E3: First Impressions of Final Fantasy XII

As an avid Final Fantasy fanboy, it gave me a great deal of pleasure to finally see and play a working demo of Final Fantasy XII at the E3 conference. Final Fantasy XII, already released in Japan, will not be seeing store shelves in the U.S. until August of this year. My hot little hands could barely contain themselves as I approached the FF XII kiosk and took the controller to start up the demo.

The game was already in progress, so I went with the flow and proceeded to get into the swing of things. A large creature wielding many appendages came towards my party of four, and I decided that it was as good a time as any to test out the battle system. The lead character, named Vaan, was the first to take a command from me, and surprisingly, there was no battle screen transition.

FF veterans can tell you that before any battle starts, the game will move into a different visual battle environment where the fighting actually takes place. However, in FF XII, what you see is what you get. If you run into an enemy, you fight the enemy right there. No cut scenes. No transitions. While this is a novel experience, I wouldn,t say it was an improvement over the old system.

The battle menu has several added categories such as green magic and time. These new menu commands basically separate the functions of support magic and time-based magic from the black and white magic skills. Selection of commands is straight forward, but the results of choosing these battle commands are not. For instance, as I selected a character from my party to do battle, the magic the character was supposed to cast was not clearly evident during the fight sequence. For this particular battle, I choose to cast a lightning spell. The effect upon the enemy was not very prominent, as all the other characters in my party were simultaneously battling this enemy as well. Since other commands were overlapping, it was hard to tell who was doing what. Hit point damage to my party and to the enemy were somewhat muddled by all the intense activity that was going on as well. Graphics for FF XII are in par with pervious titles such as FFX and FF X-2.
As the primary draw for the Final Fantasy series has been the deep and involving storylines, it was difficult to tell whether this newest addition to the Square-Enix family of RPG games will continue in the tradition of excellent scripting from such a short demo edition.

FF XII has won high praise with its release in Japan. As to whether Final Fantasy XII will be a big hit over in the U.S. is debatable until its release in August. However, there may be one ominous sign about the future success of this title in the States-there were hardly any gamers trying out the demo at the E3 kiosks.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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