It's all in the (new) details
1. We knew the first city in Final Fantasy XII, Rabanastre, was big and full of life. But we didn't realize just how huge things could get until we saw one of the later burgs. A chain of even more interconnected areas, it even had an upper and lower layer that you need to ride a hover-car to get between.
2. At the E3 show in May, we caught a snippet of the game's English voice acting, so we'd already heard that many of the Archadian imperials sport British accents. Now, we've heard even more, yes, it packs the drama you crave. The Empire-as-Brits cue isn't the only thing pinched from Star Wars, either. As many have noticed, FFXII's epic airship battles, elaborate architecture and ragtag group fighting against an empire... it's no coincidence. We wouldn't be at all surprised if FFXII makes up for the idiocy of Episodes I - III.
3. Since this is Final Fantasy, the story isn't just about the grand - it's also got personal details for each character. Turns out this extends to the enemies, too. What we didn't realize is that the judges, encased in dark armor, aren't just around to breathe menace out over the proceedings. The story will revolve around these fearsome figures, and much of the important drama is built around what drives these people.
4. The Gambit system allows you to program your characters' moves - you can tell them to always attack the leader, or cast Fira on flying foes. But we didn't realize just how customizable it really is. Once you get further along in the game, you can set up long, cascading lists of rules that supersede one another, and you can even have the characters automatically cast buffs that boost HP whenever starting a new dungeon. The idea is not to make the game play itself, but allow the action to unfold seamlessly. The Gambit system is designed to perform the actions you'd do yourself - just faster - and you're in control.
5. The License Board is the key to raising your characters. We'd already dabbled in it, noticing that you not only unlocked new abilities but also even the capacity to equip different items. You can use it however you want: as long as you can unlock a square, the next becomes available, so you can feel your way across the board, looking for the abilities you choose. You can even mold your characters however you want: our demo showed a late-game Ashe who'd been turned from her natural, mage-like character into a kick-ass samurai.