Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 64 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 64
  2. Negative: 0 out of 64
  1. 95
    A fantastic RPG. It blows all of its PS2 competition this year right out of the water and is among the all time elite role-players ever made for the system. "Kingdom Hearts," "Devil Summoner," "Xenosaga III," "Tales of the Abyss"... none of them are on the same level as Square Enix's bold and riveting move in a new direction.
  2. There's still a disconnect between what happens during gameplay and what happens during cutscenes, but by integrating the combat and exploration, Final Fantasy has come one step closer to being more immersive than before.
  3. It takes a lot of guts to completely change the entire formula of a well established and beloved series such as this. The developers took on this monumental task and proved that it is a great chan[g]e of pace.
  4. With an engaging story, incredible visuals, great audio, and a cohesive and epic experience, FFXII is easily one of the best RPGs available now.
  5. Where this games shines the brightest is in the new path it blazes, not the traditions it revisits. [Nov. 2006, p.132]
  6. 100
    The game looks great, sounds great, has great writing, offers a lengthy and satisfying journey, has a great technical element and engaging sword-swinging and spell-slinging. It would be difficult to find a game out there with better production values, or that meets its goals so successfully while still introducing new ideas and innovations.
  7. 100
    It's not hard to see us looking back in five years time and seeing FFXII as a pivotal, changing moment in how RPGs are designed; a game which drew on the experience of Final Fantasy's branches into tactical strategy and massively multiplayer, as well as on the more mature storytelling of other mediums, and folded it back into the number series, to wonderful result.
  8. 100
    With amazing improvements and incredible gameplay, FFXII is without a doubt the best Final Fantasy game in over a decade. Put simply, this is what all RPGs, regardless of platform or subject matter, should aspire to be.
  9. FFXII has my vote for Game of the Year for 2006, and I'd even go as far as to call it my personal Game of the Generation.
  10. One of those rare games that can be appreciated by both hardcore and casual fans alike, Final Fantasy XII may very well be Square's last great adventure, and a fitting sendoff, for the PlayStation 2.
  11. A great looking, well-written beast of an RPG, though some of its technical aspects could’ve operated more smoothly. We don’t like the fact that everything feels unorganized, or that we still have to spend so much time with menus, but we love the story and the world and the humongous levels of customization.
  12. 95
    From beginning to end, this is the most complex Final Fantasy game yet, and it's just as evident in its plot as in its mechanics.
  13. After its stormy development, FF12 isn't just a worthy installment of the series, but a great RPG in its own right, one that thinks differently and feels all the better for it. [JPN Import; June 2006, p.72] Stunning Design. [Feb 2007, p.66]
  14. The story soars, but not so often. The dungeons are long and meandering. The gameplay is effective, but not engrossing. It's a staggeringly well-made game that throws more at you than any other RPG on the PS2... but well-made doesn't necessarily mean "fun."
  15. It's an MMORPG without the second M or the O, and while it's not perfect by a damn sight, it's better than the last few FF games have been.
  16. 100
    As for the adventure, it demands to be savored and not discussed. Amazing graphics power gorgeous cut-scenes filled with sky-choking ships, huge vaguely futuristic cities, and stunning natural landscapes. And, as beautiful as it looks, it plays even better.
  17. 100
    Not only are the characters well designed, but once you step out into the huge world, you'll be amazed by the wide array of creatures and landscapes the game has. This is a PS2 game, but it's really pushed to the limits.
  18. A work of progressive genius that hauls its staid genre up by the bootstraps and takes its place alongside the WOWs and Oblivions of this world. It's altogether too good to be true. [Christmas 2006, p.74]
  19. 100
    An exceptional title in every way. It has all the elements you need for a potential classic; massive production values, jaw-dropping visuals and sound, intricate and engaging storyline, fast-paced and immersive gameplay.
  20. 95
    Squeenix once again delivers a grand adventure, with the main quest being at least 60 hours. In a genre which many think has become redundant and stale, FFXII stands out with a unique battle system, endearing characters, and a beautifully crafted, well presented story.
  21. Like it or not, the Final Fantasy series has come of age and this new approach to the genre is a breath of fresh air. [JPN Import; June 2006, p.108]
  22. A brilliant RPG that delivers on all fronts including quite possibly the most enthralling piece of narrative the series has ever seen.
