The Evolution of Final Fantasy: Final Fantasy XII Review

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Final Fantasy XII

We have reached the final chapter of the PS2 era and not a moment too soon. On the eve of its remastered release, the time seems right to reminisce about the next title in the Evolution Series: Final Fantasy XII. Published just shy of 10 years ago, and with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age coming out on July 11th, this entry took a page from its predecessors and broke the traditional mold of what “Final Fantasy” was.

Praised for its state-of-the-art graphics (for the time), seamless transitions, and exciting new battle system, it was considered a huge step forward for the series for many. A breath of fresh air! On the other hand, following the huge departure from the previous mainstream title, Final Fantasy X, this is also the game that alienated some die-hard fans. With a series this versatile, it’s best to test it out.

Time to Make a Few Changes

Final Fantasy XII Characters

Before we dive into the game itself, let’s see what’s changed!  Unlike the last entry, Final Fantasy XII has an open world experience. There are far fewer ‘narrow hallways’ here, but that is the least complicated of the changes. First and foremost, Gil is no longer a thing – but players can pick up loot to sell at local shops. You must farm materials in order upgrade equipment, purchase new items, or lower the cost of available merchandise — and you do that by fighting monsters with a fancy new battle system!

Speaking of enemies, this entry does away with any random encounters.  Instead, players are gifted to a Chrono Trigger-esque style of confronting enemies in the field.  Players can also go on “hunts” to kill special monsters for big rewards, which is pretty fun. As for battling, most of the characters are controlled via A.I. using the “Gambit System” where players set up abilities and let their characters charge into battle.  Of course, things or more intricate than that, but we’ll get into the details later.

The final thing that’s really switched up is the growth system. Players gain experience through battles that buffs up their stats, but that’s your everyday RPG. The new addition is the License Board that allows characters to perform actions as the “licenses” are acquired.  This functions a lot like the sphere grid, so it’s not a far cry. While all of these changes seem minor, they do have a major effect on how the game is played.

Final Fantasy XII