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Final Fantasy XII (PS2)


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#1 wholehole

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 02:52 PM

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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#2 Jusatsushi

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 04:31 PM

Nice writeup!

By the way, how on earth did you manage to get this so quick? It isn't out in the States till 31st right?

#3 Guest__*

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 06:47 PM

He's a dirty pirate!
Nice writeup though, I want this game bad!

#4 clairebear

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 06:55 PM

So ok when the hell do i get it??? Its one of the only games i want just now.

#5 wholehole

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:00 PM

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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#6 Smurph

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:10 PM

That's my birthday! Yaay! I know what I want!

#7 Guest__*

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:00 AM

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...

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

#8 wholehole

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:04 AM

Ummmmmm....

http://www.nowloadin...id=1356&forum=4

Sorry. Beat you to it. Nice box though.
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#9 Jusatsushi

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:04 AM

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? ;-)

#10 wholehole

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:05 AM

*runs*
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#11 Guest__*

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:09 AM

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.

#12 Guest__*

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:10 AM

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?

#13 Guest__*

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:11 AM

No, it's not just you. The US versions with their pics from the FMV seemed too garish.

#14 Jusatsushi

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:12 AM

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.

#15 Guest__*

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:34 AM

Wholehole ;-)

#16 wholehole

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 11:46 AM

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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#17 skunko

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 08:55 PM

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!!!
QUOTE (Imbellis @ Aug 18 2008, 01:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Brazilian teenagers shooting each other is grade A wanking material for me nowadays.




#18 Jusatsushi

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 01:26 PM

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

#19 Guest__*

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 01:39 PM

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.

#20 Windy

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:59 PM

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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