And here we are with a continuously updated list of games like Final Fantasy tactics. It was back in 1997 that Final Fantasy Tactics was released in Japan. The first Final Fantasy game in the series opted for a tactical combat system. A year later it will also be distributed in the United States.
Directed by Yasumi Matsuno, already famous for being the creator of Tactics Ogre in 1993, (which many consider even superior to Final Fantasy Tactics) and accompanied by a staff who had already worked with him during the creation of the aforementioned title and supported by Square legends like Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy creator – Blue Dragon – Terra Battle) and Hiroyuki Ito (Final Fantasy VI – Final Fantasy XII and creator of the Active Time Battle system)
The basic idea of Yasumi Matsuno was to focus on an innovative and complex system of classes and a deep story full of unexpected twists. It goes without saying that Final Fantasy Tactics was critically acclaimed and quickly became a classic and over the years has produced countless series of imitations… maybe imitations sound bad, let’s say games inspired by it.
The story of Final Fantasy Tactics takes us to the world of Ivalice and puts us in the shoes of Ramza Beoulve, a cadet who will find herself in the middle of the conflict called The Lion War. During the story, our protagonist will meet other characters who will accompany him on the journey, each with unique classes to complement those of hired mercenaries.
As for the combat system, Final Fantasy Tactics has opted for tactical battles that take place on square grid maps where it is very important to manage the heights and positions. Missions, side missions, well-hidden secrets, are present like in the Final Fantasy series usually happens.
In any case, for all the lovers of the series, I show you some games like Final Fantasy Tactics that take inspiration from it and recall some of its elements, from the battle system to the customization phase. Let’s start
Front Mission series
Release date: Feb 24, 1995
Developer: G-Craft, Square-Enix
Platforms: Super Nintendo, Playstation, Nintendo DS
Developed first by G-Craft and Square-Enix, the Front Mission series is about a war-focused near-future where robots called wanzers (a portmanteau of the German word wanderpanzer) are commonplace. The player assumes the role of Lloyd Clive, military personnel of the Oceania Cooperative Union, who is sent to investigate munitions plants on Huffman Island.
SRPG traditions like cut-scenes, turn-based battles, and fighting on an isometric grid system are all here. What makes Front Mission different is the characters and the wanzers they are using. Each wanzer has a body, left arm, right arm, and legs. They have their own health bar and can be optimized accordingly. The music is good, the story is rich, and the gameplay is solid. It has spanned several sequels although not all are SRPGs, so keep that in mind.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Release date: October 6, 1995
Developer: Quest, Square Enix, Riverhillsoft
Platforms: Super Nintendo, PlayStation, PSP, Sega Saturn, Wii, Wii U
Headed by Yasumi Matsuno, art direction by Hiroshi Minagawa, characters designed by Akihiko Yoshida, and music composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, you probably are not going to get a game more like Final Fantasy Tactics than this. This game is pretty much was given birth to FFT as the main developers who worked on this worked on Final Fantasy Tactics.
It involves Denim Powell and his older sister Kachua, as they get wrapped up in a conflict between several powers. There are many dark elements in the story like ethnic cleansing but the story is very good. To emphasize the point again, everything that made FFT good is here in some form or another. Great story, great battles, beautiful music, and excellent replay value. It has been released for the SFC, PS, SS, and PSP. If there is one game that you want to give you the FFT feel, it is this one. The PSP version has more add-ons so I recommend that version to first-time players.
Release date: October 25, 1996
Developer: Konami, System Sacom
Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Sega Saturn
Written by Nobuya Nakazato who had been heavily involved in Konami’s Contra series, Vandal Hearts was released for the Playstation worldwide and later to the Sega Saturn and PC in only eastern regions. Combat tactically speaking is very good and the story is deep enough. It is about a young man named Ash Lambert involved in the conflicts of religious and military rule in the Sostegarian region.
Vandal Hearts has been likened by critics somewhat reminiscent of the Shining Force strategy games at the time of release although it is not quite in my opinion. There are split movements, several classes of which have a rock-paper-scissors paradigm, but there is no exploration. The gameplay overall was solid for any SPRG. It had good graphics for its time, and the music was well-done.
