Final Fantasy XII

aka: FF12, FFXII, Finalnaja Fantazija 12

Description official descriptions

Two powerful empires, Archadia and Rozaria, are at war. All they care for is victory over the opponent. In order to achieve it more quickly, Archadia invades the small kingdom of Dalmasca. The young prince of Dalmasca falls in battle shortly after his marriage to the beautiful princess Ashe. The king is murdered under mysterious circumstances just before signing a peace treaty with Archadia. The iron rule of the empire is established in the small country.

The player takes control of a young thief named Vaan who lives in Rabanastre, the capital city of Dalmasca. Through a series of events Vaan finds himself involved in the political struggle, hoping to avenge the death of his treacherously murdered brother.

Final Fantasy XII is set in Ivalice, a fantasy world which also served as a setting for Final Fantasy Tactics. The game differs from its predecessors in several core gameplay-related aspects. The game world is composed of vast areas with visibly walking enemies. There are no separate battle screens in the game; combat takes place in the same environment as exploration. Player-controlled characters can freely move during combat. Actions are still selected by choosing commands from a pop-up menu, and each character has a traditional ATB bar that determines when he or she may act; however, overall the combat resembles the "real-time with pause" system of Western role-playing games such as Knights of the Old Republic.

The player can issue specific commands to the party members, or assign to them combat strategies (called "gambits" in the game). New magic, abilities, and equipment are bought from stores or found in containers in the world. Before a character can use any of these, the player has to buy a corresponding license by spending license points earned in combat. These act like skill points, and can be allocated by the player manually on the character's license board.

In addition to the enemies and bosses found by following the story, the player can also accept "Hunts" posted in bars or offered to the player in conversations. These are optional encounters where the player has to track down and either trap or lure a very powerful monster before defeating it.


  • Финальная Фантазия 12 - Russian spelling
  • ファイナルファンタジーXII - Japanese spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

637 People (606 developers, 31 thanks) · View all

Main System & Event Programmer Director (North American Version)
Lead Realtime Rendering Programmer
Programming Supervisor
Main Character Design & Background Design Supervisor
Art Direction
Visual Design & Character Texture Supervisor
Visual Effects Director
Background Visual Effects
Lead Motion Designer
Event Motion Designer
Hi-Polygon Facial Models & Textures
Hi-Polygon Facial Motion
Battle System Design
Event Direction
Lead In-Game Event Designer
Lead Map System Designer
Lead Menu System Designer
Sound Effects Director
Movie Direction
[ full credits ]



Average score: 92% (based on 101 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 93 ratings with 5 reviews)

The best of both worlds

The Good
There's a lot to write here...

The best thing is the battle system. I'm used to play online games, and this is very similar. This is a Japanese game, but the battles are like in an American game. I haven't completed another Final Fantasy game, but this one is really perfect for my taste. You can see the enemies on the screen. You shouldn't go into a "battle screen", everything happens just in the same world. And the battles are quick! No waiting for the turns.

The enemies are also smarter than usually, they will cast oil on you, and then another enemy will cast fire magic to make three times more damage! They also like casting haste, protect, and other buff on themselves.

There are some cool details in battles. Like those Mimeos who pretend to be treasure chests. Or fake save crystals who attack you when you touch them.

The graphics. They made it really well. Especially the monsters. I liked how they designed the bosses. Sometimes I even had pity for a boss after we killed him... There are also great animations. There was a fight against a big turtle, so after the fight he ran into the stone, just like a real turtle. And of course, Balthier has great animations. There are actually many handsome men in the game, like Balthier, Basch, and Gabranth. Basch looks especially handsome when he cut his hair. Looks a lot like my husband.

Some of the animations and the expressions of the characters were absolutely like real people. I had the feeling I was watching a movie, experiencing something from the real life.

The women in the game all have personality. All the three most important ones, Ashe, Penelo, and Fran. They are cute but still have their own personalities. Different men can like difference things about them. And they all looked sexy and beautiful.

