Battles take a bit of getting used to
Gameplay still involves exploring a game world where enemies are never visible onscreen, but where battles are initiated apparently at random.
Although common in Japan this approach has never been popular in the West.
The rather abstract turn-based combat was better tolerated but still limited the appeal of the game in the UK in particular.
With the increasing success of Final Fantasy in the West the battle system has been slowly tweaked and improved but it is only now, with the release of Final Fantasy XII, that Square Enix has instigated a complete root and branch change of the gameplay.
"Square Enix hasn't been foolish enough to throw the role-playing baby out with the bath water."
Although battles can be paused at any moment they occur in real-time and enemies can be seen, and thus avoided, as you explore each map.
This greatly increases the pace of the game's action while also encouraging, rather than punishing, exploration.
Despite the enormous changes to the battle system, Square Enix hasn't been foolish enough to throw the role-playing baby out with the bath water.
The way magic is used is pretty much the same as it's always been, with different disciplines organised into different colour groups for healing, attacking and changing the status of both enemies and allies.
Published 28th February 2007
Famed for beautiful cut-scenes and movie-like quality, we indulge in Final Fantasy XII.
So, the hype is over and Final Fantasy XII is released. But will it get the 5 stars in our review?
Is Final Fantasy XII the best game ever? Are you a fan of the series? What makes it so good?