I'm gonna keep the main statement simple: this has GOT TO BE the best Final Fantasy game to-date on the PS2; OK, maybe not story-wise but gameplay and graphic-wise this is the shiznit...
...the all-new, original Active Dimension Battle system is a whole new view on classic RPG turn-based fighting, especially for the FF series. The Active Dimension Battle (or ADB) system, now "seamlessly integrates exploration and combat", so say 'goodbye' to all of those annoying random encounters...and say 'hello' to 3D mapping. Yes, now you can rotate the camera view (with the second analog stick) in ANY direction you require so no more hiding for those pesky chests full with valuable Elixir (true FF fans would understand).
...standing side-by-side with the ADB also is the "revolutionary Gambit System and Licence Board which give you complete control over the development and behaviour of your characters."
(1)The Gambit System are basically orders you pre-set so that, when in combat, your characters can automatically carry out their commands, e.g. 'Attack -> Nearest Enemy' or 'Curaga -> Ally <20% HP'; it might sound a bit confusing now, but trust me, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.
(2)The Licence Board is a unique take on the usual 'kill-an-enemy-acquire EXP-level-up' path. When you defeat an enemy, besides acquiring EXP points, you also acquire LP (Licence Points); the stronger the enemy, the more you will get. These LP are used on the LB to enable your characters to weild certain weapons or armour. Other than this, they can also be used to augment your characters' stats such as '+250 HP' or 'Decrease MP cost by 10%'. I'll admit that sometimes intentionally acquiring these LP is a pain but then again, at the same time you are gaining invaluable EXP points.
I could go more into detail but these features are the most cutting-edge for the FF series. I HIGHLY recommend this game for RPG-lovers and FF-fans alike and even if you do buy it, all we can do now is look forward to the various future-releases of more FF games.
This may be Final Fantasy but definitely not the last.Read more ›
Final Fantasy XII is something I have been working through recently due to the current economic crisis. I heard some major changes were made to this game and so differs a lot to its predecessors.
Anticipating the horror of a new combat system in the manual, I actually was amazed at how efficient and engaging it is. The gambit system is a useful tool for those who are too lazy to issue your other characters an attack or defensive strategy. It makes the game very efficient during battles but I should point out the game still revolves loosely round a turn based system.
The GF's, those who can turn the tide of battle with a single summoning returns. They are known as Espers in this game and they are very hard to get hold of. They now roam around with their summoner fighting enemies like one of the characters and usually execute their finishing moves in a cut scene, classic Final Fantasy style.
There is little variation in the game, not many sub plots and sub games which is disappointing. It is needed because the structure of the main plot is very repetitive. One gets something to do, one travels through the desert and fights baddies, one goes through a ruin/dungeon to retrieve something fighting baddies along the way and the cycle goes on. What ever happened to those addictive sub games? The card game in FFVIII was classic.
So was the world roaming in the spaceship, the Ragnarok. Is there really no freedom? Actually there is in the towns. Good graphics help make these beautifully articulated places that are very memorable and you can almost believe in them. Sometimes it feels like you are on vacation. Very exotic places and an enjoyable experience roaming round the towns. When you are outside the towns its just desert or glacier, no suburbia or farmland! How do the people survive and where do they live? :D
I do agree with some others who reviewed this game stating that the characters were not very interesting. I think that would partially have to do with the English voice overs. They don't appear enthusiastic or emotional enough for instance when you expect them to be in order to help you engage with the plot. The plot is very political, subliminally sending out messages to those young gamers and well timed considering the political situation between the West and the Middle East. Although I am not sure that was intended :D
Good job for changing the combat system. If it was the same as all the other FF games I would not have continued playing. An addictive chill-out sub game would have been nice though.Read more ›
I'm a die-hard FF fan, I've been playing it since the first PS-1 release and in my opinion, so far, FF12 is the best game of the series.
Some argue that the story and the characters were not as good as in the previous games which is a fair point. But to be honest I always found the plots a bit flimsy and the acting terrible - in FF10 the characters were always waving their arms every time they spoke. So I guess there isn't a lot of change in this aspect apart from the fact that there is not a lot of story and break-scenes as it used to. I won't say whether this is a bad or a good thing. I always watch the scenes but I know a lot of people that just skip all that.
About the character development, I really enjoyed it. In the previous games a character would be "stuck" with some specific abilities (one is good with swords, another with white magic and so on...) but FF12 gives you more freedom to make you character stronger in whichever way you like. Of course there are the "innate" abilities for each one, but it does not cripple the development of the others abilities. So your strong guy will be able to cast a white spell just as the delicate heroine will be able to slash and dice with the biggest sword in the world. The character development is made through a sort of grid with each grid representing different things, from enabling your character to fight with a certain type of weapon to increasing its strength. Each grid requires a number of points that you collect while defeating foes. You'll need the grip to equip the character with weapons and protectives and also to use magic.
The fighting mechanics is also a new step - no, sorry - a great leap forward. You have a sort of GPS of the area you're in and you can see the position of each enemy in relation to your team. I found it awesome that you can actually avoid fighting if you're too weak or you just cannot be bothered. Also you have non-aggressive foes which are much stronger but it will only fight you if you start fighting first. Another introduction to the fighting items is the Quickening. It's a special element that you have to develop using the grid, that allows you to chain commands from other characters in one go if you press the right sequence of buttons fast enough. It can be a life saver in some tough fights especially when there's a time limit.
Some missions were endless and boring (i.e. talking to a lot of people in the right order) - thankfully there were not a lot of them. But some are really gratifying like the Hunting Clan - even though is optional I think it is totally worth to do it. You can get special weapons and items through the hunts and a lot of money as well. Which brings me to another change in the series, where you can't loot Gil from the defeated foes anymore, but some items that you can sell to make some bucks.
I could go on and on with this review, but I'll stop here. There are loads of improvements that made the game more dynamic and less repetitive and even though the story won't bring tears to your eyes, you'll feel at the end that you don't want to finish and keep playing until you're sick of it.Read more ›