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Subject: Open world FF style ... playing FFXII (CONTAINS SPOILERS!) rss

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Simon Woodward
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I've been interested in this game ever since I heard Xenoblade Chronicles, a game that I liked very much, compared to it. With the PS4 remaster I have the opportunity to see if it's any good. I quite enjoyed the HD remaster of Final Fantasy X on PS3.

SESSION 1

This game has some gorgeous cut scenes, and some seriously complex politics and weird events in the opening. A whole bunch of seemingly major characters dead already?!

I don't quite understand how the battle system is working, but no hurry. I'm only fighting rats at this point

I'm reminded a lot of Star Wars Episode 1 (1999)! I wonder if this game came out at the same time. 2006. Hmm.

I wonder if I can pause cut scenes. Hmm nope. When I tried using the PS button it skipped a long cut scene too (the one introducing Vaan and Penelo). Had to watch it on Youtube.

Ugh I have to choose a class for Vaan. This is really hard since I have no context whatsoever. I don't even really know who else is going to be in the party or what is good and bad. Chose Bushi (Samurai).

1:30 hours.
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Andrew Schoonmaker
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I do not recall that the politics ever simplify themselves. The first third of the game feels a lot like Star Wars, though.

This may be the only FF game that I've finished that I don't recall ever even starting a second time, but I did enjoy it. Hope you find your footing with the combat.
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manukajoe wrote:

I'm reminded a lot of Star Wars Episode 1 (1999)! I wonder if this game came out at the same time. 2006. Hmm.


You're not the only one! It did take them six years to make Final Fantasy XII. And, in the time it took them to make it, the entire SW prequel trilogy came out, as did the LotR trilogy, and I think those stylistic influences are there for sure.

The original FFXII doesn't have a class system. So despite hundreds of hours of experience I can't help you there. laughlaugh

You should be able to pause in-game cutscenes, just not the less frequent CGI ones.

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If you want to give yourself a slight advantage while you familiarize yourself with the game, you could kill Dustia. Nothing complicated involved, just a secret. Kind of a good introduction to the weird things that are possible in FFXII. Any meaningful advantage would disappear after 2-3 hours.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Dustia is a rare enemy who spawns in a specific zone near Rabanastre if Vaan's health is below 10% (check youtube if interested). He's classified as "undead," which means that a Phoenix Down item will instantly kill him. Vaan will gain about 5 levels if you do this. Every other character's initial level is based on Vaan's level at the time they join the party.


Very curious to see what you think of FFXII!
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Simon Woodward
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My main worry is the length. These days I'm finding I get burned out on games around 20-30 hours in. And a lot of the games I like are longer.
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Simon Woodward
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SESSION 2

Sign, searching for save points. There seem to be none in the city (Rabanastre). I don't know why I didn't mind them as much in Horizon Zero Dawn. Well, they're everywhere and easy to find. I guess each game handles them differently.

Ok time to read some tips...

https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/07/tips-for-playing-final-fan...

OMG they kept that awful systems from FFX where a character has to fight to get experience cry

"You're safe selling pretty much everything, but hang on to Teleport Stones and Gysahl Greens."
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Amy (Other Amy)
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This is a strange entry in the series. I was very meh the first time through, but I absolutely loved it the second time. I'm very interested to see your reactions to it.
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manukajoe wrote:
Ok time to read some tips...

https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/07/tips-for-playing-final-fan...

OMG they kept that awful systems from FFX where a character has to fight to get experience cry

"You're safe selling pretty much everything, but hang on to Teleport Stones and Gysahl Greens."


To be honest, it seems like a list of tips written with the idea that people don't *really* want help, they just don't want to feel clueless.

For example, the comment about leveling up the party. It's actually much more efficient to pick three characters and go with it. But, if someone gets KOed in battle and your back-up characters are weak, you'll be in trouble. So that tip is about feeling less vulnerable. It's not actually good advice. Moreover, there are a handful of places in the game where you can rapidly level up, so worrying about it in a generalized/continual sense is what would happen if you didn't have any tips / any heads-up knowledge.

The part about selling everything except the two main travel items glosses over the nature of the game's economy. The person writing these tips isn't asking the question, "what do you even need money for?"

Whereas, some specific tips on when to steal certain rare equipment would have a substantial impact on a player's "budget."

"Do all of the hunts" is terrible advice. Some of the hunts are insanely difficult relative to when you can first attempt them. Doing specific hunts at specific times, though, can be very rewarding.

"Hoard license points" is also pretty poor advice. Knowing how to get golden amulets as soon as possible (before as many bosses/hunts as possible) would give a player more room to try things out on the license board, however.

Anyway, this is a game I know too much about. I end up feeling confused by well-meaning tips. laughlaughlaugh
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Simon Woodward
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SESSION 3

Finally did some fighting with Vaan, in the Estersand. Joined the Clan and then went to the Westersand to try and kill the big wolf. Died a few times so far! Starting to get a little more comfortable with the game. Learned to watch out for monsters with red names (when you go to target them).

R1 lets you run twice as fast! (or 4x).

T is menu (it always puzzles me why games don't put all the menus on one standard button. PS3 games were a bit more consistent in this)

Levelled up and bought a Katana, the attack is not great but the evade should be good. Need some LP before I can use it though. So a-farming we shall go.

Got some basic mystic armour too. Managed to take down the big wolf. Ok now to visit the low town. Vaan seems to sometimes block or do fast attacks, I don't know how those are triggered. I think the blocking is dice-based.

It would be nice if the maps had place names on them!

I appreciate the autosave in this game (I also appreciate it in Horizon Zero Dawn).

