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thestern
11-16-2005, 08:05 PM
FFXII Demo: |Square-Enix| 2005

The Stern:
At last we finally get a taste of Final Fantasy XII, however the only way to do so is to purchase Dragon Quest VIII. I picked up my copy of DQ8 and popped in the FF12 demo. Mind you I didn't purchase DQ8 just for the FF12 demo, that was just a bonus for me since I really liked the DQ8 demo. I will post a DQ8 review later once I complete the game.

The demo disc itself almost looks like it could be the full version of the game if not for the "Not for Resale Demo Disc" plastered on the front. The demo
prompts you with 2 choices when you start it up. The first option is an island area knows as 'The Phon Coast' and the gameplay style here is set to 'wait' mode.

Wait mode takes a token from Star Wars: KOTOR or even previous FF games with ATB (Active Time Battle) turned off. It basically means that the action is paused while your using the command menu. This gives you time to make a calculated decision on whether to attack or use magic.

The second of the two is 'The Stilshrine of Mirian' where the gameplay type is set to Active mode. Active mode is pretty much the way it sounds--combat takes place even while making choices in the menu. This is the more fast paced option of the two but can also lead to some frustration.

The gameplay for FFXII is pretty much the same no matter which mode you choose, the only real difference between these two modes is if you want combat to be paused while you're in the menu or not. The menu for the game is pretty much like previous FF games with a Attack, Magic and Summon options. The difference here is that these options are always available. This is because there are no random encounters.

Thats right folks Square-Enix has finally gotten rid of random encounters in FF. Instead of random encounters you'll be faced with monsters that scower the entire map or dungeon. This is very reminicant of .hack however it seems to be alot more fun to fight monsters in this than it did in .hack.

At any given time you're controlling the current leader of the party you can also give orders to the other members of your party through the menu. However, I noticed that the party's AI seems to work well when they are set to auto (Gambit Mode). This is especially true if you're playing in active mode.

Both areas have an objective which is very straight forward and short. The Wait mode objective is to kill three rock eaters and then defeat the boss which can be accomplished in roughly 10 minutes. Active mode is also pretty easy and quick to complete as well. You must find a key from a monster and open a door then defeat a boss (yes, it's that simple).

As far as graphics, the game looks like what you'd expect a Square-Enix game to look ... beautiful. However, there are some gripes I have with the visuals. The demo has no HD support at all, no widescreen, no 480p, nothing. I really hope that changes in the final version of the game.

The character design in the game is great with the exception of the main character, Vaan, who looks way too feminine. I know this is a Japanese anime tradition, but it's gone a bit to far with Vaan. It's also worth noting that he looks way too much like Tidus and Squall mixed. Stop rehashing the main character design already! The other characters in the demo have really pleased me and the backdrops of the world and the enemies look great as well.

The sound and music, even though not composed by Nobuo Uematsu, is excellent as well, but none of the music is really memorable. The FFXII demo is short and fun to play while it lasts, however it's nothing to get excited about and it really doesn't accomplish the goal a demo for a retail game should be aiming to accomplish--it doesn't amp you up to want to purchase the retail version of the game.


Pros: Comes with Dragon Quest VIII

Cons: No HD support; Scenerios are too short; You must purchase DQ8 in order to try it out and that's a con for people who don't care to play DQ8.

mor911
11-16-2005, 10:19 PM
Awesome review TheStern... Awesome indeed. Now you need to ask your self... Do you feel lucky TheStern? Well, do yuh?

Seriously though, The Mor is very interested in DQ8 and awaits your review. As for FF12, Square/Enix has officially alienated the Mor. FF just doesn't feel like FF anymore.

Dolfan984
11-17-2005, 03:51 PM
Sucks that Uematsu didn't compose the soundtrack but I'm still totally stoked about this game. Usually FF comes through I don't see there being a difference this time.

Gay main characters suck though...