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Final Fantasy XII Review

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the kupo? dept.


The Final Fantasy series is almost twenty years old. When Square developed the first title in the series, the game's name was meant to coincide with designer Hironobu Sakaguchi's retirement. Instead, the game's popularity set the stage for a series that has now reached twelve 'main' titles and more than half a dozen offshoots. Almost everything about the series has changed over the years, except for popularity and a generally high level of quality. Final Fantasy XII has changed almost everything from the series norm, except the quality. The result is a game that very well may be considered the best Japanese RPG in years. It's a smarter, more adult, and absolutely beautiful title; the perfect balm for anyone not taken with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion . Read on for my impressions of the newest and most ambitious chapter of the Fantasy that's never quite Final.

  • Title: Final Fantasy XII
  • Publisher/Developer: Square / Enix
  • System: PS2
If there's a consistent criticism leveled against games in the Final Fantasy series, it's that most of more recent games center around a big-hair protagonist, usually angsting in a very teen-like fashion. The sweeping political story told in Final Fantasy XII combats every negative story stereotype the series has, and brings the tone of the game into a much more 'adult' space than previous titles. We primarily follow the exploits of street-kid Vaan and the motley crew that falls in with him, consisting mostly of fallen royalty and sky pirates. The story itself, though, deals with the rocky political and military issues facing a war-bent empire. The king is dying, his sons are being manipulated by a corrupt senate, and the toll of many years of combat is beginning to tell in the hearts and minds of the empire's citizenry. The best part here is that it makes sense. The story is complicated, to be sure, and you'll definitely find yourself wondering what's going on at some points. Your questions will be answered, though, and not by silly responses like 'the planet is angry', or nonsense like that. Events in the game have real, human emotions and logic driving them, and it's a pleasure to behold.

With a game as lengthy as Final Fantasy XII, a decent story would quickly become boring if you had to slog through the gameplay. In my estimation, though, the originality breathed into the tried-and-true combat system has transformed this series. Taking the best elements of the older turn-based battles and the auto-attacking tendencies of Final Fantasy XI, FFXII offers a welcome new approach to RPG combat. For starters, there are no 'random' attacks in FFXII. Monsters wander around dungeons in all their beautiful graphical glory, and whether to engage an enemy or flee is up to you. It's a welcome change, forgoing the frustration of random encounters dogging your steps on an overworld map.

The real innovation here, though, lies in the 'Gambit system'. Each character has a certain number of Gambit slots. Each Gambit slot can be loaded with a specific command, with an extremely simple programming-like syntax allowing for some surprisingly complicated maneuvers. When loaded up, these Gambits dictate the actions of the characters within the game world. A Gambit could say 'If an Ally's HP is less than 80%, cast cure on them.' As you progress through the game, more esoteric criteria become available. Some allow you to target enemies based on their weaknesses, while others look for allies with detrimental conditions. This combat system can be overridden at any time with the simple push of a button, allowing the precision of a turn-based approach and the speed of the Gambits. Taken as a whole, Gambits allow the player to leave more of the 'nitty gritty' to the rules you've laid out. You don't have to make sure every character is healed up after a battle; they'll take care of that themselves. This frees you up to stay appraised of the whole battlefield, and in general means more fun per moment for the player. If this sounds like things are 'too easy', it should be pointed out that Gambits should either be heavily tweaked or turned off before boss battles. These non-stereotypical fights almost require a return to the series' turn-based roots, so that each character can execute the most efficient set of instructions possible. Gambits allow a wonderful blend of control and gameplay, and definitely aid in making the title the powerhouse that it is.

Other gameplay elements should be familiar to Final Fantasy players, but have received some additional tweaking. Each character can have their abilities focused by gaining new abilities and permissions on 'the license board'. License board points are obtained by defeating monsters, similar to but separate from the traditional experience points. While gaining levels does make a character stronger, it's the application of license points that makes them more versatile. A character focused on casting spells, for example, fills in the spellcasting part of the board with their points. There are board areas for weapons of varying types, armor, spells, simple stat buffs, and unique abilities called 'Technicks'. These last are non-magical moves that can produce a variety of quirky effects. One throws money at enemies to cause damage, while another damages opponents randomly based on what time of the day it is. These abilities, spells, and equipment are trained on the license board, but are unusable until actually purchased. While gil (the game's currency) is obtainable 'straight' from monsters, the most common way of paying the bills is by selling loot. Loot drops from monsters, and exists for no other purpose than to be sold for money. Entertainingly, you can increase your chances of gaining loot by 'Chaining'. Slaying several monsters in a row, all of which are of the same creature type, will allow you to start a loot chain. The more creatures you kill in a row of the same type, the better and more copious amounts of loot you'll receive. I've gotten chains up over 150 creatures, and by engaging in this entertaining activity it becomes easy to get the money you'll so desperately need.

Graphically, Final Fantasy XII may be one of the finest titles ever to grace the PS2. There are, of course, some jaggies and obvious pixilations. Despite that, the unique art style utilized to show off the world of Ivalice is absolutely breathtaking to behold. Character designs are iconic and memorable, while very distinct architectural styles makes it easy to understand where you are and differentiate from where you've been. They don't pull out the stops with well-imagined location concepts either, moving you from rotting tomb to scorching desert to a city floating on an island in the sky. Weather effects change locations you've been to previously, adding additional layers of complexity to an already quite dense graphical palette. Musically, the game stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the works of Nobuo Uematsu, the traditional composer for the series. Despite not being done by the master, Sakimoto's work has the same haunting weight and presence we've come to expect.

Given that the PS2's successor launched commercially in the U.S. today, it's fitting that the last-gen Sony system would see titles such as this be published on the way out the door. Along with titles like Okami and Bully, FFXII is the last gasp of a true winner in the world of videogames. The PS2 won the last generation exactly because of games like this. At the end of the day, it's not marketing or hype that makes a game great; it's solid gameplay, an engaging story, and an attractive presentation. Final Fantasy XII proves that you don't have to be 'next-gen' to be a truly great game. I only hope that the lessons learned in these late-generation titles transfer into the games of the next generation. It's always frustrating relearning things again.

