Originally written at 6/10/15

Current mood: Yes, I’m writing a review of my first FF game after 4 years of gameplay, isn’t it wonderful?! But serious though I miss this game.

I won my PS2 in 2009 after UPSR, but didn’t claim it until my cousin brother turned two, which was 2011. All the games my uncle had were multiplayer fighting games and first-person shooters, so dad came home one day with three games and I was thrilled! The first which caught my eye was Final Fantasy XII. He didn’t buy the tenth installment, sadly.

Final Fantasy XII opens with an epic cutscene, and that particular cutscene is what made me love this game so much. The music is epic, the graphics are like, wow, and the amount of love Ashe had for her newly-wed husband was overwhelming. Also, feels in the cutscene. Tutorial level was meh, but then again the events in the tutorial is what set the stage for Vaan, our unlikely hero to uncover the secrets of Ivalice. Protagonists are Princess Ashe and Vaan. No kidding.

Lets play the ‘guess that character’ game! Vaan and Penelo are orphan children in Rabanastre, the capital of fallen Dalmasca. They’re probs the only kids in an all-adults party. Vaan is an Aladdin rip-off while Penelo sports pigtails. We have Balthier *coughmybabecough* the sky pirate and Fran, his amazingly beautiful, dark skinned and sexy supermodel bodied partner; Basch, the old-man character every party has to have; and finally the princess Ashe, looks like an adult but in fact just two years older than Vaan and Penelo… with a small as shit pink miniskirt. It may seem that Balthier and Fran, being sky pirates and all, do not have a connection to what was about to happen, but everything is connected. The only ones who really do not have any connection to the plot are Vaan and Penelo, but they are the strings that pull the other four characters together.

Well, I think you can already guess who is who… the whole plot will cover every characters’ backstory, but maybe not the two orphans, because we already know how they came to. Ashe is supposed to be dead cause she committed suicide, but she faked it just so she could form a resistance and rebel. Old man Basch was also supposed to be dead, but this time he didn’t fake it; someone else faked his death for him. He was locked away under a fortress prison because REASONS. He was freed by our meddlesome Vaan and sky pirates. He joined the resistance led by the princess after his release. Balthier, while not directly tied to the plot, is in fact, an Archadian. What’s more, he’s the son of one of the secondary antagonists, a mad scientist named – you guessed it – Dr. Cid! Fran is not involved in any of the plot like Vaan and Penelo, but her connection with Balthier and tendency to go haywire with whatever the story has in store for us is enough to let her jump on the bandwagon with the two kids. But anyway, Balthier treasures Fran and that’s enough reason for me to believe she’s more important than the kids.

The party defeats the evil Archadian prince, but it’s too late… until Balthier and Fran comes in and saves everybody’s ass. They were assumed to be dead after the ending. The epilogue, however proves that they’re alive and well, out searching for treasure. Balthier returns the princess’ ring and takes back the Strahl. He also invites Vaan to come with him, which marks the beginning of a new adventure: Revenant Wings.

Source The bae and waifu together… hohohoho~~~~

My thoughts: Story-wise, yes. Soundtrack is awesome, gameplay is amazing AF and Balthier and Fran is just delicious. Though the characters were not designed by Tetsuya Nomura and the music was not composed by Nobuo Uematsu, the game is a new experience. Since it was part of the Ivalice Alliance, the characters and music were all similar to the Tactics series. The whole game has a middle-eastern feel to it, having deserts and the characters wearing vests and garments similar to gypsies.

Programming: 9 because it’s one of the best of the PS2 era. Not a whole lot of glitches to play around with.

Gameplay: 9. Dynamic camera is dynamic! Being the first game I ever played, it made me set my expectations for other games so high I had to feel disappointed with games like FF10 and TotA when I played them. There were so many sidequests I think I actually cannot finish them all. There’s a fishing minigame, a race minigame, and a lot more which I can’t remember! And the battle system! That was my kind of battle system. It’s a very new thing for FF, so for some reason this game was considered to be unpopular (from what I can see in the internet anyway, which was like 2 years now?). Innovation is good, I like it, but some people do not like to change, which is also me btw. The dungeon maps were so VAST I did not explore them all. Some areas have very dangerous monsters and I cannot survive these parts. I NEVER managed to survive the areas. TOO DIFFICULT. And they have weather changes! Wow! This makes things harder and more interesting when you’re out to hunt.

Story: The story is so-so, but considering it’s a Ivalice Alliance installment, I would give it an 7. It didn’t get me teary at any point, so yeah. However their story concept was darn fine. Overthrow the government? Yeah lets do it! Kill the Gods? OK! It makes you thinking: what do we need to sacrifice in order to overthrow the government? How many people must die for that to happen? If you say FF7 was the dark and steampunk modern FF, well… Final Fantasy XII also qualifies as one too, I guess. They had you killing GODS for goodness sake!

Soundtrack: I may be bias about the rating because it’s my first video game, or maybe I’ve been listening to the tracks for three years, but nevertheless, I give it an 8. None of the music are my personal faves, but the soundtrack album as a whole captured my heart, and it’s worth giving a high rating. The music is a very different take from the previous and later FFs, but it is an Ivalice Alliance installment, so yeah. Angela Aki’s “Kiss Me Good-Bye” was so beautiful, both the Japanese and English versions left me crying and wanting more.

Overall rating: 8, because Balthier and Fran are all I need in this game. Balthier is bae and Fran is waifu. And future dancer Penelo is my guilty pleasure. Sadly Revenant Wings is a handheld game, and a tactical strategy one! I suck at tactical games. There are many secrets in the world of Ivalice, the lore so vast, I don’t think two playthroughs are enough to discover them all. It’s my first video game and my personal fave. The only one that could challenge its place in my heart is probably Tales of the Abyss, but FF12 still wins because I could never ever manage to load the disc. Once the disc loads, it will continue to load after, but if the disc is removed, the tedious cycle of praying it’ll load will begin anew. So every gameplay is as precious as time, every gameplay counts like life or death.

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