The last few weeks I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XII by Square-Enix for the Playstation 2. I purchased this game used; I was able to get a great deal at Gamestop, getting the Collector’s Edition used for only twenty dollars. I got the strategy guide free because a friend of mine hated the battle system in this game so much he sold his copy of FFXII. So with game and guide in hand, I made my skeptical journey into the world of Ivalice. Those who’ve played Final Fantasy Tactics or Vagrant Story will definitely be familiar with this world.
The graphics in this game are instantly amazing. Every single area, character, and detail down to the sides of buildings and grasses are so realistic I feel like I get lost in the artwork sometimes. I haven’t finished the game yet, but somehow none of the characters have gotten exceptionally annoying. The storyline doesn’t insult my intelligence for once. The gameplay, while annoying until you get a party, becomes incredibly customizable and totally different from anything else I’ve played on after you get more characters. I think Square could have definitely done more with both the Espers and the Licence system, but both are adequately fun and worth your time. I’m getting a kick out of playing with the Gambit system, the system that allows your characters to run freely in battle without you commanding every single command. And did I mention NO loading time between fighting enemies? I seriously just did.
Now to the music. Unfortunately this game didn’t blow me away with the soundtrack like it did with the graphics and gameplay. Part of the reason for this is likely because the traditional Final Fantasy music composer, Nobuo Uematsu (who I sat near at the Dear Friends concert and was very impressed with) wasn’t involved in the music for this game-it was instead Hitoshi Sakamoto, who also was the composer for Vagrant Story. The opening theme for the game is absolutely gorgeous and I could leave it on repeat (if only for the nostalgia) and there are certain tracks that I enjoy. At times I hear the familiar Final Fantasy Tactics horns in the background, which only brings me to the world of Ivalice more. However, there isn’t the variety in the tracks that there used to be with Uematsu. I definitely noticed the difference between this Final Fantasy and its predecessors.
This game is definitely worth trying. It’s a little slow until you get a party, but stick with it. If you like this game, there is Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for the Nintendo DS to try. I haven’t tried that one myself yet, but that’s a review for another time!