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Ten Things I Hate About Final Fantasy XII

Almost catching me by surprise, this blog had just recently exceeded 50,000 hits. I wish I could have prepared some sort of  “thank you”  package, but I lack the necessary photoshop skills, and most of the stuff I could share can be found with a quick Google search anyway.

So all I can do for now is give a sincere thanks for your continued interest and support, despite the amateurish presentation of this blog as well as a few goof-ups I’m responsible for (something I plan to discuss in a future article).

So Final Fantasy XIII is nearly upon us, a day away for some and a few hours for others braving a midnight release. As you’re no doubt aware of, I am highly fond of the FF series, and I imagine I will continue to be for years to come. It is also a series that many people, particularly online, are very, very vocal about, but for me, even the most disappointing titles aren’t lacking in entertainment and enjoyment.

Like with most of the numbered entries, Final Fantasy XIII is striving to do something different, in this case to deliver a more streamlined experience, resulting in several complaints about a linear, “straight path” game featuring little in extra content, but also reduces genre-specific frustrations such as back-tracking, level-grinding, or getting lost in overly huge towns and dungeons. Earlier this year, Mass Effect 2 proved that it is possible for less to equal more, but it remains to be seen if this game can replicate ME2’s successful fat trimming without feeling like cutting corners.

I can’t say for certain yet how I’ll feel about FFXIII, much less where it will rank in my personal list, but as with every new entry, I anxiously await the chance to play it. In the meantime, I thought I’d take some time to talk about its predecessor, still fresh on many fans’ minds.


Ten Things I Hate About Final Fantasy XII

When considering which Final Fantasy title qualifies as the “worst” game in the series, my brain is often unable to ponder such a thought. For me, it’s like asking which Mario or Zelda was the worst, an almost heretical notion. When it comes to “most disappointing” FF, however, I can answer with less hesitation, and for that I have to choose the most recent entry in the series.

Let me make it clear, Final Fantasy XII was not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. The world was huge and filled with all manner of creatures (both friendly and….not so friendly), it had a great soundtrack and script, and it felt like a new FF experience without completely changing the overall formula or feel.

But for a game that was routinely delayed for several years, it didn’t live up to its promises.

10. Voice Compression

Most Final Fantasy titles carry the standard of having good voice acting, and FFXII was no exception. However, in an effort to keep the game from spanning two discs, the audio bitrate had to be sacrificed for space. This results in lower quality dialog, often sounding like all the characters are speaking through a filter, regardless of whether they’re wearing a suit of armor or speaking in an enclosed area. For all the care that went into replicating a medieval dialect, audiophiles like myself can’t help but be disappointed.

9. No First Person Camera

And no, I wouldn't have used it to stare at Fran's butt. Honest.

The world of Ivalice is filled with tons of little details, such as the trinkets found in a shopkeeper’s tent, or the intricate patterns in a local castle. Unfortunately, many of these hand-crafted details are left obscured due to the lack of a first person camera. Why am I complaining about such a feature when previous FFs didn’t even have a basic rotating camera? Because Vagrant Story, an older PSX release, managed to pull it off, and since FFXII features the same engine and director, its removal is quite baffling.

8. Go Anywhere, Get Lost Everywhere

Keeping the peace in Ivalice

The world of Ivalice is expansive and filled with many paths. Within a few hours you are given the freedom to travel anywhere you so choose, deviating from the set path laid out by the main story. Or so it would have you believe.

The truth is that the game often lays out Truman-esque stopping blocks to keep you from venturing everywhere. This is usually implemented by delays in Airship travel (despite the fact that the group possesses their own) or flooding caused by sudden rainstorms. This becomes especially irksome when you decide to take a break from the story and engage in a few hunts, as you could end up wasting a good hour or two running to the monster’s location before realizing that you’re not allowed to proceed. And it’s equally irksome when you are able to hunt a beast, and try to make your way to the next story-specific location.

7. The License Board

Never thought I'd stoop so low as to reference VG Cats.

Every FF has its own system to teach party members skills and abilities. FFXII’s License Board is a massive grid where you can spend points to learn new magic spells, secondary abilities, and equipment.

That’s right, you have to learn to equip stuff. Suspension of disbelief is usually required to make these sort of mechanics fun, but having to grind in order to wear a fancy hat you found in a dungeon reeks of micro management. But what’s truly annoying is spread out the license boards are. In Final Fantasy X, each character starts at a certain section of the Sphere Grid, requiring you to learn their specific abilities (white magic for Yuna, black magic for Lulu, thievery skill for Rikku, etc) before you can start customizing them to your liking. Because of FFXII’s freedom, you run the risk of a bunch of useless skills to one character, thus taking up more time in order to properly train them to not die with every encounter.

6. Unbalanced Leveling, Difficulty

"We are the overseers of history, the mightiest of bei-wow, did you just one-shot me? Nevermind, we suck."

Most FF games in the past have been known to have an imbalanced difficulty curve. There’s always a point or two where you run across a tough boss that requires you to take a few steps backward and grind until your party is at a sufficient level. FFXII is no different in this regard, featuring many adversaries (both story-specific and optional) that will completely pulverize your party even if previous enemies were a cakewalk.

This is where the quasi open-ended structure really hampers the game; between the free-roaming and optional hunts, your party runs the risk of becoming too powerful in too short a time. A weaker hunt target that you put off while taking out a more powerful foe can be beaten in a single hit, while the final boss in the story can be similarly schooled without any effort at all. There are still plenty of ridiculously strong enemies in the game, but those bosses are of such an extreme variety, you would need at least a hundred hours worth of leveling just to stand a chance. Between challenges that are either too simple or too difficult, “imbalanced” is the perfect word to describe FFXII’s difficulty.

5. Gambit system

I'm all too happy to reference Penny Arcade.

The Gambit system has often been criticized as “letting the game play itself”, but that was never my issue with it. The concept of being able to auto-assign commands such as healing after a battle or using a spell that works against a specific enemy is a neat one. The problem I had with the Gambit system is how it takes too long to unlock the most basic commands. It takes at least two hours just to unlock the ability to automatically attack enemies that attack you. Supporting Gambits used to keep your party members from dying take even longer to appear, and there are some commands that you can miss entirely should you fail to find a hidden treasure chest or slay the right monster.

