Not particularly a tongue twister, but what alliteration!
WARNING: Roman numerals ahead.
WARNING: Nerd rant ahead.
If you've noticed, I love Final Fantasy, and my fantasy WIP is loosely based on the games. Not including Final Fantasy XI, which was an online MMORPG for some reason, I have played and finished all of the numbered Final Fantasies up to XII, including VII and X's sequels and spin-offs. I also have, but haven't finished because my PS2 laser broke!, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions and Final Fantasy Dissidia I & II. I think all I need now is the first Tactics and the Chocobo Chronicles, and I'll officially be a hoarder.
I bought Final Fantasy XII when I was in college. I had a waitressing job that lasted 3 weeks, but with the tips I made, I splurged on the $200 Collector's Edition of the game and guidebook, which comes with a bonus disc and a book of artwork. I really wish I hadn't paid for it, but 6 years later, I've finally finished the thing. Here are my problems with this game.
The Battle System:
Up until Final Fantasy X, what happened when you weren't in a town was your character walked across a world map (looking like they could step on the towns) until they encountered a monster to fight, at which time the screen would dramatically change to a 2D row vs row battle. In X, you had more of a realistic feel, where your character walked through towns AND the greenery around it, but you still were whisked away to a 3D row vs row battle. I'm going to blame XI for the change because XII kind of looked like XI. In XII, once you left the town or city, you were in a world where you could see every monster you were about to fight (except for snakes, that popped up at random). The only good thing about this is that there were no surprises. The bad thing is: in all of the other games, you pressed a button to escape, and you had a 50/50 chance of returning to the world map. In XII, you had to run, and the monsters CHASED YOU! I hate games where something is chasing you, so that this happened frequently stressed me out and often, when I first played, got me killed.
The upside to this battle system, tedious though it was, was 1) the gambit system, where I could program the characters to fight, and pretty much walk away to get a sandwich, unless I wanted to do a limit break or summon; 2) being able to make battle chains, where if you fought more than 1 of the same monster in a row, you received bigger rewards.
When you have storylines like a lost esper trying to save the world of espers, the dark truths behind the world's military, a whole city of people giving up their lives to keep the dream of their city alive before it's destroyed, etc. etc., a simple War of the Roses storyline just doesn't cut it. FFXII had the most basic story for all of the drama you go through. Kings of old wielded the power of something called nethicite (which I'm guessing was like the crystals from the other games), and one power-hungry prince is trying to harvest it all for his own benefit? And then I fell asleep! Just like in a book, I need a little more motivation to care about what's happening on my tv screen. Right to the end, I never did.
The upside to the story were the two characters Balthier and Fran. They brought such humor and two really nice side stories to the main one that made me love them. My favorite lines are theirs. Two from the final scene (which I will get to in a minute): Balthier: "I'm the leading man, and you know what they say about the leading man. He can't die." Fran: "I see you in more of a supporting role." HILARIOUS! To me, anyway.
If you have ever played a Final Fantasy game, you know that 1) there is never just ONE final boss, and 2) you need popcorn for the final scenes once you've beaten those 3 - 14 end bosses. FFs VIII and X had two of the LONGEST end boss sequences AND final scenes, but they were great, and I loved them, especially if I didn't die more than twice trying to finish. Final Fantasy XII had the most lackluster ending I have ever seen! I beat the younger prince's guard, then the prince who was causing all of the trouble. Then, the younger prince's guard helped me to fight the prince once he morphed (he totally super saiyaned) into something bigger. THEN, I beat him after he was possessed by some demon-like spirit who was controlling him all along. His ship almost crashed; they made me think Balthier and Fran died, and then a year passed, and the world is peaceful, and Balthier and Fran didn't die, but we never see them again. Then, the credits roll, and it goes back to the opening menu. WHAT?! I'm used to AT LEAST something special during the credits or after the credits. This did not happen.
Don't mess with my summons. Just don't. For those still reading and don't know any of the things I'm talking about, summons are special monsters that you can call on to annihilate a monster that might be a little too big for your britches. They've been called many different things: espers, aeons, guardian forces; I think they're just called summons in FFVII. Playing from the first to the tenth, there have been staple summons: Ifrit (fire), Shiva (ice), Bahamut (flare). You get used to these, and you like to see how they evolve. Just Google Shiva from Final Fantasies VII through X to see how she changed. It's awesome!
Someone decided this time around, "Let's make up ALL NEW summons, and name the battleships after the old ones." NO, NO, NO! Not only did I almost never use the summons I did find, but I never knew what they did! I could have read up on them in my guidebook, but grrrr. I know Belial was the fire summon, but other than that, no idea what the rest did. And some looked TERRIFYING! And the music that played when I DID use one was scary, too!
The Side Quests:
You can have too many. I don't think I even did half of the ones that are in the back of my guidebook, and when the story is already blah, what makes you think I want to go off track to do mini-stories? There are about 100 hunts. I did 30? There were 13 summons, most of which were side quests. I think you received 4 through the story, so I think I ended the game with 5, two of which I never used.
Overall, I give this game 2 of 5 chocobo feathers, and that's pushing it. I'm never playing it again...but I might get the spin-off game Revenant Wings.
I have a problem.