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Release date: June 21, 2001
Platforms: Game Boy Advance
Released exclusively for the GBA several years following the release of the original Tactics Ogre, this title acts as a spin-off of it. The team who made this game would later develop the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance after the company Quest was incorporated by Square Enix.
Alphonse Loeher, a soldier in the Lodis region opposes what his country’s oppression of other nearby places. He is given a big choice to make mid-game in which the outcome can lead to several possible endings of which have time prerequisites. The gameplay and other game elements albeit not the exact same as the original game but is still Tactics Ogre at heart.
Release date: January 30, 2003
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, NIS America, Engine Software, System Prisma
Platforms: PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Android, iOS
Since its original release for the PS2, the Disgaea franchise has subsequently become the anchor of Nippon Ichi Software spanning several sequels, a tv series, manga, and other spin-offs.
The first Disgaea is about Laharl, whose goal is to reclaim the throne or become ruler in the netherworld after the death of his father. It is filled with comedy, something called Prinnies that would later become the series’ de facto mascot, very high levels, and gameplay that features group attacking, multiple hits, and even launching opponents. If you like anything over the top comedic and gameplay-wise, Disgaea is definitely a series to check out.
Release date: November 22, 2006
Developed by Level 5 and produced by Sony, Jeanne d’Arc was released for the PSP. It is sort of a creative retelling of the true story of Joan of Arc who was involved in the Hundred Years War between England and France albeit with much liberal freedom.
Gameplay features affinities which themselves are subject to a rock-paper-scissors paradigm. Movement in battle is key as you can do more damage by attacking something from behind when someone is already in front of them through something called ‘Burning Aura’ acting sort of like a team attack. A ‘Unified Guard’ is replicated in similar fashion defensive wise by being close to the unit being attacked and acts like a team defense. You can move between cities on a large map where you can buy, sell, etc. or fight random battles to improve your party similar to FFT as well.
Luminous Arc series
Release date: February 8, 2007
Platforms: Nintendo DS, PSP Vita
Developed by the now unfortunately defunct Imageepoch which has rebranded into Mikage LLC, the Luminous Arc series began on the DS and spanned several sequels all the way to the PS Vita.
The first Luminous Arc focuses on the Luminous Church which worships their God Zehaal. The player controls the young Alf Erwin as he and his little brother Tio. Gamplay is solid for a SRPG where characters can fill their ‘Flash Gauge’ and even combine them into one big attack. There is plenty of dialogue, a slew of characters, and various cutscenes many of which are voiced.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
Release date: October 25 2007
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Similar to the first FFTA, a young man named Luso Clemens is transported from his everyday modern world to the magical world of Ivalice through a special book. Although a sequel, there is not much connecting the characters of the first story and second. It can be played as standalone title. The team of Yuichi Murasawa, Ryoma Ito, and Hitoshi Sakimoto all return from the first game to work on this title.
Most things like Clans, missions, learning skills though equipment, and various jobs that would fit into a Final Fantasy universe specifically that of Ivalice all come back in slightly polished form in this sequel. The gameplay is still good, the story is okay sans the ending (personal opinion), and music although somewhat borrowed from Final Fantasy XII (same composer) albeit still great.
Release date: May 19, 2011
Developer: Sting Entertainment
Developed by Sting and published by Atlus, Gungnir, meaning the ‘Swaying one’ in Norse mythology is usually presented as a spear (which was wielded by Odin in said mythology) that appears in video games especially RPGs.
Gungnir, although a strategy RPG, has some key differences from other traditional ones on this list. The main difference being something called a ‘Tactics Gauge’ in which Tactics points can be used for various things including changing turn order and employing specific tactics on the field. Boosted attacks are also possible via specific placement of characters.
Mercenaries Saga Series
Release date: January 18, 2018
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
The Mercenaries Saga series is ongoing series developed by Rideon Japan. Each entry of the series, you take control of a group of mercenaries, and events unfold where you must make a critical decision that will affect the rest of the game. The gameplay is very much similar to the Final Fantasy Tactics series where you can learn abilities, switch jobs, find treasure on the map, and engage in random battles.
