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View Full Version : FFXII could have been a masterpiece..



reinward
08-16-2011, 03:40 AM
i feel like this game could have been the greatest FF game ever made, maybe even the greatest game ever created! as it stands it is just a good game. i mean, i really liked the plot but what killed it was the pacing and lack of character interaction. there never really seemed to be any small talk. the only way you can really get to know the characters is through dialogue... i just felt like the game lacked enough dialogue especially considering how much dungeon crawling there was... though i will say they did a FANTASTIC job fleshing out the world and NPCs.. pretty much the opposite of the god awful FFXIII

having said that i still really like this game... its my 3rd favorite behind only FFIX and FFX... but i feel like it could have easily been the best

just for perspective heres how i would rate the FF games i've played:

FFIX-10/10
FFX-8.5/10
FFXII- 8/10
FFVII- 7/10
FFVIII-6/10
FFXIII-2/10

TrollHunter
08-16-2011, 06:10 AM
The lack of character development in XII really dulled the experience for me. Hell most of the characters didn't even need to BE there. Vaan: Just a tag along ~Penelo: Tagging along with Vaan ~Fran: Tagging along with balthier.
Only Baltheir, Basch and Ashe had anything to really contribute to the story. Which is truly a shame.
While I really enjoy the way-too-long dungeons (no really I do) it's very easy to forget why you're even there before you even reach the half-way point.
Granted I always forget the plot exists when I even play that game now, not because I know what happens... but because the game makes you forget it so easily it's hard to get back into it.
Overall the gameplay and combat keeps it in my favorites, not to mention the stuff to do post-game and all the sidequests/areas to explore.

The Captain
08-16-2011, 07:08 AM
I actually thought there was a good deal of interaction between the characters, but what killed the game in the end was the pacing. Some quests were fairly short while others were many hours long in doing, with only a bit of character dialogue thrown in to remind us that yes, everyone is still there and what the goal actually was.

I really enjoyed how vast the world was made to be and how every little nook and cranny had something to explore, but I too feel that just a few more cutscenes with our heroes would have made the difference.

Take care all.

Jessweeee♪
08-16-2011, 03:56 PM
"FFXIII is too linear, no exploring!"
"FFXII has so much exploring, the pacing is terrible!"

But yeah, the pacing was a small problem. The first time I played the game I was bored with it because I just couldn't get into the plot, but now it's one of my favorites in the series. It grows on me with each play through, probably for this very reason. This may be why I tend to enjoy the linear titles such as FFX and FFXIII more.

champagne supernova
08-16-2011, 10:59 PM
"FFXIII is too linear, no exploring!"
"FFXII has so much exploring, the pacing is terrible!"


I always thought that XIII was an over-reaction to the criticism of XII (which was probably an over-reaction to the criticism of X, thinking about it).

Yeah, XII frustrated me more than anything. I loved playing it and I think I sank more time into it than any other FF besides VIII (my love of VIII is unexplainable even to myself) and I was so excited by the story when I first started playing it. But it just kind of petered out. I think it was the Sandsea that was the first ridiculously long quest where there is literally no dialogue. Then you have to go all the way to the other end of the world, also with minimal dialogue (apart from Fran). I think it was only once they got back on the Phon Coast that the pacing was actually tolerable again. By this stage, I had forgotten what was going on.

So yeah, the world of XII is amazing and I think that if there was some variety in the side-quests, which are mostly mark hunting, it would have usurped VIII as my favourite. Unfortunately, the characters and the story never engaged me and so, when I finished the game, I felt short-changed. And then complained about it while exploring the world some more.

Dalmascan
08-18-2011, 08:39 PM
To me, FXII is simply a really, really good concept being applied extremely poorly. Hell, if I didn't hear it from their mouths, I'd say the only reason Vaan was created is to appease the drooling fangirls that love their bishies. :tongue:

Anyone else think Baltheir should have took the lead?

Jessweeee♪
08-18-2011, 09:03 PM
I always thought Vaan was supposed to be more on the ugly side. Like not "haw haw Vaan is ugly" but like, actually ugly.

