Street thief Vaan becomes embroiled in a quest to save the occupied kingdom in which he resides, Dalmasca, from a war that seems imminent.Street thief Vaan becomes embroiled in a quest to save the occupied kingdom in which he resides, Dalmasca, from a war that seems imminent.Street thief Vaan becomes embroiled in a quest to save the occupied kingdom in which he resides, Dalmasca, from a war that seems imminent.
- Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca - Asheas Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca - Ashe
- (English version)
- Cidolfus Demen Bunansa - Cidas Cidolfus Demen Bunansa - Cid
- (English version)
- (as John Lee)
- Emperor Gramis Gana Solidoras Emperor Gramis Gana Solidor
- (English version)
- (as Roger L. Jackson)
Maintaining everything from previous installments that contributed to this franchise's incredible success, "FFXII" contains excellent graphics, gameplay and story. The world of Ivalice (particularly the kingdom of Dalmasca) is so meticulously rendered and it's refreshing to see Square Enix going for less traditional Japanese feel here than a faux-Mediterranean one. As a metaphor for the transition to PS3, perhaps? Maybe.
The Kingdom of Dalmasca is at war with the neighboring Kingdom of Archadia, which has since conquered and transformed the former to a state seized by military invasion. The Lady Ashe was then a 17-year old Hume (human) princess mandatorily married to Lord Rasler, who died in battle trying to claim the Nabradia Fortress. Two years later, in a desire to set out for revenge, she unites with street urchin (and playing character for most of the game) Vaan, sky pirate Balthier, the initially enigmatic Basch, the ex-Viera (a race of rabbit-like wood-dwellers) Fran, and the perky Penelo. Together, they embark on a journey across the snowy mountains of Paramina Rift to the white beaches of Phon Coast in an effort to restore peace in Dalmasca.
As with all the narratology of "Final Fantasy" installments, characters are given enough history to give the player a little more connection with them. (I agree with the previous comment of another user that Ashe has the best backstory which is why I often use her as the party leader.) While not necessarily attaining the lofty bars "Final Fantasy VII" and, to some extent, "Final Fantasy X" ("FFX") has reached as far as characters are concerned, "FFXII" more than makes up with a better storyline (the nature of which I understand may reduce the appeal to some) and excellent visuals. Rather than the usual narrative mostly involving otherworldly beings, "FFXII" gears more towards the political realm, even if the Victorian-style dialog feels a bit our of place in some parts (not really a complaint). Music-wise, the score is good although there are certain stretches I half-expect "FFXs"'s battle theme, as well as "Final Fantasy X-2"'s "Yuna's Ballad" and "Eternity of Lightwaves," would play.
Regarding gameplay, the battle system of "FFXII" is similar with "FFXI" in that it uses an active dimension battle (ADB) system, which means battles unfold in real time (yep, no more shattering screens and less victory fanfares). This, along with the gambit system (a set of preordained actions to be performed by each character depending on default and user input) and an ala-sphere grid license board (only much less confined regarding the characters), offer much creativity and flexibility to the part of the player. For instance, with the right gambit, license, weapons and/or armor, a character can both be an effective healer and a decent attacker.
"FFXII" is, needless to say, a great game that should satisfy fans as well as casual gamers alike. Honestly, I think it's a triumph for Square that fits as a nice send-off before the shift to PS3.
Oh, and on a relatively unrelated note, Penelo reminds me of ex-Morning Musume member Nozomi Tsuji. Heh.
- Dec 21, 2006