Alicia Ashby: The competition for Best RPG is going to be stiff this year, and reviews for the demo that shipped with Dragon Quest VIII are distinctly mixed. Still, after such a long wait for this title, it's hard not to be at least a little excited. Final Fantasy XII is finally going to make good on Final Fantasy Tactics Advance's promise of a return to Ivalice, complete with bunnygirls and more airships than you can shake a sword at. The combat has switched to an unprecedented real-time system designed to mimic the combat style of MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XI and City of Heroes as closely as possible. The only way to find out is play the game when it's out, and that alone makes Final Fantasy XII one of the most anticipated titles of 2006.
Mark "RumDragon" Bolin: The Final Fantasy series is seen as the mecca of role-playing games for most people, and say what you will, but the games have always been on the cutting edge of graphics and technology. Having played a brief demo of the game, I am interested to see how the new pseudo-real-time battle system will be fully implemented. With all of my expectations come just as many doubts, seeing as how recent offerings have seemed rather lackluster. Let's just hope that Final Fantasy XII will break free of that and consume as much of my time as the previous titles.
David Nadler: It's a Final Fantasy game. I mean, it's the bread-and-butter console RPG of the past two decades. While to me it's been a long time since there's been a particularly good Final Fantasy, that doesn't preclude the hope that there will be another one again. Call me old school if you want, but I still see FF VI and VII as being the pinnacles of the series. How will FF XII stand up? I must admit that I'm curious.
Brian "Katarani" Porbansky: I can't believe I'm saying it, but this is actually a Final Fantasy game I'm interested in. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, while having its fair share of flaws, was by far the one game I've most enjoyed by Square-Enix or either of their parts since Star Ocean: The Second Story, and before that, the original Final Fantasy Tactics. Since Dirge of Cerberus and Final Fantasy X-2 have shown that the Final Fantasy games are no longer sacredly final in their own continuities, it's a matter of great satisfaction that Final Fantasy XII takes place in the same Ivalice from FFTA. While moogles and Nu Mou appear to play a far more vestigial role – FFTA aside, we haven't had a moogle protagonist since Final Fantasy VI, much to my dismay – it appears to be much of the same world that we were introduced to before, only a bit more mature. In addition, the much-heckled Gambit system seems to be an intriguing compromise between the turn-based Final Fantasy games of yore and the "Look Ma, I'm a cookie-cutter MMO!" of Final Fantasy XI. I have yet to play the demo, but just seeing it in action makes me a little squirmy in anticipation.
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