The game elements of Final Fantasy XII, laid out separately, sound solid but fairly routine. Gambits are new, to be sure, but it's all pretty standard stuff. The key here is that it doesn't play like the standard stuff. Moving through the actual game in Japanese RPGs has gotten to be a real chore over the years. Unlike the freedom valued by American games in the same genre, the boxed-in storylines and gameplay have gotten mostly fairly stale. Even exceptionally good examples of the genre suffer from a a case of the been-there done-thats. All this makes Final Fantasy XII that much more enjoyable in aggregate. By stepping outside of series norms, the game's creators have had the chance to reintroduce us to the very gameplay and storytelling concepts which made the Final Fantasy series a powerhouse in the first place. I highly recommend this title to any fan of Japanese-style roleplaying games. If you've been put off by the stodgy nature of the genre in the past, I would even go so far as to say this may be the title that allows you to finally enjoy these games. Final Fantasy XII is a triumph for the series, and I sincerely hope marks the direction future games will be heading.

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More adult? (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888252)

The main character's face is modeled after a 14(right age?) year old japanese GIRL. He wears skimpier clothes than ANY of the female characters in any of the other Final Fantasy games.

Re:More adult? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888296)

It's apparent, from most media from over there, that all people from Japan want to be asexual, genderless, white teenagers.

Re:More adult? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888492)

It's apparent, from most media from over there, that all people from Japan want to be asexual, genderless, white teenagers.

Ever hear of Puffy AmiYumi? They're both in their 30's.

*shrug* It's a Japanese thing.

Re:More adult? (-1, Flamebait)

reanjr (588767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888562)

That has nothing to do with whether the game is targeting adults. It has to do with the game targeting gays.

Re:More adult? (1)

DaEMoN128 (694605) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889388)

uhh... it is more adult. Fran walks around in a thong. Her butt is hanging out there for all to see. I never saw any other ff character actually show skin (even if it is only butt) before. Riku is the closest to that and she was always fully covered (spandex is still coverage).

Well.. (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888268)

... I was about to ask for a link in the article, but that is from Zelda, right?

FP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888292)

final post (xii)

If it is more adult, where's the adult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888390)

Last time I checked, you can't even get to beat up (or hire) prostitutes, working for drug lords, or make hot coffees in FFXII. Besides, the game is rated Teen.

Re:If it is more adult, where's the adult? (5, Funny)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889182)

Because we all know that maturity and adulthood are all about sex, drugs and $MUSIC_GENRE.


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888420)

Here's some good quality control on the originality of a Final Fantasy game:

If it mentions Airships in the discription of the game, don't even think about it.

You'll thank me later.


Meagermanx (768421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889894)

FF5 4eva.

It's a damn good game so far (3, Informative)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888446)

I'm still just 30 hours in, but I'm enjoying just about every minute of it. For a change there are actually things about it that are new and not giving me the impression I'm playing an updated version of a game I've already played.

Level grind still a pain (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888522)

Although the Gambit system automates the combats, from what I've learnt from FFX is that most of the combat time is wasted on displaying special effects during one of those big attacks. Good luck on maxing out the Aeons to beat hidden bosses...

Re:Level grind still a pain (1)

Akvum (580456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889634)

Thats why I never use magicians in FFs. Especially since in FFX, the sphere grid allowed whatever character you wanted to be as phsically beefy as you wanted them to be, with the added bonus of quick fights. Hopefully the system can be abused to the same magnitude in this FF.

Re: magicians. (2, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889716)

Thankfully spell animations are less intrustive this time around and do not eat up battle time (the rest of your party is still doing stuff). The spell caster and targets are singled out for a timer interruption. Even your Espers are realtime, they fight as a guest party member. The exception are Mist Knacks -- but unless you start chaining they're short sequences.

A Perfect Example Of Why Microsoft Is Failing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888546)

It is some six years into the PS2's lifespan having sold some 105+ million consoles and it's successor has already launched. Since Sony completely controls the hardware and is able to continuously shrink the PS2 components over the life of the console, they are still able to sell the console for a profit for cheap to huge numbers of new console gamers who never bought the PS2 at its higher price points. And console developers don't have to throw away all that code they worked on over the past six years due to the fact that there is still a rapidly expanding market for both the PS2 platform and the fact that every new PS3 sold is able to play FF XII on their new system. Creating a seamless unified market for both gamers and developers.

That is the way you support developers.
That is the way you support gamers.

And that is one of the major reasons Sony has sold 200+ million consoles over the past decade and gamers are camping out in the rain and rioting over Sony's new system.

Re:A Perfect Example Of Why Microsoft Is Failing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889272)

EA is really good at milking money out of people as well.

Re:A Perfect Example Of Why Microsoft Is Failing (1)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889412)

Microsoft has learned the lesson. They own all of the IP in the Xbox360. IBM and ATI created the chips for them and then sold them the *design* - Microsoft entirely owns the resulting design. They send them out to be fabbed where they want, they can do anything they want with it. This includes at a next generation being able to use the previous chips, just like the EE+GS (PS2 chips) in the PS3

Notice this is completely different from the original Xbox where Intel and Nvidia created the chips for them and then sold them the *chips*. There was a lawsuit because Nvidia was able to shrink the original design to the point that it cost them next to nothing to manufacture anymore, but Microsoft was stuck paying the same price because of contracts. Intel and Nvidia owning all the internals for the original Xbox is backwards compatability on the 360 is so much harder than on the PS3.

Re:A Perfect Example Of Why Microsoft Is Failing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889778)

Owning the IP is of little value when you can't control the entire manufacturing process. The absurdly high cost of the first Xbox was due to the fact that it was a brute force design and little to do with Microsoft not being able to find other manufacturers to make the components.

The 360 has basically the same brute force design as the first Xbox - basically desktop CPU, unified memory, and a x86 pc graphics card. Microsoft's options for finding cheaper ways to manufacture those parts in almost non-existant. All owning the IP means for Microsoft is if there ever is a followup to the 360 they don't have to pay royalties to include the hardware in the new machines.

Ballmer's most recent talk about 360 break even keeps getting pushed back. It is now out in 2008. That is just like the first Xbox. Break even kept getting pushed farther and farther out each year until they finally gave up and pulled the plug on the system.

this game is terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888568)

Every character is designed with giant boots, the combat system plays like a bad mmorpg, and the story lacks all immersive qualities that other ffs had.

This review is terrible. It praises a bad rpg with a huge budget.

But hey if you like a single player mmo, where all the characters have giant boots while living in the desert, and the story is terrible and boring because you play no role in it; go ahead and jump right in.

Re:this game is terrible (2, Insightful)

rochi (930552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888692)

Ok, so your big issue with the game is: a)boots b)not yet another mmo c)not playing a role in the story that last one is actually valid, but you don't get much of an ability to affect wow either now do you? The only game where I've ever had real ability to affect the world is in a mud, you might want to try them some time.