It’s understandable that the game wants you to learn the ropes before you get to put it on auto pilot, but by the time you’re eligible for such shortcuts, you’ll have already grown accustomed to doing things yourself, thus greatly cheapening its purpose in the first place.

4. The Story Just Stops

"At least until I change my mind for no explainable reason."

Final Fantasy XII was supposed to be the directorial debut of Yasumi Matsuno for a numbered FF title. His previous contribution was Final Fantasy Tactics, which featured what was without question the darkest and most mature storyline ever associated with the series. Not even the mess of typos and translations errors could hide the expertly written Shakespearean tragedy, featuring a mix of political backstabbing and ill-conceived wars. The very thought of Matsuno being in charge of a bigger budget game with a wider scope was enough to send anyone into a tizzy of excitement.

It’s unfortunate, then, that you can literally pinpoint the moment when Final Fantasy XII’s story comes to a crashing halt; taking a leave of absence due to health problems (allegedly), Matsuno’s early abandonment of the project meant that his intricately planned epic had to be reduced to a Cliff Notes edition, which results in both fewer cutscenes, smaller roles for secondary (and sometimes even primary) characters, and sudden shifts in both plots and motivations in the blink of an eye. It was like having all three Lord of the Rings movies cut down into a single, hastily abridged edition.

3. The Villains

Welcome to Development Hell, where Square is Master and Profit is Law.

Almost immediately after the news that Matsuno would be directing the game, one of the first promotional images of Final Fantasy XII featured its main antagonists, the Judges. Originally seen in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance to punish anyone who failed to uphold the specific laws during each battle, FFXII’s Judges were much more sinister in nature, focused on punishing anyone who rose against their empire. Fans were delighted at the prospect of new (and quite cool looking) villains who could join the hallmarks of beloved adversaries such as Sephiroth and Kekfa.

Instead, their presence shows  just how neutered the story became once Matsuno headed for the hills. None of the Judges are given sufficient screen-time to fully develop their motivations or character traits, turning them into generic power-hungry enemies. In fact, most of them don’t even last beyond two cutscenes; Judge Drace, the only female in the group, is the very definition of wasted potential, as she is immediately killed off in the cutscene following her introduction. Gabranth, who is featured on the freaking logo (the largest ever made for a mainline FF game), is also given little explanation for his actions and is reduced to two simple, brief boss battles. And Judge Zargabaath, the only surviving Judge by the game’s end, serves no purpose other than to witness the game’s climax before falling into RPG obscurity forever.

But its the primary villain Vayne that proves the most disappointing. Upon his first introduction, Vayne wins over the people of Dalmasca, a kingdom he ransacked by force, through his charismatic nature and conniving words. By the game’s end, he decides to obliterate the very city he worked to win over politically, for no discernible reason whatsoever other than the game was wrapping up, and Square needed a final boss battle.


2. Characters Lacking Development, Interaction

"I'm sorry, what was your name again? Pineapple? Pippi Longstocking?"

"I'm sorry, what was your name again? Pineapple? Pippi Longstocking?"


Ask several people what the most important aspect is that makes a good RPG, and you’re bound to get different responses. Some people might say it’s the battle system, others might claim it’s an intriguing story. For me, the most important RPG feature is its characters. Most RPG plots taken at face value are standard “save the world” fare, while the majority of battle systems share several similarities with one another. Therefore, it’s the cast of heroes and villains that I value the most, as they are detrimental to my motivation to finish the lengthy adventure to the very end.

Final Fantasy XII’s cast, like the rest of the game, looked promising on the outset; aside from Vaan and Penelo, the FFXII cast consisted of older characters that don’t make up the traditional series stereotypes, including suave pirates, vengeful princesses, and loyally questionable knights.

For the most part, the characters make good on these traits….the problem is that they don’t evolve past them. Yet another unfortunate victim of the abridged story, FFXII’s cast spend little time revealing their inner quirks, and purely focus on the long journey to overthrow the big bad empire. When a character does decide to open up about his or her past, it’s brief and often ex-positional. You think there would be some importance at Balthier’s revelation of being a former Judge, but there isn’t. You expect the game to constantly tease you about Basch’s loyalties and whether or not he murdered his own king, but that plot point is immediately resolved once he joins your group.

But what’s especially irritating is the little-to-no interaction between party members. In most RPGs, the group forms a tight, almost familial bond with each other. In FFXII, something is seriously wrong when even the two female leads don’t say two words to each other. Rather than band together and save the world as a unified group, it felt more like your party members were just sharing a cab to get to the same destination.

1. Vaan

"I'm Captain Basch!" Yeah, you wish.

Ah, Vaan…yet another entry in a list of hated blonde RPG protagonists.

Now keep in mind I’ve got nothing against the character, no matter how homosexual the above image is. He’s your typical enthusiastic youth, and he doesn’t reach nearly the obnoxious levels of say, Tidus (who I happen to love, by the way).

My issue with Vaan is simple: He has no bearing whatsoever on the main story.

In a game where almost everyone has a motive and role in the complex (but skimmed over) plot, Vaan simply seems to be around for the ride. He has no love interest, save possibly for Penelo (who might as well be his sister with the non-flirty way they talk to each other), he isn’t trying to avenge his brother’s death (in fact, he seems rather content once closure is given), and he doesn’t prove useful beyond his abilities in battle (which can easily be taught to anyone else).

Here’s where things get really nauseating. Originally, Basch was supposed to be the main character.

"I'm Vaan Fon Pointlessness of Dalmasca."

Yes, Basch. A grizzled war veteran accused of murdering his own king, and whose brother is the main adversary (according to the logo). How cool would it be to have him as the leading man (despite what Balthier claims, it isn’t him)? But thanks to one of the most blatant cases of executive meddling, pretty-boy Vaan was shoehorned to appeal to….well I’m not really sure who he’s supposed to appeal too.

At least we’re getting a chick with a sword as the lead  in the next game. That never gets old.