  23. The scale of FFXII is so grand, so overwhelming, so vast, that comparisons to other video games--a proper review, in other words--borders on the impossible. [Jun 2006, p.69]
  24. From its lively outdoor backdrops to the striking architecture found in its cities and dungeons, this PS2 title will even please--at least visually--those with next-gen FF firmly on the brain. [Nov. 2006, p.126]
  25. The presentation, sound, and much of the story create a very lush, vibrant world that is waiting to be explored. However, the monotony of the battles, and how the story falls apart near the end make it more difficult to enjoy the game in the long run.
  26. Although Square has clearly found the limits of the PS2, Final Fantasy's new, seamless approach to exploration and combat works beautifully, and comes with all the depth of plot, character, and gameplay that we've come to expect from the name.
  27. Delivers everything you could possibly want in a role-playing game; it has a deep story, a ton of quests, great graphics and a brand new combat system. It's one of the few games where you can actually say that it's well worth the wait!
  28. Once you start playing, FF12 has an addicting quality to it that will cause you to skip meals and lose sleep, constantly pressing forward towards the next save point.
  29. A masterclass in game design. Through expert sound, storytelling and gameplay you are enwrapped into the world of Ivalice.
  30. One of the best RPG’s on PS2. The story and the characters are excellent, the graphics breathtakingly beautiful and the new fighting-system is pure gold. [Feb 2007]
  31. 85
    By anticipating Final Fantasy XII as the greatest RPG ever made, there may be many harsh instances of disappointment. If you feel up to the massive challenge of appreciating this radical RPG, Final Fantasy XII will astound and mesmerise the heart and soul.
  32. Despite the massive size of its world and seemingly endless optional content, Final Fantasy XII feels like an unfinished, conflicted game. In the end, Square Enix’s developers seem to have fallen into the same trap the game’s waiting fans did - while the overall scope and ambition has gotten plenty of attention, the minute-to-minute play experience has been all but ignored.
  33. 93
    Despite the demo being met with scepticism, Square Enix has crafted a truly fantastic game that is a stunning change of pace and feel for the Final Fantasy series, but still manages to stay largely true to its roots. Beautiful. [JPN Import; Issue #139, p.60]
  34. Either way, Final Fantasy XII is a fitting send-off for the series on the PS2, and it justifiably has a chance to proclaim itself the best Final Fantasy on the Playstation. [Nov. 2006, p.106]
  35. Even without any special incentives to replay through it once it's over, Final Fantasy XII offers a beautiful, well written, fun RPG experience that is both long and rewarding. Matsuno's team took some real chances with the gameplay this time around, but the results are pleasantly surprising. [Oct 2006, p.56]
  36. Deviations from past Final Fantasies may turn off some players, but this game is so classy, it’s like mouthwash for the nasty taste FFX/X-2 left in gamers’ mouths. It redeems a hallowed series which had begun to spiral into teeny-bopper, pop-idol-infested hell.
  37. Thanks to the strong attention to detail, the world of Ivalice feels less like a video game and more like an actual place. Not only are the actions and motivations of the various characters believable, but the characters themselves are often quite memorable to boot.
  38. This is absolutely my favorite Final Fantasy title, a claim I probably would have laughed at two years ago when rumors about the game’s battle system began to circulate.
  39. Like FFX, it does not fit in that well with the rest of the series from a gameplay or stylistic standpoint, but it stands up beautifully alongside the likes of the Chrono and Seiken Densetsu franchises as a high-quality Square Enix RPG in its own right, even if it isn't one of the greatest of all time.
  40. An outstanding RPG. It's unmistakably Final Fantasy, but feels as fresh as any adventure on PS2. [Christmas 2006, p.73]
  41. As the last Final Fantasy of the current-gen, it delivers as the best of the bunch. An epic story, incredible characters, slightly-innovated battle system and some of the best graphics seen on the PS2 add up for an incredible journey any RPG fan shouldn't miss out on.
  42. Even if you rush through the story you can anticipate spending at least 50 hours to complete it. Rushing through is not as much fun, however, and you should take time to do the extra side quests, hunts, exploration, levelling up, etc.
  43. Final Fantasy XII revives my love of the Final Fantasy series and proves why the series is one of the best in the world. I would say that this game’s only real competition for RPG of the year would be "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion."
  44. A highly polished game that is fun to play for many hours, but lacking in certain abstract deliverables the Final Fantasy series and the RPG genre are renowned for.
  45. The number of side quests offered makes leveling up fun instead of boring. FFXII also happens to be one of the most challenging Final Fantasy games I’ve played.
