Final Fantasy XII: He Who Must Not Be Gamed?

Why is this game as talked about as the ham sandwich I had last night?

This past weekend, I attended my first convention, Otakon. If you’re not familiar, it’s a place where people of all sorts of fandoms, be it anime, video games or comics, come together to fellowship. One of the most exciting aspects for me was cosplay, where many people dress up to the likeness of their favorite characters.

Undoubtedly there were Final Fantasy Cosplays

A wide spectrum of characters were there. Wow! There’s VII’s Tifa as a zombie! Oh, look! There’s Tidus! And in the thick of the expertly crafted garbs, out of the whole 3 days, I saw only one (beautiful) troop of cosplayers for Final Fantasy XII.


Here are a couple of them if anyone is wondering

And I realized, that game gets underhanded a lot, and it was a great in my opinion. Out of all the “modern” Final Fantasies for consoles I would have to say that 12 is the one that is never really spoken about. Even outside of Final Fantasy, 12 can stand alone as a beautiful example of gaming, but even outside of it’s rings, there is no country for it.

Can we talk about that battle system!? The one that was absolutely seamless andincorporated a bit of strategic charm with the gambit system. I remember loving that I could actually see my enemies and escape if I saw fit.

Can we talk about the music too? Rich instruments that immersed you in a feeling of adventure, fear and triumph.

Can we talk about the story?... Wait, maybe not.

Maybe that’s what it is. Even I must admit, though the gameplay mechanics were amazing and fun, it was a game so open that I played for over 123 hours without even touching the main storyline, when I finally got to advancing the story, I wasn’t really feeling it. A confusing and misplaced story with no true character capitalization, that’s where 12 fell flat. Although there were some colorful characters...I’m looking at you Fran and Balthier... and Ashe and Bashe.

Pretty much everyone except Vaan and Penelo.

Square - Enix made a sort of foolish decision when they decided to add Vaan and Penelo to appeal to a certain audience. And it’s not that they’re particularly bland characters either, it’s just that you can tell what they were made for; they’re the square peg in this story’s round hole.

I remember wondering why these characters were placed as main ones when the story MAINLY isn’t about them. They throw off the balance and flow overall, and honestly their addition made the whole batch feel washed out, leaving us with little character concentration and no real grounds to care about them, and especially for a Final Fantasy game, an engaging story is what it needs to be remembered years after the release.

I can look at a Tidus cosplay, and there are all of my memories of that character projected. I can do the same for a Cloud, and even a Serah. But not a Vaan, although I will enjoy his abs. And that’s because 12 never really gave me much of a memory to latch on to.

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Published Aug. 14th 2013

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