on 17 November 2006
Final Fantasy is sometimes thought of as a kiddy game with chocobos and moogles. Final Fantasy XII proves that this series can present an awesome storyline and graphics that all ages will adore.
Don't worry if you haven't played all of the other Final Fantasy games. You don't need to. There are subtle carry-overs, but this game is meant to stand alone. You are a young orphan in a city recovering after a war. The cruel Empire has taken over your home town, and you enjoy causing trouble for the soldiers.
Soon, of course, you're swept up in an epic rebellion. The storyline here is just *amazing*. Not just the plot itself, but the voice acting, the dialogue, the graphics, they are top notch. This is really like being a part of an extremely well done drama movie. They delve into issues of honor, loyalty, love, betrayal, and more. I'm an adult gamer, and I was staying up many long nights because I wanted to see where the story was going. Some of the subtle interactions between characters in cut scenes are just amazing. The small nods, the looks in their eyes, you are hard pressed to remember that they are animated in a computer game.
Gameplay itself revolves around a party of characters going on quests, fighting in battles and moving through the large world. Each character gains experience and skills as they go. You buy them new weapons and armor, train them in spells, and aim them in their career growth however you wish. There is a dual system in play here. First, you need to physically own the weapon or item you wish to use - say an iron sword. But then you need to KNOW how to use it too! You can't just hand an iron sword to a 10 year old piano player and expect her to know how to use it. That skill is called a "license". You have an online license chart that lets you manage what each character knows. Licenses relate to each other. If your character learns the basics of sword work, now they can learn a more advanced version. It is very intuitive and adds a fun element to the game. It's not just one straight line that you choose and are stuck with. It's an all-directions layout where you can try new skills or expand out as you learn the system better.
I really like combat in this Final Fantasy as well. Instead of random battles where enemies appear out of nowhere to assault you, all enemies are "on the map" with you. If you're running along a path in the desert and see something really scary in the distance, you run away from it! You don't have to worry about enemies springing up out of nowhere to slam you into the ground.
The enemies in general are challenging but not impossible. There are spots where you really have to think about the enemy and what its weakness is to defeat it. You can't just brute force bash away at everything and hope to succeed.
Still, as great as the gameplay is, and as gorgeous as the visuals and music and voice acting are, I really have to come back to the plot and characters as standing out here. There's been a lot of talk in the gaming world about a game that finally goes from "little pixels on the screen" that you move from X to Y to the point of *caring* about these characters, about what they are going through, and feeling emotional about their highs and lows. I really think Final Fantasy XII has hit that level. Yes, there are one or two twerpy characters that can be annoying. Even Star Wars had Luke whining about the Takashi Station at the beginning, to set his "basis for growth". In general, though, every single character here seems real, seems complex, and you don't want to put the game down.
Highly, highly recommended.
on 27 February 2007
Like everyone else I am a massive FF fan and was concerned when I haerd the whole fight engine was being overhauled. But I wasn't disappointed once I started playing. What seems a bizarre system at first soon turns into a logical progression for the series.
I simply don't understand where the comments from some of these so-called FF experts are coming from. This is a beautiful game with incredible detail, a more mature storyline and a nicely nostalgic score. Although at times this feels a far darker and broodier game than the typical FF fodder. The gothic, detailed graphics, political intrigue and often moody score reminds me very much of Vagrant Story on the PS1. There's even a very similar battle system.
If you want an impressive and new gaming experience give this a go - if not go play FF7 and remind yourself how much the franchise has improved.
on 28 October 2006
I got the American version of this game the other day and ive not stopped playing on it. Although the first few hours are slow more storyline based more than anything, the game is still amazing!
The biggest difference from the other final fantasies is the no random encounters. Now you can see the enemies on the screen and on the map before you engage. With a little getting used to,this becomes quite fun and no loading up each battle.
The licence system is used in FFXII. Similar to the sphere grid. Basically you have to buy everything for battles e.g. magic,ability to used weapons and armour,teckniks(steal and actions like that). It is basically the sphere grid on a larger scale. however like the sphere grid in the end the characters will become very simliar. Any character can wear any armour and any weapon as long as they have the required licence.
The storyline so far is quite interesting although i am only a few hours in. The game does lead you into it very simply and it is very easy to understand. the gambit system is easy to get used to and very handy.
Overall i am very impressed with the first few hours. there is sure to be more twists and turns on the way that will keep me playing until the early hours. But it looks as tho Square enix has done it again, they have managed to create yet another great episode in the final fantasy series.
on 28 February 2007
I have loved all of the FF games since FFVII and in a way, this is no exception. It has a lot of great things going for it.
