I think I have to agree with Gabe at Penny Arcade
FF XII was actually one of the first games I checked out at E3 this year. I admit I am a recent convert to the series. I only got into Final Fantasy games with X, and even then I played it nearly a year after it actually came out. I loved X so much though that I went out and purchased the rest of the games in the series and have been slowly working my way backwards through them. Besides the great stories in each game the thing I really loved about them was the combat. I liked seeing all my characters lined up on one side of the screen with the crazy vegetable monster or whatever on the other side. Each game had its new features. Things like Materia or the Sphere Grid were super compelling additions to the game, but they simply complemented the already familiar style of combat.
Like Tycho said, I'm still going to buy FF:XII. I'll play it just like I played and enjoyed Crystal Chronicles, tactics and even XI. While I was playing all those spin offs I always expected that eventually Squareenix would deliver XII and I'd get to play a real Final Fantasy game again. Now that I see XII is some kind of .Hack style MMO game without either of the M's or even the O, I can't help but fell disappointed. It seems to me that the people who want that sort of combat already have their game in XI. Meanwhile the rest of us who enjoy the classic FF combat have been patiently waiting for its return since we loaded up X-2 and let out a long sigh.
Obviously it still looks incredible and I'm sure it's got an amazing story that will pull me in and hook me for the entire game. I don't think it's going to be a bad game. It's just another spin off like Crystal Chronicles that I'll play and enjoy while I wait for the next real Final Fantasy game.
Quite honestly why I know a lot of people bitch about the FF combat of random battles, characters lined up, turn based, etc. - the games still sell millions!
so why screw with it? To please who? Fans? No they already love the games. Non-fans? Why please non-fans at the risk of pissing off fans? To sell less copies?
I know some people love change but quite honestly I love formulaic - if I love the forumla. I don't want something different, I want more of the same. That is why I watch serieses on TV, why I read the same authors in books, and why I like to go to the same resturaunts. Not all the time mind you but when I want a certain thing (TV, book, food, or video game) I want to know that I will get it if I go to a certain outlet. I don't want to go to Outback and find out they are now only serving vegitarian food - no matter how good. I want a steak. Similarly I don't play FF because I want real time action combat (for that I play Zelda, or Onimusha, or any of the millions of games that already do that!). I play it because I want the screen to shatter at random times and to hear the battle music!
I will still buy it. I may even love it but like Gabe "It's just another spin off like Crystal Chronicles that I'll play and enjoy while I wait for the next real Final Fantasy game."
And the saddest news no signature Final Fantasy victory music as you collect your gil and cure potions after you win
I loved that music!