After six profitable Final Fantasy video games based mostly on the Lively Time Battle System, Sq. Co. determined its foray into the sixth era of online game consoles wanted some modifications. Finally, the PlayStation 2 ended up with 4 Final Fantasy RPGs: the extremely structured Final Fantasy X, the primary ever direct sequel within the collection Final Fantasy X-2, the exceptionally profitable MMO Final Fantasy XI and the wide-open Final Fantasy XII. For the primary time in the primary collection, every of these video games would run on utterly totally different battle methods.
As a result of the time spent creating every recreation would improve considerably from previous installments, a number of groups labored on these titles: Final Fantasy X’s group started work as Final Fantasy VIII was beginning to wrap up manufacturing in 1999, Final Fantasy X-2 was made by a few third of the staff left over from FFX in round half the time, Final Fantasy XI was developed by a workforce totally separate from FF and Final Fantasy XII’s employees was made up of individuals who labored on Final Fantasy IX, X and X-2, and was rife with manufacturing hiccups and delays.
Improvement on these PS2 video games took longer than most previous titles within the franchise (which you’ll be able to examine within the first, second and third elements of this collection), with the exception of X-2 and its incorporation of beforehand developed belongings. These prolonged manufacturing durations are largely as a consequence of how radically totally different every recreation was from each other: FFX’s battle system was deliberate and methodical, X-2’s was hectic and fast-paced, XI’s melded collectively elements of older Final Fantasy battle methods and conventional MMO methods, and XII virtually felt like an amalgamation of all of these mechanics. From the beginning of the PS2 period onwards, no mainline Final Fantasy video games would have the identical primary battle system as one other – for higher or for worse. The variety these video games exhibit is a testomony to the Final Fantasy model, and the collection would solely develop extra numerous sooner or later.
Notice: We’re solely going in-depth into Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII’s battle and leveling methods, as Final Fantasy X-2 shouldn’t be a mainline recreation and Final Fantasy XI’s MMO construction is actually in one other style solely.
Final Fantasy X
Launched in Japan in July of 2001 and in America later that December, Final Fantasy X introduced a deluge of modifications to the franchise. It was the primary recreation in the primary collection to function absolutely rendered, 3D landscapes, because the earlier three had used pre-rendered backgrounds. It included voice appearing in each in-game and CG reduce scenes, together with detailed facial animations. It stripped away the world map that followers had grow to be accustomed to and streamlined the sport into a way more outright linear expertise than ever earlier than – although the world map of previous video games principally provided an phantasm of a extra open world than they really had. Lastly, it was the primary recreation within the collection in eleven years not use the Lively Time Battle system.
The forged of Final Fantasy X was restricted to seven distinctive characters, none of which have been optionally obtained. The protagonist, Tidus, was a world-famous Blitzball participant who was seemingly teleported to a different world by an enormous monster referred to as Sin. Yuna was a Summoner on the planet of Spira, who set off on a pilgrimage to realize summoned creatures referred to as Aeons and defeat Sin. Wakka was a extremely religious and laidback Blitzball participant, however turned one of Yuna’s many guardians, sworn to guard her in any respect prices throughout her pilgrimage. Lulu was a Black Mage who had recognized Yuna since start, and was probably the most devoted of all her guardians. Kimhari was a hornless Ronso succesful of studying assaults utilized by fiends, who coincidentally befriended Yuna as a toddler and too turned one of her guardians. Auron was a former warrior monk of the faith Yevon who helped Yuna’s father defeat Sin ten years prior – alongside Tidus’ father Jecht. Lastly there was Rikku, Yuna’s cousin, who was a thief and an Al Bhed – a marginalized race in Spira that embraced know-how when Yevon’s teachings largely forbade it. Tidus, Auron and Rikku later turned Yuna’s guardians, and this motley crew of seven set off on a pilgrimage throughout Spira, determined to defeat Sin and convey a Calm again to the world.
