Thursday, January 04, 2007


As I play FFXII (12), I'm reminded a lot of Guy Gavriel Kay - especially his style in A Song for Arbonne and The Lions of al-Rassan. The essential components seem to be: an intricate plot revolving around political intrigue, fighting between multiple factions, a lush Mediterranean-esque setting, with high romance and adventure carried out by intensely passionate and beautiful people (all of the FF characters are stunningly perfect physically - just like those in a GGK book *sigh*) who dash from one kingdom to another on their quest to save the realm of [insert name of the main character's homeland].

Reasons I'm in love with FFXII:

1 - The graphics: I'm spoiled. You know those diehard fans of FF who started playing at FFI and think that it was just grand? Well, I'm not one of you. I get no pleasure out of playing a game - a game that involves hours and hours of sitting and staring at a screen - that is not enjoyable to look at. The graphics in FFXII are colorful, rich, and full of detail. The designers traveled to the Middle East and the Mediterranean in their search for inspiration and it certainly tells.

2 - A major leap in dialogue quality. FFXII seems to be trying for a semi-Victorian formality in its language. I don't care if its a historical rip-off - its still extremely refreshing to hear the characters speak using a creative vocabulary.

3 - Ivalice is 'a fully realized world': For the first time, I feel like I am playing in a book. A very good book.

4 - The characters are unique and intriguing. You wonder about their relationships with each other and want to learn more about them. They're not caricatures; they possess little quirks and mannerisms that endear them to you. I'm particularly curious about Balthier (that's him to the left). He's a "rakish sky pirate" with a sarcastic wit whose partner in crime (no pun there) is Fran, a lovely Viera. The Viera are (from what I can tell, and this is going to sound a bit funny but strangely it works quite well graphically) a half-woman/half-rabbit race that - like Tolkiens' elves - have an amazingly long life span and are bound to the Woods they live in. Fran is a Viera-exception since she left the Woods to travel with Balthier and in doing so broke her ties with the Wood's Voice and thus is shunned by her sister-Viera. Fran and Balthier's relationship with each other is hard to decipher - they're extremely close and he's very protective of her but are they together romantically or just close friends? Fran is hundreds of years old, while Balthier is only twenty-two so it would be quite an odd romantic relationship I suppose...

Anyhow, I'll leave off in my silly speculations and instead direct you to a fantastically written review of the game which probably describes things much better then I ever could (although I disagree with the writer's description of Fran's voice acting - I think she is supposed to sound subdued considering her age and background).


Elliot said...

I'm envious.

Anactoria said...

You can borrow it when we're through! :o)