The cut-scenes are beautiful CGI and the voice-acting is generally good - although most of the non-playable characters are in armour (and thus ALL their voice-acting sounds like someone talking into a paper-cup). The Bunny-Eared Fran character is the worst voice-acting in the game; she sounds a bit like Jordan (Katie Price) all monotone and lazy. Other than that, all the cut-scenes rock.
The in-game graphics are also pretty good but unlike previous titles they are fairly 'samey' from place-to-place. Almost every city looks alike, every village and almost all the fighting is done either on a sandy plain or a grassy plain or (the worst) in a Mine-Shaft. I'm about halfway through the game right now and I've been to about three mines and two sewers already. Unless your into train-tracks and dark bat-filled tunnels you may find this aspect annoying.
The Battle-System is alright but flawed. I personallty much preferred both the levelling-up and turn-based fights of the previous titles. Final Fantasy X seemed to me to demonstrate a perfect battle-system and when I had completed that game I wanted more of the same (yet somehow some chump in Enix decided on X-2 which was an ugly freak of a game).
There is also a problem with save-crystals. The saves are far too spaced apart and here in Wales we are not uncommon to power-cuts, so along with the instant-kill beasts (that stalk even the earliest lands) and the natural problem of tired-eyes (headaches, what have you), it's REALLY annoying to have to put in an extra half-hours hacking and slashing just so you can keep your progress. FFX had a save crystal every five screens and this made the game twice as enjoyable.
I can't list all of FFXII bad-points because it has a lot, but I can't go into how addictive it is either. I can play this game for six hours straight and not get bored (which is why I give it 4 stars).
Long story short: I think FFXII is a nice addition but it is generally flawed. There's no atmosphere, depth, I have little interest in the characters (especially the drummer from Handson - Vaan). There seems to be a massive lack of story (I'm halfway through and I still don't get who the bad guy is - is there a bad guy?). However, it is extremely addictive in terms of gameplay (beating stuff up, levelling-up, selling, hunting etc).
A nice effort but no way the 10/10 that evryone is giving it in the media.
on 17 March 2007
First of I'd like to say I'm not one to usually write online reviews, but based on some of the previous ones here I think a few points need to be made.
First of, let's get the obvious out of the way. Graphically it's nothing but stunning, some of the best (if not the best) seen on the PS2. The cut scenes and cinematics are excellent, and allthough some are a bit long they do tell the story wonderfully. The story isn't the best in the series, and yes I've played all that have hit the UK shelves. Some of the characters seem a bit well....pointless, some seem to be there just to make up the numbers. Which is ok I guess, as the game play does require there to be 6 main characters. I didn't find the story anywhere neer as emmersive as that of FF-X (my personal faviroute in terms of story). I wont comment on this any more as it really is a matter of taste and I've known some people to say that some of the stories in the series are just to deep.
Now to the gameplay, and as the title of the review suggests this is mostly comparable to it's immediate predecessor: Final Fantasy XI. Now by comparison FFXI had far less UK players. It was an MMORPH (Massively multiplayer Online RPG)that was only released on the PC in this country, which, becuase of it's nature had to have a very different gameplay style. Think world of Warcraft for Adults. Anyway, as suggested FFXII takes so many gameplay elements from FFXI.
1. The battle system is the most obvious. The system in 12 is a direct desendant of 11's. With only one player instead of many a sollution had to be made on how to control the party as it operates in real time instead of turn based. This is where the Gambit system comes in. This allows you to assign commands to party members in advance in case of sertain conditions. For example you can set up a gambit (command) so one party member can cast Cure on another who's Hit points fall below 50%. This is very well done as it allows you to prioritise gambits in order of which should be done in the event of the conditions for multiple gambits are met. Random battles are no more as you can see the enemies before you fight them, you can examine them (with the Libra ability) to check strength and weaknesses and decide whether or not you want to take them on.
2. Esploration is also very similar. Areas are broken down into smaller zones that only party members can cross. There are chocobo (A type of mountable bird) stables in all major towns which allow you to rent a chocobo to travel safely between areas. Despite some previous reviews, this does all make for some very non linear gameplay, in fact the game encourages you to stray of course at times.
3. Quests from 11 have been replaced with Hunts. These involve you answering a call to kill a monster, finding it and doing what has to be done (kill it!). You are then rewarded with money and items from the NPC (non player character) who posted the hunt. You are awarded clan points which works much like the fame system in 11. The higher your clan ranking the more hunts come available and the greater the rewards.