Final Fantasy X’s battle system, dubbed the Conditional Flip-Based mostly system, intentionally eliminated the faster tempo provided by the ATB system and as an alternative opted for battles that have been extra considerate and strategic than ever earlier than. Within the CTB system, which was designed by Toshirō Tsuchida, every character on display was represented by a letter or image in a flip window on the higher right-hand nook of the display. This window gave the participant a precise illustration of which social gathering member or enemy would assault subsequent. For example, if Rikku’s flip was up, her image can be on the prime of the window, and if it have been adopted by monster A and Auron’s image, then that enemy would assault after her, and Auron after it. This line-up could possibly be actively augmented, nevertheless: characters with excessive agility stats like Tidus and Rikku would get turns extra typically, and using methods like Fast-Hit or administering a therapeutic merchandise might permit that very same character to have one other flip simply earlier than monster A attacked, or maybe go between monster A and Auron’s turns, relying on the state of affairs. Some assaults, like a very highly effective spell, might trigger the caster’s subsequent flip to be pushed again considerably, and such drawbacks wanted to be assessed alongside any given transfer’s usefulness.
This technique inspired gamers to experiment with totally different actions throughout battles, as merely hovering over a command would have an effect on the tentative flip window, displaying precisely how this command would finally play out within the battle if it have been chosen. Although the battle line-up was introduced again down to 3 social gathering members, gamers might now actively change out the battling characters with the 4 ready within the reserves – with out losing a flip, no much less. This inspired gamers to make the most of each member of their social gathering. This turned extra necessary than ever earlier than, contemplating enemy varieties have been particularly vulnerable to assaults from sure characters. Tidus was greatest at hanging fast enemies like wolves, Wakka was nice at taking down flying creatures, Auron excelled at piercing beasts with hard-shelled defenses, Rikku might dismantle mechanical enemies by stealing from them, Lulu’s black magic was typically essential to get rid of elemental fiends, and Yuna’s white magic and Aeons have been paramount to the group’s success. The solely character that didn’t maintain a singular benefit was Kimhari, whose central place on the Sphere Grid made him extra versatile than some other character.
As an alternative of merely leveling up characters with conventional Expertise Factors, Final Fantasy X launched a way more elaborate and advanced technique within the Sphere Grid system. In it, all seven characters began on separate factors on the grid, every corresponding together with his or her basic class. Tidus’ part of the grid largely included time-based assaults and magic for him to study, Lulu picked up extra superior black magic as she progressed and Wakka’s portion of the grid was suffering from status-inflicting talents. Characters might transfer from node to node with every Sphere Degree gained, which changed conventional ranges within the recreation. Sphere ranges have been consumed with every motion, characters must achieve extra in the event that they needed to progress additional, and will solely achieve them by collaborating in battles. Some nodes have been empty, some held stat bonuses, and a few provided useful talents.
Every crammed node wanted to be unlocked by a corresponding sphere that might be obtained in battle, treasure chests, or through the story. For example, pink spheres have been used to unlock most nodes, so a pink talent sphere was required to unlock talents like Magic Break or spells like Thundaga, a purple energy sphere might unlock Power, Protection and HP nodes, and purple fortune spheres activated luck nodes. There have been lock nodes scattered throughout the Sphere Grid that ran from ranges 1-Four, and wanted a corresponding leveled key sphere to unlock them. As soon as these have been out of the best way, characters might entry notably highly effective talents, or might even start to encroach upon different character’s sections of the Sphere grid and study their talents and achieve their varieties of stat bonuses as nicely.
There have been additionally 4 particular courses of spheres: purple, yellow, blue and clear spheres. Purple spheres reworked empty notes into stat nodes like MP or Accuracy. Yellow spheres allowed characters to activate any node for themselves that one other character had already unlocked – so if Wakka’s Tripple Foul assault had been activated, Kimhari might use a yellow talent sphere to unlock it, regardless of the place he was on the Sphere Grid. Blue spheres allowed characters to teleport their lively place across the Sphere Grid, just like the pal sphere that would transfer Rikku to Yuna’s place, or the warp sphere that permit them transfer actually anyplace on the grid. Clear spheres might merely wipe away any stat node that had beforehand been activated by a personality. These varieties of spheres have been rather more troublesome to return by than common purple spheres. The Sphere Grid as an entire operated like a kind of meta-game as an alternative of a standard leveling system, and allowed gamers to customise every character to their coronary heart’s content material.
