Final Fantasy is, for most gamers, absolutely synonymous with the concept of role-playing games. These games represent the pinnacle of technology and visual artistry wherever they land. If we're lucky, they also tell captivating tales, filled with adventure and love. From what we've played so far, Final Fantasy XII is set to uphold this tradition. It is both like and unlike its predecessors, and instantly feels epic. Whether or not it holds up over its entire playtime ... well, we'll find out once we get a chance to play more.
Popping in the final Japanese release of the game, we're treated to one of Square Enix's signature big-budget CG movies. It depicts a world where the skies are choked with airships and the streets thronged with the masses. The world of FFXII is home to not only humans, but bunny-eared Viera and the thickset, reptilian Bangaa, as well as the adorable Moogles, the once-popular mascots of the Final Fantasy series.
But after this opening, you're whisked away from the streets of Rabanastre and plopped down into the shoes of Lex, a young soldier. The game, like most strategy RPGs and unlike previous FFs, details the complex politics of the continent on which it takes place. This is going to be a political tale as much as it is a personal one, with many important characters who are soldiers, such as General Basch, a blond warrior who seems to be full of secrets. The bit with Lex is an introduction not only to the militaristic world of FFXII, but also a tutorial for playing the game that covers its camera, battle, and other basic gameplay systems. That's over quickly, thankfully, and you're thrown into a series of battles where Lex and his comrades take on enemy soldiers.