Video Game: Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII
is the twelfth game in the butt-blisteringly
popular Final Fantasy RPG
series, and the first main
game in the series to be set in Ivalice
. It's a standalone prequel to Final Fantasy Tactics
and takes place in the era of Ivalice that the dream land of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
was created from.
The story begins with the defeat of the Kingdom of Dalmasca at the hands of the powerful Archadian Empire, and subsequent occupation. Two years later, an energetic young street thief called Vaan
finds himself sucked into the languishing resistance movement
led by none other than Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca, princess heir to the Dalmascan throne, thought dead. Ashe is determined
to regain her kingdom and take revenge against the Archadians, and the key to this might just be the legendary nethicite
once used by her ancestor to unite Ivalice under his rule.
The story is also about Basch fon Ronsenberg, a proud knight
of Dalmasca thought to have betrayed his king on the eve of Dalmasca's defeat, now imprisoned in a cell far from human contact. It's about a dashing Sky Pirate
called Balthier and his frosty Viera
co-pilot Fran, who have their eye on the riches they can acquire while tagging along with Ashe. It's about Penelo, Vaan's childhood friend
who finds herself yanked into the chain of events
thanks to her relationship with Vaan. It's about Archadian nobleman Vayne Solidor and his ruthless campaign of intrigue and reformation
, and about his young brother Larsa, who wishes to unravel the web of deceit his brother has woven.Final Fantasy XII
is a complicated and detailed game noticeably different in storyline from other Final Fantasy games; whilst other games focus on individual characters, XII is less about people and more a story of Nations and nationalism, and the lengths some will go to gain power and control destiny. That's not to say it isn't a character study, with Judge Gabranth's clouded conscience and dark history being one of the major subplots - and hence why he's on the boxart. It's full of intrigue and interweaving stories, tactical team-based fighting, well-crafted dialogue and Limit Breaks
(here called Quickenings). It explores the ideas of freedom, revenge, loyalty, peace, and the importance of dreams. It's also a Deconstruction
of the "Find powerful McGuffin
to Save The World
" plot that's been around as long as the genre has, taking a much more sombre look
at the pursuit of what is essentially a Weapon of Mass Destruction
and the lengths to which people would go to gain — or regain — power.
The game happily ties in old Final Fantasy
adversaries, as well: Gilgamesh makes his requisite cameo, as do several of the main antagonists from the earliest iterations of the series, as optional summoned beasts.note
Still, it's very much a standalone title that can be played without having any previous Square Soft
It is also the first in the series to go into extreme detail on the nature of items and locations. Expect to find tufts
of Phoenix Down and strips
of rotten flesh instead of just the items, thorough explanations on the topics of evolutionary biology and monster habitats, a comprehensive history of Ivalice and its tribes and races, and incredible amounts of flavor text in every page of the in-game encyclopedia.
For the first time since Final Fantasy II
, the player has the option of strategizing around weapon types and character skills almost indefinitely, and to explore the whole world from the very start of the game. It's also noticeable as having a step up in difficulty compared to previous installments, and demanding more hours of investment from the player. Whereas in previous games you can level up reasonably well by just defeating every enemy you encounter en route
from point A to point B, in XII enemies in one area can be very easy and in the next Nintendo Hard
, so the game will force you to level grind just to progress with the plot.Final Fantasy XII
is currently one of only fiveClick for the others
of the main Final Fantasy
series to gain a direct sequel, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
, a Real-Time Strategy
title for the Nintendo DS
. A manga adaptation of the game was released and canceled before its completion. Some characters (notably Vaan and Penelo) also have cameos in Final Fantasy Tactics A2
(which also borrows a few tracks of XII's music).
This game provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Garamsythe Waterway. The in-game codex makes it clear that it actually isn't a sewer, but an underground channel used to bring water to the city, since Rabanastre is in the middle of a desert; hence the sluice control valve to prevent flooding. Its uncleanliness and infestation has gotten to sewer levels because Cuchulainn is there.
- Achievement System: The "Sky Pirates' Den" gradually collects sprites as the player meets certain tasks like completing story mode or hunting down rare Elite Marks. Each sprite in the Den clearly details the accomplishment it was awarded for.
- Action Commands: During the Quickenings.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: This gem of a line from Balthier:
Balthier: Ah, the prison repository of wrested relics and raiments.
Vaan: So our things are in here?
Balthier: That's what I said.
- Adult Fear: The Antlion hunt revolves around this. The person who posted the hunt is a mother whose children went to explore the mines while said monster was on the rampage.
- All There in the Manual: There's a much more complicated story here than most fans give it credit for, but considering the development team behind it, you'll be doing a lot of reading and deciphering a lot of subtext if you want the full picture.
- A lot of cool ideas, such as the backstories for the Espers, that were probably left on the cutting room floor have at least some existence as text background in the Bestiary.
- An Aesop: Revenge solves nothing.
- Antidote Effect: Subverted. Poison is a pretty hazardous status ailment, and you don't want it to compound (Poison + Sap will make your HP go down the drain quickly). The game mechanics (items are used nearly instantly) help it a lot.
- Anyone Can Die: None of the six main characters, mind you, but the death toll for this story is reasonably high. Reks, King Raminas, and Rasler all perish during the prologue, all but one of the Judge Magisters die, all but one of the Guest Star Party Members die, everyone in Nabudis prior to the main events, and anyone else the Occuria might've exterminated through the use of 'Dynast Kings' much like Raithwall.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Mist. Appears as a fog in high concentration, Mist increases the power of magic, causes mutations in monsters, and can have negative effects on the environment. It can also cause races that are sensitive to it, such as Viera, physical discomfort.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Only three active characters at a time, proving once and for all that three is too few. The game gets much easier when you have a Guest Star Party Member. At least Lazy Backup is averted.
- Artificial Brilliance / Artificial Stupidity: What you get depends on how you set up your Gambits — they can do a lot, but they can't do everything, and relying on them to fight all your battles for you will find you frustrated and possibly dead.
