Review by rpgelement

"A Fantasy worth having and more!"

I've been a Fantasy/RPG fan for quite awhile and had realized the making of this Fantasy took awhile. There were many changes made to this game and it almost made me skeptical as to whether this is worth the wait or if it will live up to it's hype. After what seems like an eternity for this game, it comes out on no there day then Halloween! I waited in line at midnight to get my copy (the collector's edition), which comes with another CD on trailers of the game, photo gallery, as well as new and upcoming Final Fantasies in the future. Happy I was since I was one of the first in like to get my copy, I drove home at lightning speed waiting anxiously to pop in my disk and watch the opening scene. I did like the whole presentation of the collector's edition copy but was a little saddened there was no memory card slot. As soon as my emotions were over and I looked through the instruction manual, my excitement grew because I was able to start a new RPG that is called Final Fantasy. After playing for a long time I can for one say, well, this is one that is set apart from the rest and it is definitely worth a review so lets start with the ratings.

Graphics: I thought the graphics were for the most part great. The environments and backgrounds are far larger then previous Final Fantasies allowing for more exploration to the eye. When making this game, the developers mentioned lowering polygon count in order to bring out the huge environments made in the game. They wanted to push the limits of what the PS2 could do and I think this game is one great example of overall graphics at it's finest. This feels like a huge leap considering everything is fully explored and towns are larger bustling with more people. Simple things like that are why I really like the graphics. You get the feeling of a port with all the bustling people to the busy Bazaar marketplace filled with crowds awaiting to see or buy an item that could be priceless to the shelter up on a mountain near the cold winds to the first time seeing the outside of a gigantic temple. What I also really liked was that you were able to see every weapon and that all the weapons were detailed and looked entirely unique. Just another detail that I did enjoy as I can remember the names of weapons that I like the look of. Another little detail for the weapons is that everyone wields the same weapon differently. In addition, the CG cut scenes are fewer in between but when you look at the overall masterpiece of the game, you can see that it really does not matter. It makes more room for game play and other things since CG takes a lot of memory and that the graphics are great anyway. For the CG that is in the game, whether it is a few seconds or a minute, is awesome to look at. I can go on and on but I think this is a big step forward in the graphics for Final Fantasy.

I give Graphics a 10/10.

Game play: Now, for another fresh change that Final Fantasy brings to 12. This is the Gambit system. It enables you to put commands ahead of time for your allies so your not always selecting commands over and over. But what makes it even better is that you can choose to do that if you want more control over your characters by turning everyone's Gambits off. Looking into the gambit system a bit more, the approach may seem easy at first because when you think about it, you can just auto-play through the whole game without really having to do anything. You are right to an extent and the option is there but that is not the only way to play the game because there are other options. Furthermore you will see that you can also choose to play in a wait sequence where each time a command is going to be chosen, the screen is still giving off a more classic feel of turn-based battle. If you feel you want to up the challenge, you can play in active time with the battle speed at it's fastest. This usually requires split second thoughts if you control your character manually when dealing with tough enemies. I personally play this way because I think it gives more of a challenge. While in battle, you also can move freely without having to move through several screens. This enables the player to freely choose whether or not they want to fight or flee from an enemy. I did forget to mention that for the most part, all enemies are visible with the exception of enemies who hide and surprise you. You can choose what enemy you want to fight and see if you're able to beat them. Of course with all this in the game, you can freely explore more areas without feeling restricted and fight tougher enemies at a much lower level then expected. I wouldn't advise to do this when you don't have many abilities because there are tough enemies out there but of course this is what makes this Final Fantasy fresh with all the new changes in it.

I give the Game play a 10/10.

Music/Sound: I personally loved the music and even though this had a different music composer from the earlier Final Fantasies, I think it does the job done. I personally loved some of the environment music's cause I thought it went well with the background of it. Granted some of the music was used more then once in some of the areas making it seem repetitive, it still wasn't bad for the most part. The music is the same for the environment when you do normal battles so I did like that considering I like some of the music but I think this is all on opinion. The sound is spectacular from the cast of a protect spell, to the wailing and moaning when killing enemies to the voices of all the characters, this was done right. It's all the small details and refinements that make it memorable. Balthier and Fran's voice I thought were excellent because I felt it fit their persona as a character.

I give the Music/Sound a 9/10.

Story: SO with every Final Fantasy comes with a story filled with emotion and a lot of CG cut movies with a love story. This all falls short but is this bad? No, of course not. Final Fantasy 12 strays away from your typical boy meets girl, boy goes through trauma, world is going to end, boy wants to save girl and world and I feel all for the better for it. The story is centered on a war that had happened between Rozarria and Archadia with Dalmasca now being occupied under Archadian rule. Vaan meets Penelo when her parents take him in because his parents die from the war. Vaan, living in Rabanastre, the capital of Dalmasca wants to take away treasures that were formerly Dalmasca's but are now tarnished with the rule of Archadians. He meets Balthier and Fran, two sky pirates who also want what Vaan plans to take and end colliding with one another forcing them to work together. They meet Ashe, who is formerly known as Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca in disguise of her name and later find out she is trying to liberate the kingdom of her name. They later meet Basch who was accused of killing the Dalmascan king but then find out it was his twin brother Gabaranth who had taken Basch's identity that had killed the king. The goal then becomes to find power in order for Lady Ashelia to restore and liberate to what was the Dalmascan kingdom. They find this power through nethicite, which gives great power to its owner. But of course, power isn't the only way to rule or acquire what you want, it's how you use the power. The story is basically a war story so do not expect the typical themes. I do like the approach of the story and thought the characters were developed in more subtle emotions rather then sudden spurts of feeling. Overall, I think the story is good for what it is but could be better maintained throughout since I personally felt a little lost at times.

I give the Story an 8/10.

Replay: Just to keep this simple and sweet, there are numerous things to do in this game from getting al the ultimate weapons, to doing all the mark hunts, to exploring all the extra areas, to even more things I haven't mentioned. This game will keep you busy if you like to be a completionist or if you like to at least explore all for what the game is. Just to give a little spoiler, there is an enemy in the game that has a little over 50 million HP! You can imagine how long that will take to beat it. I personally haven't done everything and have clocked in over 115 hours! If you like a long RPG with many things to accomplish and/or do, Final Fantasy 12 is a great way to go for all of this and more!

I give this game a great 9 and expect this is a Final Fantasy worth having with it's fresh take on everything and with new approaches on game play. The graphics are great eye candy, the voice and sound is top notch, and the game leaves lots of room for you to do. Get it now!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/02/07

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