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AWOL's Final Fantasy XII Game Review

Final Fantasy XII game Review

Story & Playability

First of all, I would like to express my surprise that there isn't anyone here who made a review of this famous epic yet.

Though this is a supposed sequel to the acclaimed Final Fantasy Tactics, but on the first trial run all will notice that the story has llittle, if not none at all, connections to its preedecessor. Many has seen this to be a shortcoming and criticized it for its stray, comparing the elements of treachery and betrayal and conspiracy found in Tactics to the strange deviation present in XII.

Indeed, the truth that XII's conspiracy theories (Gabranth framing Basch, Vayne framing the Senate of Archadia and Halim Ondore being a "double agent") is much less compared to Tactics, but XII's theme is not about conspiracy. The heart of the matter is the ethic of "an eye of an eye", which is also the drive of the events in the entire story. Vayne's rebellion aganist the Occuria is, in fact, nothing but the cause of the rise and emergence of tht ethic. Therefore, the story of XII deserves no comparison to Tactics.

That being clear, XII's story is now a much more mature scene compared to the other Final Fantasy titles. In fact, it is one of the best. XII's enimity end is not the attempt to "destroy/rule the world" like many other Fantasy stories, but to free humanity from its creators. Novel, isn't it?

However, the tie-in with Archadia's war with Rozzaria sems pretty weak, since the war has little to do with the characters the player controls. In the war scene, the player wants to be in the war as much as possible, but XII fails to deliver that. It feels strange, that the enemy's fortress can be penetrated a few moments at the war's beginning.

The true beauty of XII's story is its rich dialogue. The translated english version is fluid and extremely conventional for their era. The class system between the rich and poor varies so much that you can feel their social stature as soon as you speak to them.

There are also some characters whose individuality are developed well to mould into the story, the most compelling being; Balthier's wit, Gabranth's vengeful spirit, Larsa's naive. Vayne's idealogy and the Occuria's loftiness and swiftness to make judgement (the most prominent "to let live some, and crush the rest").

The decision which Ashe had to make aganist for her revenge is much more complex than regular revenge stories. Gabranth's "Do the dead not demand justice?" is an excellent food for thought for the argument for capital punishment. Though XII's story rather unconvincingly dismisses it with Vaan's "He's dead! He's gone" statement.

Overall, this section for story deserves a high score for its deep insights of revenge.

Rating: 8

Graphics


Concepts by Yasumi Matsuno and character designs by Akihiko Yoshida.

XII's gameplay relies heavily on map interaction; it is important to grasp the essence of the environment. Here, it is quite accomplished; cities are bustling with much activity, plains and deserts have climate changes, unexplored landmarks remain mystic and extensively appealing as they should be.

Simillar to recent developments, the CGI for XII has two levels now; movie CGI and cut-scene+actual game CGI.

Characters are formed with much more details than other Final Fantasy games, eg, the Judge Magister's armour, Vayne's incarnation as the Undying.

Because of the rise of many similler standard graphics by other rivals, the images by XII probably will not be able to wow many people anymore. However, it has shown signs of improvement with its more extensive details.


Rating: 8

Sound

Most scores composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Opening Theme by Nobuo Uematsu. Theme "Kiss Me Goodbye" vocals by Angela Aki.

Many Uematsu fans were disgruntled when they found out his only contributions were but the opening theme and "Kiss Me Goodbye", furthermore the opening was a re-used version of the original Final Fantasy theme. Thankfully Sakimoto's work was able to cover many of the unhappiness with his scores (Esper batlte music comes strong and majestic matching the Espers themselves, the Archadian March Version "Theme of the Empire" closely resembling a medivial war tune), as well as Aki's slow melody to end off the game.

The ochestra for the ending credits, "Symphonic Poem: "Hope" ~Final Fantasy XII PV ver.~", by violinist Taro Hakase, arranged by Yuji Toriyama, is a beautiful piece with an amazingly catchy chrous. It was performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra, a major ochestra in the UK; no doubt of its quality.


Rating: 8

Fun

Here, the overall gameplay is reviewed.

This is where XII shines. It has the innovative system which combines real-time and the ATB together; call the ADB (Active Dimension Battle) It fully utilizes the character's mobility and allows maximum effectiveness like real-time combat.

The unique Gambits system allows players to customize their character's battle style to their liking, which saves alot of time for players from choosing commands; a great boon for those who are too lazy to manually control the character commands themselves.... okay, I admit it, it is a necessary evil.

There are few problems with the camera, the smoothness of movement and transcession of the story, all thanks to the wide range of options avaliable, eg, Battle Wait/Active mode, cut-scene skip, subtitle options, etc.

XII has received a perfect score from Famitsu, high ratings of many official game magazines, and several awards by well known review sources like Gamespot and IGN.

You have received the ratings; this game is a must-have. Get your copy now! (Compatible with PS3 Blueray)

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.33 (good)

Reviewed by AWOL, Jan 06, 2007

Comments

  1. shoujoboy Jan 09, 2007

    After playing the demo for this game, I was thoroughly disappointed to say the least. I thought that they went the wrong direction entirely... until I started playing the game. Truly this is the rebirt of the FF franchise and a one of the best games of 2006 hands down. My only complaint is that the game is entirely too level and stat based in that if you don't have the right stat or level for a certain enemy, you just end up missing over and over again. Then again I'm not much of an MMORPG player so that may be why it had me so distraught.

    Good job on the review and a worthy score for the game. Here's to hoping the FF magic stays for a long time to come.

  2. shinigami9 Jan 10, 2007

    I have to agree with shoujoboy when it comes to levels. If I regreted one thing that changed in this new FF it's the lack of a strategic element in battles, which was so good in the last "classic" FF (that is X, for me). This is why levels matter more. You can't make up for low levels with careful play. On the other hand, it's easier to level up.

  3. JusticePro Feb 05, 2007

    hahas~well i am a fan of final fantasy game but sadly this game was a little hard to understand at 1st...so slowly playing after a long time i begin to get used ti the controls so the rating given is a worthy score~

  4. SchRita Jan 15, 2010

    Thanks for the review!

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