Honestly, the only real differences between the two is that this one has a more compelling story than 11, that is tolled through CGI and voice acting, and of course the lack of other human players. It has much less in common with FFI - FFX-2 than it does with XI and the character development system (licensing as it's known) is quite horrible. You run the risk of concentrating on just 3 of your 6 characters leaving 3 much weaker at later points in the game.
To sum it up this game is stunning in many ways but does lack a bit in others. Definatly worth a look, but I do hope they go for the more traditional final fantasy feel for the next installment. Don't expect to much though and you will be pleasently surprised.
on 10 April 2007
Final Fantasy XII is a fantastic game with a great battle system, great endearing characters etc etc. The quickenings are exciting, (much better than the overdrives of final fantasy X) the espers are powerful, the weapons are powerful, one of my only problems with the game is that early on in the game and indeed for a long time actually, the magic isnt very powerful. So, I ended up for ages just saying well forget the magic, the handaxe deals more damage and doesnt waste your precious MP.
Moreover, for ages you come up against enemies that are weak against magics that you havent learned yet, like the skeletons in the Lhusu mines, weak against holy, but you dont have holy yet, so whats the point? You would have thought the development team would have let you learn these magics earlier to make it more exciting, and like I said before, made them more powerful.
Another problem with the magics was if you configure a gambit to do this for example - Foe:nearest visible - Fire, then you will continuously cast fire on that foe until its dead. This wastes MP. In final fantasy X you wouldnt continuously get Lulu to cast fire on your enemies, you'd get her to do it once or twice to weaken it and then swap her for for someone else so they can have a go. Therefore a more effective way of designing the gambit would be this - Foe:nearest visible - Fire - twice. This would make your character cast fire on the foe twice to weaken it and then the other characters can finish it off with physical attacks. Sadly the development team didnt think of this.
But when all is said and done this is still a marvellous game. What really makes this game is the role playing aspect of it. Its completely open ended and forces you into literally hours of careful planning and strategic thinking. Finally coming up with your winning strategy is excellent and rewarding. The Boss fights are very exciting and very rewarding (especially when you defeat an esper) as are the fights you have with the other monsters. One thing though, before you play this game, play final fantasy X. If you dont you'll have no idea what your doing whatsoever. For example you'll have no idea about the importance of blind, sleep, silence etc.. Oh and another thing, buy the guide to this game.
on 1 March 2007
I was a bit dubious of this game after reading about the Gambit system, liscense board and the new battle system. And as i'd give 7 (5stars), 8(4stars), 9(3stars) and 10 (0 stars as i couldnt even bare to finish it) i was worried that FF games had been destroyed.
But having put this game on when it arrived (whilst in the middle of playing 'Lucifers Call') i immediately stopped playing the latter...and that's saying something!!
The story is intrieging so far(i've done about 30hours)and it makes me want to keep playing to see how it all un-folds. The characters are interesting and are all pretty useful in battle.
I love the battle system....you can still select ATB options to 'wait' and turn off gambits to have the feel of a traditional style rpg battle.....but i think the new system is great, a refreshing change. It flows really well.
The liscense system is very good....it allows for complete customisation of each character in anyway you want. Unlike FFX where you had 1 route and you didn't have much customisation for each character. FF12 allows you complete freedom in who you use, what weapons they specialise in, spells they use, summons etc.
The optional hunts are also a very good adition to the game. It's hard to distract yourself from the story at times but Hunting down strong monsters is a perfect way to do it. I've completed about 15 so far and enjoyed each one!
Although it is not very good wondering around at level 10 then your party attack a level 50 enemy and you get slaughtered....but there is a skill to prevent that...just don't learn the hard way like me!
Anyways....all in all i'd say this is the best FF game ive played and from the amount of optional stuff ill be playing for a lot longer! Deffinately worth buying if you want a slightly different...but extremely enjoyable RPG
on 28 February 2007
It took me a good few hours to really get into the game but it is well worth the wait.
The first thing i noticed about ff12 is the new battle system. It seemed strange at first but after experimenting with 'Gambits' i found it to be an improvement on the old system. The battles are quicker and much less annoying then random fights it also makes leveling up a joy.
The storyline is an epic tale of a small resitance group vs. an Empire determined to rule the world. There are plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep up gripped and guessing. The main quest will probably take 60+ hours to complete but if you complete all of the side quests it will take at least 80+. The side quests are all really fun and worth will for the rewards you recive for completeing them.
