I died 25 times in approximately 80 hours of gameplay, which is undoubtedly the optimal death rate for any game with a level-based battle system. If you die less often, you’re not taking enough chances, and if you die more often, it’s because you suck. All of my deaths were glorious and justifiable:
1. I Pissed Off a Dinosaur
In the first battle area of the game, you have the option of fighting a Wild Saurian.
“It is dangerous at low levels, but it will not attack unless provoked.”
Translation: if you don’t provoke the dinosaur, you’re a pussy. My party had only one member, who was at level 2. The dinosaur turned out to be at level 29…
2. I tried to steal from the dinosaur
I had a brilliant idea: if I can’t kill the dinosaur, why not steal from it and run away? Unfortunately, my steal attempt failed. So did my attempt to run away.
I could’ve avoided two certain deaths against the dinosaur. So what? Like I said earlier, if you aren’t dying in a level-based battle system, you’re playing like a coward.
3. Died Escaping Jail
Like any Final Fantasy game, FFXII had a jailbreak quest:
|That other music|
|Bullshit non-fighting tasks aren’t fun in any conceivable way
yet necessary to advance the plot
|Random monster bosses that are irrelevant to the plot|
|Can only fight with up to a fixed-number subset of your party|
|Multi-stage final boss|
|Optional bosses that are infinitely harder than the final boss|
|Usurpation of the throne|
|Useless status effect spells|
|Useful status effect spells?!|
This was admittedly my most pathetic death of the game. Good thing nobody noticed with that badass checklist in the way.
4. Mimic Queen (Boss)
A typical boss death. It used attacks I never saw coming. Then when I fought it the second time, I knew its moves and took it down without much trouble.
5. Thextera (Hunt)
Neglected to clear out the surrounding enemies before attacking it. Easily took it down the second time.
6. Wraith (Hunt)
It cast Doom on me. I could’ve run away to a nearby save crystal, but I wanted to see if Doom would kill me like it did in all the other Final Fantasy games. It did.
8 and 9. Garuda (Boss)
The second of only four enemies to take me down twice.
You need to do a side quest to get an item that drastically weakens this enemy; otherwise it will rape you. I knew I was outclassed after fighting it once, but I futilely tried again because I didn’t feel like going out of my way to do the side quest. I was a fool to let emotion cloud my judgment.
9 and 10. *Spoiler*
Vossler’s low-HP onslaught screwed me twice. Then I tried summoning. It was the only time in the whole game that summoning was useful.
11. Sabotaged by Slimes
When you hit a switch in the Henne Mines, a bunch of slimes drop down and slaughter you if you don’t run away like a little sissy girl (which I didn’t do the first time).
12. Elder Wyrm (Boss)
At this point I began to realize just how underleveled I was. This boss shoots oil at you to make its fire attacks more powerful, which was a really shitty strategy, because its fire attacks were powerful enough to kill me without the oil. The next time I faced it, I needed 22 phoenix downs to win. Letting it kill me and then using phoenix downs was a more effective strategy than trying to protect myself from its attacks.
13. Zombie Ambush in Stilshrine
I flipped a switch without the proper item equipped, triggering a zombie ambush. I mistakenly assumed these were your run-of-the-mill pansy zombies until they started eating my brains. My reserve members took down a few of them but couldn’t seal the deal.
14. Statue Ambush in Stilshrine
When you’re severely underleveled and no longer have Larsa in your party to heal you with his unlimited supply of potions, random statues coming to life and stepping on you gets really old, really fast.
After this death I went on a few hunts to make some money and level up.
15. Croakadile (Hunt)
I could’ve easily run away to a save crystal, but dying took me there a lot faster.
16. Bull Croc
Its attack strength practically quadrupled as its HP ran low. Laziness once again trumped my better judgment as I tried to finish it off quickly instead of healing and regrouping.
17 and 18. Mateus (Boss)
It took me two deaths to realize it was using Reflect.
19 and 20. Judge Bergan (Boss)
Aside from inspiring badass cosplays, I hated these cheap ass judges (except Gabranth). In our first battle, his lackeys snuck up on me with a pincer attack. The second time he barely outlasted me. It was almost as if I were the real winner.
21. Ahriman (Boss)
Kicked my ass with its shadow clone jutsu. Underleveling had caught up to me once again, so I spent some time fiddling around with the license grid and found some HP+ squares. After unlocking them all, each of my characters got 1000 more HP, nearly twice their previous level. The game suddenly got a hell of a lot easier.
22. Attacked by Bats
The Feywood had a random entrance to the Henne Mines with some ludicrously powerful bats. I wasn’t too concerned when it took down my active party – until I remembered that my backup party consisted of two dead characters and a confused Fran. After being breezing through Archades, this was a really shitty way to die.
23. Exodus (Optional Esper)
Another fight way above my level.
24. Zombie Pit in the Third Ascent of Pharos
I got sent to the Zombie Pit after flipping the wrong switch.
As with Death #13, these were not your run-of-the-mill pansy zombies.
25. Overlord (Hunt)
I wanted three specific characters to gain License Points from this battle. Two of them died and the enemy was too quick to let me bring them both back to life, so I died on purpose.
I did all the hunts through Level IV, all the Level V hunts except the one in the Barheim passage, a few of the Level VI hunts, and the Carrot from Level VII. I wandered around the Deadlands and the Necrohol but couldn’t access any of the optional bosses, so a few deaths may have been saved there. I don’t plan on going back into the game, especially since I’ve already spent 80 hours on it, nearly twice what I’d anticipated. An Unbiased Review is forthcoming.
I’ll also start taking recommendations for my next PS2 game. So far I’ve only played:
- Final Fantasy X
- Final Fantasy X-2
- Final Fantasy XII
- Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
- Devil May Cry
- Devil May Cry III
- Kingdom Hearts
- Kingdom Hearts II
That’s it. Feel free to recommend any games that aren’t on the list. Persona 3 was recommended, and I’m also interested in checking out the Metal Gear Solid franchise. RPGs are preferred, but I’m open to all suggestions as long as they don’t suck. Also, make sure it’s a one-player game because I don’t have any friends.