  46. There are a large number of secret missions for Espers, weapons and general loot, which should keep a completionist playing for a good number of hours, but I can’t help but feel like for all of its production values, depth, and size, Final Fantasy XII tries too hard to reinvent itself, missing those aspects that brought a swarm of fans to the series from FFVII.
  47. 72
    But the play’s the thing, and in this title, the play is a chore to get from cutscene to cutscene. Though I’ve often snarked that this was how Square Enix designed the series starting with Final Fantasy VII, I can’t imagine this is truly what the designers wanted from their latest creation. The result is a decent but ultimately disappointing experience from this venerable series’ latest entry.
  48. 89
    If any major criticism can be levelled at Final Fantasy XII, a finger would have to be pointed at the game's less than endearing storyline.
  49. A masterpiece of epic proportions. From the innovative battle system to new ways of leveling up; the game gets a hold of you and never lets go. With roughly 50-100 hours playtime, Final Fantasy XII is an experience that you’ll never forget.
  50. 97
    Final Fantasy's final swan song for the PlayStation 2 is a complete masterpiece. Square Enix's attention to detail and love for their craft is embodied through and through. This is an adventure that will, without a doubt, stand the tests of time.
  51. 95
    This is an extremely well-crafted game and the time taken to create it is highly evident. [JPN Import]
  52. Final Fantasy XII is flawed, and has all sorts of features seemingly designed to polarize fans. However, it is also a must-have RPG, and one of the best games of the year.
  53. Beautiful, involving, impeccably designed and outstanding value, this is a grand game that is difficult to fault. It will captivate even those who have been immune to Final Fantasy's spell.
  54. FFXII is the apex of adventuring; gaming doesn't get any better than this. [Jan 2007, p.68]
  55. 70
    Whilst the combat system might not suit everyone, it by no means detracts greatly from the overall experience. The strong narrative and cast mix well to the addictive levelling of strengths and powers, leaving the player more than satiated.
  56. Simply the best game available on any system right now and is the best Final Fantasy to date.
  57. This isn't a crowning moment only for the PS2 generation, but for all of the Final Fantasy series. Long after the PS2 is forgotten, this installment will live in the memories of those who experienced it.
  58. 62
    Mind, it’s still a decent game with gorgeous graphics and an incredible environment, but it possesses little of the magic that some of its predecessors have.
  59. While Fantasy has a captivating and ingenious battle system and thriving, beautifully designed cities set in an imaginative, fully realized world, it doesn’t have much of a story. The best narratives of political intrigue frame it as a personal struggle, but Fantasy is too concerned with the grand sweep of politics to bother with giving its cast interesting personalities.
  60. It’s a flawed great game. The battle system is fast and fun, yet it’s a bit simple and repetitive. The license board provides non-linear character growth, yet there aren’t that many ways to raise the characters. The towns feel alive and outdo anything to date, yet the dungeons feel all too similar and repetitive. [JPN Import]
  61. It has a lot of what FF fans have come to expect – high quality presentation, a grand adventure, a likeable cast, and lots of fighting. But, it also has a lot changes to which not everyone may warm up – gambits, revamped battle system, and a different way of storytelling.
  62. 10 / 10 / 10 / 10 - 40 [platinum ; Mar 2006]
  63. It's an example of master storytellers at the height of their powers, and despite the shadow of its illustrious heritage, Final Fantasy XII is by far and away the best game in the series yet.
  64. FFXII is a gargantuan, gorgeous game with a gripping plot, likeable characters and an interesting new combat system that injects some much-needed life into the series. Wonderful. [JPN Import; June 2006, p.44]
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 732 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 251
  1. ScottB
    Feb 4, 2010
    10
    A very rewarding experience and a majestic soundtrack. Whilst previous Final Fantasy games were rather linear, Final Fantasy 12 lets you go A very rewarding experience and a majestic soundtrack. Whilst previous Final Fantasy games were rather linear, Final Fantasy 12 lets you go exploring for yourself in a large open world. A fantasic new 'License Board' system brings new depth to levelling up, blowing Final Fantasy 10's 'Sphere Grid' completely out of the water. A true masterpiece. Full Review »
  2. CristianoM.
    Mar 2, 2008
    4
    Boring... and boring... and boring. I can't believe my eyes when I read what most reviewers wrote about it. I have played through half Boring... and boring... and boring. I can't believe my eyes when I read what most reviewers wrote about it. I have played through half of the game more or less (I checked a walkthrough to see where I was) before I really called it a goner. I couldn't play anymore. In short: the music is poor, the visuals are uninspired (just like the music) with shabby colours and strong pixelation but worst of all: the gameplay is extremely repetitive, unoriginal, incapable of keeping a person awake for too long. The characters are on par with few exception. Never felt anything for practically any of them (with the only exception of Balthiar). I should have stopped at Final Fantasy VII (92% for me), a real Masterpice. Instead the parabol had just started to go then reach abysimal levels, Final Fantasy VIII (78%), Final Fantasy IX (70%), Final Fantasy X (61%), Final Fantasy XII (42%). Sqauresoft Enix won't get money from me anymore. Full Review »
  3. Nov 18, 2010
    6
    Good things first.