Re:this game is terrible (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889792)

Well, yes, you could play wow and join the hordes of other people down the same cave as you all fighting copies of the same respawning monster as you in a world where no matter what anyone does, everything looks exactly the same every day. Give me a real RPG any day over games like World of Groundhog.

Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (4, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888578)

I've been playing this one on-and-off for the past few weeks, and I've really been loving it. My main complaint about many of the recent Final Fantasy games has been what I think of as the 90210-teen style use of emotions at the core of the character interaction and story.

Thankfully, FFXII has done away with that. There's still deep emotions, angst even, but it's more than showing a dozen characters with emotional hangups and occasional epileptic fits, and calling these annoying mishmash of shortcomings mixed with superpowers a story. Perhaps it is just my taste for use of emotions in stories - but I do find the determined use of emotions driving, while avoiding cliches, in the FFXII storyline.

The only downside is the music - not that it is bad, but it is intentionally ambient while being well-orchestrated. That same ambience, though, means that you never really remember or anticipate the music except in the rare cases where the music is an allusion to previous games. The reasoning for this musical shift was to allow the sounds and many well-done voices in the game to be clear throughout, never drown out by music that is too strong. It's a bit of a shame for my tastes - I loved the strong music in some of the games. But it's certainly a lesser concern than the gameplay and the storyline, which are overwhelmingly good in comparison.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889002)

As far as the music goes, I think it is simply weaker than the other games. So far Old Archades is the only place in the game I can think of where the music actually establishes the mood instead of just being some filler stuff to listen to as you go from one location to another. The battle music is your standard 'pretty good but not awesome' like most Square games. FF12 is on track to beat FF9 as the FF game I remember the least, music-wise (FF9 I only remembered the overworld theme).

So far as the non-drama goes, it reminds me of the non Squall part of FF8. Everything is handled quite professionally. Just like when Raijin and Fujin abandoned Seifer but there's no sudden burst of outrage, and they departed peacefully. The same happens with FF12 with Vossler and Basch, or Judge Darce and Gabaranth. Bad things happens but people handle it like adults, instead of crying "WHY ME? WHYYYYYYY?" which, ironically, is started by the recent Square games. The party in FF12, at the very least, has the emotional strength necessary to save the world. This cannot be said for a lot of other games where you wonder how your rage-filled group of adolescent misfits will ever get to the next town without being consumed by melodrama.

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889174)

From the description (complex plot, manipulated and fallen nobles, "Ivalice", etc) it's sounding an awful lot like Final Fantasy Tactics. Which is a good thing. :) Tactics was a great game. Even the bugs in the game were great -- they let you continue the game long after you normally would have been able to go little further (such as the level up/level down).

Hopefully, however, this is translated better. Summon: "Rich"

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889366)

Close. It's based on Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, which was sort of like FFT with all the things that were fun about it removed.

No job points. A total of something like 8 jobs per race. Abilities were earned by equipping different weapons, exactly like FFIX. A plot that made little to no sense. (The main character was sucked into Ivalice from "the real world" or something like it.)

Tactics Advance was fun... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889768)

provided you didn't think of it as related to the original. At least it wasn't so easy to get completely ass-raped as it was in FFT if you messed one turn up. A good fit for a play-for-30 minutes here and there type thing on the GBA. (I eventually completed all 300 missions and the judge hunts... hooray for me)

Also, I understand that FFTA was a testing ground for certain elements and art assets that would eventually become FFXII. I'm glad they kept the Viera and didn't go with Mithra in this installment.

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (2, Informative)

lokiomega (596833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889886)

Creators of Final Fantasy XII are the same people who made Tactics. Which is why it feels very "Tactics-ish"

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (1, Interesting)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889432)

I like it too, while Vaan and Penelo are typical teenage Final Fantasy characters, the rest of the cast has a very "western" feel to them, Balthier and Basch would be at home in Oblivion. While I like the characters, have you noticed all the parallels to Star Wars? Like this was inspired from another forum:

Vaan - Luke
Ashe - Leia
Balthier - Han Solo
Fran - Chewie
Basch - Aragorn (okay two sources)
Judge - Darth Vader
Bounty Hunter Bangaa - Boba Fett

At one point in the game you even visit a "Cloud City" type place that is being tolerated by the "Empire" and run by someone who may or may not be working for them.

Re:Non-90210 Final Fantasy. (1)

lokiomega (596833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889922)

Funny you say that because I was watching the opening scenes and my girlfriend said "This is exactly like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings together!"

PS3 Compatible? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888630)

Nice review! I'm only a few hours into the game myself, but so far I am impressed and I especially do not miss the random battles. The game is graphically gorgeous and in fine old FF tradition has plenty of bishonen (pretty boys). Sometimes I wonder if the male models get more work than the female ones.

Now with the PS3 launching in the US today, I wonder if FFXII is fully PS3 compatible. It should be as I understand the PS3 includes PS2 hardware on a chip for this. I also wonder though if the game gets any kind of graphical boost from playing on the PS3.

in aggregate? (1)

PaulMorel (962396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888636)

"All this makes Final Fantasy XII that much more enjoyable in aggregate"

Exactly what are we aggregating here? I thought it was just a single game... Or did you pull out your thesaurus on the word 'sum'?

High Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888666)

"...Almost everything about the series has changed over the years, except for popularity and a generally high level of quality. Final Fantasy XII has changed almost everything from the series norm, except the quality..."

Doesn't start off well, but gets better (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888670)

It doesn't start off all that exciting (one of your first tasks is to kill a tomato, of all things), but it seems to be getting better further into the game, probably because the first few tasks seem to be an in-game tutorial. My only major gripe at this point is that all of the "augmentation" slots are contiguous on the license board. Wouldn't it make more sense to scatter them according to the other things in the area? They should have stuck with FFX's sphere grid system, IMO.

Re:Doesn't start off well, but gets better (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889814)

"My only major gripe at this point is that all of the "augmentation" slots are contiguous on the license board. Wouldn't it make more sense to scatter them according to the other things in the area? They should have stuck with FFX's sphere grid system, IMO."

Unlike FFX, you actually get levels so your stats go up naturally. Now, there's a choice to be able to choose between learning a cure or adding 200 pts to your HP. If you decide you want to 200 HP at some point, just buy it later (not possible in the sphere grid, you'd have to go all the way back if I recall correctly). In FFX, there were maybe 2 choices between possibilities I have at any one time (most of the time, there was no choice, unless I used an exceedingly rare item). FFXII gives me more choices the more stuff I've bought. Much more. I have 100 choices right now with each character. My fighter can become paladin-like and I don't have to use a mega-rare item to do it.

