While a departure from what most come to expect from a FF game, XII is still an amazing adventure from start to finish.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It's official. Final Fantasy XII has officially replaced FFVII as my all-time favorite Final Fantasy game. It only took thirteen years for a game to come along to do that, but it most certainly has now.
I'd go into all the reasons why, but then I'd never be able to stop typing. I find nothing wrong with the game and quite literally everything, from major aspects such as graphics and music and the user interface to incredibly minor things like how the Hunt system is set up and the fact you walk into stores and they all look different and are filled with fellow shoppers and appropriate merchandise on display, is phenomenal. If nothing else, the game wins out, not just over all other numbered FF games but over all other RPGs I've ever played, because of its totally immersive and enriching sense of atmosphere. FFXII's Ivalice has a deep history that is palpable in what the characters and NPCs say, the way the world's society operates, and the physical appearance of the diverse geographical locales, especially the cities. It draws you in from the first hour and holds you thoroughly even after you're done playing the game. It's amazing. A game has never done that to me, nor have I ever found a game that has so many major, minor, and even miniscule elements that are all at once so truly cohesive, relevant, innovative, and breathtaking. It's astounding.
Even now, after I've beaten the game and gone back to obtain a few more Espers and complete a few other sidequests, there is still so much more that I can do (finding the materials necessary for the best weapons and armor, hunting even more Marks, additional sidequests that become available after completing others, etc., in addition to just running around killing things for the pure and simple fun of it, swapping Gambits and the gear on characters on the fly.).
Truly, expanding beyond the confines of genre classification(s), Final Fantasy XII is one of the best video games I have ever played in my life. If that statement is not a testament to this game's greatness, I don't know what is.