Friday, January 2, 2009

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

GENRE: Role-Playing Game / Real-Time Strategy
Parental Guidance Recommended
2007 Square Enix Co., Ltd
SCREENSHOTS: Courtesy of, 3D cut scene courtesy of RPGFan

Artbooks and Strategy Guides
Original Soundtrack
Video Game Shop
Toys and Accessories
Posters Etc.
Everything Else

Amazon.Com Product Description:
One year after the events of Final Fantasy XII, Vaan travels the skies of Ivalice with his navigator Penelo at his side. Their treasure hunting adventures take them to the sky continent of Lemures where they meet Llyud, a member of the aegyl race. These winged people have been living on the floating continent for centuries, but a disturbance has allowed treasure-seeking sky pirates to breach their once-hidden territory. It falls to Vaan and his band of young sky pirates to stand up against the trespassers, and defend the sky continent and its people.

  • Use of the touch screen: control armies, unleash special attacks and activate Gambits
  • Experience the next installment in the Ivalice Alliance, a series of titles set in the same game world as Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions
  • CG movies make use of the Nintendo DS hardware displaying cutscenes across both screens
  • The Ring of Pacts allows users to pick and choose from over 50 summons such as cactuars and chocobos

Messy! >>> by skysenshi (01.01.2009)
Where do I begin to enumerate how annoying Revenant Wings is? Let's start with the soundtrack. Why oh why did they have to use the very same music that had me falling asleep in the middle of Final Fantasy XII?

Next, the battle system. As I wrote in my notes from February, 2008: "Wonky dual screen usage. I hate the controls. It’s like the makers couldn’t decide whether to create a tactics game or an RPG. I know there have been games like these…but they have been presented on a BIGGER screen and navigation isn’t such a bitch. If you’re not careful with this one, the battle ground might turn into one big confusing mess."

It would have been a good idea to have a real-time tactics game...if the screens weren't so small and if the enemies didn't spawn like there's no tomorrow, thereby covering everything and making it so hard to distinguish where your characters are. The fact that everything is animated -- walking, jumping up and down, flocking to one area of the screen -- isn't really helpful.

That I made it to the final dungeon was nothing short of miraculous, although it did take quite some time. Nearly a whole year to get there, actually, because I only touch Revenant Wings when I'm desperately bored and in-between good games. I have one last battle to fight and I can't even finish it because apparently, I need more than one tank. Not being fond of Vaan, I didn't exactly use him much, making him under leveled. So there. I'm officially stuck.

Where exactly did Revenant Wings fail in terms of gameplay? Aside from its penchant for overpopulating the small screen with sprites, of course. Well, if you're going to make a real-time strategy game, you could've at least made the gambits (automated skills) a bit more intelligent. Like the way it was done in Final Fantasy XII. I know many gamers complained about the gambits making that particular game too easy or boring, as if you're running bots in a non-MMORPG. I had the same complaint. But Revenant Wings is one that requires quick thinking -- not to mention lightning fast reflexes and hand-eye coordination when it comes to the Nintendo DS stylus. FFXII's gambit system would have worked well with it.

In Revenant Wings, you can only use one gambit, which your characters automatically fire as soon as able. The rest of the skills, you'll have to manually trigger on your own. When you have 5 to 6 sprites, guarded by their own little bevy of Espers (summoned monsters), running off on their own, even when you specifically commanded them to stay in place (sometimes an enemy comes a little too close and one of your characters, along with his Espers, will start chasing after it), the battle map turns into Bedlam. Manually triggering the skills just won't cut it. I honestly found myself wishing to have at least 3 gambit commands that I can arrange according to importance so that my characters wouldn't run around like headless chickens.

My other complaint would be the summoning gates. If you're going to put rules like monsters should spawn in summoning gates, make them spawn only when the gates are there. Many times, enemies would spawn repeatedly even when those gates are not in a map. It's the main cause of map overpopulation.

Next peeve: Vaan. We didn't like him in FFXII. What makes one think that we'd actually like to see him be the protagonist again? Oh, right. He may have been named the hero in FFXII, but those who have finished the game know that it's actually Princess Ashe's story. Perhaps this is Square Enix's way of making it up to the character? Anyway, enough with Vaan already! (Squeenix put him again in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift, but thankfully, I can ignore him.)

I read somewhere that someone had called this a rehash of the classic Final Fantasy Tactics. Excuse me, but that's an insult to FF Tactics. I bet you're thinking, why the heck did I even reach the last dungeon if I hated the game so much? Two things: Balthier and Fran. Probably the game's only saving graces. I got to see more of Balthier's come-hither personality and I got a deeper look into his friendship/partnership with Fran. The story is also quite promising, as it introduces some of Ivalice's unknown races.

Is all that worth finishing the game? Maybe if I got too frustrated, I'll just go look the ending up in YouTube.

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