Del Murder
08-18-2011, 09:22 PM
I agree with most all of what has been said. The game really only starred three characters (Balthier, Ashe, and Basch) but they were three pretty strong characters and I liked them all. The pacing was horrible. More than once did I venture on a sidequest, lose interest, and then forget what I was supposed to do to get the plot moving. Literally a year went by and I forgot all about the game. Finally I decided to plow right through it but a lot of magic was lost due to that large gap.

Dungeon crawling is fine when it's worthwhile. Hiking over large areas for one mark is not worthwhile. Mark sidequests just suck ass in general I've decided. It's such a weak way of giving the game a sidequest. Also throw some treasures along the way. FFXII's treasure system sucked and it made the exploring worse. This is not an MMO. I think SE tried to hard to make this game a single player FFXI.

A middle ground between FXII and FFXIII would be a great game. One thing FFXIII had was focus. Focus on character interaction and on getting to the end. FFXII could have used some of that focus. FFXIII could have used some of XII's NPC development and freedom.

felfenix
08-20-2011, 05:27 AM
A lot of the problems with the game are really due to corporate interference. Why wasn't there a lot of development and interaction with Vaan, Panelo, and Fran? Because those characters were only in the game at corporate's demand, because they thought Basche, Ashe, and Balthier wouldn't appeal to audiences. Which is ridiculous. The game should have just had a set 3-4 person party, without member swap, like earlier FFs, and at least gotten rid of Vaan and Panelo. Also, the way the game kind of suddenly ends, somewhat randomly and poorly paced, is likely due to Yazmat leaving.

As for the comments on 13 having focus, I didn't feel that way. Just because everything was a straight line didn't make it focused. Most of 13's quest could be completely removed. The whole game is the main characters wandering around, not even knowing their main goal. 13's plot was aimless, until the end, in which you learned that 90% of what you'd been doing was pointless, and you go back to where you started. Where 13 really succeeded over 12, IMO, was character interaction. I liked that the characters in 13 had relationships. They fought, they made up, they grew. Whereas in 12 nobody talked to each other, except for the couple times throughout the game that Ashe told Vaan to STFU.

Del, have you tried playing through 12 without doing any marks? That seems like it would clear you issue with the game up pretty easily. The dungeon crawling in 12 didn't bother me as much as the long periods of just trudging along the only road fighting in 13, hoping the next cutscene, or SOMETHING other than walking straight + fighting would happen. Overall, I thought FF12 was a LOT more focused than the FFs on the NES, in which I would often not even know where to go next back in the day.

My biggest issues with 12 were Vaan, Panelo, Fran, the license grid, and the story feeling random and incomplete at the end. I also didn't like that there was some kind of programming flaw which led to magic being queued, but not physical attacks. If you had two characters casting fire at the same time, they wouldn't both just use it at the same time, but one would just stand there and wait for the other to finish. So it felt like the magic was turn based, while the weapon combat was not, making weapon based healing/damage superior for high end gameplay. Other than those issues, I thought it was one of the better FFs in the series.

Jessweeee♪
08-20-2011, 04:23 PM
I don't think the developers would keep characters they thought wouldn't appeal to the audience. I think it's more like, they wanted to throw in a couple that were relate-able to their mostly young audience, and show us the story from their point of view. I mean, it's one thing to write what you thought was a good character that nobody ends up liking, but actually believing a character is unlikeable and making them the focus of the story? It seems to me like it was originally meant to be a four man show, Ashe, Basch, Balthier, and Fran, and no guest slot, because they'd all be out.

Wolf Kanno
08-20-2011, 08:10 PM
While it has become common knowledge that Basch was originally the main character, what most people forget, is that Vaan wasn't built from scratch after Basch's role was scratched. His design was actually created before Basch, according to the character designer, though his role wasn't yet solidified, so even if Basch had stayed in the leading role, there is a good chance Vaan would have still been in the game in some form or capacity. Besides, I don't really feel that Fran's role is any different or less important than say... Sabin, Red XIII, Quistis, Freya, and Kimarhi's roles were to their games. Fran at least allowed us to se what was going on with the Viera, and much like all the characters I listed, once their personal story is resolved, they are mostly dead weight in the cast, with no further character development. Penelo and Vaan are really no different, as Penelo's role is about establishing a relationship with Larsa and the party, since she is his contact to Lady Ashe; and Vaan is the typical young dreamer who finally sets off on a real adventure instead of just talking about it.

