With Final Fantasy XII well on its way to being localized for its October release, Square Enix dropped by to give us a look at a work-in-progress version of the US game. Besides the expected translation, reps showed off a display enhancement to the upcoming game over its Japanese counterpart. After showing off this new addition, reps gave us a quick sampling of various aspects of this highly anticipated game.
The big news in the demo was that the game is being enhanced to include 16x9 widescreen support for the US. Though the new display option doesn't include progressive-scan support, it's still a smart addition that highlights the game's gorgeous visuals. The new display showcases the detailed art style in the game, as well as the impressive scope of its massive environments, especially the cities. It's quite cool to roam the various settlements you'll encounter, which will range from sprawling metropolises to more modest-sized burgs.
Besides the new display feature, the demo gave us a quick run through of FFXII's various gameplay systems, which have either been revamped or seen significant tweaks. The end result is a lean new system that's probably the most customizable the series has ever seen. You'll be able to guide character development anyway you like for the most part, letting you have parties of characters that are buffed up to suit your play style.
Our demo also gave us a chance to listen to more of the US audio, which has a distinct flavor from the previous entries in the series. In many ways, the game has a very European flavor, as many of the character voices we heard were accented English. The distinctive voices fit in well with the game's story and give the game a unique feel that works.
We don't expect it to be much of a shocker to hear that Final Fantasy XII is shaping up to be one of the PlayStation 2's top titles this fall. Though the franchise has always been known for its epic adventures and overall quality, XII seems to be packing an extra layer of polish. The tweaks made to the traditional FF gameplay mechanics really give the game a fresh feel that we haven't seen in a long time, which pleases us to no end. With FFXIII set for the PlayStation 3, FFXII is likely to be the last FF game on the PS2 (unless Square does a FFX-2-style side game for it, anyway), and as such, we're glad to see the series going out on a classy note. Final Fantasy XII is currently slated to ship this fall for the PlayStation 2. Look for more on the game in the next few weeks.