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Thread: So My Thoughts on FFXII

  1. #1
    Grand Shriner The Anti-Existence's Avatar
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    So My Thoughts on FFXII

    I've just completed FF12. I wanted to give a list of my thoughts and feelings on the game. I also want to address a few things I've heard argued about even since the game was released (though i just now understand what they are about).

    Initial Thoughts:

    1. The combat system is great. It took me off-guard at first, being so different from all teh other FFs I've played, but I think it's really more immersive than any of the others I've played.
    2. Hardest storyline boss all game for me was The Elder Wyrm. Damn you status effects! Though if the optional Demon Wall counts, I also beat it after a while. I mainly fought it to get the Demonbane and to practice learning how to use Quickenings.

    Now, onto the real meat of the topic.

    The Story:

    It's good. The best FF story yet? Hell no. In maybe the Top 3? Yes. While there's not nearly enough character development, the actual plot of the game is very intriguing. Not many twists and turns but I don't think it tried to have them. It certainly didn't seem like they were trying to keep the fact Gabranth is Basch's brother a secret.

    Also I like the trend of public speaking with the villains now. Edea(Ultimecia) iN VIII was happy to give a delightuflly Evil Speech but then Seymour came along and was introduced by giving a friendship speech. Vayne did the same thing and even if I hadn't known then, I would have known from that that he was the Big Bad.

    Really, the Empire itself was a far more interesting antagonist than Vayne. All the scenes with The Judges and Emperor kept me hooked.

    The Ending:

    I had more trouble getting to the bosses than the bosses themselves. The ending was decent I suppose. Nothing too unexpected but I wish it had gone on longer. Would have been more morable had Balthier and Fran actually died.

    My Favorite Scenes:

    1. The entire bit at the end of the Pharos with Gabranth as well as Cid's and Reddas' deaths.

    2. Judge Bergan's crazy speech

    3. Vaan and Ashe in Jahara

    4. I'll just be general and say every other scene with The Judges.

    5. Balthier's and Fran's Introduction

    6. Zalera's Introduction

    My Favorite Characters:

    1. Gabranth - The plot did a much better job setting him up as the antagonist than Vayne. Vayne has actually a very minimal role in the plot when screentime is considered. Gabranth is just more interesting as well. I just kept waiting for his and Basch's moment to finally confront each other.

    2. Balthier - What can I say? He's Balthier. It's like if you put James Bond and Jack Sparrow in a blender and created Pure Awesome. It helsp he undergoes some good development what with hsi father and all.

    3. Ashe - Surprised me how much i actually liked her. She was quite the stick-up-her-ass bitch at first but she gets a lot more lax with time and I started to like her.

    Now to address the aforementioned controversial topic:

    Vaan:

    Oh Vaan. Even before XII came out I remember people getting on the boards to rant about you. Then the game came out and most of them still ranted about you. Only now they threw in "he's not even the main character!" Well perhaps not. But he's definitely the second most important member of the party. It would go Ashe then Vaan then Balthier then Basch than Fran then Penelo.

    I don't care what people say about Basch "should have been" the hero. The fact is, he's not. In fact, from the moment Vossler is killed up until the ending of the Pharos, Basch is completely worthless storyline wise. He had no reason to exist for all those dungeons and hours.

    Also, as for Vaan vs. Tidus, there is no comparison. None. Tidus is an abomination; a mindless blackhole who serves to suck all enjoyment and intelligence out of everything near him. Tidus is what happens when you give a character -too much- personality. Vaan, in contrast, had just enough personality to be interesting. He had his dream of being a sky pirate which evolved into him showing he was just trying to distract himself from the truth of Reks' death. Vaan is just a normal kid. He's...average. not great, not terrible.

    Voice-Acting:

    1. Judge Zargabaath - I just call him Judge Kain.

    2. Reddas

    3. Balthier

    4. Gabranth

    5. Dr. Cid

    6. Ashe

    Favorite Music:

    1. [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

    2. [Hidden link. Register to see links.] This one may be unusual for some but I think every dungeon should have a satisfying conclusion theme. It's all well and good to have a big epic boss battle but I want something nice and peaceful to show me all that Hell I just went through as worth it. When i first heard this theme in the Tomb of Raithwall, I felt that peace and satisfaction.

    3. [Hidden link. Register to see links.] It's amazing that a lot of the lesser significant dungeons in this game have the best music... This music would make you think you were off to some distant battle instead of fighting rats in a sewer. This music is the music to my most hated level in thIS game. i got lost in the Waterway so many times and I probably would have gone crazy and broken the game had it not been for this great tune keeping me calm.

