ivalice, Luso is joined by Cid, the leader of Clan Gully.
The plot of the game also involves supporting characters that have been featured in games within the Ivalice universe. Ezel Berbier plays a supporting role, featured in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Vaan, Penelo and Al-Cid Margrace, a noble from Rozarria, are playable characters that are featured in Final Fantasy XII. Even Montblanc, who appeared in both games, makes an appearance as Hurdy's brother. Other characters include antagonists such as Illua and Ewen of a criminal syndicate known as the Khamja, and new characters such as Lezaford and Frimelda.
The three primary characters of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are also referenced: Montblanc will utter part of Marche Radiuju's name if he is KO'd in battle; Mewt Randell makes a cameo appearance as the school librarian, and Ritz Malheur appears as an illustration at the game's beginning. Luso makes an appearance in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions as an optional playable character with Khamja being part of the Final Fantasy Tactics story in relation to the characters Marach and Rapha Galthena.
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