There's a lot more interesting choices in the FFXII system that rely much less on mega-rare items.

Final? (-1, Redundant)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888676)

With each new game bearing the name, I expect each one to be the last! What's so final about them?

Re:Final? (4, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888760)

The first Final Fantasy game was supposed to be Hironobu Sakaguchi's last game before leaving the industry. His previous work hadn't done so well, or something like that, so he was planning to get out of the games business. Final Fantasy ended up being a big hit, and the rest is history.

Re:Final? (1)

My Iron Lung (834019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889210)

It's also stated in the second sentence of the summary.

Re:Final? (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889872)

I know this is not the historical answer, but they're in no way continuous. No shared characters or ability systems. Each one is the "Final" one in their given universe. Like reading novels by the same author.

Ooh, Another Rail Playing Game (-1, Troll)

TexVex (669445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888702)

I'll pass.

Re:Ooh, Another Rail Playing Game (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889608)

ok, thanks for keeping us up-to-date on the games you're not playing. If you don't play any other games, be sure to let us know!

Licenses? (5, Funny)

fatty ding dong (1028344) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888704)

Each character can have their abilities focused by gaining new abilities and permissions on 'the license board'. License board points are obtained by defeating monsters, similar to but separate from the traditional experience points. So now we have Licenses and Permissions instead of our own experience points? What is this? Final Fantasy Vista?

Re:Licenses? (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889674)

Lol, I love the license system, but I do keep thinking: "so I'm fighting a life and death battle here, and I have with me one of the most powerful swords a guy can get, and you're telling me I can't use it because I'm not licensed to do so? What?! I'm in the middle of a fucking dungeon, who's gonna know?" ;)

The term definitely doesn't fit. Materia Slots was physically understandable, Junctioning was complicated (I loved it, though) but still understandable. Weapons containing hidden powers in FF9, while fantastical, is a cool idea. But FFX and FFXII sees the characters carrying around big boards with symbols and slots on them.

So, I'm in the middle of battling a huge boss, when Balthier suddenly says, "hold on a minute, gotta add a skill", and whips out his giant checkerboard to place a few more tiles down, folds it up again, and says, "Okay, time in." The imagery is just kinda funny, if you think about it.

Re:Licenses? (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889918)

Nope. There's almost always been exp and "something else", except in FFX. FF7 you got points which levelled up materia. FF6 your points earned points toward learning spells (much like FF9).

Experience makes you tougher. LP lets you learn new abilities/use new armor.

Nice attempt at humor;)

So White! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888714)

is it just me, or is this the "Whitest" cast of an FF game, ever? Every human main character is white. I'm not even talking about the "pseudo-Japanese white"(where characters look caucasian, but are really supposed to be Asian. Think Lulu from FFX, or Tifa from FF7). I'm talking Aryan white! What's up with that??!

Obviously you never played FF Tactics :-/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889052)

This game (and Tactics) is supposed to take place in a microcosm of Europe (run through the Squeenix filter) during its early imperial-istic (sp ?) period. So, you've got all white people, and some other non-integrated people of other races with whom you are at odds or otherwise don't interact closely.

Fran == Barett, your token black. (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889502)

(please don't mod me down for language... but it's true)

Re:Fran == Barett, your token black. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889642)

First of all, "black" is not a bad word. If you said "nigger," sure, maybe. Of course, you probably really meant "black person," because "black" by itself is just a color.

And I fail to see how Fran is a "token" character. She's hardly a stereotypical black woman.

Good review (1)

elihu252 (1024179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888726)

I haven't played it yet, I'm buying a PS2 just for this game. I hear it plays a lot like FFXI.

I still prefer Dragon Quest (1)

teko_teko (653164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888744)

Call me old fashion, but I still prefer the Dragon Quest (Dragon Knight) series better.

I played FF12 until level 30-32, and now I feel bored. I find the story is over complex and progresses slowly. Maybe I'm just not so interested in all the politics in the story, and more into old fashion fantasy story. The only thing I love in FF12 is the graphics.

As for the fighting system, as soon as you can master the gambits, fighting is so easy. I can grind while eating, reading books, or playing Nintendo DS. Only the boss fights are challenging (well, some of them were).

DQVIII? No, sorry, try again... (1)

phubar (456077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888748)

My first exposure to FFXII (which I'm currently about a quarter of the way through and am thoroughly enjoying) was on the demo disc with DQVII (which I bought after being impressed by THAT game's demo). FFXII is, I think, an excellent game; the weakest point for me is the music, which is definitely not up to the level I've come to expect from the series. The most surprising part is that I've come to enjoy the battle system, which I did not initially like because of my preference for old-school turn-based games. This is in no small part due to the gambit system.

Dragon Quest VIII, though, is definitely not a game to compare with XII. Its allure faded after about 5 hours. Yes, the animation is great; I hate DBZ and that artwork style, but still found the game enjoyable and well done until I realized that, no, the story is NOT going anywhere and no, there really is no challenge to it. It lacked anything beyond "well, that's too strong, level up a few times and you'll be able to beat it." No strategy. No thinking. Fail once; level twice, success assured. It was boring, and the story was utterly pathetic -- RPG's are not just about combat. If not for the story, the role you're playing doesn't mean anything, and there's no immersion.

These reviews seem to be stuck on the yes side of the bit... *runs off to play more FFXII, then watch Tron*

RPG Concepts (5, Interesting)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888790)

One of the things that I've always failed to understand about RPG's, and which may simply be the skillful application of suspension of disbelief, is the idea that these characters can possibly be taken seriously.

A 17 year old street-kid, who (as the game begins) is training himself on rats, quickly progresses to the wanton slaughter of the undead, not to mention elite Imperial guardsmen (in whichever order common sense would indicate with regards to their difficulty).

Many of the FF titles I've played have centered around remarkably young characters...who are capable of causing death and destruction. In some cases, they do so using rather improbable weapons (by which I do not mean sci-fi things like gunblades...I refer to things like blitzballs in FFX).

While I applaud the improvement of the plot in this FF over some of the previous iterations, I still find some of the things that are just taken for granted to be highly unlikely, such as the foregone conclusion that someone with extensive experience as a pirate (or as a soldier) would join with a young urchin, regardless of how many times their paths cross.

Further, I have never understood why the experience level of ones comrades does not accurately represent their life. If my character has lived on the street all his life, and someone who has been a professional soldier joins my party, he starts at the same level as I do (excepting that I can steal...since I'm a pickpocket).

