E3 '07: Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings North American Hands-On

Square Enix is looking to change things up with this upcoming handheld game set in the world of Ivalice. We've got a first look at the North American version.

For years now, you've known what to expect when it came to combat in Final Fantasy games. Though recent games have mixed up the formula a bit, it's still been about small parties of heroes taking on small parties of enemies in either turn-based or real-time confrontations. The upcoming Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for the Nintendo DS will throw a monkey wrench in that design with a mixture of traditional role-playing game elements and real-time strategy combat that serves to create an entirely new Final Fantasy experience. While we've played the Japanese version of the game before, today at the Square Enix booth we had a chance to see the localized version of the game for the first time.

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Helmed by game director Motomu Toriyama, Revenant Wings is one of the many games that make up the so-called Ivalice Alliance, a series of games all set in the Final Fantasy world of Ivalice. It's also a sequel of sorts to 2006's Final Fantasy XII, and several of the characters from FFXII will find their way into Revenant Wings, including hero Vaan--who's upgraded from wannabe to full-fledged sky pirate in this game--and his pal Penelo.

The demo version of the game shown off at the Square Enix booth featured the first tutorial that was found in the Japanese version of the game. The idea of the tutorial is to get you used to moving your units in the game with the stylus and touchpad. Moving characters is as simple as sweeping over them with your stylus and then touching the spot on the screen where you would like them to move. You can scroll through the level with the directional pad as well. Just as with the Japanese version of the game, the characters moved at a fairly measured pace across the screen--we were hoping for an increase in the pace from the Japanese version, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards at this point.

The tutorial dungeon had a number of monsters to attack--to do so, you simply tapped the enemies with the stylus, and Vaan and Penelo would automatically lay into them, with Vaan dealing physical attacks and Penelo automatically healing as they went. After defeating those enemies, the pair meet up with Balthier and the rabbit-eared Fran, who join the team as NPCs for a final showdown with a boss monster at a huge structure known as the Glabados gates. As you fight the boss, new enemies are summoned from a spawn point, and it's here you get a glimpse at the flexibility of Revenant Wings' combat. While Fran and Balthier deal with the boss, you could send Vaan to sweep up the stragglers while Penelo stays put and heals. Or you could keep Penelo with Vaan and make sure his health is maximized.

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The demo ended once the boss was defeated, so we didn't get a chance to see many of the features that will be part of the final game--including the ability to summon creatures tied to each of the main characters, which eventually greatly increases the number of characters that make up your party; as well as the various special attacks that each member of your party can use in battle.

Because the RTS genre is still looking to gain a foothold in the Japanese gaming market, Revenant Wings is a fairly new experience there. However, Toriyama has said that his team is aware of Americans' predilection for RTS and, as a result, the North American version of the game will be tuned to challenge an audience that's more experienced in the genre. Key improvements to that end will be the ability for enemy units to set their own gambit and more realistically react to situations in combat, and a new "deep dungeon" designed for experienced RTS players, complete with a new boss battle. The game is due for release on November 20 and we'll be keeping you updated with all of the latest in the coming months.

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92 comments
cris707
cris707

this is gonna be good!!

stodawizyed
stodawizyed

i'm not sure if i'll buy a copy of this game. with the FF moniker, i'm naturally attracted, but i think i prefer the more traditional turn-based systems. in any case, i'm much more excited about the FFIV DS remake than this.

kappareign
kappareign

i hope this fairs better than heroes of mana...

popping4it
popping4it

nah no psp version this game makes heavy use of the stylus. sprites on a 3d background and the fighting is in real time. Im looking foward to FFTA2 more tho. turnbased is the way to go imo. actually the backgrounds look very good they're in 3d so this does have better graphics than ff3.

mezz-mezz
mezz-mezz

cant wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! looks like tactics but better :D :D :D

peterj_123
peterj_123

i gettin this as im gettin my ds in about 3 weeks!so first buyin final fantasy 3.

Ruhdezee
Ruhdezee

this game is a must buy for me

ColdstoneX3
ColdstoneX3

yeah, pretty sure it will look better, gonna be interesting to see how this turns out

shadyelf
shadyelf

Interesting...And the graphics will look better on an actual DS i'm sure.

The_Consequence
The_Consequence

Of course this has worse graphics than FF3! In FF3 all the engine had to worry about was 5-9 anythings on screen at any one time, and they attacked in order. In this game there will likely be 15-25 sprites on screen that will be attacking in real time, that's a much greater strain on the graphics card than if they were just sitting there cycling through maybe 4 or 5 different sprite animations.

mos333
mos333

Um...no, it's 3D. There are ''free missions'' which can be played between chapters. I wish I understood the story, it looks like there are several twists. *SPOILERS* One second, you're fighting that rabbit woman and that gun guy, and in a few missions, they're fighting for your team.

axl_reloaded
axl_reloaded

i played this game and trust me you will have soo much fun. even thou i couldnt understand a single word i was od'ing 24/7 on the game.