The bad guys of the game are also very interesting. When I defeated them, I felt pity. This means that I had some sort of a connection to those people, even though they were bad.

In the beginning of the game there were a lot of surprises in the story. After that there was some time without much story, but the final part was great. Like a real movie, like something very realistic, taken from our world.

Even though the story is about politics, it's not a love story or something like that, there were still many touching and emotional moments.

The music was very good, there was some music that sounded like its was from American games, but also some music that I heard was from old Final Fantasies. This music was great, it's nice that they have such a long tradition.

I also like those special Final Fantasy animals. The chocobos are really cute, and also those little guys who say "kupo".

The Bad
Some of the bosses were very difficult, my husband lost (we were playing together, but he always took care of the bosses), and then he shouted at me. This was not good...

Bad things in this game? I don't think so, really. I think they made it perfectly.

The Bottom Line
The Japanese took some great ideas from Western RPGs and put them into their game. But there is still the typically Japanese story and many emotions, and this is a great combination. You really feel it is a "final fantasy" - a fantastic game.

PlayStation 2 · by Melody (48) · 2007

Final Fantasy 12, good game, but not a Final Fantasy

The Good
The graphics of FF XII are... well... WOW!! This game is so pretty that you will want to run through it and keep playing just because it looks so cool. However, graphics are not enough to make a game truly great.

The character structure and development are also done very well, though Vaan isn't quite as "cool" as Squall or Cloud, he isn't a bad character, more of a Zidane then anyone.

The music isn't bad in this game, however eventually it does get old and annoying.

FF 12 offers countless hours of gameplay completing the sphere grid-like leveling system and hunting hours and hours worth of monsters.

Story - The story causes a lot mixed emotions. It has a very good story, but it does not feel like a final fantasy game.

The Bad
FF 12 seriously falls apart when the word tradition is applied. FF 12 gives up on the classic "romance" that most FF games have held in the past. Though there is a love interest, it's forgotten and overpowered by the rest of the story line. Actually there is 2 love interests, and neither of them matter.

Summoning is terrible. FF 12 requires the player to summon ONE TIME in the entire game. Aside from that one summon not only is summoning unnecessary, but ineffective. Let's face it, the summons suck. What happened to the much loved Shiva, Ifrit, Bahamut, hell even Carbuncle would be cool to see again.

As mentioned before the music isn't terrible, but there is no battle music, only boss battle music. This means that when running around exploring a desert or plain, leveling up and whatnot, the same cycle of music will play the whole time... and sadly, the music was not composed by Uematsu.

Gambits... many people would argue this point and say that gambits are amazing and fun, this unique system allows players to set up a system of equations telling the party to do what and when. Basically meaning the game can be played one handed... and that hand is used to control where players walk, not what they do.

The Bottom Line
FF XII is interesting, unique, pretty, fun, and exciting. but FF XII also tries to change way too much. Many FF fans didn't take too kindly to FF XI because it was TOO different to be taken as a 'Roman Numeral FF game" (It should have been called Final Fantasy Online) and in my opinion FF 12 would have been better off named something completely different.

------- Amazing, but not Final Fantasy amazing ----------

PlayStation 2 · by Ben Burdick (5) · 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; or, the plot Dickens..

The Good
Everybody loves “Rocky” (1976); I mean, what’s not to like about the quintessential American dream of some white guy who able to overcome the odds and defeat the heavyweight champion of the world, a guy who is stronger, more eloquent and blacker than him. Besides this important admission to the modern lexicon of the underdog, “Rocky” is also important for its unforgettable theme by Bill Conti and establishing a cornerstone of the modern film vocabulary--the “montage”: a collection of vignettes accompanied by music to establish the passing of time and the bettering of oneself; in this case, running up the stairs of Philadelphia Museum of Art and wrestling a chicken. “Gonna fly now...”

