Review by Shaneth21
"Definitely one of the greats!"
Alrighty, let's get down to business without any stories or anything...
I guess it should be noted that the gameplay is near the bottom of the review due to it's large size.
Definitely on of the best attributes this game has to offer. With the camera view, you can spot everything, from the beautiful renditions of the downs to the highly detailed ragged edges of the mountains. Being as one of the last games made for the PS2, FF12 has the incredible graphics that it was hyped to be.
The FMVs are just amazingly incredible. The detail that was put into them is just fantastic. There are a good number of them as well. The loading times for these FMVs are not bad at all. In one event, the scene shifts from the regular graphics to the real-time graphics with no loading times at all. Technology is just amazing these days, isn't it?
First off, the traditional Final Fantasy theme is played during the beginning of the game (where you would select New Game / Load Game). The traditional battle win music is, sadly, rarely played. The only times it is played is when you do something incredible, such as beat a huge boss or something. They also added in a few more 1/4th notes, so now it doesn't sound exactly from what the original piece of masterpiece sounded like. It's scale is now unbalanced, but I guess they tried to fix it by giving it a better instrumental makeup. It's now just... meh...
The sound fits this game perfectly. From the background music to the character voice overs, nothing is wrong in this game. No piece of background music is improperly placed, and they fit the scenario events perfectly. I usually have my own music playing through my headphones, but when the game shifts to a scene where the characters talk, I immediately throw off my headphones and crank up the volume on my TV.
The voice acting is incredible. Every voice actor fits their respective character perfectly. Vaan talks like a normal 17 year old would talk, and Fran, the Viera, talks like a Viera would. Now we all know Viera's are not real, but once you hear Fran speak, it sounds exactly like one would sound, yet you've never heard a Viera speak before. It's indescribable. The voice acting is definitely one of the game's best features.
The only reason the sound category got a 9/10 is because of the degrading of the battle win theme. Adding that 1/4th note screwed the whole thing up.
Many, if not all, Final Fantasy games are based on the Save the world from destruction! theme. FF12 seems to not follow that tradition, and instead focuses on the mainpoint of war. You start the game out of that of a prologue, playing as Reks, Vaan's older brother, who is fighting in the war. After you're job is done as Reks, you then switch to Vaan's story, which you'll be playing for the rest of the game.
Vaan has big dreams of becoming a Sky Pirate (an airship pilot, if you will). He meets Balthier and Fran, who are sky pirates. He will meet various people of various races among his playtime in FF12. I will not ruin the story for you, so you'll have to find out on your own! Enjoy the... uh... 60+ hours of gameplay!
Here is where the game really shines. Anybody who has played Final Fantasy Tactics Advance will immediately notice the classes that are in FF12. You have the Humes (previously called Humans), the Moogles, Vieras, Bangaas, and a new class, the Seeqs, which are pretty much that of a Bangaa, but a little different. The only classes you will get to play as are Humes and one Viera, which is kind of disappointing because you can't play as a moogle!
I'll start off with the movement. Pretty much, the left analog stick is to move your character and the right analog stick is to operate the camera view. You got the basic RPG controls then, where cross is confirm, circle is cancel, triangle is the main menu, and square does various things. One issue that was disappointing was that you could not customize the controller in any way. So sad, since some people like myself prefer the circle button as confirm and cross as cancel (that of Final Fantasy 7's controls).
The main menu holds various options on what you can do with your gameplay. You can change your equipment providing you have the license to equip the equipment with, change gambits, sort items, reorganize your party, and much more. I'll talk about gambits and licenses later. You pretty much do all of your preparation in the main menu.
This game has two funky spellings as for the most part. They are two words that stand out; Magicks and Technicks, which are obviously Magics and Techniques.
Now I have no where to go... I guess I'll start with the overview system. In this game, you save your game by observing Save Crystals, which are pretty much the exact same thing as the Save Spheres in Final Fantasy 10. When you touch one, your HP and MP are fully healed, all abnormal stats are cleared, and everybody who is KO'ed is revived. There are some save crystals that emit an orange glow. That signifies a Teleport Crystal. Not only can you save your game at one of them, but you can use an inventoried Teleport Sphere to transport you to another area, provided it also has a Teleport Crystal.
Anybody who has a dialogue icon above them, you can talk to. It's best to note that not everybody has one, and you'll obviously find that out once you play the game. Anybody who has a little orange rectangle above them signifies a merchant. Merchants are pretty much your main source of money. You sell loot to them and in exchange, they'll put stuff in the Bazaar option that they hold. Loot is acquired by defeating enemies. You can also poach them by using the skill, but it's best just to defeat them so you can get the EXP and LP (license points).
Alright, now into licenses and gambits. I'll start with licenses. Basically, you need licenses to equip certain pieces of armor, equip certain weapons, use certain abilities, and much more. Licenses are acquired by LP (license points), which are obtained by defeating enemies. Most of the weaker enemies drop 1 LP, but the bigger ones drop more than that. You can purchase licenses anytime you're in the main menu. This is a good thing about the game because you don't have to travel to a certain spot just to purchase licenses. Instead, they are completely portable.
Licenses do not only include equipment and abilities. You can raise your stats, such as hit points, you can make your potions heal more HP, you can make your Phoenix Downs revive a character with more starting HP than usual, and you can make your Ethers heal more MP. That's just the healing crap. You can also make your physical attack power increase so that you can deal more damage to the enemies you hit. You can also buy additional gambit slots so you can issue more gambits to your characters. We'll move onto that soon enough!
There are two different license boards, and both are issued to every character. One character's license board may be different than another's, but for the most part, they have the same placement for the equipments and such. The only thing that will probably be different are the Quickenings, which I won't talk about in this review. The bottom license board is where you go if you want to gain access to more pieces of equipment. They're put into separate groups, such as Light Armor 1, Mystic Armor 5, Swords 2, and so on, each giving access to different pieces of equipment. The higher the number after the name, the more powerful the given pieces of equipment will be.
The top license board is where you want to go if you want to gain access to accessories, technicks, magicks, gambit slots, and stat boosts. You also have the licenses to make your items do more things. You can make your recovery items heal more points, you can make your remedies heal more stats, and so on.
Now we'll move into the gambit section. Gambits are basically actions that the computer controlled characters will take when you are controlling your one person (usually your leader). You can purchase extra gambits at a gambit shop, and they are usually relatively cheap. Gambits are just incredible, and I'll try to break them down as most detailed as I can.
Say you set your first gambit as Ally: HP<40% --- Cure and your second gambit as Foe: nearest --- Attack. What that computer controlled character will do is attack the enemy that is nearest to itself, then whenever an ally's HP falls below 40%, the character will begin casting cure, then if the ally's HP is above 40%, the character will then start attacking the nearest enemy to itself. You can turn gambits off an on, so if you don't want your computerized characters to do a certain gambit, just turn them off and they'll be excluded from their commands. The gambit system is just pure genius and is one of FF12's main staples.
That pretty much concludes the licenses and gambits section. Now I guess I'll go into magicks and technicks. What you will need to use a magick or technick is the proper license to use it and the magick or technick itself. The magick can be bought from a magic store and the technick can be bought from a technick store. Depending on the level and ability of the magick or technick, the price will vary.
With the magicks on hand, you have another type of magick: Green Magick. What Green Magick is made up of is pretty much your Protect and Shell magicks that protect you from enemy attacks. Nothing new, it's just a new category of magicks with old spells filling the category.
Rent or Buy?
This sure as hell is worth the $50. With the holidays over, the Collector's Edition has dropped down to $50 as well, so I guess if you want the collector's edition, then it's the same price and it comes with the bonus features disc. I have the collector's, but I think I'll get the original lease because it matches the strategy guide I bought (which is an extremely great help if you need that kind of stuff).
If you are not an RPG kind of person, then it's best to rent this game. It's worth a shot, seeing as I think it will be deemed as a Final Fantasy classic and one of the last great games for the PS2 console.
Rounded = 10/10
Final Fantasy Twelve for the Playstation 2 console receives a 10/10 from Shaneth!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/02/07
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