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36 comments on “Ten Things I Hate About Final Fantasy XII

  1. Sephyrawr
    April 29, 2010

    You know, as much as I love most every aspect of Final Fantasy XII (save for the homoerotic clothing that makes my mom say “What the hell are you playing?!”), I have to agree with you. When I first started the game, after seeing the absolutely EPIC opening, I was very much disappointed with the audio quality. I remember turning to my brother and saying “You hear that? That’s the magick of space conservation.” And there are many games where the desire to draw the characters overcomes me and I resort to the first person camera. Sadly, due to FFXII’s lack of this essential feature, my horrible renditions of my beloved characters were that much more horrendous. Now, the layout of areas wasn’t much of a problem with me personally, seeing as how I love to strike down enemies at every turn, but changes in terrain, such as the flooding of the Giza plains, seriously hurt my play time. The license point system wasn’t that problematic for me, either, save for whenever I needed to cast powerful healing magicks on a fallen friend, and my healer was down for the count. Phoenix Downs don’t grow on trees! I also noticed when I noticed the game that it lacked a difficulty setting, so I was thinking “adaptive difficulty.” Boy, was I wrong. I remember spending a week (which is only about 10 hours considering I have school and other such things) grinding so I could kill the Garuda-Egi that guards King Raithwall’s tomb. I also lost some of my youthful optimism toward this game when I discovered that the game could “play itself,” however it DID come in rather handy in certain situations. Also, it does seem that Ashe changed her mind rather suddenly with no real explanation, which is annoying considering that my brain runs purely on deductive reasoning, logic, and coffee. And it seems the the game seriously lacked when it came to character development. Sure, everyone had a past, but for most of them, it was explained entirely within a few short hours (Ashe is somewhat exempt from this stereotype….kinda). Okay, now I adore Vaan with all my little fangirl heart, but I can’t help but agree with you on him as well. I think the game woulda been a whole lot more kickass if Basch would’ve been the leading man. Sadly, Square seems to gear its male protagonists towards the fangirls and their love of almost-gay adolescents.

    In conclusion, everything you’ve said holds water. Well, that’s all I got. One last thing, that “Vaan fon Pointlessness” thing was epic. My name is Sephyrawr, and I approve this message.

    • Cloudxtifaforever
      October 26, 2011

      i hated this game for more than ten reasons mainly the battle system and it was just ridiculus and a waste of money in less than a week i gave up and felt like returning it

      • Vic 2.0
        April 14, 2014

        For someone who claims to have more than ten reasons to hate the game, you sure couldn’t elaborate on any. Even the one you mentioned! HOW was the battle system “ridiculous”? I think it’s the best Final Fantasy has ever seen, before or since.

      • Wall of Text
        April 22, 2014

        I can elaborate for him. The battle system was effortless and boring. I felt like an under appreciated middle manager watching over a bunch of morons who couldn’t think for themselves. Once I had full gambit space and programmed the party to react to every conceivable threat, it just became a point(less) and click adventure that required no skill or input whatsoever; just drag the party from point A to point B as they maul everything that aggros. The only time I was ever required to awaken from the coma the game put me in was when random, super strong enemies would suddenly spawn on the map, aggro and proceed to one-shot my team. FF11 was more entertaining than this, and those battles consisted of standing around and waiting for one team member to bring back a monster so we could all wail on it.

        It gets worse though. There are multiple ways they could have avoided this travesty, but instead, as with the rest of the game, they just said, “F it,” and threw out a crappy product to the unsuspecting masses. Let’s break this down, shall we?

        This story takes place in Ivalice. I was concerned at first, as this was the first time a main titled FF game would be taking place in an already established world; the universes for each prior have been unique. I allowed my fears to quell once I realized that this would be taking place in Ivalice and not just any Ivalice, but the Tactics Advance Ivalice; by far, one of my favorite universes from one of my favorite games in the series. What does this have to do with the battle system? Everything. I remember thinking to myself that the material from Tactics Advance would pretty much create itself, leaving the dev’s more room to focus on the story. Instead I got a boring piece of crap that makes me wonder if the most info they got from Ivalice was off the back of Advance’s box blurbs and screenshot’s.

        Ways this could have been fixed:

        -Job system: This was their opportunity to have the job system in a main FF title for the then current consoles. FF11 did it, but that game was online, so not everyone played it; plus, the jobs operate quite differently from the ones 11 offered. First off, jobs where split exclusively to each race, with only a few being available for multiple races. This brings me to my next point…

        -Races: Jobs being exclusive to respective races means that in order to use them, the player has to have, at minimum, one character from each of the five (now seven) available races in the party; instead, we got five humans and one fan service bunny girl. Pitiful. This factor alone has to force a heightened level of creativity by changing the cast and bringing back the level of fantasy that the title claims to be prevalent.

        -Recasting: I’m gonna come right out and say it. This cast sucks. So much so, that I had to make up my own story in order to have a reason to bother switching them in and out aside from getting bored of looking at the character models. If I remember correctly, I had it that Vaan was still trying to be a sky pirate and would always talk about it, but since the game completely dropped the sub plot, no one would ever care. Fran was a boy hungry lech and was always seducing Vaan (she was always auto healing him to 100%) and a jealous Penelo had to fight Fran off with her katana. Balthier was a kleptomaniac (always using steal command) and Ashe was a paranoid pyromaniac (casting fire on everything) burning anyone or anything that looked at her the wrong way. Basch was the only one who took anything seriously, but got made fun of by the others for his silly shorts. All of that already sounds way more interesting than what we got. Anyhow, since this is all just a big “what if” anyway, I’m gonna list what I feel the cast should have been and why: *Vaan and Penelo should have been a Bangaa and Moogle. Let’s face it, Vaan isn’t the main character, no matter how much the game tries to pretend that he is. In fact, the above list does an adequate job of describing this, so I won’t continue further. Instead, I’ll justify changing them because the two fit the side character role so well. Vaan is a rambunctious street urchin and as such, a young Bangaa role suits him well. He’d be used to a fight and would most likely have caused his own share of them. Penelo, on the other hand, would act as his foil. She practically buzzes around him as is, shooting down his stupid ideas like it’s her job already, so making her a flying Moogle allows her to do so for greater character effect. She’s obviously meant to be the more homely girl of the group and giving her an appearance that reflects that helps. The two are a duo within the main party, and this setup works well together. Balthier and Basch stay the same. The two are basically the plot and need the most relatable appearances. Their personalities also require the human touch the most. *Fran should be a Nu Mou. For those who didn’t already notice, she and Balthier are basically Han Solo and Chewbacca; and those two are at their best when they’re arguing over all the trouble Han gets them into. As such, Fran would fill her role as Balthier’s nagging voice better if she wasn’t the scantily clad sex appeal character. *Ashe can be the Viera and drop 12’s whole mystic wood nymph BS that came outta nowhere. Yes, the Viera have more mystical qualities, but they were never self removed from society like 12 suddenly claims them to be. Instead, this will fit with her revenge desire subplot. She seeks out a forbidden mystical artifact to enact her story; one that could instead be spoken of in ancient Vieran lore, tying her to her more.

