Initial Impressions of Final Fantasy XII
So I finally started playing Final Fantasy XII. (My car has broken down, and I finished Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, so I really have nothing better to do, sad to say.)
The first thing I noticed was that they managed to screw up the Prelude music. That takes a certain kind of talent. Instead of starting at the beginning of the theme, it just kind of starts in the middle of a phrase in the middle of the theme.
So then it's time to start a new game. Here the Postlude plays. Generally, the Postlude would play at the end of the game. That's why it's called the Postlude.
So we've already demonstrated they have no clue about the music of Final Fantasy, so how much worse can it get? While, immediately on starting it, we get to discover that the writers have no clue how to write, either.
The game starts with a wedding. Problem: I don't know who either of the characters being married are. Who cares? Why do I care? I don't.
Next we discover that two nations are at war, and they show us a battle. (Battles are frequently used to open movies and stories because it creates a lot of action, and doesn't require a lot of backstory to be interesting. So perhaps the battle should have come first? Introduce the characters through it?)
The battle blows through any willing suspension of disbelief in about four seconds. It consists of your traditional fantasy medieval troops on the ground, fighting with pikes and bows and arrows. In contrast, flying around above them, are fighter aircraft fighting with guns and bombs. (At least, something is causing explosions.)
So apparently these kingdoms are advanced enough to have fighter aircraft with guns but still require swords and spears in their infantry, with no mechanized support.
Then, as a final kick in the teeth, we watch as a group of soldiers brings down the forcefield that protects the fortress.
So, let's see: We've got medieval-style knights on the ground, fighter aircraft in the air, and a giant forcefield around a fortress. And we're supposed to be willing to accept this?
In any case, we've now been introduced to a total of four characters: The Bride, the Groom, a King, and a Knight who we can assume is some higher-up in their army. During the battle, the groom is killed. (So out of the four characters we know, one dies immediately. Why bother spending so much time on him then?!)
Then we watch the bride mourn the loss of her husband, and get dropped into text.
Brilliant writing there.
About all I can say is that some kingdom is under attack, and we don't care about any of the characters because we have no idea who they are.
Next up they show us a political map to give us an idea of the war, and the text on screen introduces us to two nations: Archadia, and Rozarria.
Then it starts talking about Dalmasca, with no introduction. I can only assume it's a third nation, or maybe a city, because there's been no introduction of what it is. Apparently it's a kingdom, because whatever the case, it falls to the Empire, which is apparently Archadia.
So, with all that behind us, we suddenly move to - well, who knows, and are introduced to a completely different set of characters, who apparently have something to do with Dalmasca, based on their mentioning a king. Maybe. Who knows.
Finally, the game actually starts.
At least we have low expectations.
With low expectations you can't be let down, now can you? Also, I hated Ivalice in FFT:A and I'll bet I'll hate it in FFXII too. It has none of the charm of the Ivalice from FFT, which was a kingdom at war with itself hundreds of times over! What's this Ivalice got? Sky Pirates? Tidus Mk.II?
Also, technically, the theme that's now the Postlude originally played at the beginning of the main quest in FFI. It also played at the beginning of FFIV. It mighta played in FFII or III, but I didn't play those. From there on out, though, it's always been only the Postlude. Until now.
And it failed to meet them
It has to be said that, as low as my expectations were going into FFXII, it has failed to meet them.
The license grid is a joke. You aren't allowed to see what the various abilities are on various parts of the grid, so you can't plan advancement out. You require licenses to equip almost all equipment, but you can't necessarily see what direction you need to unlock in to gain access to equipment.
As for the Postlude, in the original game, it played at the end of the opening section, when you hit the Corneria Bridge. It was the end of the first section, and the beginning of your wider quest. It was somewhat symbolic of the wider world being opened to you.
In FFXII, it's the "configure new game options" music. (Vibration? On/Off; Sound: Mono/Stereo, etc.)
Not to mention that, playing through a bit further, I've discovered that they've managed to completely butcher the victory fanfare.
I've yet to come up with a single good thing to say about this game.
I mean, you can at least say it's pretty. Even if it's a terrible, terrible game.