FFXII: Hands on Exclusive with AlterGenesis (II)
AlterGenesis-X    2006-10-04, 07:41 am.

In continuing with the original hands-on experience, I had delved a bit deeper into the game and now will share m thoughts with you. Now, approximately 2 hours in, I am able to formulate more of an opinion on the actual game. There are a few things that I am going to look at. In this article, I shall deal with: graphics, voice acting, battle systems, menus and give my overall opinion on the game. I will try to spoil as little of the story as possible.

In short, the graphics are the usual Square-Enix fare. They obviously know how to make things real and look good. Cities are large and bustling with detail and the graphics remain consistent. There is a lot of style in this game, from the menus, the NPCs and all of the surroundings.

In this writer’s humble opinion, the voice acting is nowhere near top-notch. The voices do feel right for the characters they are trying to portray and the for the most part everything sounds just as it should. Although, for a game that has taken its sweet time to come stateside, the voiceovers could have been better. (And no, Vaan is not as girly as we all make him out to be.)

Now that I have experienced party battle, I can explain it to your more in detail. Each character from the menu has to gain “licenses” in order to use certain techniques. To learn these you must use the LP gained from defeated monsters. As soon as you learn a license, new ones open up. But, learning a license does not guarantee the use of a technique or equipment. Of course, you must acquire the equipment in question. The license only allows you to use the technique and/or equipment. Progressing along with the story, we eventually run into the gun-wielding Balthier and crossbow-wielding Fran, two long range specialists. As soon, as they join your party, Balthier gives you a tutorial on “Gambits” something that Penelo had mentioned earlier in the game when she joined your party.

Gambits are essentially a set of orders given to party members that cause them to carry out an action when a certain requirement is met. For example, when the condition, Ally HP < 70, Balthier will then automatically cast First Aid on the ally; the more the gambits the more difficult it becomes to decide which action to prioritize. A party member will always consider the first gambit top priority. New gambit commands can be purchased from the shop at any time.

Actual battle is a mixed bag. At times it can be very engaging, very stale and/or very hectic. Because of the free-roaming battle system, monster encounters feel real. Those familiar with Kingdom Hearts will feel right at home, as the general idea is similar. Preparing your attack before reaching an opponent makes strategizing fun and allows you to feel in control. In the same way, these encounters can get tiresome, boss battles included. Thankfully, Vaan does not have to be the leader all the time, as you can switch to anyone in your party. Immediately, I took control of Fran and found that I could simply snipe from a distance, while the computer did the majority of the work. In my first ever boss battle, I had set Fran to auto attack and found I had to only pick up the controller when it was time to heal. Of course, this small detail can be seen as an oversight. In the same way, when monsters fill the screen, it becomes difficult to keep track of your party. Often times, allies wander astray and get themselves killed. Although, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, encounters such as these causes intense battle situations which are always to welcome to any true RPG player.

Final Fantasy XII is a very engaging game. Even though there will be quirks about the game you might not enjoy, it is a truly wonderful experience. Time will simply fly by as you become immersed in the world of Ivalice. If need be, there will be Part 3 to by continuing hands-on with Final Fantasy XII.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know on the forums.

AlterGenesis-X – Square Insider News Reporter

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