37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Close to perfect,
This review is from: Final Fantasy XII (PS2) (Video Game)
Every Final Fantasy game of the Playstation era inevitably gets compared to the legendary Final Fantasy VII, and this is the first one that really comes close to matching that legacy, although in fact so much has changed now that it's very hard to make a meaningful comparison. Both are superb games, but whereas VII told a tight, intense story, XII is a more of a sprawling, drawn-out epic that takes something like twice as long to complete and will sometimes see you exploring absolutely massive environments for hours on end between plot scenes.
The combat has been changed to do away with random battles, so that the gameplay has become a lot more fluid. The balance between direct and automated control, and between combat and exploration, has been tweaked very carefully, with the result that the game is a lot of fun to play, and very deep to boot. It's just as well that it's so good, because the game world is physically absolutely massive (we're talking MMORPG massive here), and you'll still find that you have to plough through endless hordes of monsters to progress, though now at least now you feel like you have some control over engaging them.
Graphically it's simply stunning. The individual character designs are awesome, and the environments you explore are astonishing. Each landscape is broken down into a series of `rooms' which you pass through loading screens to transition between, but you can always see beyond the area you're in, which means you can see geographical features that are miles away in game terms. The game must physically be something like 10-20 times as large as FFX, say, and the scale means that you'll no longer miss the world map.
The story. On the one hand it's much more daunting than previous Final Fantasies. On the other hand it's much more mature, better written, and beautifully translated. FFXII requires you to keep track of dozens of characters and the internal politics of at least three warring kingdoms. The difference is that in previous games, the player would learn what was happening as the characters did. This time the characters are intimately involved in the labyrinthine plot, and it's sometimes frustrating to feel that they understand a lot more about what's going on than you do. Occasionally the game will send you out to retrieve an artefact without any very clear idea of why you're doing it or what you're trying to accomplish. But it doesn't really matter, because the plot and dialogue are so good, and the characters so deeply engaging, that it keeps you playing. FFXII is much more subtle than the previous games, much more westernised, and almost completely devoid of Japanese quirkiness. Some people will love this, others will be alienated by it. This game is not going to please everyone. But it is a great return to form for the series.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2009 18:55:58 BDT
patrik sahlsten says:
I agree with you. Love the game.
Posted on 12 Apr 2009 23:28:33 BDT
Phillip Payton says:
i agree with you also i don tget why people say its a terrible game its not is my second favourite of the ff series (1st being 10.)
Posted on 17 Sep 2009 12:08:51 BDT
Really good review even though I completely disagree. I found the Gambits made the combat completely uninvolving and the plot was too broad and too vague - which is a shame really, because I found the game world quite interesting, but neither the plot or gameplay compelled me to play beyond about 25 hours.
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