I use to always let myself get caught up in the hype of E3. I would constantly speculate about what would be announced on various message boards, and it was fun. But something has happened during the console generation. More than in years past fanboys of particular systems have become increasingly vocal. Its to the point where you cannot open a thread about a specific game without having someone either gloating, or bringing the game down for absurd reasons.
The big three are not helping this at all, they like it and they try to fuel it. Sony and Microsoft constantly take little digs at each other during presentations. Now I do realize they are trying to promote their products, but you can do that in a more mature way.
Something has changed in recent years. Being a fan of video games meant you loved the games, weather it was on Nintendo or Sega it really did not matter. Now there seems to be so many people who favor only one console and spit on everything else.
While unpacking today I found a rather pleasant surprise hidden away in some boxes, an unopened copy of Final Fantasy XII. I have always been a pretty big FF fan, started playing way back in the Snes days, but in recent years I have lost interest in the franchise. I remember playing the demo of XII when I purchased Dragon Quest, and at the time I was pretty upset with the changes to the battle system. I have always been a huge fan of the turn based way of fighting, and this new battle system shoved me out of my comfort zone with the FF series. After that, I vowed never to play XII. But to my dismay a realtive bought me a copy for my birthday, they figured it was a perfect gift for me given its name. That was about three years ago, and I am now just getting around to playing it, and all I can say is that I am surprised.
I am absolutly loving this game so far. Granted I am only a few hours in, but the game is doing a really good job of sucking me in. I'm not sure what it is, maybe the three years I spent away from the JRPG genre, But I am really digging this battle system now. It's seems like you can make it really easy for yourself with the gambit system, but at the same time there looks to be a lot of debth to it. Actually it looks like Dragons Age: Origins is borrowing this concept. Fighting in this game is just so much more exciting compared to the previous Final Fantasys. You do not have all the time in the world to make a decision anymore, you need to react quickly or you are done for. Its nice to see that Square-enix has the guts to make a change this big to a franchies millions hold dear to their hearts.
I have not experienced much of the story yet, so its hard for me to comment on what I feel about it. I was a pretty big Final Fantasy Tatics fan, so the world of Ivalice is a world I like. In XII they managed to keep it familiar but new at the same time. So far the story does feel pretty original, well atleast for a JRPG. At least you have you have not lost your memory in this game. I'm not sure how I feel about Vaan yet, he does not seem like a protagonist I can get behind. Hopefully the other main characters will be a little more interesting.
So far XII has reinvigorated my love for Final Fantasy. However I am only 5 hours in, lets hope this game stays this good for the next 50+.