Ok gotta find a Moogle with a Map in the south part of the city.

Went to the plains with Penelo and got the sunstone, then back to the city. I made her a Time Battlemage. Got her some armour but it seems crossbow are not available yet. Also got a Bangle (Libra), which should be useful.

I like that Penelo and Vaan seem to be sweethearts (or at least Penelo thinks so). Vaan isn't treating her quite well enough though.

It was nice that after completing the sunstone I didn't have to travel back to the village manually. The pacing seems pretty good. Gong to sneak into the castle.

4:10 hours. Level 4.
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manukajoe wrote:


T is menu (it always puzzles me why games don't put all the menus on one standard button. PS3 games were a bit more consistent in this)


A small bit of trivia. jRPGs were one of the first console genres to have menus at all, and the first one to be really popular worldwide was Final Fantasy IV, which was also the first one to be released on the Super Nintendo, which had a new four-button layout: Y, X, B, A, which is now Square, Triangle, Cross, Circle on the Playstation family of controllers.

Triangle or the equivalent have been bringing up the party menu since 1991 in Final Fantasy games. I wonder how many fans have noticed that it over time it has become an uncommon button mapping!
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Kevin J
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manukajoe wrote:
Vaan seems to sometimes block or do fast attacks, I don't know how those are triggered. I think the blocking is dice-based.


I think all melee weapons have a chance to chain into additional attacks, and the Katana has a much higher chance than any other weapon.
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tatoolo wrote:
manukajoe wrote:
Vaan seems to sometimes block or do fast attacks, I don't know how those are triggered. I think the blocking is dice-based.


I think all melee weapons have a chance to chain into additional attacks, and the Katana has a much higher chance than any other weapon.


Yes, melee weapons have a %chance to do multi-hit attacks, from x2 hits all the way to x12 hits, I believe. The lengthier multi-hit attacks are only possible when characters are at critical HP levels, IIRC. Katana-type weapons do have a higher-than-usual multi-hit chance.

Later in the game, there is a weapon called the Muramasa that has uniquely high multihit stats. You can pull some hilarious tricks with it.
 
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Simon Woodward
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SESSION 4

Went through the palace and back through the sewer. Picked up Balthier, Fran and "Amalia".

Hm I am not liking the menu-based combat and the needs to micromanage everyone's license board. I'm not getting much fun game play or interesting story either.

I beat the flans and the flaming horse boss pretty easily, but feel like I should have a black mage along. I have Vaan as Bushi, Balthier as Shikari, Fran as Archer. As least "Amalia" has Cure so that's something.

I don't like this as much as FFX. But I think if I can get outdoors it will be better.

6:30 hours.
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The flaming horse boss is pretty hard on the first try!

I'll be curious to see what you think once you get to Bhujerba, which will be soon. You may get more of the outdoors than you are looking for once you reach the Sandseas.

laugh

Obviously don't push on if you're not enjoying it - a good gauge of whether the experience is shaping up for you will be after the Tomb of Raithwall. At that point the systems and world will have opened up quite a bit compared to where you are now.
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Ryan S
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I loved FFXII when it first released. In fact, I think my love of FFXII is why I hated FFXIII so much. XIII just felt cramped and linear, and I hated how the battle system went back to a more boring character line up. I also really enjoyed the Gambit system for the time.

I've thought about getting the remaster of the game, but I have so many other things to play right now.
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Andrew Schoonmaker
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GibbRS wrote:
I loved FFXII when it first released. In fact, I think my love of FFXII is why I hated FFXIII so much. XIII just felt cramped and linear, and I hated how the battle system went back to a more boring character line up. I also really enjoyed the Gambit system for the time.

I've thought about getting the remaster of the game, but I have so many other things to play right now.

I'm hoping that the remaster will eventually make its way to PC.

XII does a number of cool things. But although I'd expect the combat to get better, a) it's a difference of degree and not one of kind, and b) I don't have any idea how the class system works or affects things. The original game gave you characters that were a bunch of formless blobs, ability-wise, and as long as you wanted to spend the LP you could have everybody learn everything. So I had one vaguely-thief character, a vaguely-white-and-black-mage character, a heavy fighter character, and ... I don't even remember what the other ones did (I did use all of them throughout the game).
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I found the class system to be an improvement. Though many of the licenses (HP bonuses, for instance) appear on virtually every board, there's enough restriction that every character can't do everything, which is what made the original board bland. This remains true even in the remaster where each character can eventually have two classes (in the international version each character only got one class, and since there were six characters and twelve classes...)
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Simon Woodward
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SESSION 5

Sad news. A power cut knocked out my PS4, and I had to reinstall the firmware, deleting all my game saves cry So I'll have to start again. I'm not very motivated at present to redo all that beginning stuff, but maybe in a few months...
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Amy (Other Amy)
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That's a bummer, Simon. Glad your console survived.
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manukajoe wrote:
SESSION 5

Sad news. A power cut knocked out my PS4, and I had to reinstall the firmware, deleting all my game saves cry So I'll have to start again. I'm not very motivated at present to redo all that beginning stuff, but maybe in a few months...


I hate that feeling.

If/when you do restart, I do recommend that you take Vaan and kill Dustia (rare undead monster outside of Rabanastre who only spawns if you are in HP-critical). Set battle speed to slowest and toss a phoenix down at him. You'll level up 5 times, which will carry over to the starting levels of everyone else. This will help you go through the opening stuff much faster, so you can regain some of your lost time.

It will not address lost LP, but that can be made up quickly as the game progresses and shouldn't have any long-term effect.
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