For me, I really enjoyed FFXII, I can't really agree on the weakness of the characters and story because I feel this is mostly a result of the pacing than the writing. There is actually a lot of dialogue between the characters and the games total cutscene time is actually longer than FFX's which was a title where you tripped over cutscenes every few steps. XII just allowed for their to be more breathing room between the story and simply failed to make the leash short enough to keep the player in check. Had the Yansea section been shorter, and perhaps beefing up the importance of the story segments in between going to Archades and Giruvegan. I don't think people would be whining as much.

While XII is certainly an incomplete game that is marred by corporate meddling and being rushed out of production (though it had been six years already...) I still feel the game came out better than expected under those problematic circumstances. It still came out as an actual ambitious title, with a more thought out world and game design than say its successor...

My main beefs with the game in terms of plot, is the pacing foremost and I do feel the ending is really rushed and a lot of the games narrative and themes go out the window after the Pharos. In terms of gameplay, my only beef is the awful treasure system and poorly designed Bazaar system. I would probably count the Espers as well, but considering I don't really bother with them in games whee they are practical, I guess I dodged the annoyance bullet there. I don't have any real gripe with the Mark Hunts, but I can agree the game could have had a few more mini-games, though hopefully not as crappy as Tetra Master and most of the games that came out of Spira. The Fishing mini-game was amusing though.

Bolivar
08-21-2011, 07:40 AM
Yeah, while there's certainly been a lot of "he say/she say" about what exactly happened with Matsuno's leaving, I think maybe we're all assuming too much based on the rumors. The truth is, we probably never will know what really happened and what was changed.

I know this sounds insane, but I really feel like the second time you play FFXII it all clicks with you. You have a better idea of the plot, and when you really get to look at the narrative as a whole, it comes through just how great the story is. I think FFXII was just a big game in every possible way and it was so big that sometimes they made the dungeons too long or forgot to sparse it up. As Wolf said, it had more dialogue than FFX, and if that's true, it shows, again, just how big of a project it was. This really seemed like a game where they filled the disc to the brim, especially considering how compressed the audio is. It's a shame with such high quality voice acting there's a weird filter applied to all the voices.

As far as Vaan, I thought he was a good FF protagonist and I seriously doubt he was made as a pretty boy and they left it at that. To me, the theme for Rabanastre that Sakimoto created really evoked the feelings of being a young man in the city, a combination of freedom and a time of adolescence where life still holds so many wonders. After beating Tactics Ogre, I really feel like this game was the Quest/Ivalice/Matsuno style and vision, in the only time it's ever been fully realized. Kawazu said he was brought on as Producer only to finish what Matsuno started as it was all there ready to be implemented anyway. I'm leaning towards believing him. Outside of the story and larger themes, I wouldn't be surprised if Matsuno just let Minagawa and Ito handle the rest themselves, considering they're each the best in the business at what they do and have been for years.

To me, FFXII already is a masterpiece. I've beaten it three times, which is more than I have almost any other FF; for a game released at the end of 2006 that ain't bad. I beat it once doing a moderate amount of stuff, a near-completionist file the second time, and I loved it so much I did a quick playthrough after that. I honestly can't wait to dive into it again, I'm just hoping they give it the HD-upgrade that's all the rage right now, so maybe they can un-invert the camera controls and with the extra space of a Blu Ray, uncompress those audio files and get rid of that awkward filter.

Dreddz
08-23-2011, 06:00 PM
I tend to agree with what you said. The plot failed to balance the political intrigue with the character interaction you would expect from the series. Half of the characters in the game came across as flat and uninteresting as a result.