- On the Brilliance side, Gambits to cast healing spells or use healing items only execute once when appropriate. For example, if you have all three party members with Gambits to use Eye Drops on an ally inflicted with Blind, the first party member to get their next turn will use Eye Drops on the Blinded ally and the other two will keep fighting, unless more than one person has been inflicted with Blind. Allies can also detect an enemy's elemental weaknesses even if you don't know them, so Gambits that trigger when fighting an enemy weak to a certain element will go off appropriately.
- On the Stupidity side, Gambits for Steal and Poach will continue to execute as long as the conditions are met again, even if the enemy in question has already be Stolen from (and thus cannot be Stolen from again) or is immune to Poach. There's no Gambit that can tell if an enemy has an item to Steal or if they're immune to Poach, so this can happen no matter what the trigger condition for those Gambits is. For Gambits that target allies with Cura or Curaja, or enemies with group-hitting spells, the caster cannot pick targets intelligently, leading to a healing spell going off but by the time it affects an ally they've been killed, or a damaging spell targeting an enemy that dies before it is cast and thus the time spent charging the spell is wasted.
- Awesome but Impractical: Espers cannot be controlled, but they can be killed and so require healing and buffing like normal party members if you want to get any real use out of them, and a lot of the optional Espers cannot be acquired until late in the game. Furthermore, the strongest Espers require three Mist Charges to summon — that is, you need to give up all your MP. The Esper will go away, too, if its master is KO'd. It simply isn't worth it. The International Version fixes this by letting Espers be controllable, and the player can Syphon MP from the Espers, as they get summoned with full MP Gauges and none of their attacks require any. That was likely put in there to counteract using a lot of MP to summon an Esper.
- Zalera can be pretty useful for sweeping lower mooks you don't want to fight, provided they are vulnerable to instant death.
- Bad Bad Acting: Listen carefully to Basch during the assassination scene during the prologue. That's not bad acting; that's Gabranth not quite managing to imitate his brother.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: In the Necrohol of Nabudis, where a Catoblepas is slaughtered by Fury, an adorable little bunny.
- Bare-Fisted Monk / Kung-Fu Wizard: With proper set ups, your party can become this, and one license on the grid board powers up your strength when fighting barehanded. Final Boss Vayne starts the first phase of his fight by attacking you with powerful magic and his own fists and feet!
- Bare Your Midriff: In addition to the party outfits, this type of fashion is widespread in Dalmasca.
- Bat out of Hell: Several varieties, including some that drink blood. A rare variation of one drinks sap instead.
- Become Your Weapon: The final battle is broken into three separate battles, the last of which sees Vayne and Venat fusing.
- Beef Gate: Contrary to most other Final Fantasy games, which tend to be rather linear, XII's world is as wide-open as the old-school NES games, with the same empowered enemies waiting for you if you go somewhere you're not supposed to. However, level grinding to be able to take them allows players to go to areas they're not meant to access yet and get equipment and spells ahead of time.
- Berserk Button: "Venat is a HERETIC!"
- The Big Bad Shuffle: At first Vayne is presented as the main villain, but as the game progresses attention turns to Dr. Cid as the main researcher for Arcadia's weapons technology including nethicite. Then you find out Cid is just a puppet for Venat who is using him to manipulate the world political stage. Then near the end of the game you find out it's more friendship than manipulation between the two, and Vayne is also in on their plan. Vayne is widely considered the central Big Bad since he's The Emperor and the Final Boss, but Cid and Venat are also strong candidates to the title.
- Book Ends: The tutorial/intro culminates in Gabranth impersonating Basch to kill King Raminas and ensure Dalmasca's fall. During the ending cutscene, Basch impersonates Gabranth to stop the battling fleets before Dalmasca is destroyed in the crossfire.
- Bonus Boss: Many of them.
- Bonus Dungeon: Again, many.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Several around the world map. If an scary-looking enemy is docile, it's probably for a reason.
- There's even a Schmuck Bait version of this in the very first area of the game. If you're stupid enough to anger the GIANT T-REX, you may be Too Dumb to Live.
- Boss Room: All those bosses need to live somewhere, right?
- Boring but Practical: The Steal Technick. You start the game with it, half your party starts with the License for it, and the ones that don't can acquire it quickly. Stealing from enemies will quickly give you a big boost in your loot income, and it's fairly simple to set up your gambits so you attempt to Steal from enemies at least once before you kill them.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The Wyrmhero Blade. The highest attack in the game, automatically grants Bravery and Faith status, and has an 80% combo rate. But to get it you need to beat Yiazmat (which is only unlocked after completing the other 44 hunts) and Omega Mk. XII. Thus, by the time you can get the blade, you've beaten the game's strongest enemies. All that's left is hunting rare enemies and elementals for rare loot and killing the optional Espers, which you're obviously strong enough to do without it.
- Brick Joke: The petitioner for the Wraith mark mentions the ghost has begun haunting the Garamsythe Waterway and suspects it came into being to seek vengeance for the slain rats and other vermin living in the sewers. Guess what Vaan spent his time doing to train prior to the game?
- If you talk to the petitioner several times, she actually subtly implies she knows Vaan is the culprit:
"I'm not pointing any fingers here..."
- Broken Aesop: At the end of the Gil Snapper hunt, Elder Brunoa gives a speech about how it's wrong to kill animals to sell parts of them at market, in a game where this is your primary source of income, at the end of a mission where you killed an animal just because someone was willing to pay you to do so. In an area not too far away from packs of Worgen, which occasionally drop a loot item worth more than a thousand gil, no less.
- Broken Bridge: It wouldn't be Final Fantasy without them. While there are plenty of opportunities to wander into areas with monsters stronger than you are meant to face yet, all the paths to places important to the plot are locked via gates, bridges, weather, Imperial guards, etc.
- You can get into the Mosphoran Highwaste long before you're meant to by spooking a guard with a chocobo, but even that option is a Broken Bridge at the beginning of the game.
