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Final Fantasy XII - Play It
After over a year and 120 hours of play time, I finally watched the ending of the Final Fantasy game with the automated battle system. In many ways, FF XII is one of the biggest "I told you so" games any developer has ever released. When the news of the new battle system came out, it was met with some specific frustration. While I don't have any snarky links to back it up, the response of most players after its release was incredibly positive.

Overall, I think that it is a perfect new direction for the series. If Dragon Quest is going to be Square Enix's classic, slow paced RPG and Kingdom Hearts is going to be their action RPG, it makes sense that Final Fantasy shouldn't overlap. What XII is, is a near perfect hybrid of the two. While I'm completely speculating here, I envision the development cycle working in an interesting way. The first thing they wanted to do may have been to make a RPG that appears to be based in real time, but give the user the ability to pause the action and input commands. While this is a great concept, I can imagine that they weren't happy with how much it actually broke up the free flowing action they were trying to achieve. Therefore they added another layer, the controversial Gambit system.

While they have a funny name, Gambits are really just simple conditionals you can apply to your characters. These prioritized 'if' statements allow the player to essentially program the AI of each character individually. This system is a clever insight into the design tools most likely used to generate the AI that controls the enemies in the game. If your foe has protect up, cast dispel on him. If your party leader is targeting something, target it too. If your ally drops below 20% health, cast Cure on him. These simple rules can be used to get the game to almost play itself. Sound lame? It's not. This was my favorite Final Fantasy game yet.

My goal while playing was to lay out my Gambits in a way that would require as little personal interaction during the battles as possible. It may be the programmer inside me, but this was a great way of trying to truly outsmart the game. I managed to defeat the end boss while only inputting some movement (to move my character into area of effect range of my party's spells).

That is the key to the entire game. If you are the type of player that enjoys trying to decipher what the development team was thinking, this is the game for you. The fundamental problem isn't about grinding as much as in previous FF games. It's about using the tools provided to create a perfectly flowing team. Play this game.
By Mike on December 27, 2007 at 11:55am EST Topic(s): final fantasy xii games play it? square enix playstation 2 ps2

fruehdom 120 hours of gameplay. A year of your life. I can't believe you finally finished it. I feel like you deserve a diploma, or certificate, or something to mark the accomplishment. Bravo!
12/29/2007 at 5:20pm EST
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