        -The point: All of this together leads to a cast that has more unique personalities and, most importantly for the sake of discussion, combat abilities. Each character now has something unique to offer the party rather than the just six of the same bland person. Halfway through the game, I maxed out the license board for everyone and nothing set them apart aside from character models and minor stat discrepancies. Boring. If they instead had various jobs to choose from, with the opportunity to mix and match abilities to the same degree Tactics Advance did, then they could stand apart more and liven up game play. Some jobs, like white and black mage are available to more than one race, which would allow the player to double up on abilities without necessarily switching all applicable characters to that job if the situation called for it. Also, because some characters would be barred from certain abilities, players would have to work around those limitations in order to fight more effectively.

        There; I hope that was elaborate enough for you. Since I the first day I played it, up until today, April 22, 2014, Final Fantasy 12 has THE most disappointing game I have ever played, and I played Sonic ’06 in its entirety. I think the only enjoyment I got out of it was the bonus disc that came with it which had a video on the history of final fantasy’s core games; and now that I think about it, that’s basically the only reason the clerk at game stop convinced me to buy the game.

      • Vic 2.0
        December 4, 2014

        Since you (Cloudxtifaforever) haven’t responded, and there’s no “Reply” link under “Wall of Text”‘s post for some weird reason, I will reply to him/her here.

        “I can elaborate for him. The battle system was effortless and boring. I felt like an under appreciated middle manager watching over a bunch of morons who couldn’t think for themselves. Once I had full gambit space and programmed the party to react to every conceivable threat, it just became a point(less) and click adventure that required no skill or input whatsoever; just drag the party from point A to point B as they maul everything that aggros. The only time I was ever required to awaken from the coma the game put me in was when random, super strong enemies would suddenly spawn on the map, aggro and proceed to one-shot my team.”

        So IOW, you chose to play the game a certain way, and then blamed the game for it. Seeing as how you can simply turn some or all of your gambits OFF, you really have no leg to stand on here. If more direct control of the characters is what you wanted, you could’ve easily had it.

        And of course, “they couldn’t think for themselves” is a ridiculous criticism. That’s true of all the old-school games before this one, and of course practically every video game in general.

        “It gets worse though. There are multiple ways they could have avoided this travesty, but instead, as with the rest of the game, they just said, “F it,” and threw out a crappy product to the unsuspecting masses. Let’s break this down, shall we?”

        Yes, let’s.

        “This story takes place in Ivalice. I was concerned at first, as this was the first time a main titled FF game would be taking place in an already established world; the universes for each prior have been unique. I allowed my fears to quell once I realized that this would be taking place in Ivalice and not just any Ivalice, but the Tactics Advance Ivalice; by far, one of my favorite universes from one of my favorite games in the series. What does this have to do with the battle system? Everything. I remember thinking to myself that the material from Tactics Advance would pretty much create itself, leaving the dev’s more room to focus on the story. Instead I got a boring piece of crap that makes me wonder if the most info they got from Ivalice was off the back of Advance’s box blurbs and screenshot’s.”

        None of this identifies a specific problem with the game.

        “Ways this could have been fixed:
        -Job system: This was their opportunity to have the job system in a main FF title for the then current consoles. FF11 did it, but that game was online, so not everyone played it; plus, the jobs operate quite differently from the ones 11 offered. First off, jobs where split exclusively to each race, with only a few being available for multiple races.”

        Exactly, the player was extremely LIMITED in the other games! Since when is freedom in video games a bad thing? And it’s not like you couldn’t have MADE it so that each character had a specific class with specializations in weapons, spells, skills, and armor. Heck, even after filling in the license board with every character (if you chose to do it), you could simply limit what they DID equip, and what skills/magic they used, effectively making them a white mage, black mage, etc. Again, it seems like you decided to play the game a certain way, and now want to blame the game for it.

        “Races: Jobs being exclusive to respective races means that in order to use them, the player has to have, at minimum, one character from each of the five (now seven) available races in the party”

        Which sucked.

        “instead, we got five humans and one fan service bunny girl. Pitiful. This factor alone has to force a heightened level of creativity by changing the cast and bringing back the level of fantasy that the title claims to be prevalent.”

        All I’m reading HERE is that you personally would’ve liked it if there were more non-human characters you could actually play as. And you’re welcome to that preference, but I don’t see how it’s a FLAW…

        Your lengthy spiel about the characters suggests you’ve never heard of a plot-centered story. Well, this is a story in which the characters feel the gravity of the events unfolding, where the story is about the events and not the characters. Once again, I appreciate that it wasn’t your cup of tea, but that doesn’t make it BAD.

        “Halfway through the game, I maxed out the license board for everyone and nothing set them apart aside from character models and minor stat discrepancies. Boring.”

