Joined: 13 Jul 2006
|Posted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:57 pm Post subject: Final Fantasy XII: First Impressions?
Being relatively new to this forum, I may not seem like the most reliable source but I have played Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, VII:Dirge of Cerberus, IX, Tactics Advance and Chronicles, so I feel somewhat qualified just to compare this new one to the others. For reference, I am up to the introduction of Doctor Cid.
EDIT: This is obviously going to be too long to read for a lot of people (I had a lot to get off my chest hehe) and so here is a summary for you guys to respond to. DONâ€™T READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO READ THE ENTIRE THING! And do if you donâ€™t hehe. So basically, I wanted to comment on six main points of the game that have disappointed me, or that I think have worked well, and see what you guys thought. These are the Voice Talent, the Music, the Battle System, the License System, the Graphics and the Storyline. I thought the Voice Talent was horrible and was disappointed by most of the characters (each are more in detail below). I was upset to see Nobuo Uematsu leave and felt the music was too much like boring background music. I was impressed and surprised by the fun and challenge of the new battle system and the gambit system, but didnâ€™t like that it was too much like an MMO and too hard to flee from enemies. I loved the licence system and how it reminded me of the sphere system from FFX but thought that it was a little confusing at times, keeping up with licenses and items. I thought the graphics were fine, not perfect, but exactly what you wanted from a Final Fantasy game. And I thought the storyline so far was fairly predictable but the prospects were good. So please tell me what you think of each of these areas, things you liked and most importantly, things that disappointed you.
As you can imagine, I counted down the days of the week until my precious Final Fantasy XII would be out in stores, and when it was I rushed down there in the afternoon with a fully paid pre-order, picked it up, rushed back home and played it all night, not sleeping until I eventually passed out in the early morning.
So I wasâ€¦ surprised to see the new Final Fantasy, how it played, how it felt, etc. For referenceâ€™s sake, Iâ€™ve reached the introduction of Doctor Cid.
First of all, my biggest issue is the voice talent. I guess Iâ€™ll start from the beginning and move throughout. Vaan: As a voice it was alright. The character seemed kind of annoying and boyish, with girlish features, but not too bad and I guess the voice captured that alright. But I must say, James Arnold Taylor remains the undefeated king of video game voice talent in my eyes (Tidus â€“ FFX). Penelo was well done, it wasnâ€™t quite what I thought but it was fine. It works well for her character and is exactly what is needed for Final Fantasy. Now, Balthier. Disregarding all niceties: Ouch. I meanâ€¦ Damn. This really took me by surprise. If youâ€™re like me, youâ€™ve watched that Japanese E3 trailer on a constant loop for the last year and so are used to Balthierâ€™s awesome voice when he yells â€śZabozouâ€ť etc. Balthier is the typical â€śquick-minded, cool, respectedâ€ť character type similar to characters like Zack (FFVII), Baralai (FFX-2) and to a lesser extent Zell (FFVIII) (In fact, I thought Zack was voiced absolutely perfectly for such a cool character in Advent Children, same as Baralai). But Balthier sounds like Roger Moore! I was horrified. They completely changed his character; it doesnâ€™t suit his look or type at all! They morphed him into some self-righteous suave British guy, Iâ€™m devastated. And then Fran opens her mouth. Sheâ€™s supposed to be this â€śdark, brooding, mysterious, quietâ€ť type character like Lulu (FFX) (who was voiced perfectly) and yet she has some queer accent and a weird way of phrasingâ€¦ everything. Two main characters horribly off track I thought â€śDonâ€™t worry, itâ€™ll get betterâ€ť. So Basch, no surprises, his voice is nothing special but suits his character fine and I was fairly happy with it. But his twin brotherâ€¦ Is he Finnish? I really didnâ€™t like the way the voiced him. Vossler: He seems fine, I thought it was well done but a little too like every other overtly polite soldier that are so abundant in this game. Reks, although so far fairly minor, I thought his voice was perfect, the exact type of beautiful voice you want in Final Fantasy. Now onto Vayne. This character