I love Final Fantasy but what I hated about VIII is that with the Draw system I wound up taping my controller down at some parts and leave the room to make myself a sandwich and stuff... game was too easy so I knew I wasn't going to die and when I came back, I'd have 99 of all the magic that the monsters in that battle could offer.
Honestly, when I heard that XII can basically be programmed to play itself with the Gambit system... I cashed in my pre-order and put that money down towards my Gears of War reservation.
The story is way complex and filled with the twists and turns one expects from Final Fantasy. The voice acting and character design, especially with the character of Fran, is great.
The fighting system is different, but I like it. The amount of customization with the Gambit system adds a neat real time stratagy element to the role playing game. You can automate everything, but I find that I'm more succesfull if I keep complete control over one character while issuing orders to the rest of my party.
In the end, I find it more complex than the turn-based, cut scene fighting control of previous Final Fantasies for two reasons. You must make the same desicions as you make with turn based games, except on the fly, and you may get the agro-mobs from elsewhere that can attack before you are ready for them.
It's kind of like playing World of Warcraft with party members who do exactly what you tell them to do, something you never find in World of Warcraft. In fact, the whole thing feels alot like a MMORPG, only with the annoying Chuck Norris chatter gone and a fantastic storyline complete with jaw-dropping cut scenes.
My favorite FF to this point was X but I think I'm liking XII even better.
St. Elizabeth, Patron Saint of Themed parks. Protect us from break downs, long lines, and used gum. Amen.
"Dance like it hurts, love like you need money, and work when people are watching" - Dogbert
I finally just finished it last night. Great worthwhile game with a few faults nonetheless.
As for the gameplay, I loved it so much! Having been disapointed in the simulated MMORPG environment of the .hack// games, I was pleased to see that this is what that combat system should have been. Battles aren't drawn out as much nor are you wasting as much time in cutscenes between start/end of the battles as in previous games.
Unfortunately the game was not without fault. The story was seriously lacking and underwhelming. I agree that it may be because after coming off of such a well developed plot arc with more twists and turns that a McDonald's Playplace as Final Fantasy X had, it was bit too much to ask. Still, the end seemed lackluster and anti-climactic. The plot itself was rather contrite and a bit too straightforward. Not much suprised me and the movement from area to area seemed forced. For example when you're told to go to Giruvegnan, it's mentioned as this mystical city of the past that for some reason was never mentioned before. Unlike the FFX equivalent of Zanarkand, which you knew of from the start, but with time more and more details were revealed and became clearer. They really could have done so much, but it felt like all the right elements got tossed and put to waste. For example the ghost of Prince Rasler... completely wasted. They could have used him on a much larger scale, but instead he seemed to get thrown away.
The other big complaint about the story is that for the first time in a long time, there was no love story element. If it was, I truly lost it. Penelo and Ashe could have had a lot more, as could have been the coming together of Princess Ashe and Captain Basch from a very misguided start. This element was much needed and just not found.
The characters themselves were a breath of fresh air. Finally we got a strong female lead in Princess Ashe and a male lead who doesn't whine (Vaan)! After the whiny Tidus and too-breathy Yuna, I have to say, I'm a very happy girl.
The good thing though is that the voice acting was an amazing improvement from FFX. One of my favorite voice actresses, Kari Wahlgreen, plays the conflicted Princess Ashe amazingly well. You can feel her struggle to choose between resolution and revenge. And hats off to John Lee for his wonderfully textured and seemingly insane Dr. Cid. He stole every single scene he was in. Gideon Emery's Balthier was another major highlight. He really captured the good guy you just love to hate vibe.
The only major downfalls in the voice acting department were Bobby Edner as Vaan whom I never felt had any emotion in the least, even when speaking about his late brother. There were no layers I could feel in his performance and it did hurt the characters charisma. Likewise, Elijah Alexander as the villain Lord Vayne could have done so much yet settled for an too-calm villain whom felt like he was going for a stroll to grandma's rather than plotting mass genocide. As for Nicole Fantl's portrayal of Fran... I loved the flavor she injected into the character, but at times it did feel like the accent was forced. I <3 Viera's though... they're so sexy!
All in all, amazingly enjoyable and I look forward to the next installment... now lets hope .hack//GU vol 1 and Xenosaga episode III live up to their promises.
"Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." - Anton Ego (Ratatouille)
"I suppose you have no choice but to revolutionize the world." -Mikage Souji (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
I got my bonus- and this was the first thing I bought. I love FF- and had to have this one.
I jumped in and went all out- got to the Lightworks and hit a brick wall. My characters were dying and I was NOT prepared. After much angst- I deleted my game and started over. This time around I have spent more time leveling up, getting better equipped. I hope I make it through this time. I planned badly before.
I'm a big fan of X and X-2- and so far this one is just as much fun. In fact- more so. X-2 was a button masher- you could sit and tap A through every battle- boring. Despite loving the whole dress sphere idea- it got old fast. I love the new battle system- I love setting a character in action and not having to direct them over and over again.
Ok, Im like in the middle(14 hrs) and i don't think it's really as exciting as expected. The battle system is too weird, I'm notliking the gambit soo much. The music can be very annoying at times ( I guess I miss Nobuo). The story seems very broad. The story is more focused on whats going on in the world instead of Vaan. It feels too middle earth for me.
Good thing about this game is the story, and deffinatelty, the speech. Barthiler's silver tounge is just amazing. The story is VERY complicated and the weird names for the cities are just getting me even more confuzzled! The license thing is ok, it was annoying at first, but now I'm used to it. The best improvement of all is the difficulty. they really turned it on high on this one, so I'm not as bored when exploring, but the areas can be too big. Also i don't like the fact that the treasure is picked randomly for each game. There is no definate answer as to what item you will get. Also, there are no summons (so far). Overall, its an OK game, but It's #3 on my list, but thats not bad considering I havent played all Final Fantasys yet. #4 is FFX-2, #2 is FFX, and #1 is definately FFVII. This all just my opinion though.