    + The story is adequately complex with a number of turns, and it goes with the whole style of the game. Without going into
    Good things first.
    + The story is adequately complex with a number of turns, and it goes with the whole style of the game. Without going into detail, I think Square came up with something exceptional here.
    + You better believe the aesthetics were brilliant, cutscenes no exception. Square's usual originality was apparent in the world of Ivalice - the sandsea, for instance, or the Giza plains becoming a swamp/marsh. Besides Penelo, who I thought was a bit flat, the voice acting was superb. I liked the royalty obvious in Ashe's voice, the down-to-earth quality of Vaan's voice, and I fell in love with the uniqueness of Fran's voice. Going from FF10 to FF12 there is definitely more graphical detail and polish all around.
    + The gameplay was not what I was expecting, which is a good thing in general. It has more elements than most games: Multiple types of magick, many technicks, quickenings/summonings, and gambits. There are 5 things each character can equp, and each combination has advantages or disadvantage, such as a ninja sword versus a dagger/shield. The six characters can potentially use any weapon and gain any ability with the License Board, much like the Sphere Grid in FF10, but where the Sphere Grid forces you to differentiate the characters first (ie: LuLu learns black magic, Yuna learns white magic, Tidus gains strength/speed, etc.) the License Board lets you change up their weapons and abilities at virtually any point in the game. Not better or worse - just new and different. The fighting system is a fresh update as well. While the gambits could automate the fighting entirely, you have the option of turning them off, so no complaints there. Where FF10 had a passive, turn-based fight system, FF12 has an active, real-time fight system. Again, no worse or better. Both are refined.

    Now for the critiques.
    - The characters themselves were great. They were obviously deep people with complex pasts and stories to tell. That much was clear. But those stories never came to light. 30 hours into the game, I was still meeting new characters, and I was still expecting guy/girl to hook up or someone to reveal some shocking truth. There could have been a flashback, a description of some special memory, anything, please! Before the final battle, I was still waiting for something to happen. Then the game was over. Nothing happened. My favorite character was Fran. Why? You get to see the village she's from, you meet her sister, find out why she's with Balthier. Besides that, Ashe is a princess, Vaan's a citizen of Rabanastre, Penelo is a friend of Vaan's (or a sister? Idk!). And that's all you need to know about them.
    - I know I said the story was good, and it is, but not entirely. FF12 really piles it on at the beginning with cutscenes and a guy reading paragraphs, which is incredibly rushed. Then it's Dalmasca this and Nethicite that...and Nethicite this and Nethicite that. It's like Star Wars in many ways. Brilliant, but it makes you wish you had a friend there so you could whisper, "Uh...what's going on again? ... Oh, so nothing's happened still?"
    - I felt like I was fighting the same monsters over and over, just with different colors with different names in different places.

    Why a 6?
    The main reason I give FF12 a 6 and not higher is that after about twenty hours of playing, part of me wanted to quit. I'm putting 50 hours of my life into this game, basically spending 50 hours with the characters. I don't do that just to see the next beautiful city or a cutscene of old men talking around a table. I want to be immersed in it. Nobody spends 50 hours reading the Harry Potter series just to look at the pictures she puts at the start of each chapter. They want to know the characters, how they react to situations, how they came to be. Harry Potter is an example of good character development in addition to original and stunning surroundings. FF12 has the aesthetics, and it has good characters, but you never get to know them and it fails to bring you into the story.
    Besides that, I have few complaints. The gameplay is great, although it can become mostly automated, further disconnecting the player from the game. The visuals are great, and the music was good, though I expected more. FF12 is not your typical Final Fantasy, even if it does carry on features from previous FFs. It's a different style (think knight-era) which refreshes some of the same old typical things in Final Fantasy.
    Bottom line, it's worth a play through. But start playing this and then start playing FF10 and you'll see where FF12 is lacking (you'll also see spots where FF10 is lacking).
    Full Review »