30 Days of Video Games: Day 3


Day 3. A little late in the day, I know, but here all the same. Today I’d like to thank Luna over at GamersUnited for joining in and voicing her thoughts on the challenge. Thero is still doing her challenge too.

Day 3: A Game that is underrated.

This was a hard one. I thought about it long and hard and narrowed it down to two games. I wanted a game that wasn’t a cult underrated game, a game that everyone quotes when asked. A game that I love that others don’t, or haven’t played to love.

Luckily, this underrated game is getting a super duper HD release this year (so it can’t be that underrated, right/ Actually, it’s the only one in the franchise that can’t currently be played on a PC or current gen consolse or handheld). Maybe that’s a giveaway.

My most underrated game? Final Fantasy XII

I know, it’s a Final Fantasy game, why would it be underrated? And of course, there are other Final Fantasy games just as deserving of this dubious accolade. but I haven’t played them so I can’t make a judgement on those.

So why choose FFXII for underrated game?

Let’s start with a good story. Everyone loves a story. Noone likes politics. Mention politics and a huge amount of people will go “nyope”. It’s a turn off. FFXII really likes the politics. International politics. War politics. Boring politics.

But wait! FFXII mixes politics with swords, and shields, and Magick! Summons and rabbit ladies and a dashing sky pirate. Now you’re interested.

Regardless of the plot, there are some things in FFXII that make it better than the plot seems. Amidst the standard Final Fantasy and RPG fare, there are some aspects that I enjoy and think deserve some more love.

Firstly, the characters, creatures and summons. The main cast, with two exceptions, are amazing fun. Vaan and Penelo are nothing but irritants, and Vaan’s nose annoys me. sky My favourites are Balthier and Fran, the dynamic, totally-not-a-couple, sky pirating duo. Balthier is the sassy, sarcastic pirate I think we’d all like to be. Fran, on the other hand, is the ultimate Playboy bunny. She is a Viera, a tall, longish lived rabbit woman. They live in a beautiful forest, but she left to go on adventures. Together they are my favourite thing about FFXII.

But characters aren’t everything. The other creatures are fabulous. Not only the enemy creatures, who all have a distinctive look about them (my favourites are the horse based enemies such as Sleipniers), but even the non-human NPCs are great. Of course, there are Moogles (which are adorable) and Chocobos. But then there are Bangaas, humanoid lizard people who are primarily found as fighters and thieves. They’re fantastically done  and they stand out as a Final Fantasy race.

The fighting system was something different in the Final Fantasy system. Gone are the random encounters in an otherwise empty field. Instead we get to see the creatures coming and can prepare, or run away, according to our abilities and health. No longer to I have to run blindly hoping I can make it to healing or a save point. I can dodge the enemies if need be. The Gambit System was a massive boost to the game, giving players the choice of how to attack. Although you play whichever of the characters you choose (usually Fran), you can set up rules for the support cast to follow in combat, allowing them to attack, use items or cast Magick according to the situation. Want characters to cast Curage if the team is below 50% health? There’s a Gambit for that. Want supporting characters to all attack different targets? There’s a Gambit for that. Want someone to cast Fire at an Ice enemy? There’s a Gambit for that. You don’t have to use this system, but given the intensity of many fights, it can be useful not to have to keep a beady eye on everything all at once.

There are a myriad of other reasons why I think FFXII needs more love. I hope the upcoming HD release will reach a wider fanbase than previously. Given half a chance, FFXII is a great game to get stuck into, and I encourage you all to have a go.


Next time we look at my guilty pleasure game.