PDA

View Full Version : Uniqueness of FFXII?



opn184
10-18-2012, 03:38 AM
Is there anything cool that happens in FF XII that doesn't happen in the other FF games? Something that makes it different (in a good way) to the rest?

ShinGundam
10-18-2012, 04:52 AM
Is there anything cool that happens in FF XII that doesn't happen in the other FF games? Something that makes it different (in a good way) to the rest?

FFXII has the 'real is brown' mentality. :p

WildRaubtier
10-18-2012, 05:08 AM
It was probably one of the first stories, at least in the main series, that didn't climax with saving the world.

Bolivar
10-18-2012, 05:13 AM
Yeah, there's a lot.

For one, it takes place in the already established universe of Ivalice. It's a world that the excellent Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story both took place in and may also include the innovative Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and fantastic Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. It's the only Final Fantasy that's a part of a larger continuity. Some had derivative works made later, but this is a far different situation than the spin-offs. It's also the only one of those games to depict a large section of Ivalice with fully realized and realistically scaled graphics.

One unique gameplay element is the way they streamlined menu-based combat with the ADB system. It allowed you to preset what actions your party members would take in certain situations instead of having to keep re-entering the same commands over and over again. This was interestingly inspired by American football, how teams will get ready to take certain actions depending on what they think is most likely to happen in a situation. For example, an offense will know to take different actions on a play if they see the other team in zone defense or lined up for man-to-man coverage. Similarly, you can adjust your party's "playbook" (the Gambit system) to use Antidotes and cast Blizzard spells when needed if you see the area is full of poison-using enemies and flying enemies weak against ice attacks.

It's also the only FF without random encounters.

FFXII is also known for its superb voice acting and this is largely due to the unique casting. While most video games consist of a mix of established voice actors and TV/Film up-and-comers, FFXII took a lot of people who had serious stage acting chops. It lent a character of credibility to some of the political intrigue going on.

It is also the only main Final Fantasy designed by Yatsumi Matsuno, and was directed by his protege, Hiroshi Minagawa. Matsuno's stories take a critical look at morality and the plots typically revolve around how a group of characters rise above the moral relativist mindset that plagues their society and search for what is truly good, even at a cost to themselves. You won't find anything quite like it in gaming and FFXII is an excellent title to check it out with.

The localization team also used different English dialects to highlight regional and cultural differences within the game.

Another gameplay feature unique amidst the series is exploration. There's no world map, the entire world is rendered to the scale of the player. And even at the beginning of the game, you can really head out and explore a good amount of areas out there before touching the main story. FFXIII tried at this with Gran Pulse, but that's only late in the game and it's a largely homogenous area. FFXII has deserts, caverns, plains, coasts, and jungles for you to explore at your own curiosity. They're all connected to eachother, you can literally walk from end to end if you wanted to. Even main areas in the stories have massive sections that are completely optional and really distinct with their own set of rewards. For example, the party travels through an abandoned mine early on, but I discovered an area off the main path that contained unique enemies along an abandoned rail line that I never even knew was there on my first playthrough.

I guess the last thing that was different and that I really liked was the equipment system. While later games made armor character-specific, or got rid of armor entirely, there are the traditional 3 armor classes of RPGs and you can decide how to assign them, or mix them, amongst your characters. There's an array of unique weapon classes you can train them in, complete with their own animations and benefits. It's really up to you to decide how you want to use them. This is a level of customization the series hasn't seen since Final Fantasy II and even then, I think this game surpasses it.

FFXII is a tremendous game and probably one of my hands-down favorites over the last 10 years. Definitely top 3. I really hope Square re-releases it soon because it's needed more than ever among the current generation of games.

Axem Titanium
10-18-2012, 03:33 PM
Bolivar's post is very comprehensive but there are a couple other things to point out. FFXII is the most "MMO-like" of all the main series single-player FFs. There's a loot system, free-roaming RPG combat (as opposed to standing in a line facing your enemies), and your party members behave more like other players due to the gambit system. The story is superb and relies more on political intrigue than high fantasy tropes (think Game of Thrones to a certain extent). The combat system is also unlike any other FF and can get quite complex, despite all of Penny-Arcade's cries of "the game plays itself". For the record, the PA guys later went back and said FFXII was pretty good, despite all their preview complaining.

Huckleberry Quin
10-18-2012, 05:38 PM
Also, for the record, Penny Arcade is shit.

Bolivar
10-18-2012, 11:12 PM
Yeah, Penny Arcade's (or really just Jerry/Tycho's) critiques are little more than self-indulgent ramblings using a flowery vocabulary. There's very few genres he actually knows enough about to make substantive impressions worth reading.

Flying Arrow
10-20-2012, 04:34 PM
Bolivar nailed it.

How about the ambiance of the soundtrack (although X and XIII had some great ambient tracks):

Final Fantasy XII - The Salikawood - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhUYPy7GVn4)

Final Fantasy XII - The Cerobi Steppe - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qQm3kaxfl4)

Not really ambient, but: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWgc1pSMCMw

Bolivar
10-24-2012, 05:32 AM
Oh man that Phon Coast track is incredible, it kinda IS FFXII for me... Some might argue Sakimoto's soundtracks are homogeneous, but I just think his signature sound is awesome.

Formalhaut
10-25-2012, 05:21 PM
I can't really add much else to Bolivar's post. I liked in particular the amount of optional sidequests there were. Compared to XIII, there are loads of bosses, including Omega Mark XII, Yiazmat, the superior marks and the hidden espers. You could get lost with sidequests..

