9.0

Final Fantasy XII review
UltimaNova's FFXII Review

The good:

- Good plot, storyline.
- Lots of sidequests.
- New and unique combat system. (no random encounters)
- The arrival of the new license board and gambit system.
- The graphics are really great, detailed and stunning.

The bad:

- Gambit system and License board may be a little confusing for some players.
- New players may struggle at first.

Summary:

Final Fantasy XII takes place in a world called Ivalice, where the kingdom of Dalmasca is being attacked by the Archadians. The princess of Dalmasca, Ashe, along with Vaan and Penelo, orphans, Balthier and Fran, sky pirates and Basch, a captain who was framed by his brother, try and stop Vayne, the villian in this game.

The storyline is exceptionally good, leading to some really exciting yet dramatic scenes throughout the game itself.

The graphics are really detailed and stunning, both in the cutscenes and the game itself, which is a slight improvement over previous Final Fantasies.

The combat system has also changed, instead of random encounters, you may now actually see and engage in battle with a foe at free will, which makes it much more convenient for people who don't want to waste time fighting certain enemies. When the going gets tough, you may press and hold R2 to flee from your foes.

Like most RPG's, your characters becomes stronger by defeating enough foes and earning experience points (EXP) in the process. When enough EXP is earned, your characters will level up, increasing their HP, MP and other stats.

Final Fantasy XII also includes several new additions: the License board and the Gambit system. The License board is a place where you use License Points (LP) to gain licenses, such as the ability to use certain weapons, to use certain magicks and so on. While the gambit system allows you to control the party's AI, such as automatically healing a character when their HP falls below a certain percentage. This may be useful for some, but others may find it a little confusing.

The majority of this game involves traveling by foot to your next destination. However, there are also several other ways of traveling, you can either travel by Chocobo, airships and if you have Teleport Stones - Gate Crystals.

Throughout the game, you will encounter "Guests" which are party members who tag along for a short time, and will help your party in defeating foes.

Another new thing from this game that I should mention is the addition of random items from treasure chests. For example, a chest may contain something rare like an Elixir, and other times it may contain something useless like a Knot of Rust. In some cases, the chest may not even appear! Long time Final Fantasy fans may find this annoying because you don't always get the item you want, but for me, I don't really mind it because those chests respawn all the time, which means I can get multiple items.

The soundtrack in this game is also worth mentioning, they fit into the setting nicely. Also, the song changes whenever you enter a different area, so you won't get bored of hearing the same song over and over. The game's voice acting is terrific, the actors' voice goes well with the characters.

Final Fantasy XII also contains a truckload of sidequests, which ranges from hunting marks (something like mini-bosses) to finding Cockatrices, these sidequests are really addicting and they can put your mind off the main plot.

Overall, Final Fantasy XII is a great game that all gamers, regardless of whether you have played Final Fantasy or not, should get.

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