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Final Fantasy XII review

The last grand adventure on the PS2 is an uneven but interesting journey

But if Final Fantasy XII isn't coasting on cutscenes, gameplay is even more crucial. The Final Fantasy series' gameplay usually centers on making the right choices in building your characters, so the battles come off without a hitch. This game is the ultimate evolution of this idea. The battles, which occur instantly and with no transition, more or less run themselves - your job is to set up intelligent Gambits for your characters, which dictate their actions. For example, you can instruct Ashe to prioritize healing over fighting, and she'll keep your other characters healthy while they beat on enemies.

The game has been accused of "playing itself" but that's not really true; you have to make sure everything runs smoothly, and formulate strategies on the fly - particularly during the entertaining boss battles. But there's an odd sense of disconnection from the bulk of the battles, and you won't uncover some of the really useful Gambits - like ones that target enemy weaknesses - until late in the game.

The developers really screwed up the summoned monsters this time around; they're far too rare, irritating to deal with and not as effective as a simple, well-thought out strategy. Similarly, the "Quickening" super attacks really handicap you, as you have to burn most of your magic points to make a dent in a boss with them. By the time you can deal with that, you'll have gotten used to doing things other ways. Unless you grind your entire party's levels, which is as boring as it sounds, you'll be ignoring these parts of the game - which, since FFVII, have been, well, what Final Fantasy is about.

More info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionDrastically different and yet familiar, this role playing game strikes out its own path through the confines of the immensely popular series.
Franchise nameFinal Fantasy
UK franchise nameFinal Fantasy
US censor rating"Teen"
UK censor rating""
Alternative names"FF XII","FF12","FF12","FF12"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)