Thursday, November 02, 2006

First Look: Final Fantasy XII

It's hard to believe it has been almost 5 years since the last proper single-player FF game has come out (Final Fantasy X). There was Final Fantasy X-2 and the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI that both came out in 2003, but neither can really be a proper FF game when compared to the rest of the series.

Square-Enix decided to base this new game in a well-loved world by many: Ivalice. Ivalice was the setting of the fantastic strategy game Final Fantasy Tactics on the original Playstation (pick it up and play it if you haven't!), so as far as I am concerned they've already started off on the right foot.

I'm only about 2 hours into the game and so far I'm liking it, although I am not very keen on the camera controls or the new Active time battle system. My wife likes the camera controls, but for any FPS player out there the controls are reversed with no way to switch it around in the options. Luckily pushing in the right analog stick will let you center the camera behind you.

The biggest change of course is the new battle system and the Gambit system. This game is far more action orientated than any FF before it, but you can still choose to do the waiting version of attacking and plan out your attacks. The other way is active motions that you do via menus as you run around. To accompany this system is the Gambit system where you can set priorities for yourself and your AI allies and pretty much let that control any action you take in a battle versus you manually doing it. The added bonus of this way of attacking is that there are no longer any random battles and you see all of your enemies on the screen, so you can choose to stay or run when going against an opponent.

So far the story is straight out of the Tactics games in how it is represented. I'm liking the game a lot, but I need a lot more time before I can review it. So far I'd say buy it simply because it's been a long time since a proper FF game came out and this is a fitting end to the RPG mastery that the PS2 has had for a long time.