91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Final Fantasy Gone Off Track,
This review is from: Final Fantasy 12 (PS2) (Video Game)
I recently finished FFXII after 80+ hours of enjoyable gameplay. When I first got this game I was surprised.
The first thing that struck me as odd was the battle system - there is no random encounters! A good thing this may seem, however, I was sceptical at first as the battle system is completely (almost) computer controlled. There is a pecuilar blend of time based action and real play, making it at some times chaotic and confusing. You are able to pre-program your characters actions using the Gambit system (you can buy gambits in shops and the like). This can be useful to save time when in a heated battle, however, to a degree it does take away some of the player involvement.
However, that said, the battle system began to grow on me. It is different but enjoyable and there is some satisfaction in watching your characters perform just as you ordered them!
The skills/magic system is comparable to FFX's Sphere Grid system. It is known as the License board - bascically you need a license to use or wear anything (so if you bought say a amulet you would first need the license to wear it). You gain license points by killing enemies which you can then spend to unlock licenses on the chess like board. I found this good as you could basically assign ANY roles to your characters as each have similiar stats (for instance you may want one to be black mage and one to specialise in great swords/katanas).
The story was one part where the game let itself down. Gone are all philosophical realisations and ponderings, to be replaced by a massive political debate that seems to span the entire world. Although this is a change, I feel that Square made it too complicated for it's own good and could have possibly focused more on character relationships and backgrounds as well as it did in it's previous titles. I also feel there is a disinct Star Wars feel to the story and graphics, making it more of a sc-fi than a fantasy. However, that being said, there are plenty of sidequests to flesh out the main storyline, giving a broader perspective of what is going on.
All in all FFXII is a magnificant game, perhaps not living up to it's predecessors, but nevertheless, a great RPG. The graphics are perhaps the best to be seen yet and the absolutely massive world can take many good hours to explore.