has so much potential, (like an evil Laguna (FFVIII)) and needed a sort of slow-speaking evil type voice like you could imagine for Kuja (FFIX) or like Nooj (who was perfect). Instead he has a slightly too high-pitched, annoying British self-righteous voice. So much British! His little brother, Larsa: I didnâ€™t know if this was a boy or a girl until Judge Ghis addressed him as such. I could tell it was a horrible (British) deep womanâ€™s voice and I didnâ€™t like it. It was just bad. Ondore, a white guy, had the type of mildly cheeky but authority-filled feel that Cid (FFVIII) kind of had and so needed a cool collected voice, but instead sounds Indian?! The voice failure can even be seen in minor characters. For example, the judges, who all have annoying British self-righteous voices (like we didnâ€™t already have enough). And Old Dalan. You can tell by how he acts and looks that he is supposed to be the sort of â€śgoofy, inquisitive wise-manâ€ť type (a little like Master Roshi from DBZ but less perverted ^_^) but instead seems to be a Scottish guy doing a bad Indian accent. And the cockney Imperials? No. God no. Who the hell did that? And why? Was the voice caster deaf? Or dead? Not a good start.
There were a few other areas that disappointed me. Like no more Nobuo! It seems like Square Enix have officially shaken free of Nobuo Uematsu and his tuneful compositions. Some may think this an upgrade but I personally know no better composer than him. However, if someone had to take his place, I would be happy for it to be Masashi Hamauzu. He did half of the score for Final Fantasy X and everything for Dirge of Cerberus and has a beautiful feel to his music (one of the songs I noticed from Dirge of Cerberus was emulated for Giza Plains). To some of you this may not mean much but to me, the music was one of the most notable things about Final Fantasy. Also, with the absence of random battles, there is no chance for rich environment inspired tuneful melodies to then be interrupted by a catchy battle theme. Instead, the composer has tried to encompass both, making it more reminiscent of the annoying looping background music of Star Wars games.
The battle system, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I must say I was looking forward to some random encounters breaking the serenity of the surroundings and then standing doing turn based damage with battle systems weâ€™ve grown to know and love (har har) but the new system is quite fun and challenging. Coupled with the gambit system, itâ€™s a very refreshing new bit of gameplay. Two downsides though, one being it feels a little too much like an MMO in that it kind of plays itself (especially with more complex gambits) and that originally, if you had run out of phoenix downs you could run back through dungeon, fleeing from battles that come your way and healing afterwards in relative safety, however now you are forced into every battle you come across and it is a lot harder to run (such as when every single character but Basch was killed, and I was on my last potion with no phoenix downs and I had to run away from countless skeletons and four Bangaa >_<). Itâ€™s good though, and Iâ€™m happy to accept the change. At least when fighting, the characters donâ€™t really talk heheh.
I really like the license system (similar to the sphere system of Final Fantasy X). I think it works well, and is also better than FFX in that it is unlocked through LP (essentially AP) which are available by simply levelling, instead of searching far and wide for rare keyspheres and the like. It works well, lets you see (and possibly unlock) everything you could want to look into. Although knowing licences and having the items to use them does get a little confusing.
The graphics seem stunning, although nothing will ever match Advent Children I reckonâ€¦ I mean they arenâ€™t perfect, but theyâ€™re exactly what you want from a Final Fantasy game so no complaints. And the costumes are fairly awesome, I love the character designs, as I always have and itâ€™s good to see some things never changeâ€¦
Storyline so far has been good. A little clichĂ© and fairly predictable, it delivers what it needs to and I feel like I can look forward to plenty of plot twists and developments so no problems there.
Overall, so far itâ€™s been not what I expected, and Iâ€™m definitely bummed (and feeling a little guilty) about the fact that the voices have got me down so much. Iâ€™d really appreciate your feedback on each of the main areas:
Thanks so much, sorry for the length!