It’s been a long time since the last original Final Fantasy graced the Playstation 2. Too long in my opinion, but the wait is finally over. Final Fantasy XII is now upon us to absorb our free time and whisk us away from our everyday lives. Months prior to release I secured my Collector’s Edition by completely prepaying at the nearest EB Games. Fortunate was I that this store planned on participating in a midnight release of the title. To say that I was enthusiastic about picking up my copy at midnight on All Hallow’s Eve would be a monumental understatement.
As midnight approached I naturally began to have difficulty in containing my excitement; it was exuding from my pores. You have to understand how many years of anticipation I’ve endured when I learned that Yasumi Matsuno was heading up XII. Matsuno being responsible for some of my favorite titles: Final Fantasy Tatics, Tactics Ogre, and Vagrant Story. His methodologies are synonymous for their intricate complexities ranging from gameplay to plotlines. His visions harmonize with my own on how I would create my own video game.
Every delay inflicted emotional pain and when the news of Matsuno stepping away from the project almost caused me to lose hope completely. All that melted away as I stood outside chatting of shared sentiments and anticipation with the only other soul to brave the wait outside the store in the cold. There were others, although not many, but they chose to remain in their cozy vehicles and hide from their geekiness in solitude. Not I, I fully embraced my geekdom. Final Fantasy although not my first console RPG (that honor belongs to Dragon Warrior) was the first to truly hook me into console RPGs.
It may be difficult for some to understand the mentality of those who show up at midnight to satiate their eagerness to be amongst the first to experience a game; I got my fair share of strange looks while explaining my plans for the night. It’s not something easily understood. It’s a comforting feeling knowning that you’re not alone in your geekiness; that you’re not the only one going directly home to pop it in. That being exactly what I did upon my arrival home.
Of course I’d get the Collector’s Edition.
I can safely say that after all these years it’s been well worth the wait. From the opening movie alone I would absolve Square of their sin of allowing so much time to pass since Final Fantasy X. X being the only title in the series to hook me from the get-go until now. XII’s introduction thoroughly engrossed me, I knew I was about to partake in something epic.
Epic is a great word to describe how I feel about my first hour with the game. Every inch of the game so far drips with polish, familiarity, and freshness. Matusno’s influence is evident in everything from the story to the menus, any fears caused by his departure from the game can safely be allayed. Although these are early impressions I have faith that Matsuno’s vision has been held throughout the game and will become yet another masterfully crafted experience.