- Central Theme:
- Grey and Gray Morality — your heroes are not all that virtuous or noble at times, and their enemies are not cardboard cut-out evil. Associated with this is War Is Hell and what it can do to people.
- The examination of what is truly important when it comes to being loyal to a kingdom — loyalty to its ideals, its people, its rulers, or the physical kingdom itself, and if any of these should be sacrificed for the sake of the others.
- Chainmail Bikini: Weirdly, while the Archadian soldiers all wear full armor, a lot of the Dalmascan soldiers seen in the opening cutscenes fight with plate armor with no mail undershirt or other armor and noticeable gaps between the plates. Rasler himself is shot through the very wide opening around the throat of his armor during the Battle of Nalbina Fortress, something he might have survived if the hole had never been there in the first place.
- Character Filibuster: Gerun sweet-talks Ashe for close to five minutes straight, barely letting her get a word in edgewise, and when she finally asks a legitimate question, it goes ballistic.
- Chekhov's Gun: An early cutscene introduces Balthier's voice changer device. It's completely forgotten until the very end of the game, when Vaan uses it to impersonate Larsa, and Basch uses it impersonate Gabranth..
- Chest Monster: And in case you thought killer save points were limited to I Wanna Be the Guy, they're here too.
- Class and Level System: In the International Zodiac Job version, you have to pick your job before you can start getting licenses for that character, but thankfully earned LP up to that point is still retained. You can't change classes once chosen like in other FF games, however. Some characters are naturally better at some jobs than others due to their base stat growth. The jobs available are:
- Archer: Fights with a bow and wears light armor, standard bowman archetype.
- Black Mage: Casts offensive black magic and a few green magic spells, wears cloth armor. Generally the best class for Penelo.
- Breaker: Uses axes and hammers with shields and heavy armor. Pure offensive power. Best used for Balthier.
- Knight: Uses swords and broadswords with heavy armor, and learns defensive magic. Good for Balthier or Basch.
- Machinist: Uses guns with light armor. Good for characters with high speed stat.
- Monk: Fights barefisted or with poles, wears light armor. Requires high strength characters.
- Monofunu: Samurai class, fights with katana and cloth armor. Generally regarded as Ashe's best class.
- Red Mage: Fights using all forms of magic (along with staves and cloth armor), but misses out on the last 2 tiers of each. Good for high magic characters.
- Shikari: Combination of hunter and ninja classes, fights with daggers and ninja swords and wears light armor. Ties with Monofunu as Vaan's best class.
- Time Mage: Fights with buffing and debuffing spells, uses crossbows and cloth armor. One of the better choices for Fran.
- Uhlan: Dragoon class, fights with spears and heavy armor. One of Basch's best classes.
- White Mage: The healer, fights with rods and cloth armor. Penelo and Ashe both perform excellently at it.
- Classically Trained Extra: The majority of the voice actors are classically trained theatre actors, some of whom had no prior voice acting credits and were simply chosen because of their theatrical experience. Thanks to a combination of good choices and Woolseyisms, it worked very well.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Though the main storyline can be played through without much difficulty, the optional bosses cheat like hell:
- They disable parts of the battle menu.
- They get a massive boost in attack, defense, attack speed, and even a damage cap at critical health.
- They have status spells, up to and including instant-kill attacks, that land at much higher rates than your own.
- They put up a paling to make themselves immune to physical damage, a barrier to become immune to Magick attacks, or both at once.
- Some use a certain ability to double their level, making them one-hit kill your party members with regular attacks.
- Late game bosses and many marks have a "CT=0" ability that triggers once their HP falls to a certain amount. This ability lets the enemy attack at any time without having to wait for the charge time, meaning they can attack as fast as their attack animations can allow it. If you have your battle speed set to low, this will work heavily against you as the enemy wails on you while you wait for your turn to come up. Lord help you if this enemy is Hasted.
- Some bosses also have "null evasion" as a passive ability, which means their attacks never miss. A lot of bosses and some regular enemies have "null vitality", which lets their status abilities hit every. single. time. unless you are immune to the effect in question. Also, most enemy abilities are programmed in as Technicks, meaning that they have no MP cost and bypass Silence.
- Competitive Balance: Vaan is the Master of All being able to comfortably slide into any role, Balthier is a Lightning Bruiser while not as strong and durable as Vaan and Basch has higher speed but low magickal talent, Fran is the Master of None with no strengths in particular but no glaring flaws other then general mediocrity, Basch is a Mighty Glacier being the strongest with the most HP but suffers from low speed and poor magick, Ashe is a Glass Cannon Magic Knight with fair strength and powerful magick but low speed and health while Penelo is a textbook Squishy Wizard.
- Cool Mask: The Judge Magisters' and the Garif's helmets. The latter is lampshaded by the cockatrice Shurry when she escapes Giza into Jahara.
- Creating Life Is Bad: The extra bestiary entries for the Urutan-Yensa are project notes of the man who created the mimics as living weapons.
- Cute Monster Girl: The Viera, who are bunny-girls. You just never see the males in-game.
- Deconstructor Fleet: The Kid Hero is a Decoy Protagonist), the Determinator is so focused on her goal that she almost causes a world war, the Evil Genius Mad Scientist is neither evil or mad, and the Evil Twin is just like his brother but reacted differently to the same events.
- Dem Bones: Quite a few varieties.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
- You get your first hunt assigned to you during the progression of the story, but if you forget to go back to Tomaj for your reward until after a number of other plot events - such as after you've gotten back from Nalbina - he'll complain about how long you took and say that he already heard about your success from someone else. He'll still give you your reward, of course.
- Listen carefully to Basch during the introductory sequence. The developers had the foresight to have Gabranth's VA do the lines for when Basch stabs Reks, because of course, it's really Gabranth disguised as him.
- Two guards block the entrance to the Mosphorean Highwaste from Nalbina Fortress. If you Sequence Break and get into the Highwaste another way then come back through the Fortress, they wonder how you got in and survived the trip through, and then offer to let you through this one time, or you can turn back.