    4. [Hidden link. Register to see links.] Hey after all the big important and mystical music, how abou a cute little theme for a cute little girl? Penelo was in my main party from the second I could have her... Sexiest chick in FF12.

    5. [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

    6.[Hidden link. Register to see links.]
    .

    Conclusion:

    In my personal rankings of FF games, where to put 12.... Well, none will ever beat FFIX that much I am certain of. But I did have more fun with this story and world than either FFVII or X. I suppose overall VII and X had a better, more well-developed cast but well-developed doesn't mean memorable or likable. Apart froM Fran, I liked the party very much. While with FFX, I just liked Auron and Rikku.

    So yeah, I think I'll place this as my second favorite FF game ever. Well dne FF12.

    So those are a quick draft of my thoughts on the game after just beating it. i'll probably think of more.

    So anyone here share my thoughts or disagree with them?
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  2. #2
    Zak
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    You know you can actually skip Elder Wyrm and beat the game without fighting it... exit the jungle to the Feywood and from there go to Paramina Rift (running from everything if your level is too low).

    I actually found most of the storyline bosses to be a joke, in fact most of what I liked about this game was all of the optional stuff.

    Thanks Neg for the banner!!

  3. #3
    Sewer Diver Smarty's Avatar
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    The plot certainly had a lot of potential, but it wasn't developed very well imo. It didn't flow naturally you know (I don't know how else to describe it). This can be justified by the fact that there were two writers. The first one stopped writing because of some issues (family is most likely from what I've read).

    For the most part I found it confusing, and while I do agree with you that the scenes with the judges were awesome, for the most part I didn't know what the hell was going on really. FFXII is a great game, but not really because of the story. It took me plenty of playthroughs to grasp the storyline well to be honest :P

  4. #4
    Zak
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    I also couldn't get into the story until a few playthroughs.

    I have to say though, if it weren't for the optional stuff, and you just played going where the story told you to, this game would be way too short and boring, for me at least.

    Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed FFXII, but all I really see it as is the ultimate challenge to keep a completionist busy, with the story just being the icing on the cake. Some of the optional bosses were among the hardest bosses in any video game I've ever played, so epic that I sometimes even found myself keeling over sweaty after having beat one which I was at for an hour.

    But the music is also amazing and underrated. I'm actually glad you included Garamsythe Waterway in your list, that's actually one of my favorites as well and never heard it mentioned outside of soundtrack lists.

    My top tracks consist of (in no particular order)

    Rabanastre
    Theme of the Empire
    Rebellion
    The Beginning of the End
    The Garamsythe Waterway
    Seeking Power
    Naivety
    The Feywood
    Chocobo XII
    To the Place of the Gods
    The Sochen Cave Palace
    An Imminent Threat (Henne Mines)

    and Clash on the Big Bridge if it counts. Then again this would be my favorite version of it.

  5. #5
    Ultros' New Sidekick JohnnyMercyside's Avatar
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    I've always thought FF12 was very weak, I just didn't get into it. The storyline was very bland, the only main character I thoroughly liked was Balthier. If I play it again it's only because I didn't do everything on the game, and I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

    I see why you like it, I just don't agree, I think it's by far the most bland of the modern FF games.
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    I Am The One They Call: Meowth Mixer Tanis's Avatar
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    I think the problem with FF12 is that the story felt like it was secondary.

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    CC
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    I love every single aspect of XII except its story, because of exactly what Tanis said.

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    Shriner
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    I think the plot/story was good. The problem I think was the pacing, VAST maps to explore, Countless sidequests (which in someway was good). It was easy to get sidtracked to explore sidequests/level up/hunt down rare creatures etc, that made the game seem slow paced. If you just play through ignoring the sidequests and the rare creatures etc and level up here and there for a reasonable time, the plot and story do progress at a reasonable rate. But like any FF sucker, I love my sidequests

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    Carrot Kid krissy's Avatar
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    this is one of the best stories in video games overall. i don't understand the complaints about it. it doesn't try too hard, the characters are subtle and dynamic, and you never feel choked with drama which seems to be the replacement for proper plots nowadays. like above poster says, pacing might've been an issue of the plot, but this game is huge.
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    Ultros' New Sidekick JohnnyMercyside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BalambStudent View Post
    I think the plot/story was good. The problem I think was the pacing, VAST maps to explore, Countless sidequests (which in someway was good). It was easy to get sidtracked to explore sidequests/level up/hunt down rare creatures etc, that made the game seem slow paced. If you just play through ignoring the sidequests and the rare creatures etc and level up here and there for a reasonable time, the plot and story do progress at a reasonable rate. But like any FF sucker, I love my sidequests
    I think you're spot on, most FF fans love their sidequests and are perfectionists, so the vast maps didn't help your typical fan, because we'd just explore the entirety of the map looking for random boxes and rare monsters. FF12 was more sandbox-esque than any other FF game (unless you might want to count the MMORPGs).

