Endless War in Ivalice
Following the wedding of Dalmasca’s Princess Ashe to Prince Rasler of Nabradia, the Archandian Empire invades both countries. With Rasler and the King of Dalmasca murdered, the chief suspect is the Dalmascan Captain, Basch. In the aftermath of Princess Ashe’s suicide, the traitorous Basch is sentenced to death. However, political intrigue is not always as it seems.
Years later, a street rat, Vaan, gets himself and his friend, Penelo, drawn into the underbelly of the Dalmascan resistance as they try to take down the Archadian Empire. A story of blood, royalty, war and sky pirates paints a picture that not all conflicts are black and white.
War, Pirates and a Little Bland
Though the plot seems like it would be rolling with twists, turns and unexpected surprises, for a war story, it’s a little on the dull side. While the intrigue is there, the story seems to fit more in a MMORPG than an epic JRPG. There is so much going on; however, there is something to be said about a few weak characters.
While I found several characters very well developed, (I loved Balthier and Basch!) some I felt lacked significant draw – mainly, Vaan. I understand that his character was meant to be vanilla in order for players to emulate with him, but I still didn’t feel the connection. It’s not so good when there are other more interesting characters overshadowing your main protagonists.
In addition to the character problems, the soundtrack was a bit lacking. While it was a beautiful soundtrack, it’s hard to compare to previous franchise entries. The title track, “Kiss Me Goodbye” stands out, but the rest is a little forgettable. It’s really hard to follow Nobuo Uematsu.
The story itself seems to seep in the lore, war, and turmoil of Ivalice itself. Of course, it could be argued that is the nature of this particular story. Stories of war are less focused on particular individuals as the situation surrounding them is far more threatening. It’s understandable why the plot and development play out as they does, but it’s also expected that not everyone would enjoy a less character-focused narrative. Either way, Final Fantasy XII does have a lot of love from its fans, and it’s all a matter of taste.