I say all this not to be overly critical. I understand that some things must simply be accepted for the sake of the gameplay mechanics. However, with a little more attention to the detail in the story, I think that the game could go from something that is already very good to something superb.

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

dannycim (442761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888910)

Final Fantasy

You have to embrace a little bit of suspension of disbelief, ya know? :)

Re:RPG Concepts (2, Funny)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889130)

I totally agree, which is why I don't intend to criticize many of the titles on the whole. But then again, if the characters were older or fit the situation better, I suppose I'd find other things to complain about.

For example, Vaan (in XII) probably doesn't work as a 45 year old drunken homeless man, fighting off enemies with his "Pint of Alcohol (Atk - 5)" or his "Double of Tequila (Atk - 15)". His new technique..."Drunken Rage".

This would, of course, mean that Penelo would have to be a hooker...I don't want to contemplate which weapons would be appropriate in an FF game for a hooker.

Re:RPG Concepts (3, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889306)

That's his point, though, they stress suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.

People are willing to suspend disbelief for fictional stories as long as they remain internally consistent. If you create a world which contains a "highly trained" army of soldiers, and some 17-year old street urchin can out-class them after fighting various creatures for a couple of weeks, you're severely stretching the suspension of disbelief.

When you have people wielding swords that are as tall as a person that are about as effective in combat as someone chucking some form of neutrally-buoyant sports ball, you're stretching the suspension of disbelief.

So, yes, a game can stress the willing suspension of disbelief past the breaking point. In video games, though, you generally have to add a willingness to ignore completely illogical things that are done to prevent the game from sucking. So people accept the medkit being able to magically heal a guy instantly because it would suck otherwise. People accept the idea that your characters can become immensely powerful just by beating up random monsters along the country side because being forced to grind at a training dojo for a month would suck.

The suspension of disbelief required for a fantasy story may not be enough to get over the completely illogical concepts a game has for gameplay reasons, but for the game to be fun, you have to accept some compromises for realism. I don't know how Solid Snake manages to carry 20 guns, three cardboard boxes he can hide in, and assorted equipment, on his person, but it's more fun that way.

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889648)

When you have people wielding swords that are as tall as a person that are about as effective in combat as someone chucking some form of neutrally-buoyant sports ball, you're stretching the suspension of disbelief.

You, sir, have obviously never played a proper game of Dodgeball.

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

Virtualtaco (848235) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888968)

Dude, those rats are pretty big...

Re:RPG Concepts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16888994)

Final Fantasy ...

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889060)

It's almost pointless to argue about this, since every game does things along these lines. Some are even more absurd than others, such as a scientist in a "scientific" suit defeating hordes of highly-trained soldiers, aliens, and alien soldiers using a crowbar. Games aren't meant to be taken seriously.

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889136)

If the character strenghts are supposedly to roughly reflect reality, the only party you'll ever use is Fran, Basch, and Balthier because these are clearly the only people with any real fighting experiences on their belt. Penelo, Ashe, and Vaan will most likely be killed in one hit by the first imperial elite you ran into. It also wouldn't make a very interesting game that way. Note that they try to reflect this somewhat with the guests. Basch is very strong relative to your characters as a guest at least in attacking damage. Vossler again is considerably more powerful than your characters of the same level. Larsa is a medicore fighter but makes up for having infinite gil to burn on supplies, which suits his position as the son of the Emperor quite well.

But even if that is not possible from a gameplay point of view, it does establish this quite well in the story. You really get the idea that Penelo and Vaan, the two who shouldn't have anything to do with world-saving, are just there for the ride. Ashe, if not for lineage, would be merely another bystander as well.

You know, you're right. (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889466)

And Basch, Fran and Balthier can carry the storyline. They are interesting characters with interesting backgrounds, and motivated to do big things. Ashe to a certain extent as well.

I think Vaan and Penelo are just there to act as the player-at-home's eyes. They represent (the self-imagined version) of your typical male and female game player.

FFXII didn't need that though, with the ominpresent-camera CGs and the gambit system, having a main character at all was irrevelant. They should have just let you pick anyone as the party leader, and if your team needed to split up you could follow either group (and the game would have you doing different tasks depending on who's storyline you chose to follow... hell they could let you switch back and forth in some spots).

Ah well.

It's a hard balance. (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889202)

You want to have a game with an interesting story and something resembling character development, and an excuse to throw you a tutorial mission or two. (Bonus points to FFXII for making the initial fight training be a different character completely so you get to experiment).

But you don't want to drag the player down into a lengthy storyline where they're ability to affect the plot is relative to their current EXP. Most casual players would be turned off by this.

Otherwise you throw them in at level 15 into the middle of the story, and pepper the plot development with flashbacks or unlockable CGs to backfill your past.

I don't like Vaan's character either, I think he's a little weak. It's evident that they just plopped him into the story in the place of a stronger individual who would make more of an impression on Balthier ... to respond to public demand that wanted the typical effeminate teenage hero.

Then it wouldn't seem so unlikely he could overpower an Imperial guard (also considering the ones on duty in Dalmasca were soldiers looking for an easy post-war deployment, some NPCs said so themselves).

FFXII almost had it right. They should have scrapped Vaan's character altogether and just made you play Balthier or Fran as the main character. Bingo, bango, bongo.

Re:It's a hard balance. (1)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889258)

Bingo, bango, bongo.

...and Irving.

Re:RPG Concepts (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889504)

And how old were any of the non-hobbits who were part of the fellowship of the ring? I'm seeing ages cited that are probably 4-5 times the hobbits age, or far, far more for Legolas.

The same problem happens in D&D campaigns too. You start at 1st level as a X year old foo. You go explore a dungon or few and suddenly you're 5-6th level and more powerful than anyone in the podunk town you started in. How long has passed? Maybe a month? A past DM of mine ran a game that spanned a couple RL years, but in terms of in game years, it was less than one. Probably only a half-year actually. The game ran from starting at 6th to ending at epic around level 25+.

FF is actually pretty good about the age thing in some of their games. FF Tactics comes readily to mind... You in fact start as a total peon with a promising royal military future. Then you lose it and have to start fighting for yourself. Most folks who join you aren't out-and-out gods (other than Cid of course). Actually nobody who joins you is ranked much of anything other than a generic "knight" type rank. Even when Cid joins you, he's lost his rank so despite being "powerful" he comes into the party in a reasonable way.

Re:RPG Concepts (2, Interesting)

shrykk (747039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889678)

A 17 year old street-kid, who (as the game begins) is training himself on rats, quickly progresses to the wanton slaughter of the undead, not to mention elite Imperial guardsmen[...]