    Quote Originally Posted by riotmedic View Post
    this is one of the best stories in video games overall. i don't understand the complaints about it. it doesn't try too hard, the characters are subtle and dynamic, and you never feel choked with drama which seems to be the replacement for proper plots nowadays. like above poster says, pacing might've been an issue of the plot, but this game is huge.
    Disagree, the characters were very, very bland. How can a character be subtle and dynamic? The words almost contrast eachother; subtle being the more appropriate word.

  11. #11
    Shriner
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    The main problem I think regarding the character development is that it seems the developers themselves fell in love with certain characters (Fran/Balthier) the same as we did so spent more time on them. Vaan and Penelo I believe were added VERY late in the games development so it could show some form of "whatever" when it came to fleshing them out. There was a dynamic it seems, Fran/Balthier...Ashe/Basch, worked perfectly, even a Vaan/Penelo seems more strained than the others...The late addition to Vaan/Penelo in the games production may have indeed been what contributed to the plot/story becoming grinding as the majority of the game had been finished when they were added and so therefore would have to retroactivly fit them into what could have been a very tight and concise story.

  12. #12
    Ultros' New Sidekick JohnnyMercyside's Avatar
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    Possibly, it was a bad move to quickly think of Vaan, I know why they did it, but it was so late in development that it really stained the game. You don't think of your main character for your game on a napkin.

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    Carrot Kid krissy's Avatar
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    i mean dynamic as in the characters changed and developed over time. that's how i was always taught about the word dynamic in terms of literary characters. i don't mean exciting or eccentric

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    Ultros' New Sidekick JohnnyMercyside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riotmedic View Post
    i mean dynamic as in the characters changed and developed over time. that's how i was always taught about the word dynamic in terms of literary characters. i don't mean exciting or eccentric
    Damn those double meaning words

    But who changes? I don't really see much change in FF12 characters, not really. Possibly Basche, and most definitely Gabranth, I can't think of many.

  15. #15
    Carrot Kid krissy's Avatar
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    well, the way i saw it
    vaan goes from wanting vengeance to realizing that vengeance won't bring his brother back, at least that's what i got from his big speech to ashe the night at the village
    ashe also begins to second guess her own actions so much to that she totally approaches the acquisition of power in a different light by the end of the game
    larsa's perception of the empire changes as all the plot gets uncovered, and his perception of the empire is a large part of his character (maybe one of the main reasons he was even in the game to begin with)

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    Ultros' New Sidekick JohnnyMercyside's Avatar
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    Hmmm fair points, but I just felt that the changes you mention aren't more special than in previous games. But you made some fair points.

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    Gods for-fend.... Purrr's Avatar
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    FFXII is the offline MMO imo.


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    I Am The One They Call: Meowth Mixer Tanis's Avatar
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    Ya know despite my grief with parts of the game, I was kind of pissed that the 'Zodiac' version never made it state side.

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    Shriner
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    I know what you mean, it would be nice her ein UK too

    That was the problem I had with FF X. By the time you get really decent EVERYONE can hit for 99999, and all have the same abilities. Same with 12, Everyone eventually had ALL the same abilities which can take away some of the challange. I don't mind it when you can get a few cross over abilities, that would be fun. But why would say, someone like Balthier use vast magics, (Guns could have been way more powerful in my opinion).

  20. #20
    Onion Kid
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    It just felt like too much of a dungeon crawl with little bits of story added in here and there. The battle system is great though.

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    I couldn't get into the story and the character relationships and backstories were lacking. I mean, you have great, deep character connections in the previous games (Cecil/Kain, Cecil/Golbez, Locke/Celes, Edgar/Sabin, Shadow/Relm, Cloud/Aeris, Cloud/Tifa, Squall/Rinoa, Zidane/Dagger...you get the picture.) FFXII didn't have any of that. It didn't really have anything deep. But it was all still decent. Plus, all the hunts and the rest of the sidequest stuff and the locations and graphics more than made up for a weak story. I do like this game. Far better than FFXIII.