Just like Restrict Breaks in previous Final Fantasy video games, Final Fantasy X had distinctive Overdrives for every character. Overdrive meters crammed relying on every character’s set Overdrive Mode: if Tidus had Warrior set, his Overdrive meter would fill every time he attacked an enemy, or if Yuna have been utilizing Healer, hers would go up every time she healed an ally. New Overdrive Modes could possibly be unlocked for every character all through the sport by fulfilling its corresponding requirement – so Yuna might unlock Healer if she had been casting quite a bit of therapeutic magic all through the sport. As soon as crammed, gamers might unleash this character’s Overdrive at their time of selecting – the meter didn’t deplete after every battle. Tidus’ Overdrive set, Swordplay, ultimately had 4 totally different Overdrive assaults that might be used, from his beginning Spiral Reduce to the devastating Blitz Ace. His Overdrive assaults turned extra highly effective if the participant pressed X at simply the best time alongside a shifting meter – his extra highly effective Overdrives had a smaller window of alternative for this to occur. If an Overdrive, or any assault for that matter, defeated an enemy by much more HP than vital, the character would obtain an Overkill bonus and achieve extra expertise. Yuna’s Aeons had their very own Overdrive meters as properly, and will unleash extraordinarily highly effective assaults when full. Her personal Overdrive was Grand Summon, which mechanically gave any Aeon she summoned their very own full meter upon getting into the battle.
All through the story, Yuna gained 5 Aeons to summon by praying at numerous Yevon temples throughout Spira: Valefor the flying beast, Ifrit the hellish hearth monster, Ixion the lightning horse, Shiva the ice goddess, and Bahamut the dragon king. Three extra Aeons could possibly be obtained optionally: Anima the tortured soul, Yojimbo the samurai for rent, and the three Magus Sisters Cindy, Sandy and Mindi. As soon as summoned by Yuna, every of these Aeons changed the opposite two characters in battle, they usually could possibly be managed as in the event that they have been some other character, and the participant might enter instructions like assault, use spells the Aeon is aware of, and unleash their Overdrive as soon as full. If the Aeon ran out of HP in a battle, it fainted and the opposite celebration members returned to battle. The participant might train every Aeon new talents and improve their stats through the use of sure gadgets gained all through the course of the sport.
Final Fantasy X solely had two gear slots per character: one weapon and one armor slot. This appeared restrictive at first, however after Rikku joined the get together she might use gadgets to reinforce weapons and armor, infusing elemental assaults and defenses or grant further stat bonuses within the course of. Even weaker weapons and armor might turn into exceptionally helpful as soon as she obtained her arms on them. FFX additionally launched Set off Instructions, which principally happened throughout boss battles. With these instructions, characters might select to work together with objects on the battlefield, like an industrial crane that would decide up and drop enemies for additional injury. Set off Instructions might additionally come within the type of “talking” to the enemy, briefly boosting character stats within the course of. The recreation additionally included 5 separate mini-games, just like the water polo meets rugby fictional sport of Blitzball, or chocobo racing.
Fan opinion stays cut up on Final Fantasy X. It launched Spira, a stupendous, tropical world with East Asian influences that stood in stark distinction to the European and typically futuristic settings of previous video games. It did away with the Lively Time Battle system and launched a a lot slower paced, however extra dynamic, Conditional Flip-Based mostly system. Its English voice appearing has been closely criticized, however its story stays one of probably the most distinctive and concerned within the collection. It introduced distinctive takes to the Restrict Break, summoning, and gear methods. It utterly modified the best way characters might degree up and progress. All-in-all, Final Fantasy X completed what it got down to do: it launched Final Fantasy to a brand new era, with a heightened degree of storytelling, all whereas altering many of the collection’ sacred tentpoles within the course of. Final Fantasy X and its sequel went on to promote greater than 14 million copies since launch, and it turned one of the very best rated entries within the franchise.
