Final Fantasy XII (PS2) – ~16 hours

So I got the first major magical shard in the game, which had some very impressive cutscenes, and now have regrouped for what I’d call the second chapter of the game.   So far, I’m loving this.  The gambit/license system is pretty good, though almost gears to computer programmers and the like given how you have to think about it.  Seeing what new gambits and tactics are available with the start of the new chapter makes me wonder how many more options they can give you, for example, gambits based on having a certain number of items remaining in inventory, or the like.  Also, attempting to max out the chain level for killing monsters of the same type in a row is fun and also challenging.

And it still feels like I have a way to go in this game.

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Final Fantasy XII ~5hrs

Well, I’m liking the combat system a bit more, once you unlock the Gambits aspect.  That’s the part that seems to let the game play itself, but in reality, it’s how you set your other party members to act in a highly customized manner to respond to various conditions.  Each has a target (some you start with, but you have to collect other types), and an action (which is any action the character can do).  So, early one, having one character having one Gambit set to cast Cure on any ally who’s hit points are less than 50%, for example, and the second to attack the closest enemy, but as your characters grow and gain more Gambit spots (through the License grid), I can see this being an awesome way to basically take care of the usual “boring” details in battle so that you can have your main character focus on strong attacks.

I am disappointed at the lack of ability to switch the camera control access.  It’s opposite from how I like it, and it is sort of annoying to have to readjust after playing nearly every other full 3D game where I play the camera in the opposite direction.

Final Fantasy XII – (Very) Initial Impressions

So I finally got to get around to my FFXII copy (the Collectors case which comes in a nice tin container as opposed to plastic keepcase).  I’ve only got maybe an hour into it, but I can definitely see this more like FF 1 through 6  than more recent ones from the plot – it’s like a swords-and-sorcery world but still with technology to allow airships and the like.   Actually, it’s really more based directly on Tactics Advance, including the major races and the feel of Arabian archtechiture as well.

The combat system I’m not too fond of, yet, but that’s through the tutorial sections.  On the other hand, I’m rather excited about the skills/customization approach.  Like FFX, you have to gain ‘licenses’ to use certain items and skills; these are located on an irregular chessboard, and with enough ability points you can unlock any skill next to a skill you’ve already unlocked.  The board for the first main character is quite large (like 40×30 squares with maybe 20% of those missing), so I expect with other characters, they’ll be a lot of chance to take characters where you want.  And it seems to be not as linear as FFX was as well.

Graphics are better than FFX without being too grandiose.   I’m wondering how much in terms of voice overs and cutscenes there are since the game’s only on one disk.   We’ll need to see.