Still, the exploration, combat and story came together more smoothly than the rest of the series in my opinion. XII comes just behind VII and IX as my favourite in the series. I am eager to return to the game in fact. I still have my mammoth 80 hour save but I only saw the story once so maybe a new play through from scratch is on the cards.

Firestorm2
08-29-2011, 06:38 AM
We're talking about Final Fantasy, where the Plot, Characters and Feelings mean Everything.

So, no story? No Final Fantasy.

About the music, no Nobuo Uematsu? No party.

There you have it, Final Fantasy XII, the WORST one of the series.

Big D
08-29-2011, 11:44 AM
Personally, I do consider FFXII something of a masterpiece.

I'd like it more, and probably replay it more, though, if there were more character moments and interactions. I think of FFVII as the high point of character development in the FF series - all the playable characters get a lot of screen time, complex interactions, and strong arcs. Seeing that kind of development in FFXII's cast would've been fantastic.

The way XII plays out, though, it's a bit more like an historical epic or saga, where the world-changing events are more important than the thoughts and feelings of the people witnessing them. That's all well and good - a different approach, a different atmosphere, a change from what came before it. I just think it was a bit of a waste to have fantastic characters like Fran, Balthier, Basch, Cid and the Judge Magisters without delving a little deeper into them.

Sefie1999AD
08-31-2011, 06:46 PM
I feel somewhat guilty about this, but I thought sidetracking from the main story was one of the best things in the game. :p The world of FFXII was huge and had so many places and things to explore that they added a lot to the atmosphere of the game, which is just as important to me as character development. As for character development, I thought it was more subtle and happening throughout the game, as opposed to some of Nomura's FF titles, where there's plenty of melodramatic in-your-face character development and the character growing as a person in pretty much a single scene.

About the characters not getting much interaction and development, the script is 120-130 pages long if you don't include any of the NPC dialogue. Sure, that's not as much as FFs 7-9, but it still indicates that there is plenty of character interaction. To be frank, it's not like characters such as Cecil, Rosa, Kain, Rydia, Butz, Lenna, Faris, Galuf, Cara, Ramza or any of the characters from FF1-3 got much more development, and the character development for Squall, Rinoa, Tidus, Yuna, Wakka, Lightning, Snow and Hope felt a bit forced and sudden, IMHO. About FFXII having "useless" side characters, does anybody remember Edward, Palom, Porom, FuSoYa, Strago, Relm, Gau, Mog, Umaro, Gogo, Red XIII, Cait Sith, Vincent, Yuffie, Selphie, Irvine, Zell, Quistis, Eiko, Amarant, Quina, Lulu, Kimahri, Vanille, Agrias and Orlandu, to name a few? :p They had about as much development as FFXII's side characters, and I don't see anyone complaining about them.

On another note, I've beat FFV twice on SNES. The first time I played it, I didn't think the story was anything special. But when I played it again, I noticed how detailed the story and the characters actually are. Maybe it's the same way with FFXII, meaning you need to play it twice to get most of the storyline and characters?


We're talking about Final Fantasy, where the Plot, Characters and Feelings mean Everything.

So, no story? No Final Fantasy.

About the music, no Nobuo Uematsu? No party.

There you have it, Final Fantasy XII, the WORST one of the series.

Excuse me, but this definition sounds extremely questionable to me. For example, the first Final Fantasy game (FF, or FF1) had pretty much none of the things you described (plot, character and feelings, whatever the latter means), and yet it's one of the most FF-ish titles in the series. It has a medieval fantasy world, characters with classes (Fighter with a sword, White Mage, Black Mage etc), Bahamut, elves, dwarves and other species, and themes by Nobuo Uematsu. I do agree with the FFs not being the same without Uematsu, but admittedly, his role has been from small to none in every FF after IX (except Advent Children and FFXIV). At least FFXII brought back Prelude, Final Fantasy Main Theme (aka Prologue), Victory Fanfare, Chocobo Theme and Clash on the Big Bridge. Out of these, only the Chocobo Theme is featured in FFs X, X-2 and XIII, and Prelude in FFX and FFXI.

