[REVIEW] Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

After letting it sit for about five months, I finally turned on FF12 again so I could defeat the last boss to watch the end sequence at least once. The only reason I didn’t five months ago was because, when it comes to Final Fantasy, I’m generally of the completist mindset, and there still remains the two non-endboss ultimate boss charas – the elite mark Yiazmat (~50 million HP according to the BradyGames strategy guide), and…Omega. Always Omega.

Still haven’t beaten them, but I had Yiazmat down to ~4 million before it started killing me every other attack. I haven’t even tried Omega yet, but I will. Eventually.

Final Fantasy XII by the numbers…

  • Audio: FX – 7/10, Music – 9/10
    The sound effects are what we’ve come to expect from Square-Enix and the Final Fantasy series – somehow fantastical and works with whatever it’s for, but it seems like they’ve been reusing certain sounds since VII (yes, even the PS2 FFs). The music has the best instrumentation of all the FFs I’ve ever played since FF8, and somehow even tops Kingdom Hearts II’s synthesizer programming; the strings sound like strings, the brasses like brasses (even the tuba, which is hard for me to find in a Square game), the harps don’t sound like synthetic pieces of crap (FF9, I’m looking at you), and GUITARS, oh the guitars…*mwah*
  • Graphics: 8.5/10
    Best 3D graphics for a Final Fantasy so far. I have no doubt with the PS3’s power FFXIII will have XII’s cutscene graphics as its in-game resolution. To be fair, I’m also a fan of FFT’s style of pixel sprite art, so eh…
  • Gameplay: 7/10
    The controls are pretty responsive, but sometimes even running seems slow paced. The new Gambit system seems like a tech demo for a logic system they probably want to put into another ARPG (or FFXIII), but I like not having to repeatedly press buttons to assign my charas commands. Level grinding is a cinch if you have the right equipment, gambits, and know where/when to do it; I left my PS2 on overnight so that I could level up while I slept. It took a few nights before everyone was maxed and it still doesn’t yet help against Yiazmat, but the rest of the game became pretty easy as well since I didn’t have to worry about experience.
  • Story: 6.5/10
    The plot is relatively convoluted and hackneyed, but it IS a Final Fantasy. Neighboring nations are at war, political treachery is abound, and the ways of life for many people and professions are being threatened by the rise of this power-hungry pseudo-empire. Sounds a lot like Final Fantasy VI…
  • Overall: 7.5/10
    Overall, it still amounts to an enjoyable Final Fantasy experience for me. It took a few games to get the taste of IX out of my mouth, but thanks to the 1-2-3 combo of FFX, X-2, and XII, I’ve been able to go back to enjoying the general FF experience – epic soundtracks, stunning visuals, and trendsetting gameplay that always somehow resets the standard for what an RPG should be.

Next up are the DS Final Fantasies – Revenant Wings, Tactics A2, and Ring of Fates. Now if only FFXIII were on the PS2…

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