FINAL FANTASY XII : REVENANT WINGS / Square / DS




Take your standard Final Fantasy battle - up to five characters, squaring off against a passel of monsters. Now, add the ability to summon up to twenty further allies, in the form of "espers", and add the ability to face roughly that amount of enemies as well. Take the whole thing and rework it as a real-time strategy scenario, something akin to a Warcraft 3 map but with no resource-gathering or unit-building, and there you have FFXII : Revenant Wings.

The game is essentially a very simple RTS, focusing entirely on combat with a limited number of units. There's no towns or overworld - you just jump from battle map to battle map, taking the odd break in between to return to your airship to heal up and resupply. There's also a load of short CGIs, comparable to those used in the "big boy" version of FFXII, that act as reward and develop the story in-between battles.

When I say the game is "simple", I mean simple. FFXII's "gambit" system has been reduced to a Gambit equalling "one particular task that you can do, like fighting or casting Heal". Characters are outfitted only with one gambit at a time, essentially making them one-dimensional. Fighters do nothing but charge ahead swiping their swords, healers do nothing but wander about casting Heal, etc. The game it actually reminded me most of was not Warcraft, Starcraft, or any of the big-name RTSes, but Battle Bugs, an obscure old PC game from Sierra/Dynamix.

I guess this game may do something for those desperate for an extra FFXII story fix (as it is a direct sequel to that game plotwise), but beyond that, I see little purpose or value to it. It's solid, but it's very slow-paced, and the limitations of combat make it rather boring. With so many other, better games out there in both the strategy and RTS fields, I just don't see the point to bothering with this one other than if you are some giant mark for FFXII. Aside from the generally glacial pace of the battles and the relative lack of challenge, I was also annoyed that the game does not "snap to" a character when you click their tab on the touch screen, but rather forces you to scrape the stylus along the screen dragging it over to each one individually to give them fresh orders. The battlefields can get fairly big, and this dragging around constantly gets quite tedious quite fast (and isolating a particular character in the midst of a mob of tiny struggling people is also frequently cumbersome and troublesome).

(Sorry for this kind of halfassed review folks, but I truly found this game so boring I just didn't want to waste any significant portion of my life on it. Surprisingly, GameFAQs of all places has an excellent review that covers the technical particulars that I had gripes with very well. You can see it here. I've yet to see a review of this game by the commercial publications go into anywhere near adequate detail.)

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