I was really taken in when I first played this game. I was immediately impressed with the graphics, the cut scenes and the huge scale of the game that was about to open up in front of me. It felt like every inch the epic and I was not disappointed.
As I played further through it though, I did tend to stumble across things that bugged me or reduced my enjoyment of the game. My major concern was the repetitiveness of the dungeons. They can create a world with so many different landscapes and amazing unique features, but instead they've got lazy and reused the same format and textures for numerous dungeons. I still haven't completed this game yet, though I'm a good way through it and I think that if there is one more dungeon, I'm not going to have the energy to battle through it.
The battle system is revolutionary for the Final Fantasy series. It's still turn based, but you no longer have to input the battle commands. Initially I had mixed feelings over this as there is nothing less entertaining than clicking 'Attack' for several thousand random battle encounters. But when you come to a boss, it's good to think that your tactics are operating in real time, rather than just reliant on a pre-battle plan that you have in your head. Of course, you can change your tactics at any time but this is eventually more time consuming and usually fails to kick in before a major character in your party dies.
There are plenty of plus points though. The world map is huge and you genuinely have a lot of ground to cover on foot (I've seen it listed as a negative point, but I think it's much more appealing to have an expansive game than one that feels almost claustrophobic - like Final Fantasy X). The voice acting and characters in general are superb, with only the main character being frustrating enough to want to punch repeatedly in the face. Side quests are plentiful and entertaining, though there is the lack of a worldwide sidegame to take your mind off of things when the story gets too intense.
All in all this is a thoroughly entertaining game, but it is not 'the best final fantasy'. I would put it at third place in my top three. It's a step up from FFX and I anticipate another in the form of FFXIII. They will hopefully blow the power of the PS3 away with that one.
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