Review by GwibistTsuki

"It Deserves a Chance"

A part of me doesn't want to say “I loved it,” because Final Fantasy XII is possibly one of the worst Final Fantasy's, but I did rather enjoy it deeply.

Graphics – A Square Enix Promise: It's a Final Fantasy. Of course the graphics would be improved and stunningly awesome. Final Fantasy XII's graphics have the best graphics of the Final Fantasy's (aside from Advent Children, of course, but that was a movie after all), and if you love nothing else about the game, you'll like the graphics, because they pull you in.

The beginning cinematic is roughly seven minutes, I believe (don't quote me on that, but I believe it's seven), and after watching it, I had to play the rest. It contains beautifully put together pieces of love and hope, while in a hot flash you get the rush of battle. I must say that by the beginning, Final Fantasy XII looked like one of the most violent games in the Final Fantasy series, but I won't reveal anything else about that. It's like a mini movie filled with surprises and you can't help but be drawn in, believing that the storyline is as exciting. I fear, readers, that the excitement bar only goes down from there.

Storyline—What Made It Not So Great: The story line was bleak and didn't have much kick to it. I just felt it as a series of mini quests that ultimately created one long, uninteresting plot, traveling from one side of the world to another to get every piece of the puzzle to get the Princess' hinny on the throne, which I didn't find intriguing at all, and many of the places I had to go felt unnecessary and thrown in to make the game longer. The other Final Fantasy's had much more worth-while plots, and this one felt generic and cliché. However, I give the story a few points for not being as predictable in the beginning, and at a few points in the game, you didn't know what was going to happen next.

Characters—They Were So-So: In Final Fantasy VII, there are many memorable characters like Cloud, Vincent, Aerith. Final Fantasy VIII, Leon and Seifer. FFX, Yuna and Tidus. There's no real truly memorable character in Final Fantasy VII. Vaan, the main character, is a ‘diet' version of Tidus and Cloud, I think. He doesn't have all the loveable qualities of manliness and strength and the other two famous blondes had in their games. Vaan's light is taken away by the other characters in the game. Princess Ashe is one of the most troublesome characters, the reason for most of the distress! She seemed too high-and-mighty, which rubbed off as annoying to me, but her presence is needed for the story line, along with Basch's. I must say that the only closet ones to grab the Memorable Character trophy are the sky pirates Fran and Balthier, with Fran's intellengence and Balthier's cunning and comedic personality.

Battle System—What I Loved The Most: I completely hated the Final Fantasy usual battle system, having to go in to a separate field for battles. You couldn't even walk a foot without being made to battle. The battle system in Final Fantasy XII may not be easy to get used to, but is likeable once you do. It is called ADB: Active Dimension Battle. You are able to run around enemies (just not the bosses and a few water enemies jump up to from the unknown to attack you) if you do not wish to fight and if you do want to battle, and you can slay it right there in front of you since there are no breaks between battle and exploration. Although you are able to avoid most enemies, as soon as one spots you, they'll target you until you are a distance away. The party will pull out their weapons in a battle stance, which should give you a clue that there's an enemy that is intent on attacking you (if you don't notice the pretty red target line attached to the targeted ally and the enemy).

This game required a lot of fighting. I found myself having to stop at every new area for hours in order to raise my characters up to the expectations of the boss (and if I had just entered that area for the first time, the new, normal enemies there are hard as well), and quite a few times I'd have to come back because I couldn't beat the boss, regardless of the fact that I raised quite a few levels. However, I am probably alone in the fact that leveling up was fun for me. I have a weird thing with enjoying leveling up and fighting in games, which is why all the countless hours just gaining levels didn't make me hate the game. I probably spent half of the total game time just fighting to level up. Of course, I did level up ALL of my characters so that they were all at the same level throughout the whole game, because it was impossible for me to fight without the choice of pulling out characters with fresh health if my other ones died. And even though I leveled up so much during the game, those extra characters truly, deeply helped. I wouldn't have gotten through Final Fantasy XII without all my characters leveled up to standards.

If you don't like having to fight a lot to level up, you won't like the game that much.

