Final Fantasy XII – Review

Rating - 10.0/10.0 - 10

Spirit has clocked up nearly 100 hours on it, so its time to make some noise. Heres a quick review of Final Fantasy XII.

Lets begin with a few choice words… BRILLIANT, STUNNING and finally my personal favourite… AN AMAZING GAME.

That sums it up… nice quick review ;-)

Time for some detail.

One of the things that will gradually sink in is the scale of the game. It seems huge. There’s lot of locations, you aren’t as constrained as maybe earlier incarnations of FF, there’s lot of people, lot’s of monsters… just lots… of everything. This is all backed up with some absolutely lush graphics and effects. In short, its everything you would expect from SquareEnix in what I believe is their last title for the PS-2.

The main character is Vaan (a wannabe sky pirate). You follow his adventures in a battle to restore a fallen kingdom. Accompanying him on this quest are Balthier, Fran, Basche, Penelo, Asche and a collection of guests.

The standard FF features are there… party of 3, magic, character enhancements, a good choice of weapons and the ever present GIL. But with this installment, SquareEnix have ditched the traditional turn based fights in favour of realtime battles that take place (for the most part) in the environment. No longer the semi-annoying ominous music accompanied by screen switch… find a foe and the fight begins. You have a minimap that shows the locations of monsters etc., so (unless you’re restoring MP before your next big fight) gone is the annoying running in circles to get a fight.

With the introduction of real time fights comes a whole lot of panic… it can get pretty hectic, so they’ve introduced ‘Gambits’. Gambits are a list of predefined actions that you can set on each character in your party. Things like ‘if ally poisoned then use a remedy’. You have a whole bunch of choices (once you’ve found them), that allow you to target party members or enemies and perform practically any action.

Character improvement is done with ‘licenses’. You gain LP which you can spend on the license grid. Each license opens up the ones around it, and provides a specific set of items/magic that you can use. Also on the license grid are a set number of Quickenings and (when you’ve defeated them) Espers. But the squares these occupy are special… once they are activated by one character, they are removed from every other characters grid. Each character can have upto 3 quickenings and 1 Esper. Espers are summons (available through the Mist option) and quickenings are a kind of a special attack that uses the characters MP to perform.

Magic has changed… this time out, your party acquires Magiks. So lets say you want Cura… you pop into a store and buy Cura. Then, anyone in your party that has the license that allows Cura can cast it. The only cost after you’ve bought it is the MP each time you cast and the LP required to activate it on the characters license grid. Technik’s (skills like Steal) work in the same way.

I can’t really say much more without giving too much away. If you’ve played and loved previous Final Fantasy titles on the PlayStation or PS2, then you won’t be disappointed by this one. The graphics are superb, the sound is great and the game itself is just amazing. Its harder than previous titles too… Boss battles are just that BATTLES. Top all of this off with the fantastic story and it really does make it an A1 must have title.

If you’ve never played Final Fantasy before, now could be the time to give it a go as this game really does deserve a space in everyones collection, and for that reason it gets top marks.

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