Ok it's apparently "Review A Bad Game Day" so I decided to bring out an old punching bag that was the start of trouble for one of my favourite franchises and somehow has a lot of fans. Yes, I've chosen Final Fantasy XII (despite what you think Final Fantasy X-2 wasn't the first and was the last Final Fantasy under Squaresoft before the merger, even though the English box has the Square-Enix logo.) as this years game for 2 reasons, I hate this game because it's the worst main Final Fantasy and since so many people like it I'll get lots of angry attention. I also did a retro review of it years ago but since then my reviewing skills have improved and I do plan on re-reviewing them all. Anyway my other choice was a Call Of Duty but I don't own one of them and this one deserves another fanboy bashing from me and in my opinion deserves the title of Bad Game... at least for this year. So here's my review... enjoy or spew bile! ;D
The story of Final Fantasy XII is a boring, terrible mess! The games main character isn't even the real main character! Hell the only good character is Batheir! The story in short is about a political struggle between the nations of Ivalice, the corruption of the Judgemasters and the games team of twats (and Baltheir) trying to set things right. Two of the characters are just tag-along's and the other four (plus the few guest characters you get) are the main focus. I put 170 hours into this and still don't understand why I did (I lie, I did it hoping it eventually got better... it didn't!)! Look I ended up extremely disappointed by the story of this game but then again, it shows that Square-Enix is NOTHING without it's former Final Fantasy staff and creator (some of which now work at Mistwalker which the Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi started. Also go buy The Last Story!).
The gameplay of this abomination is modelled after the formerly good MMO Final Fantasy XI (ruined by game breaking updates that made it impossible to play unless you've been playing for more then 5 years straight! Thanks again Square-Enix) with alterations to "suit" an offline experience. The combat of whatever character you have as your party leader at the time is identical to Final Fantasy XI. For those of you who never played Final Fantasy XI think World of Warcraft with a drop down menu or if you haven't played that, the character auto-attacks the selected target during combat and all the skills and spells are selected from a drop down menu. As for your party... ugh... they are semi-programmable allies who never properly follow their programming and induce as much, if not more frustration then Sheva or Team Wolf Pack from the recent Resident Evil games.
Along with crappy combat, there's the way they handled learning skills... ugh! See, some twat at Square-Enix decided to experiment with how you learn them and decided to make characters earn licenses to use weapons, armor, magic, skills, etc. Earning licenses is extremely tedious and monopolised the majority of those 170 hours I wasted on the game! See, you need to earn licence points from grinding and you can only unlock licenses next to one another. What's worse is to get what you want, you need to waste points on stuff you don't want which means more grinding... Ffffff....Fffffffugh! It took me forever to have a katana wielding Black Mage specialist and gun wielding White Mage! Just to make matter worse you have to buy the spells and then have the license to use it!
The game also has a large amount of sidequests to do and they are just like what you get in MMO's! Also they are just as tedious and time consuming as what you get in MMO's. See, they made them fetch quests and monster hunts.... and some of the monster battles can take HOURS!!!! If there ever was a game to test your patience, this is it! One battle I did and DIED in took me 6 hours before I died and had to do it again... and I decided "Stuff that! I have better things to do... like read a book or cook dinner!" and never went back to it.
Admittedly the world of Ivalice is HUGE... the again if you bought Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (A whole lot better game with a better story!), then you're familiar with the world and a better game. Yes they made the world about as big as the Final Fantasy XI world (before the third expansion pack) with lots of big open fields that take forever to navigate. There are a variety of beautifully designed environments... but then again Square-Enix doesn't get points for good looking games anymore and any reviewer giving them points for it needs to pull their head out of their butt, same goes for music too! This is also the last Final Fantasy game Nobou Uematsu worked on... which explains why the soundtracks of all the newer Final Fantasy's are only good and not great.
I honestly can never see any real positives in this game! The gameplay is horrible, the story and characters (except Baltheir) are annoying and boring, the monsters suffer from extreme palette swap syndrome, the sidequests are tedious and the license system is both overly complicated and time consuming! I just hate this game! I know it got stellar reviews and a lot of people liked it, but compared to all the others in the main franchise, it's a heaping turd! Take this as fanboy whining if you want but like I just said, it's a heaping turd! Enjoy your turd badge Square-Enix, you earned it!