There are dozens of different jobs available, including Final Fantasy mainstays like black mages and dragoons.
You'll also find yourself wasting time with it. Each time you change classes, all of your character's gear is unequipped. The game could have really used a "recommended equipment" option of some sort, which would automatically arm the selected character with items best-suited to his or her profession. At any rate, the comparable system featured in the original Final Fantasy Tactics, in which you essentially "bought" new skills by spending job points you gradually earned in battles, was less cumbersome and worked better than the one here.
At least there's a lot of variety to the character classes, though there's actually less variety than there initially appears to be. The game features five different character races: humans, moogles (they look like teddy bears), bangaa (they look like lizardmen), viera (female deer-people), and nu mou (they look like Winnie the Pooh's resident donkey, Eeyore). Each of these races has its own set of warriors and magic users, though you'll find that some of the classes, such as the bangaa white monk and the human fighter, are closely analogous. Some classes are also obviously better than others, but it's still fun to experiment with them all. Marche and a few other main characters always look the same, no matter what their professions, but most of your characters change their looks when you change their jobs. In an odd touch, some of these characters have no obvious gender. The viera are obviously all female, but there's no male or female distinction among the human character classes. Basically, they're completely androgynous and are drawn with childlike proportions and are apparently made to look as if they could just as easily be boys or girls.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has some other unusual aspects to it. The judge system is the game's biggest twist. You'll learn early on that, in the world of the game, most engagements are refereed by armored judges who silently observe the proceedings. Certain laws apply during each match. For instance, in a particular battle, using swords may be impermissible, or using the "fight" command may be impermissible altogether. A character who ignores these laws earns a soccer-style penalty. There's a blow of the whistle, and a yellow card is presented for a mild transgression. A red card is presented for a major one. Receiving a red card causes the character to be instantly removed from the match and locked up in jail until bailed out. Over the course of the game, the number of laws per engagement increases, but you also gain the ability to cancel out these laws or add laws of your own, if you have the right magic cards. It's a weird system, but it succeeds in keeping you on your toes from one match to the next.
Also, you actually build the gameworld as you go along. Starting out, there are just a few points of interest on the map, but, after every few missions, you're be able to add other areas--and you can actually plop them down wherever you wish. Certain rewards are available if you arrange the lay of the land in a particular fashion, though this is a pretty abstract feature. Furthermore, some of the missions aren't your typical tactical battles, but are, instead, "dispatch" missions that require you to send away an individual character from your party. The character becomes unavailable for a while but will, hopefully, return with news of success--along with riches and new equipment for you. These missions are optional, as are some of the regular battles, though you'll typically want to take on all the standard missions available at any given time.
The game features multiplayer options for two players, allowing them to team up or to compete against one another for certain missions. Powerful items can also be accessed by using the link feature, and you can even trade party members among yourselves. The game has plenty of single-player lasting value, but the multiplayer option is certainly a nice touch.
Hundreds of challenging turn-based battles and the ability to save anytime makes this a great game to have on the go.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has a great look to it, and though the character designs may seem odd, they're stylish and memorable. The battlefields are clear and colorful, the spell effects are suitably impressive, and all the different character classes are readily distinguishable. There's an occasional bit of slowdown when you get too many characters clumped around one another, but it's hardly worth mentioning. The animation used for the characters is good, but it's nothing special. The game's audio is nothing special either, for the most part. The musical score is solid, but it's too limited, given the game's length. You'll have long grown weary of the handful of battle themes by the time you reach the end of the game. There's no speech in the game (unless you count the groans emitted by characters who get knocked out), but the sound effects are actually very good. In particular, the sound of weapons--connecting with targets or whooshing through the air as they miss--are very well done.
Actually, most aspects of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are very well done. It's got some problems, but it's the sort of game that you'd probably start to pick apart only after you've already spent dozens of hours having a lot of fun playing it. The game's got plenty of variety and offers a very open-ended character building system that rewards you for trying as many different, and unusual, combinations of abilities as you can. It's also got a pretty decent story that ties everything together, and it presents a unique twist on the sort of addictive, deep style of gameplay that made the game's predecessor a real classic.