previews\ May 8, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Final Fantasy XII - PS2 - Preview 2

E3 2006 First Look Preview

One has only to say the words “Final Fantasy” and any RPG gamer begins to drool. But there is a game in the Square Enix stable, heading for an October release that will send players into a frenzy.

Final Fantasy XII is the kind of role-playing title that will have players’ eyes popping at the gorgeous graphics, and minds boggling at the robust character development and deep gameplay. How deep? Well, if you do every mission available, there is about 200 hours of gameplay here.

Dalmasca has fallen to the mighty Archadian Empire, and the citizens of the tiny kingdom are without guidance and direction. Vaan lives in the capital of Rabanastre and hates the Empire with passion. While trying to break in to steal from the Empire, he meets Princess Ashe, the sole surviving heir to the Dalmascan throne. The two begin a mission to save the kingdom and soon have company on the quest.

New elements to the FF series include gambits, which gives the players the power of a programmer in that you get to give the characters in the story certain behaviors. All the characters in the game are pre-loaded, with six total characters, though you can only carry three on a quest. Should one of the characters die, zoning will return that character to the fold.

Experience earned will not only allow players to level up, but players will also receive license points, which can be used to acquire new skills. Multi-classing could not be easier and players will be able to acquire skills in all the disciplines familiar to FF fans. Weapons and armor are acquired from NPCs, and you will gain the coin by venturing through the game. Characters can be switched out quickly and you can pause the game, even during battles, to select new strategies.

Other options within the game can tailor the difficulty setting. The game itself is both combat and puzzle driven.

Graphically this game is amazing. The lighting and textures bring it to vibrant life and with varied environments there always seems to be something grabbing for visual attention.

This is a single-player experience only.

With a varied game world (drawn from the world of Final Fantasy: Tactics) FFXII seems to be epic defined.

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