Battle System—Gambits: Gambits are new to the Final Fantasy series, coming along with the brand new battle system. A gambit is a programmed command that instructs a character to react automatically in a predetermined manner when faced with a specific situation that is used for each character. For example, if you have your healer, let's say Penelo, with one of her gambits “Ally: Any/Pheonix Down,” she'll automatically use a Pheonix Down to make a KO'd member of the party alive once again. In the Gambit Menu, each character has a different number of slots (which is determined by how many Licenses you bought for Gambit slots) in which you can program in their own personal Gambits, the top slot being the first thing being the character's top priority. Let's say that Vaan's top gambit is “Ally: HP < 50 %/ Potion” and “Foe: Targeting an Ally/Attack,” and the party is in the middle of a fight with a boss and (let's say) Ashe's health gets down to less than 50%, he'll stop his fighting and give her a potion since the “Ally: HP < 50 %/ Potion” gambit is his most important and on his top. There are hundreds of different Gambits, most not revealed to you until you buy them in a Gambit store or find them in urns and chests. I rather liked Gambits, because it gave me ultimate control over the other party members that I was not directly controlling (except Party Guests, of course, who can do whatever they darn well please).

Battle System—Licenses: This is similar to FFX. Licenses are needed to be bought in order for each character's growth and gambit slots, and a license is needed for all weapons, magick, technicks, and armor to be able to use and/or equip them. Licenses are very important, because without them, a party member would be nothing. Licenses can be bought with LP (License Points), which is bought on the License Board and are gained from battles. Besides of levels, fighting extensively and constantly in Final Fantasy XII is also quite useful in order to gain LP. Although you may feel irritated each time you realize that you can't use a certain piece of armor or sword that you just bought after saving up all your money since you don't have the license for it and not enough LP to actually get it, LP is easy to get and you that helps you get used to fighting.

Battle System—Quickenings, Quite Useful Magick: Quickenings are hard to understand once you start using them and require loads of luck in order to be successful with them, but they were a big part of fighting when I was playing Final Fantasy XII (when I finally figured out how to use them). Beside the health bars of the party members in the game is (if it's completely full) a shining yellow bar. That's the Mist bar, which you use in order to use magick. Now, if it's completely full and it's glowing, that's when you can use a Quickening, if you have one for that certain character. As with everything else, Quickenings can only be unlocked on the license board, but you don't buy them. There are a total of eighteen Quickening boxes on the License Board, and only one character can have each one. Once you buy the License for a Quickening for one character, that box disappears from every other character's LP Board. Each character is only allowed 3 Quickenings, and whenever you buy one for a character (if it's more than one), the Mist bar becomes longer. I was able to get all eighteen by around the end of the game, and they were extremely usefull throughout the game. Unfortunately, if you use a Quickening, the whole Mist bar for that character is wiped clean. Well, sort of.

Sounds and Music – Bleh: The music wasn't as legendary as the ones from other games, especially Final Fantasy XII. The theme song “Kiss Me Goodbye” by Angela Aki was a disappointment compared to other games' music, although I also posses this one on my MP3 Player, and I do think that it's a pretty song. I don't remember anything about the music in each area of the game, so I can't help you there, but that should tell you about how ‘great' the music is.

The Game Time Itself—Extremely Long, But There's Always More For You To Do: I always take the most time when it comes to games because I accidently leave the PS2 on sometimes, and, in this case, I use a lot of time leveling up. The game took me 120 hours. Please, don't be shocked. Once again, I'm extremely slow, so it probably won't take that long for you. However, that was all basically just for the main storyline. I did a couple of side quests and Hunts. So if you think that the game isn't long enough (and I'm not sure why you would), there are many, and I mean many, side quests for you to do. There's the Clan Centro hunts, and there are over 40 of them, the Hunt Club as well, and tons, and I mean tons, of other side events for your enjoyment.

The Credits and the Ending– I Thought They Were Awesome: Just a small note, I loved the look of the credits. They were very pretty. Around the end of Final Fantasy XII, I was in a “I'm Now Completely Bored of This Game” mode, but I also realized that it was in fact the end, so I pushed myself into a “I Want to Get This Dang Game Over With Already” in order to get to the end, and I'm glad I did. I adored the ending and didn't want it to end.

A Final Thought—At Least Give It a Chance: So, if you think that Final Fantasy XII is probably trash, at least try it out first. The beginning play as Vaan is slow and noneventful, but once you get further in to the game, you'll be subconsciously hooked with the places you go to and the adventures you are thrown into.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/28/07

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