So, apparently as a Squaresoft fan who owns two PS2s, I am contractually obligated to play every single Final Fantasy game on the face of the planet. This may well be, but I had been avoiding the whole Final Fantasy XII game… something about the gameplay just irks me.
From what I can figure out from however much I played of the game, the storyline goes something like this…
Princess Ash gets married to some dude. This is a good thing and they are very happy. Then, the dude goes to war with the empire and gets killed.
The story is totally not about Princess Ash OR this dude. It’s about this guy named Ren, who is a soldier in the war. Ren and his fellow soldiers are trying to stop a plot to kill the King, Princess Ash’s father. Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t work and the King gets killed by Ren’s commanding solider, leaving Ren feeling betrayed and the kingdom gets taken over by the Empire. And then Princess Ash commits suicide.
The story isn’t about Ren either! It’s about Ren’s little brother, Vaan, an orphan living on the streets of some Rabanash, the capital of the Kingdom. Vaan’s dream is to be an airship pirate and he doesn’t like the fact that the Kingdom has been taken over by the empire. He decides to steal something from the palace to get back at the evil Empire.
The story isn’t about him either! It’s about the airship pirate Balthazar and his plans to do… uh…piratey stuff… And then Princess Ash comes back from the dead and you find out that Ren’s commanding officer has a twin brother who is actually an evil judge of the empire and that the commanding officer was actually framed by his brother.
You don’t get the story? Yeah, I don’t either. Mayhap the Square Enix writers were a teensy tiny bit drunk when writing it? I don’t know.
The battle system is also really, extremely strange. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that it’s all bad… okay, I lied, it is all bad. I LIKE turn based battles. I like it because it’s that much easier to feel like I’m controlling my characters. I feel so totally out of control when I play Final Fantasy XII. I can’t keep my eye on all the characters at once.
The saving grace is the gambit system, but even that system unsettles me… It’s really hard to program and you don’t exactly start with all the possible combinations – you have to buy each option. Plus, it just means that you can make the game play itself – not exactly the best move ever.
I don’t exactly like the idea of license points either. Everything in this game is so open that it’s hard not to make the exact same character all the time. Everything in this game costs gil too, you have to buy spells, you have to buy weapons and equipment and items. By the time you finish buying a few things, you just don’t have enough money left over to actually buy more stuff, unless you grind.
Grinding is awful in this game as well, since monsters don’t drop money, they just drop items, which you can sell. Even then, they don’t drop items very often.
About the time I got to the point where the game decided that I had to cross this endless desert to prove that the Princess was actually a princess, my brain just caved in and I gave up. I intend to finish this game… someday… maybe… in the future. It’s just… somehow, this game feels flat in comparison to all the other Final Fantasy games… Final Fantasy IX included.
Plus, I was hoping that the evil empire wasn’t evil for once. Just a little. It’s just so cliche.
Today’s review comes to you courtesy of one Mr Larsen, who, having discovered that I did not actually own a copy of the aforementioned game, decided to rectify the situation. You can listen to Mr Larsen’s podcast at http://forwardslashawesome.com/.