You've got to admit FFVII got this almost right. Cloud, supposedly an elite SOLDIER working as a mercenary, is a fair bit tougher than his half-assed AVALANCHE buddies. (Barret looks tough but he's basically an angry cafe-owner). It later turns out *spoiler alert! :D that he never quite made the grade in SOLDIER and was just a Guard Lvl 3 or some such (whereas we get to see just how tough Sephiroth is when we briefly play as him) so there's plenty of room for him to level up. Flower-girl Aeris is utter crap except but has great magic skills due to her heritage as one of the 'Ancients'.

Leveling up and becoming stronger is a satisfying gameplay mechanic. Crafting a believable plot while still letting your character start at level one could be quite difficult, but would aid us in suspending our disbelief and getting into the story.

STOP "READING ON" (0, Flamebait)

StocDred (691816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888804)

Dude, can you stop ending every teaser paragraph with some lameass variation of "read on for my awesome review." We all understand what the fucking "read more" link means.

Re:STOP "READING ON" (5, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889378)

I thought it just meant to read more in general. I read the teaser... then I saw "read more", so I picked up a random book and started reading. "Moby Dick" sucks, just to let you know!

Flamebait, maybe... but valid (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889396)

"Dude, can you stop ending every teaser paragraph with some lameass variation of "read on for my awesome review." We all understand what the fucking "read more" link means."

I see you've been modded flamebait, but I'll go down the negative karma path with you. It's lazy. "It was a dark and stormy night."

PC? (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888850)

silly responses like 'the planet is angry'
someone didn't like FFVII :P

Anyway..why can't we get the FF titles on the PC? I absolutely loved FFVII but I don't own any consoles, the PC is my gaming device of choice...why the hell can't they just port to the PC?

Re:PC? (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889048)

we did get FFVII on the PC.

I think we might have gotten another, thoguh I am not sure.

Re:PC? (1)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889206)

VIII was also available on the PC. I don't believe any others were released for the PC.

They didn't make any others... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889356)

because Eidos sucked ass at doing it. :-p

If we're lucky, the engine is more portable than first blush (if based on XI) and it could actually come to the PC sometime in the next century before PS2 emulators can tackle it.

Re:PC? (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889256)

VII was on the PC, although my save games got corrupted on the switch from Disc 2 to Disc 3 and that ruined it for me..

Re:PC? (1)

OmniChamp (874914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889690)

FYI, Final Fantasy VII and VIII were ported to the PC back in the hay day, so it was not exclusive to the console. I would provide the links, but you can google it for yourself. Time to get back to work...

Re:PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889834)

While FFVII and FFVIII are available on the PC, don't try to play them on a PC nowadays. FFVII uses a really old Directx and some crazy "driectAVI 1.0" driver that doesn't play well with current directx drivers. I tried to install it on a winXP machine and the textures wouldn't load and FMV wouldn't play either. I think I was able to get FFVIII to work, though.

If you have a machine still running Win98, you might have a chance of playing FFVII. Otherwise, I think running a PS1 emu is your best bet.

I bought both PC copies because I refused to buy a PS/PS2. FFVII came out around a year after the PS version came out (in US), I think FFVIII took even longer.

BTW, the in-game graphics are greatly improved over the PS1 version, making me think it wasn't a direct port.

Final fantasy runs under X11? (-1, Offtopic)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888858)

I thought native linux gaming sucked.

yes, it's glx, now, go away.

Gambit System (3, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888902)

I found the gambit system to operate similar to games like Robot Odyssey [] . Essentially you are programming the non-player characters in your party to do an activity instead of directing them yourselves. You grow more powerful with the gambit system by earning new conditionals for your "IF" statement, and they can perform new activities based on your abilities.

There's way too much stuff that's going on in intense fights to tell each character what to do for that round (the concept of a round doesn't exist).

It's also a fun programming exercise to figure out how to get someone to do something without leaving them stuck in a loop. For instance, do you want to steal from a enemy but only try it a few times? set the gambit to steal when the enemy is below 20% health and about to die.

The license system is very confusing at first and it takes quite a bit of time to manage equipment, licenses, and gil. Like FFVIII, you can make any player become anything with the appropriate licenses, but unlike FFVIII, you don't switch abilities from one player to another, you have to build the characters up smartly.

Great game so far, but I've got a ways to go!

Re:Gambit System (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889618)

For instance, do you want to steal from a enemy but only try it a few times? set the gambit to steal when the enemy is below 20% health and about to die.

What works for me, set the main character to steal when the foe=100%, and have the others follow the leader on their attacks (and nearest otherwise). Slap in a cure when characters 70%, and you end up with a lot less finger mashing. The main character steals once, the other characters hit that enemy, and then the main character moves on to the next enemy=100% available to steal from. You do occassionally try to steal twice from one foe, but its rare. Add in a regular attack to the main character when there's nothing to steal. You can also set a character to poach when the foe=critical, for even more loot, but it's not much better than getting dropped loot.

Re:Gambit System (1)

Webz (210489) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889930)

I'm hesitant to post about it since I love the idea so much but... The gambit system has made me wonder. Is there a market/arena/research about human-assisted artificial intelligence? That's what I see the gambits as. They allow the other player characters to make smart decisions on their own, in the event you don't explicitly tell them what to do. You can make characters that take care of the post-battle nitty-gritty, you can make characters that use normal attacks intelligently, or you can aim to make fully automating parties, where your only role is to acquire a target by proximity and the gambits handle the rest.

I'm completely fascinated by the idea and anything resembles it. And I'd love to hear anyone's opinions on it or where I can find more resources about this type of AI.

A Quality, Solid Final Fantasy (4, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888978)

Although it will freak out many of the "hard core" Final Fantasy fans, this is a solid game and gives me a good feeling on the general direction of the franchise.

The reason why the "old guard players" balk at FF12 is that unlike the games before it, this one doesn't want you to micromanage the battles which gives these "old guard players" the sense they aren't doing anything. The trick is that previous games the tatics where actually fairly limited where you ended up duplicating what Gambit ends up automating. You tell your melee attackers to attack. You tell your healers to heal occationally. You tell your spell casters to zap stuff. Difference between FF12 and the others is that the game automates this for you instead of "rinse repeat" of the previous games. In the end it just degenerated to a lot of repeat actions anyway which is what computers are actually good at doing.