  22. #22
    Grand Shriner The Anti-Existence's Avatar
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    I wouldn't exactly say Cecil and Golbez had a really good connection.
    ...

    Since my initial thoughts on the game I've played it through a couple more times.

    FFXII is not a character-driven story. The plot is happening far away from our heroes. Most of the scenes in Archades are what really matters.

    This is why a lot of people bawww about nothing happening or there beign no character development. Both these claims are shockingly false but it's easy to see why some people think they're true.

    As much as I love the game I will easily agree that the pacing was phenomenally bad. You'll get lost in doing some random shit and by the time you're getting back to the main story stuff you'll have long since stopped caring about it.

    I also like to compare FFXII's pacing to a very slow moving train with each segment of the story clanking and jangling along. Notice how Vaan is the focal chaacter up until the Tomb of Raithwall and how Basch fades into obscurity for most of the game after Vossler dies. Or how Balthier is pretty irrelevant up until you head for Archades which is halfway into the game.

    I will not blame anyone if they can't get into this storytelling but I've managed to overcome it and appreciate the story anyway. I love the theme of overcoming your past and how both the heroes and villains are struggling with it. Most of the cast do in fact develop and it's usually done in great fashion. See the peak of Ashe's and Vaan's character development at the top of the Pharos.

    Speaking of which, I also think the Pharos might be my favorite FF final dungeon.

  23. #23
    Grand Shriner
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    I can't agree that the story is not character driven - its pretty much all about the characters. The change in directors means that when the main story starts to really get going in the second half, the game suddenly found itself without its writer - who was the one man who knew what was supposed to be happening in the plot. Its like if J Michael Stracynski had left halfway through Babylon 5 and just left a few scribbled notes on what was supposed to happen next for a new guy to try and make sense of.

    The game sets up a great story, but when it comes time to deliver, when its time for the main villains to really make their move etc, it all gets a bit muddled and rushed. This is because the new director didn't write the story, and was playing catch up, trying to sort out how and where to go with the story. I'm sure the departing director gave him the basic gist of what was supposed to happen, but it still left an unfinished story with characters not his own, in the hands of a new director.

    So a lot of stuff gets pushed aside. The whole thing with Vaan's brother (and indeed Vaan's entire connection to the story) gets scaled right back, the connection between Ashe and Vaan (presumably a Star Warsesque Luke and Leia style thing), is almost completely abandoned, aside from one short conversation in Jahara, and the scene at the top of the Pharos. Basically the game implies they will be sharing top billing with the fact they both see 'ghosts' when around the stones, and with that dream sequence where Vaan and Ashe are standing in the ruins of Nabudis (which is an optional location, and neither of them recognise it from their dream when you go there). But the new director decides not to bother with any of that, and just lets it all slide.

    There's also the odd fact that Gabranth is appointed as Larssa's bodyguard, and his redemption is supposed to come because he considers him to be a good and honourable master as opposed to the prideful and obsessed Vayne. Which is great, except that you never actually see Gabranth with Larssa - ever! He is not accompanying Larssa when you meet the Gran Kiltias, he isn't with him in the various scenes involving the Judges contemplating a coup against Vayne etc etc. He is also alone when he confronts your party at the Pharos - so when exactly is he supposed to have built up this respect for Larssa, given that he is never actually in a scene with him until the very last sequence of the game?

    I have no problem with the first half of this game. I consider it amongst the very, very best storytelling of this whole series, and the bulld up promised a truly great and epic story. But the change in directors was devastating. And I don't blame the new guy, because the story wasn't his and the characters weren't his, so unless a miracle happened, him coming in halfway through was always going to be tough.

  24. #24
    ~*~*~ FIGHT SMACK IN THE ORPHANAGE's Avatar
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    Even with its problems, 12 is still probably my favourite in the series. I only recently played it all the way through for the first time and really liked how little melodrama there was.

    I absolutely hated it when it first came out, though.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrykolas View Post
    I have no problem with the first half of this game. I consider it amongst the very, very best storytelling of this whole series, and the bulld up promised a truly great and epic story. But the change in directors was devastating. And I don't blame the new guy, because the story wasn't his and the characters weren't his, so unless a miracle happened, him coming in halfway through was always going to be tough.
    I consider the Intro and the Tutorial(The Whole Prologue) the Best Storytelling on the Series. From that point until you get to meet Ondore is exactly the Opposite.

    But after that, I like how it turned out. Of Course with some reservations. Which many people have already pointed out.
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