The character designs are great and the gameplay gets more polished the more recent the entry. It may not be super high budget as there aren’t voiced characters or breathtaking cut-scenes but it has more similarities to Final Fantasy Tactics than most. Think of it like indie Final Fantasy Tactics.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark
Release date: April 30, 2019
Developer: 6 Eyes Studio
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, XBOX One
Developed by 6 Eyes Studios and published by 1C Entertainment, Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a game where masterpieces like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics had a clear influence on the developing team. There is a large focus on a story where corruption plays a major role.
The game features varied classes and varied abilities which leads to many ways to approach the enemy further enriching the tactical aspect of the game. However, the interface could be improved upon and it can be quite grindy if you are a completionist. Read an in-depth review by one of the site’s members here.
Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade
Release date: August 9 2019
Developer: From Nothing Game Studios
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox
Developed and published by From Nothing Game Studios, Tactics V has all the basic elements a game like Final Fantasy Tactics has but the graphics might be geared toward a console generation or two earlier or a style commonplace in the PC’s 90s days.
It is an indie game so it might be a little rough around the edges in terms of number of classes, customization, or other elements, but still should check all the boxes. One great thing is that it uses individual turn order instead of the enemy team/your team attacking.
War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Release date: November 14, 2019
Developer: Gumi, Square Enix
Platforms: Android, iOS
War of the Visions is a game developed and published by Square Enix. It is a spin-off of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. It draws heavy on games in the tactical RPG genre and especially FFT itself. It incorporates many of Final Fantasy trademarks. The story is about the land of Lapis and the conflict of the five nations within. The player starts out as Mont, the young prince.
A few major contributors to the Final Fantasy franchise have been involved in this game. The only downside is that it is mobile. Mobile means involving possible pay to win elements and gacha using real money. Just several months ago, Square Enix was accused of unethical manipulation of the gacha system in this game. Let’s hope this game gets a port one day to consoles or PC.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics
Release date: February 4, 2020
Developer: Bonus Xp Inc.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Developed by BonusXP and developed by En Masse Entertainment, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is another game that uses many elements from FFT like turn-order, elevation, and such. The Dark Crystal also kind of sort of incorporates some XCOM elements here and there.
The story is based on a Jim Henson movie famous for the Muppets and it subsequently has a Netflix series of it. Story wise, it is basically a group called the Geflings versus another group called the Skeksis, Despite it having established story and being on Netlfix, the game itself is not high budget.
Release date: July 31, 2020
Developer: Endless Fluff Games
In this list of games like Final Fantasy Tactics it’s time for the one Developed by Endlessfluff Games and published by Humble Games, Fae Tactics is abundant with cartoonish-like graphics and elements that could be in an animal raising simulation game like Pocket Monsters.
It really paints a picture graphically as a girl named Peony in search of her mother must summon magical creatures to save the world from danger. Recommended if like games with more non-human characters.
Release date: 21 Oct, 2020
Developer: Isa Hutchinson, Madison Pathe, Michael Bell, Badru, Taylor Thomas, Zoe Vartanian
Developed by Badru, Michael Bell, Isa Hutchinson, Taylor Thomas, Zoe Vartanian, and Madison Pathe with development by Ice Water Games, Tenderfoot Tactics takes a different style from most SRPGs, as this game has a focus on open-world exploration. Several Goblins who were granted the power of magic fight back against the Fog.
The tactical rules in this game are not too complicated as there is no random damage and there is no missing. To add a wrinkle in gameplay, you can take advantage of and utilize terrain to create more damage. Choose wisely as the terrain created might backfire later. The art style of the game is of its own which may or may not deter players.
Release date: December 17, 2020
Developer: Little Orbit
Unsung Story began as a Kickstarter campaign way back in 2014. It went through some tribulations as the initial developer Playdek abandoned the project due to a lack of resources. Thankfully all development was handed to Little Orbit who is in charge of it now. The game is in early access.
Allow me to directly quote from their page:
“Unsung Story is a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics that takes place in a world where spells are cast as songs and a 77-year war has damaged the foundations of magic. Build a team to work backward in time from the final battle to find a way to save Lasfaria.”
Our list of games like Final Fantasy Tactics ends here, let us know what you think about them, let us know if we missed something, and be sure to come back here from time to time because we’ll keep the list updated. Also, take a look at this article with 10 forthcoming indie games inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics.