The mysterious cloud surrounding Final Fantasy XII is finally beginning to lift. With several press releases regarding the plot and characters, as well as a short playable demo included in Dragon Quest VIII, fans are anxiously awaiting the release of the next game in this popular series. Between wiping the drool off my chin and viciously fighting off Sleipnirs, I was able to gather some information about this juicy upcoming game.
From the looks of it, FF12 seems extremely promising for both loyal fans of the series and any newcomers. Square Enix continues to push the limits of graphics and sound, even in this bite-sized demo. I found that the battles are a little more difficult than before, however they shouldn’t be difficult enough to discourage the Final Fantasy rookie. The story is told through cut scenes, where the graphics are second to none. Although the demo doesn’t hint much at the storyline, as always it looks to be dramatic and gut-wrenching.
The story behind FF12 takes place in a world called Ivalice. Many races (including those adorable, yet useless, moogles) make up the population, and the skies are crowded with airships. Magic in this age is more common it seems than in other Final Fantasy games.
The Archadian Empire is looking for power, and has been picking off enemy kingdoms one at a time. One of these kingdoms is Dalmasca, home to many of the characters in this game.
Our main character is Vaan, a homeless boy on the streets, who is looking to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of the empire. For Vaan, his brother was his only remaining family member. Now alone, Vaan hatches a plan to relieve the royal consul of a few of his treasures. However, during his plan the Dalmascan soldiers began launching an attack on the Archadian Empire. In the confusion, Vaan sees among the Dalmascan resistance the last heir to the throne. Princess Ashe had been given up for missing….
So Vaan, Princess Ashe, Vaan’s friend Penelo, sky pirate Balthier, and his partner Fran team up to reveal the reason for the Archadian Empire’s invasion.
The gameplay this time around is a bit different from before. After announcing the elimination of ATB (active time battle), many players were left wondering what kind of battle system would take its place. ADB (active dimension battle) is the name of the new system. Players can still choose between “active” and “wait” modes, but neither compromises the nature of ADB. Basically, ADB features a 3-dimensional battle, where the player can change the camera at any time.
Also, bosses tend to run around a little more, so the battle is not in just one place. Switching from one character to the next has never been easier. From one character’s menu, you can switch to the other two, making commands way more efficient. When commanding one character, the others will switch to AI mode and start casting spells based on the enemies’ weaknesses, attacking, using items, or healing. The only benefit of using “wait” mode in this game is that it pauses the action during your turn, giving players time to choose their next moves wisely.