Gambits in themselves are interesting because it tickles the programmer in me. Given the API and resitrictions, what is the best way to "program" your party? There are several of solutions to some of the issues your party will face because just like software there are often different ways to tackle the same problem. A certain beauty can come from the correct Gambit strategy where they just do the right thing when they run into a challenging fight where it would be frantic if not hard handling the fighting yourself using the old fashion "Turn Base" or "ATB". A good Gambit order is like whiping up a good algorithm to solve a complex, somewhat losely defined problem.

This isn't a perfect game mind you. Just like FF9 it strattles "generations" and becomes an example of "what could have been". This is a glorious game pushing the envelope for PS2 where the problem is it screams for HD treatment on a more powerful machine. The weakness in the Gambit System is that it doesn't handle "one shot" actions easily. When the situation does change, you are often force to take over in an emergency situation.

Overall I'm very pleased with this game and I'm glad it is one of the "swan songs" for the PS2. From the way FF12 looks I can't wait for the next one even though most of it will be an entirely different game anyway.

Re:A Quality, Solid Final Fantasy (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889584)

I'd have been terribly happy if I could define sets of gambits; here's my exploration gambit, here's my anti-fire-monster set, here's my victory at all costs, last man standing wins set, here's my protect the party at all costs set, and so on.

That and auto-acquiring licences when you buy stuff. "Basch requires Heavy Armor 5 to equip that. Spend 150 of 291 LP to acquire Heavy Armour 5?" (assuming it's been revealed on Basch's license board.)

Uh, WHAT?! (0, Flamebait)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16888986)

With a game as lengthy as Final Fantasy XII, a decent story would quickly become boring if you had to slog through the gameplay.

Wait, WHAT?! Apparently I'm one of the unenlightened few who mistakes video games as, well, games. What do you mean "if you had to slog through the gameplay?" I understand not wanting to play boring gameplay, but that makes it sound more like you're talking about skipping the gameplay altogether, removing it from a "video game" and turning it into a video.

When loaded up, these Gambits dictate the actions of the characters within the game world.

So you do mean you get to skip almost all of the gameplay. You don't actually have to do anything distracting like play the game to move through the story. So it's a what, 40+ hour movie? With truly mindless gameplay that was so boring they had to automate it to make it palatable?!

These non-stereotypical fights almost require a return to the series' turn-based roots, so that each character can execute the most efficient set of instructions possible.

Oh, goody, so you can be pumping through menus in real-time now. Having played the demo, I know just how stupidly unwieldy the menus are. Having to select options is real-time is an effort in frustration, considering that most commands are at least three menus deep.

I think I'll stick with video games where the idea is to play the game and not watch an overly-long story. If I want to watch a 40-hour long story, I can always go out and get the first couple of seasons of the new Battlestar Galactica. Except if I did that, I wouldn't be shackled to a Sony console.

Re:Uh, WHAT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889122)

>I think I'll stick with video games where the idea is to play the game and not watch an overly-long story.

Enjoy your Pong, dude

Re:Uh, WHAT?! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889156)

Pong rocks, jerkoff.

Re:Uh, WHAT?! (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889514)

Yes. Because Pong is the only example of a game that's a game.

Apparently the only part of FFXII that you're expected to play are the boss battles. Everything else is fluff between cutscenes and other boss battles. What's the point behind "playing" a game that you don't actually play?

If you're not actively doing anything, then it's not a game. There are plenty of examples of games that involve actually playing something and still having a story. Things like Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VI, Oblivion, and so on.

Apparently with FFXII they realized that forced random battles are boring. Instead of replacing them with something fun, they automated them. A nice thought, but I'd prefer they replace the boring parts with something not boring, rather than just making it so you don't have to play them.

Re:Uh, WHAT?! (1)

tourvil (103765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889520)

I don't know why the parent is modded flamebait... I haven't played FF12 yet, but when I first heard about the gambit system it did trouble me somewhat.

It sounds like they automated the boring, repetitive parts of gameplay you see in older FF games. But that seems kind of silly to me. If that gameplay is boring and repetitive, why not replace it with something that's not boring and repetitive?

But like I said, I haven't played the game, so I can't fairly evaluate it. But that was my first reaction to hearing about the gambit system.

Re:Uh, WHAT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889756)

Call it a hunch, but it's probably because it's flamebait.

There are a core of people out on the Internet who have mindless launched onto the "it plays itself" meme and trash the game at every possible moment, despite the fact that it's received universely [] positive reviews [] .

Anyone who's been paying any attention is well aware that it does not, in fact, OMG PLAY ITSELF!!11!!111!111111 any more than World of Warcraft "plays itself" because your character auto-attacks instead of requiring a click per attack ala Diablo II.

So, yes, the GP post is in fact flamebait. Has the GP poster ever actually played the game? Saying you played the preview demo that came with DQ8 DOES NOT COUNT since the demo barely showed anything off and was an early gameplay preview, NOT a full-fledged game demo.

Seriously, read the TON of absolutely glowing reviews about the game - almost none of them indicate that the game plays itself. It automates certain actions, but that's hardly a new thing.

Unless you've actually played the game, you have no right to be claiming it "plays itself".

lame (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16889040)

no real human being plays this trash anyway.

Gambits? (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889216)

Kinda sounds like something from my long-gone youth. []

Believe it or not, this sort of thing (along with a really bad review [] in my local newspaper) is actually making this oldtimer consider buying a console. I haven't done that since I picked up a $50 Dreamcast solely for the purpose of playing Tetris.

I wonder if that reviewer actually played it. (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889314)

I was wary of Gambits when I heard of the game. I played the demo and liked the graphics but didn't know how I felt about the new active battle system.

Then I started playing the game from the beginning. And I realized that I couldn't enjoy the game as much as I did without Gambits. Part of these games is trying to explore and see what you can do, getting neat loot, sidequests, whatever, and in order to do that you're going to have to grind and take on tough fights before you're "supposed to". You have to learn to manage your gambits, when to turn them on and off, when to use the menu button to take a break for a second and maybe re-equip your characters... all of that.

If you want to float through the game, going from hilighted area to hilighted area, and just watch all the CGs, you can. And then complain the game is too easy and too linear.

It's the challenge you make of it. That's why it's fun.

Re:I wonder if that reviewer actually played it. (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889848)

If you want to float through the game, going from hilighted area to hilighted area, and just watch all the CGs, you can. And then complain the game is too easy and too linear.

It's the challenge you make of it. That's why it's fun.

That sounds good. I'm a hopelessly inept gamer and if I don't have options to make a game "too easy and too linear," I probably won't enjoy it. It's beginning to sound more and more like I should try to play this game.

