12 Final Fantasy XII (2)

Whoops, I definitely got caught up with another game yesterday and it completely slipped my mind what day it was. And so I present to you, my first ever tardy update on the Road to Final Fantasy XV in 2015. Final Fantasy XII isn’t going super swiftly (the closer it gets to my baby’s due date, the busier I find myself – funny, that), but progressing it is. My party is full with all six members now, and the story is beginning to take shape.

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Final Fantasy XII feels like a mish-mash of several past titles in the series. Not like Final Fantasy IX, where there were many nods and homages, but more it feels like themes and ideas were pulled from all over the place to make FFXII what it is.

I already mentioned last week how the battle system is heavily inspired by Final Fantasy XI. Moving down the line to Final Fantasy X, the “main character” doesn’t feel like the main character. Tidus told his story, but the focus revolved almost entirely around Yuna and her pilgrimage. Similarly, Vaan acts as a beacon that everyone else is drawn to; Princess Ashe is the real main character of this tale. She hides from her empire under the alias Amalia, working to right the wrongs made by the corrupt individuals in power at the top. Wait, a princess going by another name and seeking to fix her kingdom’s problems from the shadows? That certainly sounds like Final Fantasy IX.

Additionally, Basch’s story of redemption after being framed for treason is reminiscent of Cecil’s quest for redemption in Final Fantasy IV, following the evil deeds he actually did commit. Obviously their stories don’t completely parallel each other, but this is a good thing. It feels inspired, but not ripped off. Meanwhile the political plot points feel akin to Final Fantasy VI. There’s a lot of uncertainty in those ruling, and a lot of corruption popping up everywhere. There are resistance groups with prominent members of royalty involved (Edgar in FFVI, Ashe in FFXII), and you can’t always trust who you think you can trust. Sure, that’s not exactly a new story in either game, but it still feels like there’s a bit of a franchise connection there.

FF12_Ashe

Moving on from all that, I’m really enjoying the hunts in FFXII. I had a blast with them in my first playthrough, and I’m pleased that they hold up today. I recall thinking the marks in Final Fantasy XIII (when I played it in 2010) were an underwhelming attempt at recreating the joy of hunts in Final Fantasy XII, but then I thought that maybe they were quite similar, but the style of side quest no longer appealed to me. Upon replaying FFXII now I can confirm that it’s still fun here, so it will be interesting to see how I feel about marks when I replay FFXIII next.

At any rate, the hunts are neat in that you gain access to them pretty much straightaway. They start off simple and easy to find, becoming progressively harder and more difficult to track down as the game goes on. Naturally, this means obtaining better rewards for completing those more difficult tasks. They can keep you busy for several hours if you feel like a bit of grinding, or you can just do one or two in between major plots points to take a break. Really well done, as far as Final Fantasy side quests go. I’ve heard that Final Fantasy XIV has FFXII-inspired hunts too, and I’m definitely keen to check them out.

Another thing I like is how your MP slowly replenishes as you walk around. In previous games you could learn abilities or obtain special items that allowed this perk, but in Final Fantasy XII it’s a set mechanic. There have been multiple instances already where I’ve been a bit cocky and tried biting off more than I could chew, using up all my MP quickly to keep my party healed. If I had to rely solely on ethers, as in past titles, I surely would have died. Being able to just run from your attackers for a moment and regain MP is incredibly helpful.

And that, I believe, is that for this week. I know it wasn’t much, but I really didn’t have a lot of time to play. There’s a long weekend coming up though, so hopefully I’ll have ample opportunity to catch up a bit. Remember to give me a follow on Twitter, and keep watch for live updates when I play with the hashtag #RoadtoXVin15.

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