        Yet you did it anyway…

  2. J
    June 3, 2010

    (read the bottom line first) WOW… I’m a college student, about to get a Bachelors in Fine Art in Game Art & Design two weeks from now. And coming from a person who has dedicated most of their life to games and game design, all i have to say is… WOW YOU COMPLAIN A LOT! you have WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY too much spare time on your hands! GEEZ! You have all that time to sit around and complain about one game, get over it, it’s just a game, this coming from a game-design major! Granted it’s final fantasy and I’m a huge fan of the series as well, and sure it ff12 has its a flaws here and there, some of which I even agree with you on, but wow, LIGHTEN UP! go outside and get some fresh air, hang out with friends, read a book or something, HOLY CRAP you complain a lot!

    but… all that aside, I read your whole blog and I was thoroughly entertained. Thank you for giving me something to read while I put off doing my homework (^_^)

  3. i know
    July 19, 2010

    i agree ive had it since it came out and i still didnt finish it and i finished 7 in like 5 days when i eventualy got hold of it

  4. Manrique
    August 23, 2010

    TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jared
    October 8, 2010

    I COMPLETELY agree with you on this.
    Fran was the mysterious character who you learnt the least about. You don’t know how old she is, nor why she left her village in the first place.
    The only reason I played this game was for the battle system, I like it. Its a nice change from random battle cutscenes.
    I wish they could remake final fantasy X with this type of battle system. Now THAT, is a game with characters and a good storyline.
    Final fantasy 12’s ending was the biggest dissapointment of my gaming life. (not that I’m a hard core gamer anyway.)
    I love this review, you could rant all about how horrible the game is all day long.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      FF10 was awful. The linearity and annoying characters alone kept me from even finishing that one.

  6. Fei Wong
    October 12, 2010

    I honestly didn’t give a damn about any of this games other shortcomings aside from the ones that mattered.

    Complaining about things like the Audio quality and complaining about the fact that the world is so large(which i imagined was suppose to be a good thing?) just makes you sound extremely anal and lessens the value of your opinion by A LOT. I mean seriously it’s not as though it was recorded off a 10 year old’s web cam mic. Get over it. It’s passable,voices can be heard clearly and sound effects can be heard just as well. It’s such an unimportant thing to complain about. So much so that you shouldn’t have even mentioned it in the first place.

    Ok now that i got that out of the way.

    There are three aspects in an RPG that are ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY ESSENTIAL to making said RPG *passable*. Doesn’t mean it will be epic,but *passable*

    Those things are:

    1. Story/ending: I mean come on lets face it. You’re playing the game itself because you’re interested in seeing how the story unfolds and where it leads to. The ending. So in essence if the story sucks then the game itself is garbage and no other aspects of the game even needs to be reviewed,checked or bothered with in any way at all. Think about it. Whats the fucking point?

    2. Character worth/Character development: Can we honestly all agree here that we don’t want to play in the shoes of some homosexual Japanese looking pop star to give a fast example? Good. Also,no I am not homophobic nor am i an anti-gay activist. On the contrary i have 2 friends which just happen to be gay. I simply don’t feel like living the life of one. It’s the same as asking me if i would enjoy getting fucked in the ass. Of course not. So don’t push it on me. The same way they should force me to play such a character in a series i otherwise used to treasure so much. To each his own. Without a doubt or even a second thought i can say with complete confidence that Vaan is by far the most pathetic,embarassing,wimpy,honer-less,ball sackless,(did i mention pathetic? Oh ok just checking) character that i have EVER SEEN IN GAMING HISTORY!! NO!! I am NOT talking about JUST in RPG’s. I AM talking about in the ENTIRE history OF gaming! This assclown makes barney look interesting. Without interesting characters OR characters with good character development and back stories i could honestly not give a shit if they just fucking died of some evil plague. As a matter of fact i encourage it! It would give me reason to play the game to its end just to see them die a horrible and miserable death.

    3: Open world/exploration: Hmmm Final Fantasy XIII anyone? I want to bitch smack the fucking idiot that thought it was a good idea to make Final Fantasy XIII a linear game. I’m not even joking. Put the guy in front of me and I’ll bitch smack the shit out of him and risk law suit charges if caught. He’s a moron and should never work in RPG gaming EVER the fuck again. Just the thought of an RPG being linear makes my skin crawl. Linear and RPG just don’t mix. It’s like putting shit on your toast instead of butter because you were curious how it would taste and wanted to try something new. No! Fuck you *guy who made FFXIII linear*. Fuck you hard and not by me. I only offer you the bitch smack and possibly some shit infested toast that i will gladly wipe my ass with before giving to you to snack on.

    Well that’s it. The three key elements that i think MAKE or BREAK an RPG.

    Seriously,I’m getting really sick and tired of final fantasy lately. It just seems like ANYTHING made after FFX was a complete piece of garbage. Go ahead you fanboys and be modest. Say how those games after FFX are not *so bad* and lie to yourself. I don’t settle for bullshit mediocrity and neither should you tasteless bastards either. If it sucks ass then just say. SAY IT so they can stop making such shitty fucking games!! Stop defending a sell out series that is obviously turned into a repulsive steaming pile of shit that only has it’s very name to defend itself with. Please. Who cares about your ignorant nostalgia. Just be honest with yourself for once. The series sucks balls now and you all know it so just admit it to yourself so that something HOPEFULLY can be done. So the makers finally realize the error of their ways and start making half way decent games again. FUCKING PLEASE!!! I’m begging you bastards!! Acquire some decent taste in RPGs!! PLEASE!!

    • Alan_01987
      November 22, 2010

      FF12 didn’t have any exploration or open world, it was series of zoning/closed environment with a lot of barriers and invisible walls, exploration element wasn’t rewarding or important most of time. Also, Even if there is open world in FF12/FF13, the whole spacing and distance aren’t important because it feature an ATB/turn-based/menu battles. People like you people often tend to romanticized some of these concepts(Massive world) beyond its actual value especially in turn-based games.

      • Fei Wong
        November 22, 2010

        Alright,Alan. First of all,if you’re going to try to make a point then don’t contradict yourself in the very same message.

        “FF12 didn’t have any exploration or open world”

        “Also, Even if there is open world in FF12”

        Second of all,you’re arguing with the wrong guy buddy. I FUCKING HATE Final Fantasy XII. You’ll get no argument from be trying to defend it brother! Oh no you won’t. That’s because i hate that game with a FUCKING PASSION. It was the biggest piece of shit to be created right next to Final Fantasy XIII.

        Yeah,so believe me. I’m not your enemy here man. Anyway,Final Fantasy XII is open world.