- The Henne Mines can only be reached via chocobo paths, or using the gate crystal in the dungeon. On the unfortunate chance you warp to the mines and don't have a teleport stone to warp away, there's a docile chocobo loitering around outside the mines so you won't be trapped there.
- The International version removes the Zodiac Spear run from the game, mainly due to balance purposes (your jobs make tend to make you a lot stronger for most of the game now that you're focused). If you talk to an NPC next to the first jar to avoid, he says along the lines of "you can go ahead and grab this treasure here, that thing can no longer be obtained that way."
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Or rather, dinosaurs are part of the dragon genus, along with wyrms and wyverns.
- Disc One Final Boss/Dungeon: Averted or outright subverted. Major boss battles happen to include very important plot points used, like how the Manufacted Nethicite is revealed during an boss battle with Tiamat due to Mjrn's twisted inflence from the Nethicite itself. This is because the Undying have an indirect control through the Nethicite.
- Disc One Nuke: The game seems purposefully designed to allow players to find powerful weapons and armor well before they become available in stores — if the player knows where to find them and is willing to brave powerful enemies to get there.
- The Zodiac Spear, one of the best weapons in the game with power at least double the other entries listed here, can be acquired as soon as you set out to the Jahara. All that's stopping you is a Beef Gate, nothing a bit of level grinding can't fix.
- After killing eight of the optional bosses or marks, you can get the the Nihopalaoa. It causes all items in your inventory to have the opposite effect. Combine this with a Remedy and you can inflict every status effect in the game on a single enemy almost instantly, while also allowing turning the Phoenix Down into an item that inflicts Instant Death. From there the game's difficulty comes toppling down like a row of dominoes.
- For specific items — the Deathbringer, normally sold in the final town, can be found in Raithwall's Tomb. The Burning Bow is dropped by the Dive Talon, which is found in the Westersand, which can be accessed as soon as Vaan beats the Rogue Tomato. The Main Gauche can be stolen from an enemy in the same area immediately after returning from to Rabanastre with Basche. The Gladius can be stolen from another enemy in the Westersand, who can be found as soon as you come to the area. The Arcturus can be purchased at the Bazaar by the time you get to Raithwall's Tomb if you know how to get your hands on the three loot items that unlock it, all of which are won from enemies fought in the Sandsea on your way to the tomb.
- Disposable Woman: Judge Drace, who gets maybe ten minutes of screen-time before getting killed by Gabranth so he could continue to protect Larsa. Granted, all ten of those minutes are raw awesome, but it's kind of egregious considering she's the only major female character outside of the main party.
- Dracolich: You can run into several types of these including a couple of rare monsters and a boss.
- Drought Level of Doom: The game can be like this when trekking between key locations. The long road can wear you down with nary a save crystal or a shop in sight as you waste MP and items on monsters that keep swarming you.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the initial party has fixed names in the Japanese version but random names in the English one. These hurts the Mythology Gag of the Clan Centurio members being the same people.
- Dub Name Change:
- Balflear -> Balthier
- Pannero -> Penelo
- Ashe (pronounced ah-sheh in Japan) -> Ashe (pronounced ash in English)
- Dungeon Crawling: Definitely more of a feeling of this here than in previous games in the series.
- Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much the majority of the optional bosses. Zodiark, for one.
- Elemental Tiers: The elemental weapons vary wildly in power. Often they are only effective in the chapter they are first available.
- You only get the first water-elemental spell, skip the second wind-elemental spell and have a fourth Fire spell called Ardor. In addition (and this seems to be a Final Fantasy tradition), you get no abilities that deal earth damage.
- Another example. Each Esper is associated with an element, but they are divided into three tiers.
- Tier 1 includes Belias, the Fire Esper; Mateus, the Ice Esper; Adrammelech, the Lightning Esper; and Zalera, the Esper of Death.
- Tier 2 includes Shemhazai, the Soul Esper; Cu Chulainn, the Poison Esper; Exodus, the Non-elemental Esper; Hashmal, the Earth Esper; and Zeromus, the Gravity Esper.
- Tier 3 includes Famfrit, the Water Esper; Chaos, the Wind Esper; Ultima, the Holy Esper; and Zodiark, the Dark Esper. Also, despite his affinity with Wind, Chaos can use all elements except Earth (which is his opposite element).
- Yet another example. In this game, after performing a chain of Quickenings, you may perform an extra attack called a Concurrence. There are eight Concurrences, and while they all do Non-Elemental damage, their animations are very clearly based on the elements. Their order from weakest to strongest are : Inferno (fire), Cataclysm (earth), Torrent (water), Windburst (wind), Whiteout (ice), Ark Blast (lightning), Luminescence (light), and Black Hole (darkness).
- Elite Mooks: All over the place.
- Escape Battle Technique: A subversion to the trope. Since all battles take place in real time, there isn't any escape techniques. Holding the flee button forces the party to put away their weapons and their running speed is slightly increased to help them get away from enemies.
- Enemies can run away like this, too. Usually on a path that attracts more enemies.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Vayne may be an evil, scheming son-of-a-bitch, but his hostility appears to be reserved only for those who oppose him. He's polite and well-mannered during his first appearance in Rabanastre, even going so far as to insist that he be addressed as "Vayne" rather than "Lord Consul", a title he says he finds cumbersome. He declares himself "a citizen of Rabanastre" rather than acting like a ruler and orders his soldiers to be respectful to the other citizens.
- The Evil Prince: Vayne. Well, sort of.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Ashe.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Fran's accent in the English localization is cute, but very hard to place. It's apparently meant to be Icelandic.
- Evil Twin: Basch and Gabranth.
- Exponential Plot Delay: The game moves very fast between Rabanastre and Bhujerba, moves at a steady pace through the Sandsea and the Tomb of Raithwall, then slows to a crawl between that and Draklor as you are sent on fetch quests by supporting characters that often take you through at least one new area to traverse, often more. Then you get to Giruvegan and suddenly the plot begins to rush to a close.
- The game practically screams Expy of Star Wars:
- Balthier and Fran are said to be expies of Han and Chewbacca. Balthier's airship, the Strahl, is an analogue of the Millennium Falcon.
- Reddas is Lando Calrissian, the Judges - especially Gabranth - are Darth Vader, Ashe is Princess Leia...
- The pig-like Seeq resemble the pig-like Gamorreans.
- The desert-dwelling, hooded Urutan-Yensa are pretty similar to the desert-dwelling, hooded Jawas.
- Forget that, the entire game is an Expy of Skies of Arcadia by way of Star Wars. When the Sky Fortress Bahamut appears, Marquis Ondore might as well have cried "It's a trap!"
- The Viera are expies of Tolkien Wood Elves.
- The game as a whole also seems like an Expy of Final Fantasy II at times.note Especially in mechanics (you can choose what you're proficient in) and in exploration (II was the only previous game in the franchise in which your exploration was limited by Beef Gates rather than by convenient geographical accidents).
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Ashe's
- Fake Ultimate Mook:
- There are early-game enemies called Slavens, which are described as being "beasts of burden gone feral" that are twice as tall as your characters, but that are barely any more dangerous than the wolves or bats from the areas they show up in.
- The Wild Saurian you run into in the very first wild area of the game, however, is very much not this trope, which is why the thing doesn't attack first. Once you reach a certain point in the game, there's a one-fifth chance of a variant popping up, which attacks on sight and is even stronger than the Saurian regularly. There's also the pair of Werewolves in another early game area are hostile, and will one-hit kill you at that point in the game. Some in-game dialogue says that local villagers play chicken with them.
- Fallen Angel: Invoked and played straight by Ultima, who led the Espers in rebellion against the Occuria.
- Fantastic Nuke: Nethicite is the reason Nabudis became the Necrohol of Nabudis. The interesting part is that it parallels Real Life nuclear technology - there is no way to undo its development. Not only are nethicite city-smashers being stockpiled, but originally there were huge swaths of land that airships couldn't fly over, all but isolating Ivalice from the rest of the world. Nethicite not only negates that effect, but makes airships faster. By endgame, just about every nation uses nethicite-enhanced airships.
Reddas: Would you like to know the best use of nethicite? Will or nil, I'll tell you. You pick it up, and throw it away.
- I Love Nuclear Power/Nuclear Nasty: The high concentrations of Mist released by deifacted nethicite have a tendency to mutate monsters the same way nuclear radiation does in older works of fiction.
- All that said, it can be put to peaceful uses, too. For example, Cid had developed a skystone that lets airships fly in Jagd. Reddas gives one to Balthier.
- Fantastic Racism: All over the place. Humes (especially in the Empire) toward Bangaa and Seeq, Viera toward Humes, everyone toward the Baknamy, the Urutan-Yensa toward everyone else...
- Fantasy Counterpart Appliance: The mundanity of global airships in the series is highlighted here with the Aerodromes, which are exactly like airports.
- Fetch Quest: Kytes hangs a lampshade on Fetch Quests shortly before you enter the Garamsythe Waterway for the first time.
- Fisticuffs Boss: The seeqs in Nalbina Dungeon, unless you bothered to get Vaan the licence for Fire (which you get for free when Balthier and Fran join up). Then it becomes piss easy.
- Five-Bad Band: Try Nine Bad Band, for The Empire:
- Fixed Damage Attack: 1000 Needles, which is only used by the Flowering Cactoid. You can learn it as a Technick. You also get Numerology, which deals damage based on the powers of 2.
- Floating Continent: Bhujerba. The floating rocks around the summit of Mt. Bur-Omisace are the remains of one that came crashing down in the distant past.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Carrot, an Archadian noble's pet Malboro.
- Flunky Boss: Several bosses and marks either call more enemies (the Thextera and Rafflesia, for instance) or have them there at the start of the battle (like the Wild Malboro or Doctor Cid). Subverted with others, which just appear in areas where said enemies would spawn anyway (case in point: Adrammelech, Roblon).
- Flying Seafood Special: Several enemies, including a boss, are fish that float in the air.
- Forced Level Grinding:
- Especially in the earlier levels where you can't yet touch the Hunts you've been given. If you go through the game and just kill every monster on your way from point A to point B, you will not level up even near the amount you need to tackle the next area, usually. Sometimes even having all the Hunts that you can done will not save you from having to grind.
- Besides that, Level Grinding in general is highly recommended in this game, and it could be argued that the enemies are designed in such a way to encourage this, because many have equipment pieces to be stolen or won that are much stronger than what you have at the point you first get to them. For example, an enemy met in the Giza Plains, the second area of the game, rarely drops a Katana with 52 attack, while an enemy in the Westersand (accessible at the same time) drops a Dagger with 45 Attack. You just need to know where to go, what to kill, and have the willingness to invest the time in getting it.
- Foreshadowing: Balthier's Mysterious Past is hinted at quite a bit in the earlier parts of the game. Notice how he flinches or otherwise perks up whenever nethicite or Draklor Laboratory are mentioned. To say nothing of his accent, and this particular line of dialogue to Larsa:
Balthier: "You can never know another, even your father."
- Framing Device: The entire story is described in Marquis Ondore's diaries and documents. Often, especially after important events, he will narrate from them personally.
- Free Rotating Camera
- Gambit Pileup: When the creators of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story are involved, and it's the same world as in those games, this is only expected. You'd best pay attention during cutscenes because the game does not spoonfeed you the plot as you may expect from some other Final Fantasy games, said plot concerning the political struggles of two feuding nations and their elite generals as well as the various insurgents, some within their ranks, who are trying to keep them from going to war with each other.
- Genre Savvy: Balthier.
- Gentleman Thief: Balthier, all the way.
- Get Back Here Boss: Vorpal Bunny, good god. Almost all of the Dreamhare monsters are like this.