TrollHunter
08-31-2011, 10:44 PM
We're talking about Final Fantasy, where the Plot, Characters and Feelings mean Everything.

So, no story? No Final Fantasy.

About the music, no Nobuo Uematsu? No party.

There you have it, Final Fantasy XII, the WORST one of the series.

Did I just read one of the worst descriptions of final fantasy of all time? I believe I did.

LunaRaven
09-01-2011, 09:50 AM
I was having a nostalgic moment a few moments ago, where I was contemplating all of the RPG games(from board games, to written games, to what we have today) i've played and inevitably my mind wandered to FFXII. Somehow, I came across this discussion(it smelt of mist) and I decided to contribute my two-cents(though in today's economy, it is more likley to be one-cent or heck! One quid!).

I received the collector's edition of FFXII for Christmas in 2007. I had thoroughly enjoyed FFX(despite the criticism surrounding it) and I had looked forward to what looked to be a game geared towards someone of my specific nerdiness. Four years later, and i'm still enthralled by this game. What follows will not be an unabashed love fest however, as I do have critiques of this title. Ultimately though, I believe that in order to really appreciate something, you must be able to evaluate both its positive and negative aspects.

When I read negative reviews for FFXII, most of the complaints are as follows:
-Confusion as to who is the main character
-Vann(who seems to be the main character at times) is grating and unlikeable
-The score suffered without Nobou Uematsu
-The game is too long
-The plot is too complicated
-The pace of the game is too choppy
-The ending was rushed
-The liscence board

To speak to the main character point, the lack of a single main character in a game(or story) doesn't bother me. I don't mind for the protagonist to infact be a group or cast of characters, so long as each character is given some attention that explains their significance to the story. And I believe that FFXII tried to achieve this, to some extent. But they did unfortunately not suceed in this respect. At first glance, Ashe appeared to be the obvious candidate for main character. The plot is affected and propelled the greatest by her actions and her decisions. She is the one tasked by the deceptive Occuria to cut a new shard from the Nethicite, and it is her decision not to be a pawn of the warmongering beings that leads to the eventual outcome of the game. But then we have Vann, which brings me to point number two. Vann is often seen by fans as an incredibly annoying character. I've played this game three times now, and I've liked and understood it more with each playthrough, but I have never warmed up to this sloppily thrown together exscuse of a character. The fact that Vann is the character whose image is seen in cities and towns as well as is high-stats make him seem like the intended main character. But all he is really, is a tie-in for the story. And a BAD tie-in at that. This character could have been developed better(for instance, making him look like an actual street rat and not some sort of entertainer), his relationship with his brother and dead family could have been expanded upon, and his appearence could have been altered(I think his hair looks absolutely silly in the HD cutscenes--it looks like a lego piece! Like it doesn't even belong on his head! And why is it that his clothes look new and exspensive? And why isn't he tan if he lives in the middle of a desert? As a matter of fact, why aren't more Rabanastrian's tan?).

So, to wrap up the first two points: Yes, there is confusion as to who is the main character. This could have been avoided if the game makers had chosen to shift the focus more on one character or, better yet, if they had given characters equal treatment and acknowledged all of their roles in the plot as oppossed to having two stock characters(Vann and Penelo) and one character of questionable purpose(Fran). Penelo is the least developed out of all the FFXII main cast, which I always found sad as her character design is adorable and her potential as more than just the "cute-factor" of the team was unexplored. *sigh*
And yes, Vann is an annoying character. He was shoddily written, not designed well, and ultimately had little to do with the story.

I am a fan of Nobou Oematsu, but I wouldn't say that this game would have been better with his score. Infact, I think this is perhaps the best overall soundtrack out of all of the Final Fantasy soundtracks. The feel isn't as contemporary as let's say, the music from FFVII or FFX, but why would it be? FFXII is an epic fantasy with vague science-fiction themes. It isn't contemporary--it has a distinctly unique old-world feel to it that somehow doesn't feel old. The music is wonderfully abstract and fantastical, and I never grow tired of it. It's entirely unique too---I can't think of another game or movie soundtrack that i've heard that is quite like this one.