        You might not like the game. I fucking HATE the game,but that’s not gonna change anything. You have the ability to free roam in that game and you have open world exploration.

        Does that mean the game is good? No. It’s a fucking piece of shit. However,does it have open world? Yes. Yes it does.

      • Vic 2.0
        December 4, 2014

        “FF12 didn’t have any exploration or open world, it was series of zoning/closed environment with a lot of barriers and invisible walls, exploration element wasn’t rewarding or important most of time.”

        This is just plain false. That there were extremely short loading screens in between the “zones” doesn’t mean it wasn’t an open world, nor does the fact that you could just go in any direction you wanted. “Open world” simply means you have tons of options of where to go throughout most of the game, and you certainly do! Further, exploring granted you all sorts of rewards! From extremely powerful and rare equipment to espers to the rare marks for the bestiary. The amount of optional content in this game was shocking.

        “Also, Even if there is open world in FF12/FF13, the whole spacing and distance aren’t important because it feature an ATB/turn-based/menu battles. People like you people often tend to romanticized some of these concepts(Massive world) beyond its actual value especially in turn-based games.”

        This is incoherent. Now, FF13 is NOT open world, it’s ridiculously linear, even worse than 10 was. It’s even linear in terms of gameplay for crying out loud. But FF12 was amazing.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      You don’t like annoying, pathetic characters or linearity… but you liked 10?

  7. Callum Stanley
    November 13, 2010

    I love the final fantasy main series i’m a massive hardcore fan but final fantasy kicks all hardcore fans like me right in the balls, there are many reasons why i try and playing this game but it bores me soooooo much, i’ve tried playing this game 3 times but got bored of it, i have played them all but 11 and 14 because i dont want to pay to play final fantasy. In my eyes these are my fav ff games 10,9,6,7,4,13,5,3,8,10-2,2,1,12 i love each final fantasy in its own way but i like some more things them other, which made me enjoy 9 more then 7 but i know 7 it’s a god of game but 9 is more fun for me, well back on to 12.

    The 3 main reason why i hate this game

    1. Story- the story is boring as shit, it talks about all this bull shit that i dont care about in a final fantasy it’s all about a group of people which different back story which are told in most detail, but in this game it tell the story extremely slowly and it feel like its draging on way too much, i’m replaying it, so this time i might get in to even tho i will fall asleep.

    2. Characters- Who the fuck is the main character in the game point of view is Vaan but after playing it Ashe is the fucking main character, of course it is, the whole story is about her and coming back to power by stoping the empire, a story or mini quests are use to develop a character, but not on this game the only character we get a lot of backstory is Ashe, in an RPG like final fantasy you need to develop all the character as much as possible like in final fantasy 10 were every party memeber has a back story, but in this u can tell the story without half the party and another thing is there are all dull it’s like a whole group of Keanu Reeves come on make me full in love with the characters game.

    3. Gameplay- it’s like an mmorpg without online and that suck a final fantasy game is a random encounter it all ways have been and it didnt mind that they did a encounter like chrono trigger in ff 13 as it still had the same feel, but in this game you walk up to an enermy and attack which isn’t suited to this series dont change an good format, let gets to some of the new setting like the gambit sytem i am so pissed of at this even in 13 as its the game thing were if you set up a good gambit sytem which can deal with most problems then the game plays it self which is boring in the other games you chose everything on the spot even it the action time battle were u have to think on your feet or the turn base styem were u need to prodict your oppoment, so with 12 it all self played, the summons piss me off wat happened to shiva, ifrit and Bahamut o wait there fucking air ship bull shit i dont want a summons which i’ve never heard i want to use the classics and how they use them i dont mind that as you can use them to level up or deal with if your other character are almost dead but give us the classic and final the stupid linence board wat the stupidest thing i have ever seen it’s like the sphere grid more stupid you need to buy your equipment then watch ages to find it in the board, here a question if u have a hat just put it on you dont need an linence it’s not like your fucking going to drive it and i dont mind it with the spell and ability as it make it feel like the older games were you have to learn them like in 9 but holy crap this game bores me and piss me off

    Final verdict 1/10

    • Cloudxtifaforever
      October 26, 2011

      also it sucked becuase in dungeons and crap there were enemies everywhere it was ridicullus thats why i never got passed the first hours of gameplay

      • Vic 2.0
        December 4, 2014

        This criticism makes no sense. You get interrupted for a battle in all the dungeons is EVERY Final Fantasy, that’s a staple of the entire series! But in 12, it’s a lot better because you can actually avoid the vast majority of the battles if you prefer. It’s more realistic. No more getting sucked into a battle with a dragon you didn’t even see right in front of you whilst strolling through a field 😛

        Plus, you don’t have to wait while the game drags you into a separate screen before battle and then two or more screens showing you what you gained afterward.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      I thought the story was actually MORE interesting than most, because they were talking about issues I could relate to. Realistic stuff like war and politics, but the moral of the story was clearly letting go of hatred and anger. Important stuff, I liked it. And haven’t you heard of plot-driven stories, in which the emphasis is on the events in the world rather than the main characters? This actually allowed me to get more immersed in the world of Ivalice because I wasn’t being forced to think about who’s hooking up with who, which character has personal insecurities, blah blah blah. The characters were already legit, for the most part. Made it easier to respect and relate to them, IMO.

      You are correct about the espers, but more because they were altogether useless in combat.

      I don’t see why it took you so long to find everything on the license board. Everything’s grouped up nice and neat. And I can even explain the whole needing license points to use equipment thing. First off, we take LPs to mean “skill”, “strength”, or some other measure of preparedness. So skills, spells, weapons, and stats are all instantly explained. Next, we realize that HEAVY armor must require some degree of endurance (that’s strength) to wear and still move as quickly as you did without it. Finally, we reason that LIGHT armor absolutely must be magical (there’s no way a cloth shirt can help protect you against swords and teeth otherwise. Therefore, the wearer must be mentally prepared to tap into its magical properties or there’s no point in equipping them in the first place.

      Finally, if you chose to play the game where it “played itself”, that was your fault; not the game’s. All they did was give you the CHOICE, which is always a good thing!

