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Final Fantasy XII still feels surprisingly fresh and ahead of its time. There’s a lot to enjoy about it even today!

FFXII feels less Final Fantasy and more like a medieval HBO series that just released this year, which I'm sure might have been blasphemy 15 years ago, but today? This is something I welcome.

I am playing the remaster and it is GOOD. I'm really enjoying my time with it. It kinda gives me the craving that JRPG today are not giving me to the same extent. For example, you get RPGs with huge open world with nothing but empty space to explore. In FFXII, you get the huge world and the content to match that world. Most of my time is just wandering around until I realize I stumbled into an optional boss ready to kick my butt. It's such a great feeling, you know? Being rewarded for exploring. Even

just screams adventure and exploration.

Also, have you ever had this moment where a video game, or movie, or TV show has some incredible dialogue that you weren't expecting at all? FFXII is that turned to 11, almost everything they say makes me go "oh wow, that is good". Not to mention the voice acting is uncharacteristically strong, even today.

I was just fighting a villain a bit ago, and one of his bits was a full-blown monologue where he says at one point "Too late and to their sorrow do those who misplace their trust in gods learn their fate.", and that was one killer line that made me leave my mouth agape.

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On top of being a visual delight for a PS2 game, one thing that struck my eye is how architecturally dense and packed the cities are. Is it me or you're not even getting this stuff in modern games? I spent at least 3 hours in the starting city, Rabanastre, just talking to NPCs because there was a lot of them. There even is an undercity where the poor are forced to live with even more people to talk to. There's this Middle-eastern vibe to everything that is so unique and feels refreshing, especially for me after playing so many western medieval games.

And the gambit system, oh boy, the gambit system just fills my programmer brain with unfiltered joy. Being able to automate every command instead of having to do the same inputs over and over and over again is sooooo satisfying. Exploring the world having a well-oiled system while making micro-adjustments for the new use cases where it does not is perfect for me. Then, the bosses are showing up, and then nothing is working anymore, and you have to manually control everything and making sure that nothing is left to chance. Perfect blend of allowing me to delegate control, and taking it back whenever I want. I was just playing Xenoblade a few months ago and you wouldn't want me to talk about how the AI was infuriating. In FFXII? I was never angry at my teammates, not even once. Any mistake was mine because I made the AI. I am the little mad scientist making my perfect little army.

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In any case, it's good. REALLY good. Game could have been released today, I would almost believe it to fit among the rest. Great world, exploration, combat, music. It feels awesome to play a RPG where the size of the world fits the content and not just a bunch of empty space and cottages you have to walk to for hours. Definite recommend, it holds up!


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