- Getting "Nightsoil" Past the Radar: Also, the textures for the wolf enemies. They were... very, very realistically detailed. To the point that you could tell that the wolves were, in fact, females. And that the larger one used as a bounty was in heat.
- Ghostly Goals: Some of the deathscythes, such as the Ixtab mark, are vengeful spirits. Some of the ghost enemies remain in the mortal world because of regrets or hatred.
- Girlish Pigtails: Penelo, which is in keeping with her status as the youngest female in the party and an Expy of Aika.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Skeletons and Deathscythes have these.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: A lot of monsters have these in any number of different colors. Adrammelech briefly sports this as his boss fight starts.
- Gods of Evil: Debatable. Venat, the heretic is substantially more "evil" in action, but could also be considered a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Also subverted in that the Occuria don't refer to themselves as "gods", whereas everybody else does. It's entirely possible that there's something(s) much bigger out there in the XII world than them.
- Global Currency Exception: You'll be needing those chops if you want to get somewhere in Archades.
- Golem: The ones in this game appear to be Magitek robots.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire:
- ... Except the good guys are monarchist, and the bad guys, while still called an 'Empire', actually have democratically elected leaders... Well, it's a little more complex than that: Dalmasca had a House of Commons that still exists (albeit with little power) under Archadian rule, and if you listen to NPCs in Archadia, you will learn that the senate is controlled by the wealthiest families of the Empire. The greatest irony about the Empire is that the ruling House Solidor rose to power by taking control of the army and making sure that it remained a meritocratic institution. The brilliance is that while there is a clear social divide in Archadia, the game drops subtle hints that show that the Archadian army allows people from different social background to work together and that people from unprivileged origins can rise to the top of the hierarchy (a feat nearly impossible in the civilian society), thus explaining why Vayne is popular and why Larsa is pretty certain for most of the game that his family holds the moral high ground.
- Additionally, the Archadian Empire isn't evil — despite their leaders' actions in the war, many Imperials are usually decent guys who uphold the safety of the Empire's citizens, even in conquered territories, and the Archadian people are as sympathetic and human as anyone from Rabanastre. That doesn't change the fact that Vayne is still a megalomaniacal asshole who wants to rule the world, nor does it change the fact that the Empire conquered other realms for power. It's more of a case of both sides having issues. The good guys are just a lot better.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Sanskrit. The Bhujerbans use it often. Bhadra is essentially the Sanskrit version of Sir/Madam. Parijanah means "guide". Madhu means "honey". And there are various other examples too.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: Literally, in the case of Venat and occasionally the Judges Magister. The rest of the Occuria speak in iambic tetrameter.
- Gratuitous Spanish: The Great Crystal's name in Japanese is "Cristal Grande", which translates to 'Big Crystal' in Spanish. Almost Gratuituous Portugese, too, but the right expression in Portuguese would be "Grande Cristal".
- Grey and Gray Morality:
- Word of God says they actively went for this, giving the party members character flaws and the antagonists virtues. In their own way everyone is just doing what they think is right, for themselves, for others or for their country, and it's not hard to at least understand why they feel the way they do, even if you don't agree.
- It even continues into the credits, what with the still image of a quite happy (and sane) looking Dr. Cid holding baby Balthier, who is turns out from said image is the spitting image of his father in his younger days.
- The Grim Reaper: Zalera's bestiary description states that he was this originally.
- Guardian Entity: Venat to Cid.
- Belias acted as this for the Dawn Shard after King Raithwall defeated him and Mateus acts as this for the Sword of Kings.
- The Deadalus and the Tyrant (and presumably Shemhazai are this for Giruvegan. Pandemonium, Slyt, Fenrir and Hashmal are this for the Sun-Cryst.
- Guest Star Party Member: Assorted Guild members help out on hunts or in dangerous areas and some random people out on the field. Plotwise, Vossler (before he becomes a boss), Larsa (using a fake name the first time), Reddas (until he takes out the Sun-Cryst), and Gabranth. One could count Reks as well since he doesn't last that long.
- Guide Dang It: The game has a slew of bonus content including optional areas, sidequests with NPCs, optional bosses and rare items that you will simply never find if you don't know how. The Clan Primer gives vague hints to some of them, but isn't really reliable for information. To recap some of them:
- The Zodiac Spear, the most powerful weapon in the game. You find it in an optional area in a normal treasure chest, but only if you avoid opening four chests in the early areas of the game, and the game gives you absolutely no hints or warnings to this. If you accidentally open one of those chests, the Zodiac Spear will not spawn in that later chest and you'll never even know you forfeited it. Fortunately it also randomly appears in a chest in another area. However, there's only a 10% chance of the chest appearing, a 10% chance it contains an item, and a 10% that item is the spear. For those who aren't good with math, that works out to a one in a thousand chance of finding the spear.
- The Bazaar will eventually sell the best equipment in the game, but only if you sell the right combination of loot items in the proper quantities. At no time does anyone tell you what loot items need to be sold in what quantities to unlock which items. Finding those particular loot items can itself be a Guide Dang It, because many loot items can only be dropped/stolen/poached by a handful of enemies. And getting those enemies to spawn may be a Guide Dang It too, because many enemies, particularly Rare Game enemies, only spawn under certain circumstances. The triggers to make them appear range from only appearing during a certain type of weather, to killing a certain number of enemies in an area, to just waiting around a specific point for a period of time.
- Particular mention to the Tournesol, the second-most powerful weapon in the game, because it encompasses all of the above. It can only be obtained by purchasing it at the Bazaar by selling three each of three particular pieces of loot. You get one each of them from Montblanc for doing various tasks, so how do you get the other two each? You have to track down very rare loot items, most only obtainable as steal or drop items from one or two enemies, often times Rare Game. Sell those very rare loot items in the right quantities to unlock the Tournesol's trade components in the Bazaar, buy those trade components, and then sell them back to unlock the sword. And make sure you do it one component at a time, if you have the trade items to unlock three of a component and sell all of them at once, the Bazaar only "credits" you for one purchase of it, so you get to go back and get more!