Huckleberry Quin
10-25-2012, 05:55 PM
Indeed. To me, this is one of the few games that has that "living world" feeling.

Laddy
10-25-2012, 11:28 PM
Final Fantasy XII's writing really is very good. It's got a Shakespeare-meets-Tolkien thing that really works and I think it's the single best-written game in the series as a result.

Bolivar
10-26-2012, 04:08 AM
One extra thing I came up with is that while FFIV and FFIX where series tribute games, I always felt FFXII was a homage and reimagining of Final Fantasy II. The executive producer, Akitoshi Kawazu, was the Director of FFII on the NES and went on to create the SaGa series. FFXII revolved around a group of orphans in the midst of a revolution, one of whom ended up with the empire (like Gabranth). In FFII, the party fears the completion of the Empire's battle airship the Dreadnought, and in FFXII, a major story sequence takes place on a Judge Magister's personal ship, the Dreadnought-class Leviathan. Both games utilized a Guest Character system where the party is accompanied by a story-related fourth character at key moments of the plot. One such character's involvement Reddas sacrificing himself at the Pharos so the party can get the Sun Cryst strongly echoes a similar scene in FFII where Minwu sacrifices himself atop the Mysidian tower so the party can get Ultima. After that scene, the FFII party had to deal with a flying castle inside of a cyclone which threatened to destroy their hometown. After the similar scene in FFXII, you have to stop the Sky Fortress Bahamut from destroying Rabanastre. Much like FFII's Emperor merged with a devil at the end, FFXII's Autarch Vayne Solidor merges with Venat, a god-like entity. Overall, both games have a very Star Wars-based motif. FFVI had a little bit of it, too, but the whole Returners arc was a set sequence early on in the game.

I know that's kind of a crackpot theory, so I guess I'm glad I left it out of my original post.


Final Fantasy XII's writing really is very good. It's got a Shakespeare-meets-Tolkien thing that really works and I think it's the single best-written game in the series as a result.

Agreed, and it's something this team always comes through on. Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder have done an incredible job on all of Matsuno's games, and interestingly enough Smith told me at a panel that Matsuno himself actually knows English very well and has a lot to do with how good the localizations come out.

Huckleberry Quin
10-26-2012, 11:48 AM
No, that seems like a clear reference to me, Bolivar. I've not played FFII, so I missed out on all that.

Flying Arrow
10-27-2012, 04:36 PM
One extra thing I came up with is that while FFIV and FFIX where series tribute games, I always felt FFXII was a homage and reimagining of Final Fantasy II.

Huh. I never thought of it like this. Good call. I have a similar take of FFXIII being a call-back to FFIII (what with the idea of an upper, "fake" world and a lower, natural one).

Roogle
10-30-2012, 10:12 PM
Oh man that Phon Coast track is incredible, it kinda IS FFXII for me... Some might argue Sakimoto's soundtracks are homogeneous, but I just think his signature sound is awesome.

The Phon Coast is one of the few tracks that I can distinctly remember from the game. I'd say that was a very good track if it managed to stand out in a game where the music was more of an environmental attribute than a forefront of the drama.

Laddy
11-01-2012, 12:16 AM
I don't know how related this is to the topic but eh.

It bugs me that so many people are hostile towards XII because of how different it is from the more popular entries like VII, VIII, or X. And while I used to believe it was utter crap, XII is probably the last game in the series worthy of the label. To me, FFXII continued a logical and welcome evolution in the franchise, with much improved writing, an excellent and open-ended character advancement system, and a unique story that relied less of melodrama and more on subtlety and narrative. In many ways, the jump from X to XII is not unlike the jump from VI to VII; while many people may cry afoul, it truly is an excellent and worthy addition to the franchise. I truly do hope that Square-Enix continues in this direction in the future.

Heath
11-01-2012, 12:56 AM
I think one of the things I liked most about FFXII was the way the soundtrack and locations seemed to go together seamlessly. Phon Coast and the Cerobi Steppe have already been mentioned, but I'd also add Sochen Cave Palace (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qq2U6W-NbY) and To the Place of Gods (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ2rw-VDwfA) as other pieces that stood out to me. I thought the game blended the visual and atmospheric elements together so well to create one of the most engaging and impressive environments yet.

I also quite liked the battle system. Initially I didn't, but I think it suited the theme of the game well. I liked actually exploring the environments, something that I don't really think was present in previous games in the series which were much more linear, and didn't really present much opportunity for actual exploration. Either way, the battle system made doing so a much more pleasant experience. One of the things I hated about random encounters was being about three steps away from the next town on the world map. In FFXII, I could either avoid that battle or it could be over with minimal disruption to me playing the game. I also think the battle system led itself more to encouraging you to think both strategically and tactically (i.e. long and short term) in terms of your battle plans through the gambit system, whereas previously games made you focus more on just the battle in front of you.

Other things that stood out less obviously to me (but are still definite strengths) have been mentioned by others already: the quality of the script and voice acting, the world of Ivalice itself, and the good storyline. I think FFXII is probably the most underrated game in the series, or certainly from my experience. It didn't seem to leave a mark in the same way that VI, VII or X did, but I don't think that's necessarily a reflection on the quality of the game itself.

Huckleberry Quin
11-01-2012, 05:20 AM
I've taken to simply disregarding the opinions of people who dislike FFXII, because they're obviously stupid. :D