Final Fantasy XII
Simply earlier than releasing the extremely worthwhile (however considerably divisive) MMO Final Fantasy XI, Sq. Co. merged with their longtime rival Enix, greatest recognized for his or her work on the Dragon Quest collection, and the ensuing firm turned Sq. Enix in 2003. Greater and extra resourceful than ever earlier than, Sq. Enix continued the work that began on Final Fantasy XII in 2000, however progress was not going properly. It was initially headed by Hiroyuki Ito (recognized for guiding Final Fantasy VI and IX) and Yasumi Matsuno (who directed the extremely acclaimed Final Fantasy Techniques for the PlayStation), nevertheless, Matsuno fell ailing and was changed by Hiroshi Minagawa, who labored as an Artwork Director on Final Fantasy Techniques and Vagrant Story.
These two video games, in addition to Final Fantasy Techniques Advance for the Recreation Boy Advance, passed off in a world referred to as Ivalice – the identical world that Final Fantasy XII can be set in. Earlier than leaving the undertaking, Matsuno created the plot of the sport and labored out many of the overall ideas that FFXII would embody, however its launch was finally delayed till 2006 – over two years after it had been initially scheduled for launch. This lengthy improvement interval wasn’t just because of employees shake-ups: Final Fantasy XII was probably the most formidable, and sophisticated, Final Fantasy so far.
Very similar to Final Fantasy VI earlier than it, Final Fantasy XII didn’t have a single protagonist. Vaan was an orphan and a dreamer who a lot of the promotional supplies for FFXII revolved round. His good friend Penelo was a fellow orphan, with a light-weight coronary heart and a cheery disposition. Balthier was a dashing sky pirate who cared much more about Ivalice than he let on. His companion Fran was a viera – a magical bunny/human race that sometimes secluded themselves in forests. Ashe was a princess of the dominion Dalmasca, although she faked her personal demise previous to the occasions of FFXII. Lastly there was Basch, a knight framed for the homicide of Ashe’s father in regulation, the king of Dalmasca. The world of Ivalice appeared to be the primary character extra so than this forged of six, teaming with life and creativity from the Nam-Yensa Sandsea to the Skycity of Bhujerba.
Although Ivalice had been in prior Final Fantasy spinoffs, Final Fantasy XII launched extra new parts to the collection than maybe some other entry. It was the primary recreation within the franchise to take away random encounters, permitting the celebration to seek out enemies of their pure habitats. Not would a separate battle display disrupt the stream of the sport – as soon as an enemy engaged in fight, the battle would start proper then and there. Some enemies would provoke fight, others have been docile until provoked, and the following battles passed off solely in actual time. Climate results have been launched into the over-world – climate would typically seem randomly and a few climate varieties, like rain, affected fight by decreasing the accuracy of ranged weapons, boosting electrical energy’s effectivity and diminishing hearth’s energy.
The new fight system, dubbed the Lively Dimension Battle system, allowed gamers to regulate one character instantly at a time, issuing conventional instructions like assault, defend or use numerous magic spells. The digital camera was now utterly within the participant’s management, and could possibly be pushed, pulled and panned about on the participant’s leisure. As soon as fight was initiated, purple strains related the enemy with whichever character they have been at present concentrating on, and blue strains represented which enemy or get together member any given character was aiming their assaults, talents or spells at. As a result of the participant might solely management one character at a time, the Gambit system was launched to micromanage the complete social gathering. On this system, a collection of “if, then” situations have been crammed out by the participant with a view to program every character into doing what they needed in any given state of affairs. As an example, Penelo might be given the gambit pairing of casting Remedy when an ally’s HP dropped under 30%, letting the participant not fear an excessive amount of about retaining the well being of the get together taken care of always, as a result of they knew Penelo would do exactly that. This might be used at the side of enemy variables, totally different expertise and even for visitor characters. The Gambit System might get difficult, with the participant continuously altering these set ups for every character, however as soon as issues received rolling, Final Fantasy XII had the quickest paced battle system within the collection up to now.
