Review by horror_spooky

"Hopefully, this is the FINAL Fantasy"

I have never really been a major fan of RPGs and I thought the new battle system that Final Fantasy XII promised would fix my complaints with traditional RPGs. However, I found myself missing the turn-based strategy formula, especially when I was fed this new crap.

The game starts off slow and confusing with the story read to you then actual cut-scenes, which doesn't really explain about what is happening. After about twenty minutes of cut-scenes, you are given the pleasure to find out exactly how horrible the new battle system is.

The battle system basically works out like this: you target an opponent, you run from the opponent to wait for your action bar to go up, then you run at the opponent and hit the opponent and run away again. I wasn't a big fan of Kingdom Hearts II, but at least the hack-n-slash gameplay was enjoyable and playable. The battle system that Square Enix foolishly designed for their beloved series puts the company to shame.

Wow, the Gambit System. This system actually works, but it is both a curse and a blessing. The blessing part is that your partners can actually do damage, much unlike Vaan, but they can't seem to heal their wounds and subjecting them to deaths, which can cause much frustration, especially if you are targeting a monster and you are prompted to heal your partner.

Luckily, there is enough Gil to support the potions you will have to waste healing your partners. However, some of the more hardcore gamers will feel that the challenge has been eliminated from this Final Fantasy outing. Of course, that only counts if the hardcore gamers can even get past the boring battle system long enough to really play the game.

I liked the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X much better then the new license system in Final Fantasy XII. The Sphere Grid was understandable, but the licenses just add to the confusing pile that the story created.

Just like I said earlier, the story is boring. That's not it, however. The story GREATLY resembles Star Wars. You play as a sandy-haired boy trying to take down an empire. The character modules also resemble something that George Lucas would dream up. Even the first hour of the game makes you feel like you're watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Final Fantasy games were hailed for having great stories, but they have apparently ran out of ideas and had to copy George Lucas's imagination.

The graphics are one of the few areas where Final Fantasy XII shines...most of the time. The graphics during FMVs are amazing, but the character modules during actual gameplay is bad and looks way too fake. It's like they took a step down from Final Fantasy X. Also, the English voice-overs are annoying because they don't even change the lip-syncing to fit with the English voices! They could do this easily if they took the extra effort, but the designers decided not to do this. Everything would be much better if Final Fantasy games went back to the beloved text!

Blank screens make up the loading screens of Final Fantasy XII and these blank screens are plentiful. As I went through load screen to load screen, I couldn't help but to be reminded of the game Digimon World 4. Load screens are what really brought that title down and while they do little to hurt the already damaged reputation of Final Fantasy XII, they are an annoyance.

Music scores are usually one of the high-points of video games and Final Fantasy XII surprisingly does well in this area. I enjoyed the little songs that played in the background as I played the game, but they aren't enough to make up for the other faults that plague this game like a disease.

Depending on if you take the time to play through all the boring side-crap, this game can either be of medium length or very long. This also accounts for the re-playability. It all depends on how long you want to suffer through this game that poses as Final Fantasy.

Some people may read this review and dismiss it as being written by a RPG hater, but I do not hate RPGs. Sure, I don't favor them, but I don't bash games simply because I'm a fanboy of something else. Final Fantasy XII honestly doesn't deliver like it should have.

My final recommendation is that fans of Final Fantasy games should check it out regardless of the major faults. Fanboys will be fanboys and there is no need to ruin their fun. Other gamers, however, shouldn't take two glances at Final Fantasy XII.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 11/09/06

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