Final Fantasy 12 was released in 2006 to commercial and critical acclaim, winning several Game of the Year accolades and receiving particular praise for its innovative combat system, graphics, music, and voice acting. Particular praise was given to the game for refreshing the franchise and moving away from established JRPG tropes, delivering something new and innovative that resonated with franchise players. Final Fantasy 12 sought to revolutionize the franchise rather than revamp it – the impact of which is still felt to this day through its legacy in the games that followed.
Nope Final Fantasy game is always created equal in the eyes of the fans. There are millions of gamers who are still either new to the franchise or have extreme nostalgia and fandom for every game that comes out. come on the heels of Final Fantasy 10a game that was also well received, Final Fantasy 12 represents a paradigm shift from its predecessor. So many changes have been made to the traditional formula that it has divided few, but excited and impressed many – so much so that Square Enix seems to have taken on the legacy of Final Fantasy 12 and used it as the basis for the modern Final Fantasy games released since.
The world of Ivalice
FF12the impact on modernity Final Fantasy The franchise begins with how it developed a sprawling semi-open world, compared to what were typically linear and straightforward storyline paths for the franchise. Coming out of the more cinematic but confined world of Final Fantasy Xthe world of Ivalice was a complete change of direction when evaluating player agency paired with world building and art style. FF12Ivalice represented an impressive technical achievement at the time, with a variety of unique biomes, towns, lanes, and dungeons to explore and exploit over its many hours of gameplay.
A more medieval art style underpinned the world of Ivalice and a story that tackled serious subjects rather than the more fanciful themes of its predecessors – political intrigue, corruption and religion made it a more serious subject. Final Fantasy than previous franchise entries. All these elements put together played on one of the FF12the greatest strengths of – the characters of the player’s party. Regardless of complaints about Vaan, the introduction of such a diverse set of characters, all with unique backstories, motivations, and personal quests, made Ivalice even more lived-in.
With stellar art direction, incredible music, and a semi-open world to complement it, FF12 felt lived in – with civilians roaming architecturally different cities, detailed and unique textures for weapons and armor, weather effects, and more. This level of detail has seen many lovers of the game and has been applied to games developed long after its release. Final Fantasy 15, which featured a sprawling open world praised for its attention to detail and art style, offered enormous diversity as players played through the main story – echoing where FF12 took players. Same Final Fantasy 13originally criticized for its linear approach, opened up to a more open world in the second half of the game similar to FF12.
Enemy encounters in Final Fantasy 12
Along with the open world, FF12 introduced a brand new enemy encounter system. Excluding MMO-like Final Fantasy 11, FF12 was the first entry in the main franchise of Final Fantasy games to completely eliminate random enemy encounters. Players could now see any enemy they were about to face (except for some main story boss battles) on the overworld, and for the first time players had the agency to engage them or avoid them altogether. Coupled with the sprawling open world, players could see which monsters were patrolling which areas, providing unique gameplay opportunities. Players also knew what they were getting into before the fight started, which led to a much more interesting combat system that also felt fairer.
Since this introduction in FF12, every game in the franchise now includes non-random encounters. Since Final Fantasy 13 to Final Fantasy 7 Remakeevery new game in the franchise has followed the foundations originally built by FF12. Final Fantasy 15 took this to a whole new level, with players able to see massive monsters from vast distances, which impressed players and reviewers alike for its sense of scale and world-building – similar to seeing from large optional bosses run through areas in FF12.
Gambit system in Final Fantasy 12
Another innovation was the Gambit system, which allowed the player to program each character in battle to perform certain tasks in response to specific conditions. If a character’s health dropped below 30%, you could have a Gambit in place for another to heal that character without entering a command. If an enemy had 100% health, another Gambit would require a character to use certain magic. Although the system was complex to learn, it allowed for enormous diversity when approaching encounters in FF12 particularly difficult ones where having the right Gambits could be a win or lose situation.
Again, this system has buried itself in various forms in the franchise. Final Fantasy 15 used the gambit system as the core for the “trust system” – a mechanic that would pair story characters and online players together. The combination of the open world with an almost MMO-like modernized approach to combat changed the franchise forever and even influenced other games such as dragon age and pillars of eternity.
The legacy of Final Fantasy 12
FF12 was a game well ahead of its time. The open world, real-time combat, gambit system, and non-linear gameplay mimicked that of more western RPGs, but still retained their JRPG roots. Final Fantasy 13, FF7 Remake, and FF15 have all used many systems that FF12 established for the franchise, utilizing everything from MMO-like gameplay to its more nuanced and interesting storytelling approaches. The game is still very popular, especially with the release of the zodiac age edition for current-gen consoles, which shows just how much gamers love the game despite so many games to come.
Upon release, some fans thought the inclusion of a sprawling open world was a step too far, with the license chart progression too loose and the Active Dimension Battle system too complex. However, players can now see the DNA of FF12 in each Final Fantasy game in the franchise, standardizing its systems and building on them to create even deeper and more interesting approaches to the traditional Final Fantasy formula. But FF12 should perhaps be remembered as having an impact on open-world games in general; it has continued to stand the test of time, with the release of the zodiac age remaster proving its impact on the genre to date.
Final Fantasy 12: Age of the Zodiac is available on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
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