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Future Classic in Gaming? Final Fantasy XII

So, I had a bit of a long Friday night.  Back from work circa 3pm, shopping for sustenance then home.  Dinner, chill out, check out the gaming world.  Then I stumbled on this:



After watching start to finish, I was reminded of how enthralling the game is.  Years after originally playing through, I was once again glued to the screen.  I find the direction is no less than epic.  The angles used to display the frankly amazing PS2 graphics are just perfection.  The jaunty upward view as a ship dives, out of control, crashing through a magical barrier over a cityscape.  The small yet effective slow motion view on a characters face as he rides through a chaotic war zone.

I could go on, but back to the title of this post.  Recently an article on Kotaku extolled the virtues of +Konami classic Suikoden, mentioning that it is a classic but under appreciated series.  It seems to have earned almost cult status within RPG communities as a forgotten gem.  Given the middling review scores received by FFXII at release, I see the same future for the game. 

Looking back, then forward to today's games, it is clear to see that some influences have traveled far.  We need look no further than the chain system.  The game does not require grinding to complete, in fact many people have proved how little you need to earn in the game to actually complete it.  If however, like me, you are someone who enjoys feeling overpowered as a result of your work, then it would allow you to do so.  Essentially, the chain system rewarded you for defeating the same enemy, or same family of enemy, over and over again.  Once you reached a break point in the chain number, the enemy could - and would - drop better loot.  I found myself excited to reach a new area, just to chain the local wildlife and see what they would drop.  It was and still is to this day, a compelling system that rewards you no matter which way you choose to play.  It is a system which has made it's way into multiple mmo and rpg games, and rightfuly so.

The musical score which, whilst only truly epic on a few occasions, always frames the scenes perfectly.  The gambit system which sneaked its way into multiple high profile games from other developers.  The now infamous voice actor(s).  All in all, it is a fantastic title, unfortunately shunned at the time for attempting to be too different.

Looking at the game now, though, through the looking glass of games released since, and it really is a classic.  It is a piece of game making craft that will stand up to the test of time so much better than many releases we see these days.  Ahead of its time, perhaps.  Like the small, silent, limping kitten at the back of the cage.  You look at it and all that surrounds it, unloved and mistreated.  Only to find that when you take it home, it chases lights up the wall and bites your eyelids to wake you up.  You could have chosen the generic cat, the generic game.  As it turns out though, that imperfect cat, that imperfect game, has so much more to give.

~sal


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