- It's fairly obvious that a lot of the dungeons you enter have additional areas, you can see them on the map and will often find locked gates and other obstacles blocking your path. Good luck figuring out how to access these areas though.
- The Great Crystal is one of the most infuriating Magical Mystery Doors Puzzle in the history of video games. It's a series of identical areas connected by pathways and waystones to teleport you between areas, many paths are blocked off by gates, the gates are deactivated with corresponding waystones but only stay open for a set amount of time before they close back up, the location names are in a foreign language and thus you're unlikely to get much help from to find your way, and the area is very large. And to top it all off, you basically have no map — rather than the traditional map the rest of the game uses, the Great Crystal basically throws up an image of the outside of the area and hovers a cursor over it to mark your place inside it. In lieu of a basic map courtesy of the internet, getting through the area requires hours, if not days, of diligent home map-making.
- A number of the treasure chests that can only be opened once can be wasted by using (or sometimes not using) the Diamond Armlet, an accessory that improves the quality of items you find from chests, but sometimes screws you over by turning a really good item into vendor trash. This was at least fixed in the No Export for You international edition, in which all one time cheasts will always give you a specific treasure (though some of them still have a limited chance to spawn in the first place).
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Just get Dr. Cid and Balthier in the same room and stand back!
- Healing Checkpoint: Save Points heal you and remove negative status ailments.
- Hearing Voices
- Heel-Face Turn: Several, some prior to the game's beginning. Arguably, Princess Ashe and friends, when they refuse to do the Occuria's bidding to exterminate the Empire. The aformentioned Gabranth as well.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: This is the first Final Fantasy game to avert this trope, to the rejoicing of localization teams worldwide.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Lampshaded by Balthier: "I am the leading man. Might need to do something heroic." He does, of course, go on to make a heroic sacrifice... and survive it. Smooth operator. It's lampshaded again, too: During the Heroic Sacrifice, Balthier tells the party members not to worry about him, as the leading man, he claims he can't die.
- On the other hand, it's played surprisingly straight by several of the Judge Magisters, including Gabranth, Drace, and former Judge Zecht. Even Zargabaath is about to make one at the end, when some last-minute assistance makes it unnecessary.
- Hidden Elf Village:
- Eruyt Village, the hometown of the Viera.
- While not quite as xenophobic and isolationist, the Garif are only found in Jahara.
- High Heel-Face Turn: Judge Drace.
- HP to One: Sight Unseeing will reduce the target's health to single digits with a chance of the number selected being 0 (insta-kill) if the user is blinded. Unfortunately, it's pretty inaccurate and a lot of enemies are immune to it.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Humes are portrayed as very power-hungry and driven to make their mark on the world due to their short lives, including via war and conquest. Ashe gets singled out several times by non-Hume characters for embodying this trait including the Occuria.
Mjrn: The stench of humes. The stench of power.
Ashe: What's wrong with her?
[Mjrn stops and points at her]
- Humans Are White: Averted.
- Impersonating the Evil Twin: In order to keep up appearances (and to maintain the pretext of the fragile Arcadia-Dalmasca peace treaty) Basch takes over the role (and identity) of Judge Gabranth at the end of the game from his twin brother Noah.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: The Imperial Trooper who kills Rassler does so by shooting him with an arrow. Through the one unarmored spot on his body. While Rassler is mounted. In the middle of a pitched battle. Across the span of a bridge. At night. If it wasn't for the fast Basch kills him, the man would probably be deserving of a promotion.
- Inconsistent Dub: In that subtitles and spoken dialogue often come out very different. Though it's rare, sometimes the two just don't match up.
Cid (dialogue): Alas, the hour of your return is late.
Cid (subtitle): Alas, your return is too late.
- This was actually intentional, as the game's text was translated long before voice acting was recorded. In this particular instance, the change line comes from the actor rewording or improvising it to sound either more natural, or more in-line with how the character speaks.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Multiple NPCs, but special mention goes to a mother in Bhujerba. She was on the wagon prior to you being able to sell her a particularly potent Bhujerban spirit. Boy does she ever need one after you complete her quest.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: In every city, the chocobo stables are run by a pink moogle named Gurdy. Rabanastre even has three.
- Played with in a subquest involving the delivery of a letter to various stewardesses working on the many airship routes across Ivalice. They really are sisters, all of them.
- Infinity+1 Sword: One for each weapon class.
- Gilgamesh also has a collection of these from prior games in the series, and some outside the series. And every single one is a fake.
- The best example of an Infinity+1 Sword in this game has to be the Wyrmhero Blade, which can only be acquired by beating two incredibly hard Bonus Bosses (Yiazmat and Omega Mk. XII) and trading in the rewards you get for them (along with another reward you get by punching a statue of a dragon after completing a certain hunt. It grants the wielder permanent Bravery and Faith status and HAS NO LICENCE, meaning you can equip it as soon as you get it. Unfortunately, it's so slow that it ends up being more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
- Informed Ability: Fran, as a Viera, is implied to possess powerful magical abilities ("The Magicks binding the door to the Oubliette are quite strong. Too strong even for my talents."). Until Lv.50, she has the second lowest Magic stat in the game. At Lv.99, she ends up with the third lowest Magic stat.
- Around the middle of the game, however, it's revealed that her magic has grown weaker since she left her Hidden Elf Village, so this may be at least partially justified.
- Fran and Balthier have slightly modified attack animations when using their default weapons (bows and guns, respectively.) Thing is, these animations take longer than the normal ones, making their rate of fire slower - meaning that they are each the worst at their preferred weapon type out of the party.
- Injured Vulnerability: The Poach skill only works on weakened enemies, but you can gain rare items with it.
- Instant Runes: Concurrences take the form of runic symbols appearing over enemies and blasting them with some elemental force (though all Concurrences are non-elemental). Each Esper appropriates one of the Concurrence graphics to reuse for their cinematic attack when fought as bosses.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: In all its ridiculous glory.