Characters had no courses laid out for them, and their improvement was completely left as much as the participant and the License Board. This leveling system was much more freeform than the Sphere Grid, permitting all six characters to purchase squares on the board with License Factors that they earned in battle. Every sq. unlocked a set of talents, armor, weapons or stat increase for characters to select from – although unlocking these wasn’t the top, gamers additionally needed to acquire the corresponding gadgets, spells or in any other case as nicely. Within the unique recreation, every character utilized the identical clean License Board, probably permitting each character to turn into the almost very same construct if the participant selected to take action. This technique was deemed a bit too liberating by some, and in subsequent re-releases of the sport just like the worldwide version and the just lately launched Zodiac Age HD remaster, particular boards correlating to courses like Archer or White Mage have been chosen by every character, they usually might then develop into that job accordingly. Along with the License Board, characters additionally earned conventional XP and grew ranges as they did in most Final Fantasy video games.
Summons in Final Fantasy XII have been referred to as Espers, and there have been 13 obtainable all through the sport: twelve corresponded with the indicators of the zodiac, and the thirteenth was the darkish abomination Zodiark. None of the normal Final Fantasy summons like Ifrit or Shiva returned as Espers, and as an alternative turned the names of numerous airships all through the sport. Every Esper wanted to be defeated in fight with a view to be obtained, and just one character might unlock any given Esper on their License Boards as soon as defeated. After they’re summoned, the Esper took the place of two different celebration members in battle, and fought of their steed. Although they might not be instantly managed within the unique launch, gamers might command Espers in subsequent releases of the sport. Some Espers have been extra highly effective than others, and required a number of Mist costs to summon. Mist costs might be gained by every character once they unlocked Quickenings on their License Board – Final Fantasy XII’s model of Restrict Breaks. Quickenings have been flashy and excessive, but when different social gathering members had Quickenings unlocked as properly, the participant might chain them collectively, ranging in energy based mostly on Mist costs. A very lengthy chain of Quickenings might end in a Concurrence, a remaining assault much more highly effective than the chain of Quickenings itself. This technique was considerably unwieldy, and relied on quick reflexes and luck in an effort to pull off, although it could possibly be mastered by affected person gamers.
Final Fantasy XII additionally launched Battle Chains, which constructed up because the social gathering defeated the identical enemy sort in succession. After sure quantities of the identical enemy had been defeated, they might drop rarer and extra worthwhile gadgets because the Battle Chain grew. Aspect quests referred to as Hunts have been launched, and allowed gamers to realize further XP, gil and gadgets as they tracked down and defeated highly effective elective enemies. Conventional set treasure chests have been changed by semi-randomly generated loot, and beforehand opened treasure chests might yield further gadgets upon subsequent encounters. There have been additionally traps littered throughout the over-world and in dungeons that would harm the celebration, inflict standing results, and even heal characters if stepped on. They have been routinely invisible, but when any character within the lively social gathering had Libra forged on them by a spell or granted from an adjunct, traps might be revealed. Just like Final Fantasy IV, characters might equip a weapon in a single hand, a defend in one other, or a two-handed weapon in each, together with a helmet, some physique armor, and an adjunct.
Final Fantasy XII was critically acclaimed upon launch and has been acknowledged as an awesome Final Fantasy recreation by followers increasingly as time goes on and as enhanced ports are launched. It finally seems like a recreation that was pulled in a number of instructions and designed by a committee after Matsuno left the venture, nevertheless it nonetheless turned one of probably the most open and freeform Final Fantasy video games in historical past. In some ways, Final Fantasy XII looks like a response to Final Fantasy X: the place X was linear, XII turned open; the place X was character targeted, XII’s world and politics took middle stage; the place X’s battle system was sluggish and methodical, XII’s was fast and sometimes exhausting to handle. This collection of diametric oppositions would solely be amplified within the subsequent installment of the collection, which might take Sq. Enix one other three years to finish and launch on the subsequent era of online game consoles.
That wraps up our look into the mainline Final Fantasy entries on the PlayStation 2! Keep tuned for the fifth half of this function, which can deal with the 2 most up-to-date mainline entries within the franchise, Final Fantasy XIII and the artist previously generally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV.