1. The Combat is Unique For the Series
Final Fantasy is known for many, many things. If you asked someone to describe Final Fantasy to you, they’d likely start off with “turn-based” something, and that works for most entries in the series.
It doesn’t work for Final Fantasy XII, though, and that’s because for the first time in the series, Final Fantasy XII bucked the trend of turn-based combat and welcomed in Active Dimension Battle combat.
ADB sees players participating in combat in real-time just as enemies do. While there’s less time to strategize on the field of combat like you would in turn-based battles, there’s a system that fuels your ADB combat working behind the scenes to make this some of the most enjoyable combat in the franchise yet.
This system is called the Gambit system and in a strange way, it turns the player into an AI programmer. Essentially, a character’s gambits are codes that you, the player, create for each person in your party.
For example, you can code the following: If Ally: status = Sleep, then use Prince’s Kiss. This means that if an ally falls asleep, the character’s gambit programs the character to automatically use a Prince’s Kiss on the sleeping ally to wake them up.
This system is expansive and each character can have 12 different gambits that work in tandem with each other. It’s extremely confusing at first, but when you understand how it works, you’ll feel like a god watching your creation wreck havoc on the battlefield.
Final Fantasy XII’s combat is an extreme departure for the series, and it hasn’t really been returned to in the franchise, but it’s so uniquely addicting that it makes a trip back to Ivalice a trip worth taking.