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Concern that FFXII may suck

posted on October 5th, 2006 by jay

Put in the FFXII demo and try something. Get into a battle and then put the controller down. You’ll win. The gambit system sets up the AI in your party so you don’t actually have to play. I did this experiment months ago and was slightly concerned but figured that it was just a demo; Square would no doubt make some changes that encouraged the player to participate.

The new EGM has a review of the game, though, and one of the reviewers describes playing exactly how I did. He put the controller down during random encounters and had no trouble at all. Boss fights still may require human intervention.

The reviewer gave FFXII game an 8.5. I’m not sure what’s stranger, Square making an automated battle system or reviewers not caring that Square made an automated battle system. Is it possible an RPG that doesn’t require you to participate in random battles can be good? Maybe, but wouldn’t figuring out how to make them fun be a more noble pursuit than making them unnecessary but still happen? If there don’t need to be battles from a gameplay perspective, then Square should’ve been bold and just excised them from the game completely.

I guess it’s possible the rest of the game is so amazing that this seemingly significant flaw can make up for it. It’s also possible that I’m overreacting and should wait till I play the game to judge it. But it is also entirely possible that it will get good reviews no matter what because it is a proper Final Fantasy game. After all, VIII managed to get excellent reviews.


  1. Chuck AUG said on October 5, 2006:

    IMO Final Fantasy games were always like this – no human intervention required. I have repeatedly tried to play and get into Final Fantasy games, from 3 to XII – but I always felt like I was watching a shitty movie instead of actively playing a game!

  2. Ali AUG said on October 5, 2006:

    Don’t judge FFXII by the demo, it is hardly a good representation of the final game.You are right, final fantasies, early in the game, do feel like you are watching a movie (although not shitty at all) but difficulty does build up from there, and about 5 hours into the game, battles become more strategic than most other games (still menu driven, but very strategic).As for FFXII, it is a niche game, for people who love strategy; the game is twice as strategic as the older FF’s, even with real time combat, IMO.  You program your gambits and take into account possible scenarios, and then tweak when they start losing.  It might not cater to trigger-happy americans (wee, stereotypes, gotta love those) but it sure as hell caters to me (and don’t say that it is because I can’t play FPS games, etc, because many people that i have owned will tell you otherwise!).  Well, I am getting my copy of the game today (its on the Fedex truck ATM) so I will be back tomorrow with first thoughts.

  3. Christian said on October 5, 2006:

    Well I think that is the question on everyone’s mind; Does FF12 require tactics and strategy in order to program the gambits?  Or is it the case that one or two will suffice for most random battles.  If it is the former, I don’t think I’d have a terrible problem with the system, as it still requires great skill to set up the "put the controller down" combat, and even then it should demand your attention.  If its the latter, then what’s the point?  I really hope it is indeed the first option, but Square hasn’t proved that they’re capable of bringing such a deep experience to the main, numbered FF games, so I think a lot of people will be skeptical until they get their paws on it.

  4. Chuck AUG said on October 5, 2006:

    It’s not another FF tactics game! I highly doubt the strategy will have any depth at all! Before or during battles!

  5. Christian said on October 5, 2006:

    When I refer to strategy, I’m not implying an FF Tactics level of planning.  All I mean is that I have to at least think about my actions, rather than just select the same basic attacks and spells and go get a drink.

  6. Matt said on October 5, 2006:

    I’m probably the only one to say this, but if the battle system gets me to the end of the game without any noticeable annoying parts, that’s fine by we. I’d rather have it that way. I really only want to experience the story, and hear the new music. That’s why I loved FFX. It was a laid-back battle system, and it made playing the game more manageable instead of all this ATB crap, where I’d have to watch that stupid meter go up everytime. 

  7. Mike said on October 12, 2006:

    I liked it better the first time I played it, when it was called progress quest.

  8. Hector said on October 24, 2006:

    I think people are overreacting when it comes to the whole "gambits kill the purpose of the battle system" ordeal. Although gambits (which, I agree, may not necessarily be the best approach to the new battle system) may seem as if they take away from the fun more than they contribute to it, you aren’t in any way "forced" to use the gambit system. I have read reviews stating that you may by all means play w/o any use of gambits. Gambits were developed as a convenience to the player by eliminating tedious commands such as continuous curing, removing status aliments, and other things that really did get annoying in previous FF games. Each command you feel may be robbing entertainment during battle like tossing an antidote everytime your party member is poisoned, (which in previous titles can be very often in certain battles.) instead you may disregard this situation entirely, because thanks to gambits, your party members will do it for you …. automatically! I believe in FFXII, the battle system will be so full of action, and fast paced you will learn how great the idea of gambits really are.

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