Personally, I found this game to be almost the perfect length. And with how exspensive it was when it first came out(especially the collector's edition) you really get what you pay for. If anything, I found this game to be one or two chapters too short. Part of this is because of another common complaint: the plot is too complicated. I disagree with this statement, because I love the plot. Maybe it's because I read all the time, or maybe it's because most of the books that I read tend to be lengthy standalones or series filled with plot and detail. Maybe it's because my favorite game is Shenmue II, which is prolific for not only costing a heck of a lot of money to make, but also having a rediculous amount of areas and buildings to explore during free gameplay. I love the plot of this game. It's rich with political intrigue, epic journeys, interesting and diverse areas and races, and a realistically glum setting that goes well with the serious tone of the story. Unfortunately, this wonderfully complicated plot worked against the game creators in some ways. Things that are introduced in the story are not completley expanded upon(like the nation of Rozaria--which we never get to see!). The ending was a little rushed, and somewhat disatisfying. After almost 200 hours of gameplay, I expected them to take their time with it, like they had the majority of the game.

As for the pace, I really enjoyed it up until the rushed ending. Perhaps this is because I didn't strive to complete all of the side-quests and hunts my first time around. All I cared about was the plot. And the second playthrough, when I did focus on game completion, I wasn't bored at all. Why? Because this game improves itself after every replay. I relearned things about the plot I had forgotten, learned new things, and paid more attention to all the fascinating information pumped into the Bestiary. I didn't really mind the liscence board either, though I can understand some of the complaints against it.

Overall, I both agree and disagree with the OP. Yes, there is plenty of unexplored potential in this game. But the incredibly amount of explored potential in the game is enough for me to consider it my favorite out of the FF series. If only the sequel had expanded upon the story's loose threads, I think this game would be more appreciated for the wonderful accomplishment that it is.

On a COMPLETE side note, I've always thought that this game would make a great book series(possibly a trilogy?). So much more detailed can be explored in literature, and character development is generally better in my opinion.[!] google_ad_section_end [/!] I was having a nostalgic moments a few moments ago, where I was contemplating all of the RPG games(from board games, to written games, to what we have today) i've played and inevitably my mind wandered to FFXII. Somehow, I came across this discussion(it smelt of mist) and I decided to contribute my two-cents(though in today's economy, it is more likley to be one-cent or heck! One quid!).

I received the collector's edition of FFXII for Christmas in 2007. I had thoroughly enjoyed FFX(despite the criticism surrounding it) and I had looked forward to what looked to be a game geared towards someone of my specific nerdiness. Four years later, and i'm still enthralled by this game. What follows will not be an unabashed love fest however, as I do have critiques of this title. Ultimately though, I believe that in order to really appreciate something, you must be able to evaluate both its positive and negative aspects.

When I read negative reviews for FFXII, most of the complaints are as follows:
-Confusion as to who is the main character
-Vann(who seems to be the main character at times) is grating and unlikeable
-The score suffered without Nobou Uematsu
-The game is too long
-The plot is too complicated
-The pace of the game is too choppy
-The ending was rushed
-The liscence board

To speak to the main character point, the lack of a single main character in a game(or story) doesn't bother me. I don't mind for the protagonist to infact be a group or cast of characters, so long as each character is given some attention that explains their significance to the story. And I believe that FFXII tried to achieve this, to some extent. But they did unfortunately not suceed in this respect. At first glance, Ashe appeared to be the obvious candidate for main character. The plot is affected and propelled the greatest by her actions and her decisions. She is the one tasked by the deceptive Occuria to cut a new shard from the Nethicite, and it is her decision not to be a pawn of the warmongering beings that leads to the eventual outcome of the game. But then we have Vann, which brings me to point number two. Vann is often seen by fans as an incredibly annoying character. I've played this game three times now, and I've liked and understood it more with each playthrough, but I have never warmed up to this sloppily thrown together exscuse of a character. The fact that Vann is the character whose image is seen in cities and towns as well as is high-stats make him seem like the intended main character. But all he is really, is a tie-in for the story. And a BAD tie-in at that. This character could have been developed better(for instance, making him look like an actual street rat and not some sort of entertainer), his relationship with his brother and dead family could have been expanded upon, and his appearence could have been altered(I think his hair looks absolutely silly in the HD cutscenes--it looks like a lego piece! Like it doesn't even belong on his head! And why is it that his clothes look new and exspensive? And why isn't he tan if he lives in the middle of a desert? As a matter of fact, why aren't more Rabanastrian's tan?).