GameProXtreme
GameProXtreme

I heard this game is like a after story of FF12 like X-2 was. It has lots of sidequest missions of treasure hunting and you meet various characters that didnt appear in ff12 and the some of the dialogue is supposed to be funny. Its not even 3D its more of a 2D animation which looks good for being a DS.

mario_bros64
mario_bros64

i have always liked ff games just hope its better then the last

Shinta0
Shinta0

I can't wait to play this!!!

Xemurai
Xemurai

Geez, I can't wait to play this game! :)

KQT
KQT

I'll definitely get this game when it comes out!

tfaa
tfaa

This game looks gorgeous for a ds game. I wish i had this to play at work right now....bored as hell!!!

mos333
mos333

Complaints about graphics? WTF? I own this game, along with many others known to have good graphics like MPH, MKDS, Mario Slam Basketball, and this is by far one of the best in graphics. The characters are crap, yeah, unlike in Heroes of Mana, but the environments are amazing, along with the frequent cutscenes and the occasional movie. The images can't show that.

krazykyle75
krazykyle75

OK everyone crying over graphics not being good it is a friggin handheld game. Its to travel with it mite not have the best graphics but its fun on the go.I bet you guys werent crying about graphics wene the first gameboy came out. So if u want good graphics play on the damn computer of urs

PDCollins6
PDCollins6

I don't care what other people say but Final Fantasy games never get boring.

69
69

@ Foolwestcoast33 Um, this sounds a LOT more like FFT then FF12. I used to watch movies on my pc while i leveled up in FF12. @Megamanx121 No way this games gonna flop. Numbers might be lower in Japan then normal FF game sales, but the numbers will be absurdly high (ie, normal) in North America. @ The haters. I dont get why ppl are bashing the graphics. They look fine, and on par with what you'd expect out of the system/franchise.

QuoBi
QuoBi

Wow, i wish nintendo was more bent on targeting american gamer audiences enough to change the game to be more challenging. too bad all they care about is the non-gamer audience at this point.

ShanghaiHeaven
ShanghaiHeaven

Penelope looks so much better. So was a cool character, but I always thought she looked kinda retarded before...

My_Name_Is_Sin
My_Name_Is_Sin

Everytime I think this looks good a flash of Dirge of the Cerebus's gameplay enter my mind. Freaky

TheJamin
TheJamin

First final fantasy to flop? erm, im guessing you never played Crystal Chronicals for the gamecube..... How could they call it final fantasy? Bah! humbug! this looks pretty cool, im going to go play it now! *loads MK5 neo flash into ds"

strikersgun
strikersgun

if u guys hate the graphics so much then get a psp cause the ds was made to be fun and this looks like 1 of the best rpg the ds will get for a long time

-Sparkz-
-Sparkz-

I hate these people who keep criticising the graphics. They dont look too bad and its the gameplay that counts anyway. I'm all for this game, FFRW is going to be awesome... PERIOD

megamanx121
megamanx121

I agree with Raykuza, I too have a bad feeling about this one...I could go as far as calling this game "The first Final Fantasy game that has ever flopped". I sincerely hope it doesn't flop or bomb, because, well, Square Enix has a reputation here...

glitchgeeman
glitchgeeman

Hm, a game that's actually being made more challenging for us Americans than for the Japanese. This is new, it used to be the other way around.

evelord
evelord

i'd oledi played this game!...its worth! the story line is better than FF3. and i like the env graphic...so so colorful ^^ keke im oledi pre-order the US version for my collection!

brookb4644
brookb4644

I dont know what you're all sayin about bad graphics...if youv actually seen it running you will know the environments are 3D...it captures the same style found on the PS2 game...iv played the japanese version and its way more fun the FF3 on DS

Raykuza
Raykuza

As much as I love Final Fantasy and as much as I adore Ivalice above all other settings, I have a bad feeling about this one...

gameroz
gameroz

the graphics look different then FFIII hopefully this one will be as good as FFIII

Raiko101
Raiko101

The DS needs more RTS games. It's touch screen controls are perfect for the genre. I hope more developers follow in Square-Enix' footsteps.

Norther81
Norther81

pfff.... give me back the REAL FF fights!

JelloHawk
JelloHawk

I just hope on the US version of this game they don't make every character to look more younger then they actually are.

rosacea
rosacea

i wonder how heroes of mana will compare to this. they look like they are the same gameplay wise. also about the graphics for this game , i think they look great especially when the lil sprites move

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

sol_blade22: It's not like LostMagic, the graphics are better and you don't have to draw runes every 3 seconds and get hand cramps.

DaPsPPlaya
DaPsPPlaya

Hahahahaha the graphics are awsome, you know not of what you speak son. Anyways all I can say is haha to anyone who bought an import because in all reality the u.s. version will be soo much better its rediculous. So here's to FFrw woot woot.

sol_blade22
sol_blade22

Looks a bit too like Lost Magic for my taste

matty_sen
matty_sen

man this game looks good but it has...its SHJT!! grahics honistly i know is all close up but is not even 3d at lest ff3 was full 3d who cares if its deformed 3d but here we hav a 2d game that looks like a old saga megadrive 18-bit back in the day

AL13NK1LL3R
AL13NK1LL3R

sweeetttt.... wonder if they should add wi-fi multiplayer to the game like co-op thing.. i doubt it but that would be another freakin sweet add on :D