While the numbered Final Fantasies stand out in everyone’s mind; I’m going to talk about one that is a little less known and that was probably overshadowed by the hit of 1997 : Final Fantasy Tactics.
This article contains spoilers, please read at your own discretion. This will also be accompanied by a Let’s Play video detailing the major events of Final Fantasy Tactics Act I.
Politics of FF Tactics (Part 1)
While the plot of the well known Final Fantasy VII is strong with plot twists and characters with many psychological issues, Final Fantasy Tactics is just as powerful with a political and philosophical plot. The first act of Final Fantasy Tactics starts off with a fairly simple premise of our main character Ramza and ally Delita fighting for the Hokuten, a group of knights working for the nobility. Their enemies for the duration of the first act are a group called the Death Corps – a band of low class soldiers thrown away after the Fifty Years War.
From the very beginning class warfare is very apparent. It’s emphasis on class warfare throughout the game is one of the reasons I think it is more influential and more important to Final Fantasy VII. Ramza’s tale in each act teaches us the viewers a lesson that should be observed in our lives. Each victory Ramza achieves he is set back by the realization that his enemies are human, and fight for a worthy cause. I think this rude awakening coupled with how their ally Algus treats their enemies is good for the development of Ramza – however more goes on behind the scenes of the fight between the Hokuten and the Death Corps.
Upon your victory at the Sand Rat Cellar you are introduced to the leader of the Death Corps – Wiegraf Folles, It is at that point you discover that Wiegraf was hunting down a traitor named Gustav – a captain who had been enticed by the nobility. Wiegraf’s character is one that will change throughout the story and one that I tend to gravitate towards because of the things he goes through and the changes he makes throughout the story.Despite being a reoccurring villain Wiegraf remains one of my favorite characters in the Final Fantasy series because of his personality and developing ideas.
Ramza and Delita find themselves caught up in a plot far more devious than they expect. However they do not realize it until the finale of act 1 that they are pawns in the scheme of Dycedarg – Ramza’s older brother – upon the death of Delita’s sister Teta. Ramza being a paragon of virtue and a changed person seeing the humanity of his enemies in the Death Corps will take this betrayal in the finale to walk a path founded on justice to the people and unveil the truth to the masses. Delita on the flip side of this coin seeing the harsh reality behind this class warfare aims to break free of the restraints and prove to himself, Ramza and the rest of Ivalice that despite the distinction between nobility and peasantry anything can be accomplished.
While they do split and take very different paths in the following acts of this amazing game, it seems that they are always aiding each other in ways they do not see. The split in actions again reminds us of the class warfare that FFT hits upon so hard, but it also shows us that we cannot stereotype the nobility and the peasantry into black and white. Ramza is clearly an exception to the nobility who breaks the misconceptions and is genuinely a virtuous person. Delita is someone who is also an exception, someone who refuses to lie down and give up and wants to break the mold of the lower class, and as we’ll see, doesn’t always follow the virtuous path that Ramza does.
** Stay tuned for the Let’s Play videos and future articles in this chain!