The characters you control are all unique and interesting (except Vaan). It's your choice what each character will be i.e mage, warrior etc...
The settings are amazingly detailed and varied. Whenever you enter a new town you'll be blown away by the scale and the amount of people and creature wondering around in the crowd. The graphics are the best in the franchise and on the PS2 at the moment.
The only downside to this game is the summons and limit breaks. Summons require a full MP bar to activate so i found myself rarely using them. Limit breaks are now gone and have been replaced by things called 'Quickenings', still not entirely sure what to do with them though!
Overall this is the best FF since 7 and i'd recommend everyone to buy it, even if your new to FF.
on 6 March 2007
This game is AWESOME! I always groan when they set back the release date, but it is always worth it.
I too felt it had a star-wars theme, but I'm totally hooked. 33hrs in, and I've barely got anywhere in the story - through choice. The hunts are keeping me busy, i'm actually happy to fight hundreds of monsters to get further on the licence board. Okay, so i haven't yet bought half the weapons/magic, but that competitive streak in me keeps me striving to get all the squares filled in. I think the licenses are a very good idea. The gambit system - I'm not using it to the full extent it could be used, but I may do in time.
Graphics are incredible, the characters are very believable and lovable. I agree that Ashe can look a little like Yuna, but she's totally different in personality. Another fav is Bathier (Kind of like Hans Solo?)
There are more than enough twists in the story to keep me happy - some are quite a surprise. Lots of 'wow's 'oh's' and 'COOL!' can be heard from my room as I play this fabulous new installment to the Final Fantasy series.
I think the gameplay has improved with the new battle system, by being able to fight monsters when you want (and pressing forward hard on the joystick when you want to escape) and not going into a separate screen (it flows better). There are some REALLY tough monsters out there that I just can't fight yet (sand wyrm I think....) - one really creeps me out and I run away like crazy cos its health is over 44k.
All of the other ff's i've found 2-3 things to complain about (minor complaints) with ff12 it isn't perferct - what game is, but I've got no real gripes at all. Square-Enix are definitely improving in their gaming quality.
Go buy it!!!!
on 23 March 2007
Hey all, like a lot of you guys i am a firm fan of rpg, i live and breathe the stuff ( days spent on ffXI and WOW). In my opinion Square make some of the best VALUE games around. The final fantasy series is no exception however as they improved Kingdom Hearts with the sequel they seemed to have gone backwards on this one. I am one of the few that found FFX to be the best and FFVII second. I didn't even find X-2 bad but it was the start of the slippery slope.
This game lacks big in story as most have mentioned and frankly i am mad at this. I had the opening movie included with start ocean about 3 or 4 years back and that seems what the emphasis is on this is. I know they are now concentrating on ff series on PS3 but they have a legacy to carry on. Characters are somewhat bland, story has no major twists at 35 hours play it just seems to be constant running everywhere and the occasional quest. Frankly the villian is a wuss compared to Sephiroth or Seymour or even Sin as it is an evil villain that makes us play as WE want to defeat them.
The second is the battle system, i preferred the system of FFX, there appears to be no system in FFXII just select a leader have him do the business and then the other characters are programmed by the gambits. This is a double edged sword as in one hand u have the speed of being able to heal attack and cast in a short amount of time and also switch between members (and also gain access to main menu which is a first in battle to my knowledge in FF) however it takes away the strategy and fun of organising your guys into specific moves and counters. I also don't like being able to see the mobs, you could flee in older ff games this is no different. For lazy levelers you avoid monsters and then have to spend ages leveling later.
after going on for ages and possibly boring you, you might be asking why the hell is he giving it four stars?
Well, i have played this for a considerable time and i have found it better than other rpgs (Enchanted arms on the 360 is okish but basic, vagrant story, FFX1). The graphics are probably the best you will get off the PS2 and they make sure you know about it by putting cut scenes in all the time. The quickenings are ok and the summons are probably the best out of all of the ff series ( similar to FFX ). There is a world system and the use of teleporting crystals is extremely handy later on in game (again FFX1 parts used) Leveling is simple unlike the complicated system of FFVIII and everyone has no specific weapon or class.
If your a Final Fantasy or Square fan you would have got it already, if you're a newcommer then you will pick it up quite quickly. Play it, complete it and then go back and buy at least FFX, FFVII and FFVIII and compare and you will probably agree with this and other reviews.
(almost 75% of my games are rpgs as nothing can compare to the amount of time and devotion needed to do a complete finish on these games like 125 hours spent on FFX lol, you can't beat value for money)
Sorry for length hope this is useful