So, to wrap up the first two points: Yes, there is confusion as to who is the main character. This could have been avoided if the game makers had chosen to shift the focus more on one character or, better yet, if they had given characters equal treatment and acknowledged all of their roles in the plot as oppossed to having two stock characters(Vann and Penelo) and one character of questionable purpose(Fran). Penelo is the least developed out of all the FFXII main cast, which I always found sad as her character design is adorable and her potential as more than just the "cute-factor" of the team was unexplored. *sigh*
And yes, Vann is an annoying character. He was shoddily written, not designed well, and ultimately had little to do with the story.

I am a fan of Nobou Oematsu, but I wouldn't say that this game would have been better with his score. Infact, I think this is perhaps the best overall soundtrack out of all of the Final Fantasy soundtracks. The feel isn't as contemporary as let's say, the music from FFVII or FFX, but why would it be? FFXII is an epic fantasy with vague science-fiction themes. It isn't contemporary--it has a distinctly unique old-world feel to it that somehow doesn't feel old. The music is wonderfully abstract and fantastical, and I never grow tired of it. It's entirely unique too---I can't think of another game or movie soundtrack that i've heard that is quite like this one.

Personally, I found this game to be almost the perfect length. And with how exspensive it was when it first came out(especially the collector's edition) you really get what you pay for. If anything, I found this game to be one or two chapters too short. Part of this is because of another common complaint: the plot is too complicated. I disagree with this statement, because I love the plot. Maybe it's because I read all the time, or maybe it's because most of the books that I read tend to be lengthy standalones or series filled with plot and detail. Maybe it's because one of my favorite games is Shenmue II, which is prolific for not only costing a heck of a lot of money to make, but also having a rediculous amount of areas and buildings to explore during free gameplay. I love the plot of this game. It's rich with political intrigue, epic journeys, interesting and diverse areas and races, and a realistically glum setting that goes well with the serious tone of the story. Unfortunately, this wonderfully complicated plot worked against the game creators in some ways. Things that are introduced in the story are not completley expanded upon(like the nation of Rozaria--which we never get to see!). The ending was a little rushed, and somewhat disatisfying. After almost 200 hours of gameplay, I expected them to take their time with it, like they had the majority of the game.

As for the pace, I really enjoyed it up until the rushed ending. Perhaps this is because I didn't strive to complete all of the side-quests and hunts my first time around. All I cared about was the plot. And the second playthrough, when I did focus on game completion, I wasn't bored at all. Why? Because this game improves itself after every replay. I relearned things about the plot I had forgotten, learned new things, and paid more attention to all the fascinating information pumped into the Bestiary. I didn't really mind the liscence board either, though I can understand some of the complaints against it.

Overall, I both agree and disagree with the OP. Yes, there is plenty of unexplored potential in this game. But the incredible amount of explored potential in the game is enough for me to consider it my favorite out of the FF series. If only the sequel had expanded upon the story's loose threads, I think this game would be more appreciated for the wonderful accomplishment that it is.

On a COMPLETE side note, I've always thought that this game would make a great book series(possibly a trilogy?). So much more detailed can be explored in literature, and character development is generally better in my opinion.

ShinGundam
09-01-2011, 02:02 PM
the first Final Fantasy game (FF, or FF1) had pretty much none of the things you described (plot, character and feelings, whatever the latter means), and yet it's one of the most FF-ish titles in the series. It has a medieval fantasy world, characters with classes (Fighter with a sword, White Mage, Black Mage etc), Bahamut, elves, dwarves and other species, and themes by Nobuo Uematsu. I do agree with the FFs not being the same without Uematsu, but admittedly, his role has been from small to none in every FF after IX (except Advent Children and FFXIV). At least FFXII brought back Prelude, Final Fantasy Main Theme (aka Prologue), Victory Fanfare, Chocobo Theme and (SPOILER) Out of these, only the Chocobo Theme is featured in FFs X, X-2 and XIII, and Prelude in FFX and FFXI.
By that logic, someone might say FFXII isn't an FF because it lack of random encounters and world map, don't you think ?

