RPG released by Square Enix on 2006 (2007 in Europe). Its main innovation is the battle system, which is most of times smooth. Enemies are actually in the map, there are no random battles. Players can also set up Gambits to automate characters' actions, thus saving a lot of manual work. To some people it feels like an offline MMORPG in some aspects, and the Gambit system might feel cheap for some. Just turn it off then, damn it.
The story of the game focuses on the war between the empires of Rozarria and Archadia. In the middle of these two empires stands the kingdom of Dalmasca, which features some city called Rabanastre in the middle of some desert. Another kingdom between these two empires is Nabradia, which is destroyed by Archadia at the start of the game under mysterious circumstances. Princess Ashe of Dalmasca is married to Lord Rasler of Nabradia, who gets killed in the war soon after the game starts, making Ashe a widow, and then orphan as the king of Rabanastre also dies when trying to sign a treaty, murdered by who was supposed to be a loyal soldier of their kingdom, Basch.
Princess Ashe fakes her death and then forms the insurgence (a word who Ashe hates and gets pissed off everytime she hears it; she is always correcting people, it's "the Resistance", damnit) against Archadia along with one of her captains, Vossler. Rabanastre falls in Archadia's hands while Ashe waits for the appropriate moment to take action, which means that she pretty much is getting a sunbath in some remote beach.
A few years after you're suddenly controlling this kid called Vaan who wants to be a sky pirate. He has a friend called Penelo, who pretty much is there. He enjoys killing rats for "training" and stealing stuff from Archadian soldiers patrolling the Rabanastre, so soon after the game starts, he breaks into Rabanastre's palace and steals some big glowing stone, who two actual sky pirates, Balthier and Fran (some tall bunny girl with huge ass) wanted to steal aswell. Then they have to flee the palace with the stone and along the way they find some girl called Amalia fighting alone against some soldiers.
Then they get caught and dropped into some jail who resembles a dungeon more than anything, but Amalia is not with them. They easily escape and along the way they encounter Basch bound to some chains inside some tiny cage. He's the traitor who killed Rabanastre's king in the past aswell as Vaan's brother, but he claims it was his twin brother who murdered them. Yeah, right. Pffft. But Balthier doesn't give a shit and they escape with him, a thing that Vaan doesn't like at all.
Then Penelo gets kidnapped by bounty hunters who are after Balthier, because her role is pretty much being there. They go to find her to some flying city, they end up in some huge ass airship where Penelo is and Amalia is held captive, who turns out to be Princess Ashe, and then they start finding out stuff to defeat the Archadian empire, which is led by Vayne, who killed his own father and seems to be obsessed about some weird shit involving some gods ruling over men's history, and he wants those gods to get the fuck off to control history himself.
The story has its moments but it doesn't have the same feeling other Final Fantasy games have. Arguably, it's not as complex, and there's no romantic involvements between the characters, despite the hints that Balthier and Fran like each other. Character development can be considered subtle.
It can also be very repetitive as there are enemies everywhere, and the distances you have to walk are extremely long in some cases.
Characters level up and can be developed with a License board who grants them right to wear certain equipment or use spells which otherwise wouldn't be able to even if you had them in your inventory.
There are many mixed feeling from gamers regarding this game. Some do not like the direction Final Fantasy is taking, others see it as fresh air. Whatever, if you buy this, it's one of those "rent first" games. A great game, yes, but not for everybody's tastes.
Final Fantasy XII cast:
Vaan: "I want to be a sky pirate!"
Balthier: "I'm the leading man!"
Fran: "I'm not a goddamn hippy!"
Basch: "I'm loyal to my kingdom despite all the shit they are throwing at me!"
Ashe: "I'm bossy and want everyone to do what I want because I'm the soon-to-be friggin' queen of Rabanastre, so I have these peeps behind my huge ass to get some stone thingies for me so I can use them against a huge ass empire which is far bigger than my lil ass Resistance. Yep, my plan rocks! It's not suicide at all!"
Penelo: "Hi, I'm Penelo"
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