Final Fantasy XII is a turn-based RPG for the PlayStation 2 that brought real time battles to the series, as well as an intriguing political storyline and gigantic open world.
Following the first online entry into the Final Fantasy series, the twelfth instalment saw the introduction of real time battles into the single player experience. It also brought Yasumi Matsuno’s world of Ivalice and all the interesting characters that inhabit it. Final Fantasy XII was a revolution and was unlike any Final Fantasy before it.
Against the back drop of the raging war between the empires of Archadia and Rozarria, the story focuses on the small kingdom of Dalmasca, caught in between. Two years after Archadia invades Dalmasca; Ashe, the Princess of Dalmasca and Basch, the Captain who was thought a traitor, rise up to take revenge against the empire. Final Fantasy XII focuses heavily on its political story, but includes some fantastic characters such as the charming sky pirate Balthier. The script is well written and elegant, while the excellent voice acting provides some of the best dialogue ever in an RPG.
While the battles are in real time, with no random encounters, the battle system is still turned-based. The player has the ability to open the battle menu at any time, pausing the battle and selecting actions for all of the party members. The player also has the ability to customise gambits, which are used to program actions for all the characters with incredible depth. The battle system strikes a great balance between turn-based and real time action. Character growth is handled by opening up licenses on a grid board, allowing each character to use new magic spells, equip new items or increase their stats. Final Fantasy XII contains a lot of depth, but also allows the ability to play it any way you wish.
Hitoshi Sakimoto is the main composer of Final Fantasy XII and like his previous work, Vagrant Story the soundtrack is ambitious and full of wide sweeping orchestral pieces. The music fits the narrative well, such as the glorious “Opening Movie” theme. Sakimoto may have also created one of the best renditions of the main “Final Fantasy Theme”. Overall the music creates a distinct atmosphere that works well with the unique visual style of the game.
Final Fantasy XII brings a massive open world full of political intrigue and mystery. If you wish to play an RPG that challenged the norm, then you should play Final Fantasy XII.