|Since it came out yesterday, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XII. Even though I’m not very far at all (six hours into the game, not even double digits in level), I really like the game, a lot more than I thought I would based on how the demo was. Some impressions so far:
The Battle System – FFXII uses a system where all of the running around and fighting occur fluidly, without having to switch to a battle screen. You control one of your three active characters, and the other two automatically attack. My main gripe from the demo was that your allies did all the work for you, so that all you had to do was just find targets to kill (if even that much). Fortunately, the full game is a lot more interesting because of the Gambit system that allows you to basically set commands for the AI to follow in certain situations (i.e. cast Cure if party member has less than 70% HP). You have to set both a trigger and a command (in the previous example, the trigger would be the ally being at less than 70% and the command is to cast Cure). As you progress in the game, you learn more triggers (you only start with a handful), meaning that your allies kind of get smarter as the game goes on.
Ability Progression – FFXII also introduces the License Board, which is similar to FFX’s sphere grid in the sense that you’re moving around a board learning abilities, and everyone has the potential to learn almost every skill. What surprised me is that they require you to learn special equipment abilities on the License Board so that your character can equip the next level of a certain item (i.e. there is are several Sword Equipment abilities that allow you to use different swords). Spells work the same way: you have to have the White Magic 1 ability on the License Board before you can learn Cure.