      Obviously, I think FF12 is a great game, and it’s fine if you don’t. But I don’t see how any of these things are actual FLAWS, with the exception of the espers.

  8. Pingback: Ten Things I Hate About Final Fantasy XIII « Blame The Lag

  9. Caleb
    July 5, 2011

    Why couldn’t Vaan have been killed in the beginning and we get Reks for the main story? Ashe would have been awesome too. I hate how the “main character” is virtually unarmored and is so pathetically written into the story. You said it perfect, how it seems as if he’s just along for the ride.
    When I play a final fantasy, especially one with the medieval-ish atmosphere like this, I prefer my heroes to be armored in some way. It’s an aesthetic thing I know, but it helps complete the image for me.
    I did however, love the gambit system. It’s nice having a dedicated healer instead of constantly switching just to cast a heal.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      Vaan is an avatar; he’s MEANT to just be along for the ride. And Ashe WAS the main character, this much is obvious.

  10. Cisco .
    July 8, 2011

    110% disagree.

    I really can’t understand why so much hate. FFXII has the most perfect game-play of all RPG’s (even better than FFXIII). It’s solid, tactical and the most important thing about it is that no one plays it the same way.

    The fact that you might get lost in a video game is in fact a positive issue.

    License board, is another great thing here, where you can definitely make your own way through it.

    The storytelling is good but not the best os FF Series (But that’s just a personal opinion)

    The difficulty is great by the way, I played a lot (Tournesol + 2 Zodiac Spears, experienced gamers will know what am I talking about), and all the hard bosses are optional!

    Certainly that who wrote this, doesn’t have the slightest clue of what a video game is about and it really should stick with casual games.

    my 2 cents

  11. Jack
    August 5, 2011

    I agree 120% this game just feels like it wasn’t even worth playing and It’s sooo long, boring and tedious! my personal worst final fantasy. There is nothing that stands out about this game that I like, characters are soo dry and predictable, story is dry and predictable, and the game play is consists of running around a dungeon lost as hell ruining into enemies for 20 hours and then you’re rewarded with a cheesy cut scene with crappy dialog. This game just stank! I had to force myself to win it.

  12. RoRo
    August 9, 2011

    Reading this has convinced me to sell this game lol. It’s just been sitting on my shelf for about a year since it’s boring as hell. I’m currently playing 13 and I find it way more fun(although not as good as 10) then this one. I’ll probably sell this on ebay later today because I doubt I’ll ever touch it again.
    The biggest problem I had in this game was that there’s no real advebture. In every final fantasy game it gives you this crazy adventurer feeling while you run around with all of your unique party members and see a crap load of cutscenes explaining who they are. I think I’m about ten hours in and I can barely remember anyones names. The only reason I remember Van is because of Dissidia 012.
    I also bought this right after playing Final fantasy 10 so this was a HUGE dissapointment for me.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      FF10 sucked. You get the most annoying characters and worst linearity (only exception being 13) in the entire series. Didn’t even feel like a Final Fantasy game because you could just go and do what you wanted. FF12 was the last true Final Fantasy, period.

  13. Jonathan
    August 20, 2011

    Frankly, I find 12 a welcome breath of fresh air after the crap that was 10. That’s right, I said it. 10 was a piece of crap. Everything about 10, from the linear exploration, to the cloister of trials, to that pathetic game known as Blitball sucked. As for the long exploration of 12, I saw right on! Let’s look at early Final Fantasy games, particularly one. They were full of exploration. I remember even getting a little lost in part one in a couple of areas. So what about getting lost! That’s what makes it fun, rather than just linear and boring. Even 7 and 9 had good exploration. 10 is an overrated piece of garbage. 12 made up for it. Everything about 12, from intriguing side quests, to subtle, but interesting, characters screams winner. I’ve already fallen in love with Balthair and Fran, finding them too be more appealing characters than Lulu or Wakka. How could one not like Bathalair, in particular, a classic and daring rogue who seem to come straight out of the pages of great literature. 12 also has a great storyline. It just takes a while for it to unfold. The license board, though not perfect, is much better than the previous sphere grid. Though 12 isn’t as great as say 9 and 7, it’s still darn incredibly good.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      I agree, FF10 was trash. You forgot to mention how annoying some of the characters were (including the main character). The sphere grid sucked too, because it did to the skills development what they did to exploration: made it ridiculously linear! I know you can TECHNICALLY do whatever you want with it, but it penalizes you in dumb ways like costing you an extra sphere for “backtracking”.

  14. Devin Hero Reed
    September 13, 2011

    #1 on the list reminded me of the huge twist at the beginning of MGS2 that everybody raged about.

  15. Krissy
    November 7, 2011

    Personally, I loved this game. It’s one of my favorites other than 10 and 7. Aye, the characters were not quite as developed as they should have been, but the story kept me interested. Was a little disappointed at the quickness of the final battle, but the rest of the game was challenging and I loved that.

    • GerK
      December 23, 2011

      The majority of you make reading about Final Fantasy boring. Stop bitching about these games, if you find it unbearable that’s your loss, go play Katamari or something your brain can handle.

      Its a good game.

  16. aaa
    June 7, 2012

    this game is the worst final fantasy ever…. even final fantasy 1 was better

  17. Lucy
    November 11, 2013

    I made it some 25 hours into the game before I realized that I’m really not enjoying it. I agree on every point you made, though the audio Quality didn’t really bother me personally – maybe because I didn’t find the dialogue and cutscenes interesting enough to be bothered. 😛

    One thing I’d like to add to the previous comments – I don’t agree on the boss battles involving strategy and posing a nice challenge. Strategy would imply that all you need to win is the right tactic, but as the OP pointed out, it’s entirely possible to miss crirically important gambits that you will then not be able to use. It’s also entirely possible to not get even halfway decent gear for every character,without serious grinding (especially if you’re unlucky with loot), or to mess up your license board because you didn’t consult an online guide to know where the important skills are hidden before you spend most of your points on relatively useless skills that happened to be visible. Of course, you can grind and get more LP to make up for it, but in the end, it’s grind > strategy. Some may find that enjoyable, others not so much. Abd the grinding in FF XII is a particular bore in my opinion. It was much more fun in the Persona series, for instance.

