Final Fantasy Tactics differs from other games in the Final Fantasy series in that it isn't a traditional turn based RPG. Instead it's played on a grid with relevant positioning. It is still turn based in the sense that every unit has a timer and takes actions when that timer fills up, and it's still Final Fantasy in the sense that you're choosing between fight actions or Final Fantasyesque spells and abilities. It uses an evolved job system continuing on from FFIII and FFV and does a pretty darn good job of it. It also tends to put you into actual even fights a lot of the time. 6 guys on 6 guys with comparable abilities. Where it takes two hits on either side to take a guy out. And where death is permanent if you don't raise them fast enough...
This means every fight matters in the game, even random encounters. In a normal Final Fantasy game most fights are irrelevant. They give you some experience and gold and drain some of your mana or potion supply. Bosses can be deadly but no one (except a solo thief) loses to a couple imps. In FFT the first fights are not jokes at all. I started up and lost a character in the first fight. I didn't save the game and immediately lost the next fight. I chose to defend stupid Argus and he went and charged deep into enemy lines and got taken out. Game Over. Start over from the beginning, idiot person who didn't save.
I like games that are hard. I like that all the fights matter more than in a normal game. I don't like how long it takes to reload a game, or how often I need to save. I feel like the game would be better if it used a 'try again' feature like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest did, but because it doesn't you need to save all the time. All the time. And even more often than that!
In other news, it turns out someone did put together a hack to fix the PSP animation slowdown issue. I had to find and install a custom firmware thing in order to run the hack, but it seemed to work just fine. And the fact that it was so easy for this guy to hack it just makes me more bitter at Square for having the issue in the first place. Boo!