If It's Called "Final Fantasy"... (0, Redundant)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889260)

...then why in the HELL are there 12 versions of it!!!? ;P

I can't be alone in hating this game... (-1)

nmaster64 (867033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889444)

I swear this game is getting the benefit of the doubt soley based on it having everybody's precious "Final Fantasy" in the title. This game is yet another step back for the series from the glory days of 7 and 8...

First off, I can't get over the feeling the game plays itself. The new combat system is NOT an improvement in my opinion, although it is something different. However, the combat system of the old games is not the thing I would have been changing had I been developing XII.

The level grinding necessary in numerous places of the game is a pain in the ass, and it seems this helps mask the relative shortness of the game compared to some of it's predecessors. There's also a lot of menu annoyances, and the license system is kind of stupid.

That's only scratching the surface of the problems I have with the game, although, know this: it's definitely a good game. It's a great RPG, to be sure. It doesn't however live up to the hype nor what I expect from this series. My problem is with people harolding it as near perfect or one of the greatest FF's ever and whatnot. Not even close. I'd recommend the new Final Fantasy III well before XII...

This series is starting to get tired. It hit it's peak with VII and VIII, but has been downhill since. I seriously think it's about time we saw the FINAL Final Fantasy. Although, again, I admit, it's not a BAD game, just not THE GREATEST game...or anywhere close...

Re:I can't be alone in hating this game... (1)

Frostclaw (1006995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889578)

I'd take gambits and no load times over "load-attack repeatedly-xp screen-load". It's only automating what was already a mindless robotic function and removes the load times. And while VII was good, it the plot was riddled with gaping holes and nonsensical points. While the end game opened up to allow you to explore and do side quests, most of those quests broke game difficulty and offered nothing of a challenges short of defeating the various weapons. At least XII does well in dispursing the sidequests throughout the game's entirety and the world is open to you from the start, allowing you to wander and explore and your own content and risk.

Re:I can't be alone in hating this game... (1)

Theoden (121862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889948)

Definately. The new combat system makes leveling/grinding much more pleasure than previous random battles. I always hated the fact that you'd have dozens of random battles when trying to exit a dungeon. The ability to see enemines on screen, clear out certain areas (although monsters do respawn in some areas) to do some treasure hunting without nusances.

Enjoying the game a hell of a lot. Everything in Final Fantasy has changed, almost. The beauty of the game is where it sticks to its roots, including running from battles, summons, chocobos.

This is the first ps2 game I've played since the 360 was released, and I have to admit it feels like a 360/PS3 rpg sans over-the-top graphics. I agree with the reviewer wholeheartedly, definately worth playing.

Re:I can't be alone in hating this game... (1)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889876)

You call 8 a part of the glory days and expect to be taken seriously? And don't mention 6?

And the series has seen some truly abysmal runs. The Japanese version of 2 comes to mind (for the NES). Somehow, I doubt FFXII is -that- bad.

Wonderful game, wonderful story (4, Informative)

Frostclaw (1006995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889472)

I'm over 40 hours into this game. It's amazing. Visually breathtaking, with a combat system taht suddenly feels fun. Grinding mobs doesn't feel tedious at all with several great incentives to do so (mob chains that raise drop rates and experience and licence point gain). It's executed far better than I had expected from my earlier dealings the DQ8 demo.

After playing the demo included in DQ8, I was actually very worried about the new style. My fiance didn't like the camera at all and was disinterested in the game. Now he manopolizes it and I'm stuck waiting for the opportunity to get more involved.

While a lot of the combat is pretty simplistic, this isn't anything different from previous FF games. In fact, even random mob combat is a bit more involved than before. Sure a lot of it is automated, but now you can use it as opportunity to experiment and tweak gambits. Gone is the repeatative process of "combat load, repeated attacks, money/exp screen, world map load".

The story is like crack for RPG fans. It feels huge. The characters are deep and involved. The villains are equally deep and involved. As stated in the review, none of the plot points are given half-arsed metaphysical/spiritual explanations.

It's an epic on the scale of original Star Wars trilogy, and in fact invokes a lot of the same feel.

Re:Wonderful game, wonderful story (1)

twosmokes (704364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889966)

he manopolizes it

That was intentional, wasn't it?

My Impressions (3, Informative)

jschmerge (228731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889610)

I've personally made it about 20 hours into the story (including quite a bit of that time spent mindlessly leveling up :), and I have to say that I am really enjoying this game. While there are some things about the game that I could criticize, overall I think that this is one of the finest Final Fantasy games that I've played (and I've played all but XI and the Japanese only releases for the NES).

In terms of story, things do start off a bit choppy and the gambit system takes a while to get used to, but as you settle into the game you really start to have fun. You start to realize that your job in combat is to give general direction to the party, rather than direct every action of every character; this leads to some rewarding battles in which you just watch your characters kick ass on their own. In some ways, I think that this is somewhat better than with previous FF's, in that you don't just stupidly hold down the 'action confirm' button after setting up the cursor to always go to the last selected action.

Up until this game, I would have said that my favorite Final Fantasy would have been FF8, but I'm not so sure of that anymore. Like FF8, this one strives to make all of the various RPG elements (leveling, weapons upgrades and various magical abilities) somewhat believable. The fact that combat takes place in the same environment as the rest of the game play really adds an immersive and seemless quality to the game... A very welcome change.

As for the things that I don't like; there are not many... First and foremost would probably be that the license grid system is somewhat difficult to manage. Unlike other FF's, in order to use anything that you've bought (weapons, armor, spells, etc.), you must also have unlocked the license for that piece of equipment or ability; this leads you to sometimes sit in a weapons shop jumping back and forth between each character's license grid (to see whether its worth buying the weapon now) and the shop's merchandise list. Another thing that I've found to be somewhat annoying about the license grid is that it's really a lot of leveling up to get to the point where you've started to unlock the abilities that you really need, and oft times you have to unlock a bunch of abilities that you really don't care to unlock to get to the ones that you want. A good example of this is that you have to unlock a bunch of healing bonuses to level up the strength and HP of a character that you're trying to turn into a physical fighter. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

All and all though, a very lovingly crafted game... I might not give it a perfect 10/10, but its pretty close.

Perhaps it's worthwhile to notice (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 7 years ago | (#16889644)

...that FFXII, save for a few changes (such as Gambits) is basically an offline version of FFXI. There are many features that are in common (monster aggressivity, or as FFXI players know, "aggro", the auto-attack and in general the battle system, the hunts that resemble the Notorious Monsters...). This is no surprise as Matsuno was a big fan of FFXI.
It's a shame that even Square Enix is trying to hide this fact (check the interviews on the extra DVD, if you have the collector's edition)
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