    And this is coming from someone who completed all of the HOMM games on hard, and finished Fire Amblem Awakening and Radiant Dawn (those are real strategy games) without losing a single Person. I don’t think I lack the brains for strategy.

    • Vic 2.0
      December 4, 2014

      I’ve played the game through just fine without grinding for exp or LP. And it’s relatively easy to know where everything is on the license board, because they’re separated in groups (armor with armor, hats with hats, spears with spears, etc.)

  18. Marcelo Gonzalez
    January 19, 2014

    Personally, I love FFXII. It was the game that made me realize games could actually be considered art.

    I love the story up until, like you said, it just kind of tails off and then unleashes a couple of “What the he’ll is happening” moments. For a game that takes upwards of 140 hours to complete (forty for main story), I do agree that they could have done more. If it was production costs, remove some of the infintismal details no one can see and use that time on the Galbraith/Basch storyline.

    As bad as Vaan was, Penelo was JUST as bad. If Vaan was there for no reason (and he wasnt), Penelo had even less of a reason to be there. Fortunately, you don’t have to run around with Penelo through every city you go to and, since she isn’t a big feature in cut scenes, can effectively be removed from the game.

    Another problem I have with the game is that you can’t customize your characters. Everyone ends up with the exact same avilities and very, very similar stats. The only pragmatocally noticeable differences are between Basch and Penelo but, beyond that, they are all interchangeable. And Fran, who can sense the mist, inexplicably has one of the lowest magic power stats.

    All in all, I thought this game was incredible. I can forgive It’s few shortcomings because, in the grand schene of things, they are just that: short. The audio quality was only in voices as the soundtrack for the game is one of the greatest ever created (I listen to it all the time). Vaan is still better than Tidus. The character development could have gone deeper, but apart from seeing their entire lives, it will always be able to be deeper. As far as their interactions, they were 6 people thrown I to this adventure together. It is actually a natural thing for them to pair off and stay more with the people with whom they are familiar, so I don’t have a problem with it.

    I do believe that a story this epic must focus on plot or on character development. This was plot and the characters were simply vehicles through which to experience the plot. Much of the “lack of character development” was so we could fill in the gaps with out own experiences within the game. That’s why Twilight was so horrendously successful: Bella’s character was nearly nonexistent allowing girls to project themselves onto the main character. It is similar to the appeal of a game like Shadow of the Collosus, Where there is LITERALLY both character development and you are left to fill in the blanks. That’s why I’m okay with the characters of FFXII.

    I’m NOT okay with dropping the ball on the story halfway through. That was just a big mistake. But the only one that REALLY matters.

    Overall, I’d give the game a 9.5/10. It does everything so well that you have to really try to NOT love this game. The second half of the plot is the only thing wrong with it. Gameplay, soundtrack, visuals, everything was superb considering it was on ps2.

  19. Vic 2.0
    February 14, 2014

    10. Voice Compression – Even after reading your paragraph here, I’m not quite sure what the problem is. Their voices sounded fine to me, and none of them annoyed the heck out of me like some moments in FF10 and one particular character in FF13 (I’m sure everyone here can guess the name).

    9. No First Person Camera – As you said, this was never in any FF game to start with, so there was no “removal” of it. And again, I don’t see the problem. You can see the detail they put into this game just fine without a first person camera.

    8. Go Anywhere, Get Lost Everywhere – You have to give it time, just like every FF. Some areas are not going to be accessible until you progress far enough in the game. Once more, I don’t see what the big deal is.

    7. The License Board – Okay, gotta quote this one.

    “FFXII’s License Board is a massive grid where you can spend points to learn new magic spells, secondary abilities, and equipment. That’s right, you have to learn to equip stuff. Suspension of disbelief is usually required to make these sort of mechanics fun, but having to grind in order to wear a fancy hat you found in a dungeon reeks of micro management.”

    By now you should’ve come to the conclusion that most of the equipment (in EVERY Final Fantasy, once again) is magical. One can reasonably deduce that a person must be mentally/spiritually “prepared” to don the equipment. While it isn’t always FUN grinding for this purpose, it can be explained with as much effort as it takes to fixate on it and complain about it.

    “But what’s truly annoying is spread out the license boards are. In Final Fantasy X, each character starts at a certain section of the Sphere Grid, requiring you to learn their specific abilities (white magic for Yuna, black magic for Lulu, thievery skill for Rikku, etc) before you can start customizing them to your liking. Because of FFXII’s freedom, you run the risk of a bunch of useless skills to one character, thus taking up more time in order to properly train them to not die with every encounter.”

    That’s on you, sorry. It’s up to you to determine which skills, stats, etc. you need and when. The only explanation for not having it set up before getting into a difficult battle is the player’s own chosen strategy.

    6. Unbalanced Leveling, Difficulty

    “between the free-roaming and optional hunts, your party runs the risk of becoming too powerful in too short a time.”

    …Just like in previous FFs, only minus the optional hunts. We still roamed the maps in search of free stuff and other goodies, and then ended up being super-strong in relation to the level we were “supposed” to be at. I’m sorry, this one just doesn’t make sense to me. If you don’t want to get too strong, either don’t go on these options quests/explorations or hold the button to Flee and you won’t fight any enemies (which means you won’t get exp. points and level up). Simple.

    5. Gambit system – No, there are no gambits you have to find in chests or by defeating enemies. And I will admit that some gambits take too long to get, but for the most part it’s an awesome idea implemented pretty well.

    4. The story was lacking, I’ll give you that one.

    3. It DOES explain Gabranth’s and Vayne’s motivations; you just seem to have missed it.

    2. Characters Lacking Development, Interaction – This one fits in with Story, as the last one kinda did, come to think of it. It seems at this point you are just trying to make it APPEAR like you have 10 points to make, because I guess it looks and sounds more official?

    1. Vaan is indeed “just along for the ride”, and I see nothing wrong with that. In a way, he’s the most relatable character in any FF game, because after all you as the player are also just along for the ride 😉

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2010 by in Bottom Ten and tagged , .
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