Jessweeee♪
09-01-2011, 04:28 PM
YO UEMATSU I'M REAL HAPPY FOR YOU AND IMMA LETCHU FINISH, BUT MASASHI HAMAUZU IS THE BEST FINAL FANTASY COMPOSER OF ALL TIME! OF ALL TIME!!!

EDIT:

FFXII's various composers are also cool, I guess.

Tainted Angel
09-28-2011, 08:30 PM
"FFXIII is too linear, no exploring!"
"FFXII has so much exploring, the pacing is terrible!"


I thought stuff was half-made, with what was there being exelent and the obviousness of the rushed finish filling in the gaps. Yes some stuff is terrible, but the good parts are fairly good.

More importantly, I thought the explorability was decent, but did not scratch itches I had. (Like swapping out Vaan in city areas for something else. Like not having clothing wearable by characters.)

Forsaken Lover
09-29-2011, 10:57 AM
Well it's been about a year-and-a-half since I first played and beat FFXII. The time has given me a bit more objectivity I feel as I refined my opinions and viewpoints.

When it comes to the story, I think FFXII stands out as a firm example of what I have noticed in pretty much all fiction.
The villains are the real main characters. Face it, our brave heroes are only heroes because they're reacting to what the villains did first. The villains are the ones who are really doing everything and our heroes are just playing catch-up.

FF12 is a particularly glaring example of this. I adore the story of this game but it sure as hell isn't because of Fran.

hat kills the energy of the FFXII is the undeniablly poor pacing. Basch is the single best example of this since he becomes completely irrelevant to the plot from the moment Vossler dies all the way to the top of the Pharos. how many hours is that?

The cast do interact a lot but much of it is unnecessary fluff dialogue. Sure it's nice for setting a mood maybe but it doesn't really develp the characters all that well.

Yet, sprinkled in between these many scenes where our heroes interact in meaningless fashion, are the scenes wih the Archadians. The Judges The Emperor, Vayne, Cid - they are the ones who are really talking about stuff and moving the plot along. We learn about thema nd their ambitions. What they say is in fact important to the narrative.

Now don't get me wrong, I do appreciate FFXII's more subtle storyline. I understand that Vaan does develop as a character and it's just done in a less flashy way than it would have been done in previous installments in the series. But there is such a thing as being too subtle and I think this game suffers from that in a few areas.

Now, despite everything I just said about the characters and their flaws, the game really isn't about them. The game is not simply about Ashe saving the world from the Evil Empire. It's a world-spanning epic that is more about themes, ideas and grooups than it is about the individual. It's a study of Mankind and how people are hopelessly defined by their past. It's also a look into how various peoples choose the same path but go about it in startlingly different ways. Vayne thought dictatorship by Man upon Man was superior to that of the gods' but he still wanted Humans to decide their own fate just like the party did.

People often talk about who was the main character in this game. I submit there is no main character because, as I said, the game isn't just about any specific individual. It's a clashing of nations and of concepts

Also i have to agree with the earlier post abot FFXII being better on a replay. I'll admit the first few hours of the game are tedious but when you have the benefit of hindsight, when you can look at those events in the context of he overall storyline, they take on a much more intriguing element. I guess you just have to understand the underlying ideas the game is trying to convey in order to appreciate it.

Well that's all I have to say right now... Oh wait, one more thing.

Larsa is the best character in the game.

Crop
09-29-2011, 01:10 PM
The main problem I had with FFXII was that they tried to cram in way too much storyline and character development, and it all just ended up being incomplete and rushed. I was honestly shocked when I reached the end of the game. I also ended up not caring for any of the characters.