December 8th, 2006

Video Game Review- Final Fantasy XII

I like the funky new combat system.

A while back, the Penny Arcade guys talked about it, and they said that all the combat system does is automate those lame annoying random encounters you get all of the time, where you just keep hitting x over and over again. That's not entirely true, but I get the point. The combat reminds me most of Neverwinter Nights, or Knights of the Old Republic, where you queue up something to do, and then eventually you do it. And if you don't queue something up you'll just do a default action.

And I do like the ability of buffs to exist between random battles, and to not get pulled out of my exploration of a dungeon by a fight. (Many, many times, in the other FF games, I've gotten turned around after a battle and walked the wrong way for a while, fighting 3 or 4 more battles just to get back to where I was.)

I like the gambits, but I wish they were more extensive. I want a "I've already done this once" gambit, so my guy doesn't keep trying to steal from a monster after successfully doing it once, and I'd like the ability to have "OR" in the rules. Like to cast Esuna if an ally has any of a bunch of different bad status effects. I use the gambits mainly to automate things that I'm usually too lazy to do, like healing. (Boy, how lazy do you have to be to be too lazy to press buttons in a video game?)

The plot is ok- typical FF stuff. I'm kind of bummed that I can't rename the main character, but I understand why- one of the funniest things of FFX was to watch the voice-overs struggle to never call the main character by name ("Hey Lulu, Hey Wakka, there!") I wish there was more than just 6 characters too, but that's something I always wish for.

The money is a little strange too- you get item drops instead of money from a lot of monsters, but it seems like almost all of the "loot" items are things whose only purpose is to be sold for money. I'd rather skip the middleman..

So, overall, they did a good job- the game is a good sequel to the others, and worth playing if you like that kind of game. And I haven't finished it yet, so hopefully there are some super-good sidequests and weapons and stuff to come.