This is important to the fundamental concept of role playing video games. Besides the idea of pretending to be somebody else for awhile and do things that they would do (a concept quite a few RPG’s in fact ignore), an RPG can offer you the satisfaction of turning a nobody who can’t do anything into a somebody who is strong, smart, and likely has the ability to cast spells. The information shown in a five minute film montage can’t compare with the satisfaction of turning your farm boy on a quest to avenge/save the kingdom/princess into a hulking, spell-casting badass over the span of some fifty hours. From fighting rats in the cellar to dragons in castles, this predicable template is what brings back gamers for more of the same. We want that satisfaction.

The Final Fantasy series has long allowed gamers to indulge in this “satisfaction illusion” with providing hundreds of hours of grinding through dungeons to level up their characters. Final Fantasy XII goes the logical next step in turn based combat and offers a system that is automatic and for the most part, hands free. Final Fantasy XII uses a “Gambit” system which is just like basic programming (ie. Step 1: heal if health under 50%; Step 2: if health over 50%, then attack enemy etc.). All that button mashing “A” to confirm your party to “attack” enemy has been eliminated by this simple and straightforward system that has you wondering why it hasn’t been used before. However, this forward leap in technology is a step backwards in old school methodology: by taking away the monotonous act of making the same combat decisions over and over again, the game also takes away the pleasure of knowing you have something (if at least artificially) to do with your character getting “stronger”.

Indeed, if the “Gambits” are programmed properly then just about no stopping of game combat is required; you just steer your merry band of murderers as they gallivant across the countryside slaughtering the poor monsters they encounter. As the player you simply direct where you want to go and everything is taken care of for you. It’s like the difference between driving a car and walking fifty miles, but more pleasurable, say like driving a car getting a highway hummer at the same time, but without the satisfaction and an overwhelming feeling of impropriety, say like getting said highway hummer from your sister. Who is dead. And had all her teeth filed into fangs.

However, “Gambits” aren’t mandatory, and in fact this “hands off” approach won’t work for the entirety of the game. Boss battles require different strategies compared to normal enemies. Conversely, someone could eschew the “Gambit” system entirely and micromanage every action, constantly pausing the action to simulate the turn-based style of yesteryear. Still, what’s done is done and there’s no going back. The sharp edge of technology has pierced the patchy screen door of RPG complacency, and the automated mosquitoes of “progress” have gotten inside and are here to stay and suck the blood of the soft, rubbery skin of fun. After this watershed, a RPG that still features turn-based combat is denying inevitable change and tacitly accepting an outdated system that shouldn’t have been improved a generation ago.

This aspect of Final Fantasy XII wouldn’t have been that bad except for the fact that in this game, as in most Japanese RPG’s, the main interactive component is combat. The acquisition of experience and money, accomplishing quests and main story goals, venturing into new areas—these all require combat, and lots of it. The Final Fantasy series does offer much besides combat: the series offers amazing visuals, music, elaborate cutscenes, Byzantinely convoluted plotlines, androgynous characters—more than enough to appeal to any sexually confused gamer. But this is a videogame, something you interact with, and having the main interaction with it on “autopilot” takes away part of the reason we’re playing it in the first place. If something is turn-based, then it doesn’t make any sense to artificially remove the “turns”.

These two contrasting modes of combat – turn-based and “automatic” - aren’t inherently flawed. While my criticism of Final Fantasy XII and early Final Fantasies sound like abject dismissal of their combat, in actuality both of them can work out to be quite fun if they were used in the right context. Fallout had an amazing, rich turn-based combat system that featured deep game play strategies. If you were going to take turns in combat, well, make sure every move counted. Likewise, an automatic battle system could be fun in a game if you had other things required of you to do, say solve puzzles. It’s a game; let me play it.

