Got Game? April '06 Feature - The Next Level

Got Game? April '06

Find out what we've been playing this Spring.

Article by TNL Staff (Email)
April 19th 2006, 07:05AM

Patrick Butler

It's no exaggeration when I say that I have been playing countless hours of the great Final Fantasy XII lately. March 14th marked the launch date of FFXII, with copies filling the stores as well as the rampant outpour of Japanese fanatics lined up to take it away again. Luckily, I did just that in the comfort of my own home and was fortunate enough to receive a copy but days after it hit shelves.

Surprisingly, I didn't play a lick of the thing until a week later. Not only was it a large investment, but a rather intimidating one at that. We're all aware of the changes Square Enix has made to the series in XII. Changes that were said to have made the game increasingly difficult. Relentless enemies, a strict micromanagment system for party A.I. and above all, the rarity of gald.

all of it is true. Now that I'm well over 25 hours in the game, I can say that it is imperative to sell old equipment as well as steal goods from enemies in hopes of finding something worthwile to sell to a merchant. I'll admit to finding it nerve-wrecking at first, but slowly but maturely, your earnings feel just and worthwile, making the game fair enough to test your ability. It's hard to explain, but when you hold a new lance that cost you an arm and a leg to get, you feel a sense of accomplishment just having it. Call me crazy.

Gameplay mechanics and progression aside, the game looks phenomenal. I'll be frank and admit that I was not a very big enthusiast of FFXII, let alone anything developed by SquareEnix period. But this game is so visually breathtaking, that it is hard to hold a bias against them. One good example, the towns are gigantic. Whatever city you enter always feels like a real town, bustling with people in every corner, stores as far as the eye can see, with town squares and architecture that has to be cross-labeled as something in between modern design and something in the fantastic. The Sky City of Bhujerba is a floating isle with crystal auroras peaking through each side of the Marquis' palace. They've even managed to make something as predominately decadent as mines look remarkable.

So far, I am really loving Final Fantasy XII, even if it does get on my nerves from time to time. But that's what a challenge is there for; to test you. Hopefully, this test can be over sometime soon, since my RPG business is never done and Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is just around the corner.

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