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wholehole

Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

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I thought i'd leave it a while before posting a first impression so I could get a proper feel for the game. Seeing as it's so huge, it's difficult to get a decent impression from the first few hours. So, 18 hours in and it's just starting to feel like i'm getting somewhere(!). Final Fantasy games are expected to be mammoth but XII takes the cake.

 

The graphics and FMV are nothing short of beautiful, although they can look a little drab in places. Voiceover work is of a high quality with the voice of Balthier a personal favourite of mine, being a combination of english cad and hearty pirate in equal measures. Character models are of a high standard, even the NPC's have been shown alot of love, with quite alot of variety between each one.

 

The new battle system is... interesting. It's a radical departure from the old battles of yore, with enemies now appearing on the map and no more random battles (yay!), along with no fixed positions for either you or your enemies. Battles also happen seamlessly, so there are no breaks in the gameplay, which helps to keep the flow of the game moving at a good pace.

 

Apart from these changes, the general flow of battle is the same. You open the menu, the action pauses (can be changed to active mode), you choose a command and the character follows it. There is still a wait time for actions to be taken although this appears after the command is given rather than before. The menu doesn't appear by itself when the characters turn comes up, you have to remember open it, which can be bothersome, but this is where the Gambits come in.

 

Gambits are, as you've probably heard, basic AI routines that you can assign to slots, that allow your characters to work automatically, on the basis of 'condition action'. At the start of the game this is very basic, with your characters only having a couple of slots, allowing them to attack on sight or attack the party leaders target. As you progress however, they can become alot more advanced, with characters being able to heal when an ally reaches a certain percentage of their health or attacking a specific type of enemy with a specific spell. You buy these Gambits from shops, which in time old RPG tradition, stock more useful ones the further you get.

 

Equipment, spells and special abilites (techniks) are controlled via each characters License Board. This is laid out like a funny shaped chess board with an ability on each square. Every character has the same board but no longer is each character expected to wield a specific weapon! You get to choose what weapons/spells they specialise in, all of them if you have the time to grind. Each square is activated by spending a set amount of 'LP' (license points) to unlock it, at which point they can use the ability immediately, as long as they have purchased the corresponding weapon/spell. The amount of LP needed increases the more powerful the character gets.

 

You get very little for free in FFXII. Enemies don't drop Gil any more, unless they are human. You have to earn your crust by selling your battle spoils and taking on 'Marks' posted on boards in bars and guilds. This can get quite annoying as the Marks feel like unnecessary padding just for the sake of it, although you can get some cool equipment if you persevere.

 

You will literally have to buy everything you need in this game. There are chests dotted around, but they very rarely relinquish anything of use, usually just a potion or the like. There are shops for Weapons & Accessories, Armour, Spells, Techniks and Sundries none of which are particularly cheap, wherever you go.

 

As far as story is concerned, well, I won't say, but it's a mix of swords, sorcery, betrayal and sky pirating, and is keeping me very much entertained.

 

Overall, the cracks the magazine reviews mention are evident and plain to see. For one, the battle system may not be to everyone's liking, but I for one think it's the best thing since sliced flour, yeast and water. So, the question on alot of gamers lips: Is it a FFVII beater?? I'll let you know in another 60+ hours...

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Thanks guys, I tried very hard and still wasn't that happy with it.

 

Hehehehe, the Seven Seas got the better of me on this occasion! Not a very nice stereotype though Skillo. Not many Pirates are dirty due to their close proximity to large volumes of water.

 

It was posted as 27th October, but that's not looking likely now. Gameplay are saying 26th January, which sounds about right.

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Mine arrived today. I got the limited version from Gamestop. It's a metal box and comes with a DVD featuring developer interviews, history of FF, art gallery and trailers.

 

Here's a few pics to keep you going...

 

01112006-copy.jpg

 

01112006001-copy.jpg

 

01112006002-copy.jpg

 

01112006003-copy.jpg

 

I'm off to watch some lush FMV now...

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Jammy git! I'll be lucky if mine gets here by the weekend, but at least it means I'll see Bully through to the end!

 

That boxset is just sublime, but I've just got the bogstandard version coming *sob* Still, it's the game inside which counts.

 

[edit]Where's the box for your copy Wholehole? ;-)

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Whoops, I better merge it with the original then.

 

It feels lush actually, but I got stung by the VAT. So be aware of that if you're ordering from Gamestop.

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Nice box and artwork.

 

Although, Am I the only one wh likes the old fashined white background, fancy logo and black text of the PAL boxes?

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I think you may well be Riva, that box kicks the crap out of the PAL ones!

 

How are you finding the plot in this one Wholehole? I've heard mixed opinions, so it'd be nice to have your take seeing as you must be a way through now.

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Yeah, quite a way through now.

 

The story is really good, and i'm really enjoying it so far. There have been slow sections, as is always the case in RPG's, but they always lead up to something spectacular eventually.

 

One of my gripes so far is with the bosses. You can be going along killing most monsters with the minimum of fuss, a boss will turn up, and you get your ass handed to you. The difficulty just ramps right up. I don't think i've finished a boss yet that hasn't required me to use pretty much all of my team. Thank Ghandi's flip-flops for being able to swap dead characters for fresh ones on the fly.

 

The other gripe I have is that although unused characters still gain License Points (albeit at a slightly slower rate), they earn absolutely no XP at all. Obviously you then end up with a few weak characters that are all but useless, save from their LP aquired abilities, unless you want to spend some time grinding their levels to match everyone else.

 

Oh, and thanks Riva. Yarrrrrr!

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RE the above clip

 

hahahahahahahaha

i was listening to the new who album, and as one of the songs came to a halt i clicked on it then back onto nowloading, it sounded like the song had started up again... and i LOVED IT!!!

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Jusatsushi wrote:

It arrived this morning... I am currently dancing around in my underpants I'm so excited!

 

Calm down ladies. He'll only have eyes for FF FMV.

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Mine landed aswell. I'm a bit miffed at them not including a reverse camera option for the right analogue. With being a left hander I always prefer it the other way round. Especially when I'm pushing forward on the left stick. Anyway its only a minor complaint and I'll probably get used to it after a while.

 

Loving the game, so far, but hate the Americanisms and Vaans voice is a bit pants aswell. Also I'm not happy about the way the oppressive race all have English accents it gets on my goat a bit aswell. I shudder to think what the Americans are teaching their children about England its history, people and culture in their schools sometimes. I blame hollywood.

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Yeah the localisation is very yank-centric. They should have got the DQVIII team on the case... think of the irony, Vann the ladyboy voiced by Ricky Grover!

 

I'm loving the game now it's opened up a bit. It really does play like an MMO, but obviously not as laborious, in that you take a mission, head off then return to cash in. I'm not sure about the having to unlock what items you can equip on the skill grid though... WHY THE HELL CAN'T I WEAR THIS VEST I JUST BOUGHT FFS!??! Oh, I have to go and kill 20 wolves first... ok. :roll:

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Not sure if lady-boy Vaan quite measures up to Mr Macho Squall Lionheart, but if the gf can get past that then hell yeah! It's a cracking game!

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Its definitely set out like one of Matsuno's SRPGs with the clan aspect, and the hunting missions are straight out of Growlanser and also Arc the lad. You can definitely tell its him anyway if you've played his other games like Vagrant story, FFTA and definitely the realtime Ogre battle games. It feels alot like Growlanser which has very similar battle mechanics but obviously looks alot better because Growlanser has sprites.

 

I'm gutted though because I lost eight hours worth of saves from today to a dodgy(official) memory card.

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