Back to Ivalice
I've gotten my hands on a copy of Final Fantasy XII. The latest Final Fantasy is pretty different from past recent installments in the series. Instead of the usual anime-laced sci-fantasy soap operas, we get a more midieval/sci-fi setting charged with political intrigue and machinations aplenty.
In the land of Ivalice, the small kingdom of Dalmasca is in the midst of a war between two great empires. One of the empires, Archadia, advances and takes control of Dalmasca after some drama and the shedding of royal blood. Two years after the Archadian occupation of Dalmasca, various individuals within the kingdom come together in order to free their land and people.
FFXII boasts not only a new graphic style but new gameplay as well. Gone are the random encounters of previous FF's; the game now plays similar to an MMORPG, with your characters running around engaging visible enemies in pseudo realtime/turn-base combat. Other new systems govern levelling up, acquiring spells and skills, and using weapons. It's all new and shiny, and goes with the new graphic style and music (which is more FF Tactics than the RPGs) and some decent english voice acting.
I have to say though that the art style and the characters so far strike me as stiff. The story and overall feel though also reminds me uncomfortably of Star Wars Episode One. You have a tiny kingdom oppressed by a greater force, you have a spunky princess and a would-be young hero... you even have a 'Watto' character! To be fair though, the plot will surely get better as I get into the game more.
Unfortunately, my first two hours or so with the game has me running around doing some errands, which while plot-driven, are pretty bland and boring. I eventually put the game down and went with the more instantly-gratifying ninja action of another new game I have, Tenchu Senran for the Xbox360.
Anyway, it's only a matter of time before I get into FFXII deeper soon enough. Perhaps I'm just getting out of the Oblivion mindset and getting myself back into the Final Fantasy groove. Expect a fuller review then.