So, I was having my weekly video game think-tank session with JazzOleg where we try to solve the world’s problems by talking about video games we like and don’t like. I mentioned this review for Final Fantasy XII and also my main complaint that it takes the fun and satisfaction when the game basically “plays itself”. Upon hearing this Oleg put down his pipe, got up from the rocking chair and went out to the veranda that overlooks the valley that leads down to the lake and the boat house. He stood there for some time, watching the sun set as the temperature fell. In time he re-entered quietly and poured himself yet another brandy. Swilling it, he said at last, “While I hold your position, Msgr. Lasttoblame, to be one of logic and honor, I will inform you that the great satisfaction I obtain from playing Final Fantasy and other RPG’s is by outfitting my characters with the best armor and weapons and upgrading them as I see fit.” He then stood there silently, biting his lip, until he lifted his glass and downed the brandy in one swill. Oleg then did a line of coke the length of my arm and jumped out the window. When I peered through the broken glass I saw that Oleg had picked himself up and was running away, yelling “Video games can make a grown man cry!” and “It’s all about the story!” over and over again.

Wise words, even if I don’t agree with them. Gamers can play a video game whichever style fits them: cautiously, brashly, methodically, carelessly. Whichever style it is it doesn’t matter as the fun they derive from said game. If there are gamers like Oleg who enjoy looking over a menu tab again and again to agonizingly choose a +7 Sword of Vorpal over the BFG, well… there just are. People will have their fun however they want it. However, it should be noted that the automation that happened with the turn-based combat will likely also happen with upgrading your inventory and stats, as can be seen in the “X-Men: Legends” action-RPG’s. Just as there are people who don’t enjoy constantly confirming “yes” to attack, there are also people like me who don’t enjoy looking at a massive spreadsheet in order to marginally improve my characters.

Technology is change. Progress is change. But technology isn’t necessarily progress. The current trend in video games is to make games more and more accessible to more people, and the direct result is that of making games more and more easy. Final Fantasy XII follows this trend by using technology to make choice selection easier and faster. This is in effect “giving something for nothing” and gives the illusion of an action game without actually requiring the reflexes and co-ordination to play an action game. Easier and easier games redefine games as less interactive and demanding when the complexity of technology and the maturing of gamers’ sophistication requires the opposite.

The Bad
Fell asleep with my thumb on the analog stick and woke up 3 levels later. Didn’t cry one bit despite playing game in room with lit scented candles sitting cross-legged on my Ethiopian hemp rug in my drawstring tie-dye pants. Aerith still dead.

The Bottom Line
I don’t think my opinions are based on genre preferences. I’ve played lots of RPG’s over the years, a couple of them Final Fantasies; I liked a few of them even. I believe that game should be challenging and involving because those are the hallmarks of a good game. Both the “Gambit” system and countless cut-scenes of boring and confusing exposition remove us from this challenge. If a gamer plays specifically for the experience of a video game and not the challenge, then said experience honestly better be worth the many hours you put into it to receive the appropriate amount of satisfaction. On this definition, the majority of video games don’t apply.

Final Fantasy XII is a victim of its own pride of being dumbed-down technology and bloated, self-important art.

PlayStation 2 · by lasttoblame (414) · 2009

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Er. Indra was here (20633) Apr 10th, 2013
EXTREMELY minor nitpick Simoneer (29) Nov 23rd, 2010
Who else likes the battle system? Unicorn Lynx (180489) May 24th, 2007


1001 Video Games

Final Fantasy XII appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VII makes a cameo appearance in the game as a Mark. The music theme that plays during your fight is also the same. He still has eight arms and his personality hasn't change much either.


  • 4Players
    • 2007 – #3 Best PS2 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #2 Best Story of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2006 – #3 Game of the Year
    • 2006 – #2 Console Game of the Year
    • 2006 – PS2 Game of the Year
    • 2006 – PS2 Game of the Year (Gamers' Vote)
    • 2006 – PS2 RPG of the Year

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 21692


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Guy Chapman, Sciere, DreinIX, —-, Patrick Bregger, sgtcook, FatherJack.

Game added March 25th, 2006. Last modified June 21st, 2023.