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About the product
- Trace the mysteries behind the Empire's invasion.
- Unmask the players in a drama of justice and betrayal.
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The graphics are just stunning, really pushing the PS2 to its maximum capacity, and 8 years later it still holds up with ease.
The battle system is an impressive improvement over previous titles -- there are no random encounters: all monsters are visible and roaming the terrain in front of you, sometimes fighting with each other or other NPCs as well, much like an MMO.
You instantly switch between characters in your party, meaning you can multitask and develop a complex strategy.
And if you need to flee from battle, you actually need to flee while they give chase!
This makes for a much more realistic battle experience.
The Gambit system, which allows you to program tactical behavior for your characters in battle, can allow for such comprehensive complexity, that the game will practically play itself. I found it a little too much trouble, however and just playing with simpler tactics was just as easy.
While it is intensely engaging, the main story is a little dry, involving grand geopolitical dealings that never seem all that pressing.
Additionally the "main character" is fairly uninteresting as well, leaving you wondering why the other, more colorful and lively characters in your party aren't more the focus.
Overall it is a solid addition to the franchise, and a wonderful sending off to the PS2 console.
The battle system deviates from previous games with a more Dungeons and Dragons feel: there are designated battle locations, where the three person battle team runs around and encounters monsters. Like FF13, only the party leader is directed by the player, and the other members are set to automated actions that are selected in the menu.
The plot is interesting, if not a little far out there, and the characters are endearing. This game doesn't have a character that fits that "ditsy archetype" that is so frequent in FF games (characters like Relm, Yuffie, Selphie, Eiko, Rikku, Vanille), which is a nice change. It's definitely worth a play for any FF fan, and there are many additional adventures available through the bounty hunter side quests. I logged at least 100 hours on my first playthrough. It's a great game and I strongly recommend it.
Now keep in mind that I originally played this game when it first came out back in the mid 00's. I had traded in this game after I beat it the third or fourth time. The replay value began to diminish. I re-purchased the game due to a desire to revisit the world of Ivalice.
I have been a fan of the FF series for a while now, having played the major console releases along with all of the hand held spin offs that were released.
The first obvious change in the game is the aggro system which it adopted from Final Fantasy 11. Unlike past Final Fantasy games where you randomly encountered enemies in battle, this new aggro system allowed you engage or avoid battles at your leisure. This was innovative in a sense where grinding for levels and currency became a choice left entirely up to the player. What also made this system brilliant was that you could see the enemies and then decide what to do. This allowed for an easier time covering every nook and cranny of a dungeon to see if there are any items.
The story of the game is a great one. The setting is borrowed from another Final Fantasy game from the PS1 generation; Final Fantasy Tactics. The story is well told from different perspectives. You initially play as one character but soon you are given a party to help with the battles.
The music is beautifully composed, as is the sound design. The graphics are great for a PS2 game. Granted the graphics are a far cry from PS3's Final Fantasy 13, but for a game that came out more than a decade ago, it has aged well.
The game is long. I remember my average run through lasted about 70-80 hours. The boss battles are great, and the aggro system really gave me the freedom to just explore an area without the worry of running into an enemy ill prepared.
The cast of characters is great. You'll encounter different races, who have different skills and attributes, as well as their own stories to tell.
I still consider 12 to be a far greater game than 13. It's mainly because of the story. If you're a fan of Final Fantasy, you will undoubtedly have played this game by now. If you have a PS2 that's collecting dust, pick up the game and enjoy a game from yesteryear that will keep you entertained for months.
I give this game a 9/10.