Oh, woe is me! I get GW: Nightfall and Final Fantasy 12 within the span of a week! Why must the gaming industry tempt me so?
FF12 is beautiful. The opening sequence has massively gratuitious airship battles. Its the best looking in the series yet by far. The crome evokes an air of high-magic and magitech.
Thus far, the game play is interesting. It’s mostly similar to the classic Active Battle Time system; your character’s meter charges up, you select your action, that charges up, then it happens. The difference now is that enemies are in the dungeon and spells & such are activated in real time (so you can evade them and pick your battles if you like- there’s a strategic aspect here because you get increased loot by killing chains of the same type of enemy) There is the ability to position in battle- you and the enemy can’t hit each other if you aren’t in range, so you’ll hold your action until you are. This means you can hide behind cover and stuff while your attack is charging, or just stay out in the open.
The paradigm shift is odd getting used to, but it’s mostly just the same classic system, just twisted around, and some interesting options for those willing to dive in.
The game, like many others in the series, introduces a new XP system. This is the Liscence Board. (I think it sounds better in the original Japanese.) There’s a grid with abilities on it, and you start out with some unlocked. Every ability you unlock shows you the abilities next to it, allowing you to spend your points to unlock those. Use of specific weapons, skills, spells, and power ups are all on this board, and there’s also hidden power ups and summons and stuff. I enjoyed FFX’s Sphere Grid quite a bit, because it felt like spending my XP was a game within a game, and I’m looking forward to clearing the Liscence Board.
Much maligned in previews is the Gambit system. I haven’t got to the point in the game where I can create my own Gambits, but let me clue you in. A Gambit is basically a user-defined script for a party member. You can turn Gambits on and let them run on their own, or turn them off and manually control them. Once you get more than one party member, they come preloaded with Gambits, while you can’t change those, you can turn them off and order them manually.
This seems pretty cool, because you can define your party’s actions so you don’t have to be on top of things if you don’t want to, gives you something else to manage, and lets you cruise through early fights, if that’s your thing. Or keep them turned off and have absolute control, if that’s your thing too.
This game is sweet. Now I have to just juggle it and GW around each other.