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Author: Mongoose     Email Address: overdrive.ostrich@hotmail.com
Hours played: 160+     FFXII Version: NTSC     Submitted: 12 Mar 2007

Plot and Characters} While not one of the strongest plots, I did see its upsides. First off, I must say that I hated everything about Vaan, and I think most everyone can agree with me on that one. He lacked any sort of depth, and was generally annoying. Penelo didn't have enough dialogue except for the end (where I liked her hair better anyways). Fran was still a good character even though they didn't go into any depth with her. They could've added much more about her interactions with Eruyt and alot more into her past with Balthier, but instead they gave her a skimpy outfit, made her the only non Hume character, and gave her what I found to be an excellent voice. Basch was an interesting character, and I liked the endgame interaction with Gabranth, though he still said little. Ashe I found to be a decent character, because if you really did into her background and her motives, she is less your typical final fantasy bimbo heroin (Garnet, Yuna, even Tifa) who are there just to impress, but rather I felt that she had some drive behind her, and was torn between what was essentially right and her lust for power and revenge. Balthier was by far my favorite, from the moment I set eyes on him. He interacted well with everything, and his previous ties to Archadia made him a very pleasing character. As for the plot, I am a fan of how what you least expect will happen. For instance, in FFIX when your final boss you've never seen before, or even how in the same game garland seems to come out of no where. But some of the plot twists had been completely baffled. For instance, the Gabranth endeavor was a notable change, as was Balthiers story. But, in the end I must admit that while I could associate with the plot, the character development was horrible. There were multiple opportunities to expand upon the characters, such as having Ba-Gamnon work for someone higher like Ondore, or have Vayne do... well something besides be a pushover of a boss. Penelo could have done something like have her parents be that judge that got exiled (who was she again?). But as for the way things generally went, it was still a final fantasy styled game, and the whole being in the middle of a war was still intriguing to me.

Gameplay} The gameplay is very fluent. It takes a while to get used to it, and I didn't like how you couldn't invert the look command... a minor detail. There was a good flow of bosses, though I found the Elder Wyrm in Golmore to be the hardest storyline boss rather than the last boss. As for sidequests, I found the hunts annoying and time consuming after a while. The fact that you'd have to travel to a petitioner THEN to the mark was annoying, and made me not do some hunts entirely. Same with the hunt club on the phon coast, which I ended up getting random trophies for, but never enough to be of any good. As for my least favorite part of the game...the gambit system. I admit that it was a good idea and a neat feature, but too many of the times I'd be fighting, and because healing gambits are key, I'd have my guys heal the fallen Larsa or Reddas (Vossler wasn't a pushover) instead of dealing the final blow. I found that even with solid gambit sets I still found myself. Esunagaing one blinded character, instead of realizing that the character was a mage and didn't care about being blind. Also, perpetually trying to poach bosses because I forgot to turn my poach gambit off was annoying, which meant having to set your gambits sometimes totally oposite for bosses than they would be for regular creeps. Or running into an undead knight that you simply can't poach, or healing while your one character has Foe HP=100:Steal and continually steals when you want him to focus on another target. I found the system needlessly complicated at points, and while I liked that I could sit back and do nothing when it worked, I found that it complicated things too much, and usually ended up casting my own spells (or having 3 characters casting curaja when only one needed to do said job). Sorry for all you fans of the gambit system.

Likes} The Judges - My favorite part of the game was the hierarchy of the judges and how they were tempted by corruption, etc etc. Not only did they look amazing and currently occupy my computer wallpaper, but I liked how they each differed while having the same jobs/goals. If they played more of a part, and I don't just mean Ghis for 5 minutes, Bergan for another 5, and then Gabranth for 20, then I think regardless of the rest of the plot I would've been sold. Graphics were very fluent. Licence Board - Cool feature though I felt it could be a tad more personalized. Having that forth Guest Party member - felt it added a different style of play, and liked the reasons for their joining. I believe that in such an adventure, in a final fantasy universe, that they'd pick up characters along the way that would help them out even if only for a bit. Balthier and Fran - enough said :P. The style - it was regal, and it fit the period very well. The script was written well, and the voice acting was also done well. I found a handful of very good quotes from Basch and Balthier, and a couple from Fran, Dr. Cid, etc. I liked the medieval feel.

Dislikes} The Gambit System. How characters came and appeared as if they were nothing - Reddas, Vossler, Ondore, Ghis, the list goes on. Some of these characters came and went as if they were nothing, when instead in their place they could have been fewer yet strengthened. Character Development - a BIG down. **The Final Fantasy Curse: In every final fantasy game I've found, it forms a hole. There is always a strong start, with lots of FMV's that attract your attention. Then there is a lull in the middle where the plot progresses, but nobody's really interested in what's happening and the overall excitement goes down. Then again at the end when the FMV's come back and the suspense is at its highest once again. This happens here huge, and in most of the other FF's too. That's why my favorite parts of the game to play are the beginnings, like 25% through, I get bored and revert back to the save file I made before the action got started (I always go between two save files incase anything interesting happens) and replay the end action.

Overall}B Not a bad FF game, though its main flaw was its character development. The story was FFesque, but without strong characters it's impossible to create a strong story. I give it a B, or a 73%, or a 7 thumbs up out of 10.

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