- Interface Screw: Some optional bosses such as the Espers are this way, particularly those that disable certain parts of your battle menu (you can't do standard attacks against one, you can't use items against another).
- In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Gerun basically says that this is why the Occuria have been manipulating mortal affairs for millennia.
- It Began with a Twist of Fate: Vaan just happens to decide to break into the palace on the same night La Résistance tries to take it back and the dashing Sky Pirate Balthier amd his partner Fran also attempt to steal something from its hidden treasure troves.
- Item Amplifier: The Item Lore Augments increase the effectiveness of items for each one purchased.
- The Pheasant Netsuke accessory stacks one more of each Item Lore.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: The Pharos.
- Invisibility Cloak: Balthier's ship has one. You briefly see it activate before going into the Sandsea region.
- Jerkass Gods: The Occuria. On the other hand, they may merely be Well-Intentioned Extremist Gods.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Imperial Judge Magisters. Think of medieval Judge Dredds, but much more reasonable and with wicked swords.
- Kamehame Hadoken: The ultimate black magick, Scathe. Basch's first Quickening also counts.
- Killer Rabbit: Fury is one, quite literally, as is the Vorpal Bunny whose name is practically a Shout-Out for the trope.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Basch. More than one character is taken aback by his unimpeachable honor and unwavering sense of duty.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Judge Drace and Judge Zargabaath.
- La Résistance: The
- Lady Drunk: The Antlion sidequest woman is still feeling under the clouds even after her children came back home. You can give her some booze for 1000 gil, and she'll stand atop a box and do some weird movements.
- Lady of War: Ashe. Also the older and more experienced Judge Drace.
- Large Ham: Dr. Cid - "A trial for Ashelia B'Nargin Dalmasca!"; also, to some extent, Balthier (runs in the family), Judge Ghis and Reddas.
- Also, the volume of Vayne's voice goes up a signifcant number of decibels during the final boss fights....
- Gilgamesh says your silverware are forfeit to him.
- Layered Metropolis: Rabanastre is divided into two halves following its occupation by Archadian forces. "Lowtown", as its name suggests, lies beneath the streets and is comprised of storerooms, now converted into residences.
- Lazy Backup: Averted. If all three party members are KO'd, you have to switch in your reserve characters. In fact, the ONLY way to get a Game Over is to have all six party members wiped out. The active characters can even cast spells and use items on the reserves.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Right from the get-go, Balthier refers to himself as "the leading man", and furthermore makes mention to "the story". He seems a bit too aware of his role as one of the leads in a video game.
- The irony is that he fancies himself the leading man, but that status more rightly belongs with Ashe or Basch. He's more Wrong Genre Savvy.
- Balthier is also one of a few characters to break the fourth wall to give tutorials on how the game works, particularly the gambit system. The gambit system itself leans on the fourth wall considering conversations with NPCs in gambit shops and with one woman in Archades whose husband accidentally developed a shopping gambit that she was the unwitting guinea pig for.
- Leitmotif: The very distinctive "Theme of FINAL FANTASY XII" (which itself uses the overworld theme to Final Fantasy I) and "Imperial Theme" are reprised throughout a variety of themes, such as the boss-battle "Strike of a Blade," "State of Urgency," and "Desperate Fight." Even the iconic "Prelude" is augmented with a few chords from it. The Final Battle theme, "The Battle for Freedom," includes a very somber, ominous arrangement of "Imperial Theme," but as the sequence plays out it is overcome and drowned out by a heroic version of the main theme.
- Lethal Chef: In the first game, a minor character who gives you a chop when you find a philosopher of food willing to try her... unusual cooking ("it's painful, yet delicious!"). Penelo starts out as this in Revenant Wings, but slowly improves over the course of the game to the point where Larsa gladly pays to have her airship cafe remodeled after sampling her cuisine.
- Lethal Joke Item: The Manufacted Nethicite that Larsa gives you usually doesn't see much use, as while it gives you half-damage from elements, it casts permanent Silence on its user. But you can get a lot of mileage on it by designating someone a tank (Basch works well for this, as he doesn't come with any magic), and giving it to him. That way, you've got someone who can wade through elemental attacks with ease, and always has full MP to start a Quickening chain.
- Light Is Not Good: The ultimate mark, an ancient dragon with 50 million hit points, that killed Montblanc's mentor, is light elemental.
- If the Bestiary info is anything to go by, Ultima also applies.
- Arguably the Occuria considering their mysterious, celestial appearance.
- Like Brother and Sister: Subverted with Vaan and Penelo. It's pointed out in the game and in the guide, but very nearly a case of protesting too much. They get much closer in later games.
- Limit Break: Each party member, guests aside, have three that can be chained together in a lengthy sequence. do it right and you can get a Concurrence to really up the damage output. Espers and Bosses seem to have them as well.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System. There was also a tin-boxed special edition available at launch which contianed a FF Retrospective DVD.
- Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The game has tons of these, ranging from hunting marks and getting rewards to pretty much just running around and running stuff. It could be said that the amount of extra content is larger than the main plot.
- Lost Forever Unless We Have Lots Of Time On Our Hands: The Zodiac Spear - see Guide Dang It above. Otherwise, rare Loot items can be acquired either easily from bosses and marks, or you can spend hours farming normal enemies. For example, the Orthros mark has Slime Oil to steal - miss it and you're stuck racing Rikken 90 times to get another one. And then there's Gilgamesh and all four pieces of Genji Equipment you can steal from him - no other enemy in the game can be stolen from more than once, or has the item you can steal from them change depending on their HP.
- Loveable Rogue: Both Vaan and Balthier.
- Mad Scientist: The first Final Fantasy Cid to play the role of a villain all the way through.
- Subverted. The invisible being he was seen talking to when he was introduced was real after all and Cid himself is just extremely theatrical.
- Magicks and Technicks (Statisticks, too, according to one NPC.)
- Magitek: One of the most prolific uses in the series, even more than the Trope Namer. Airships run on mist-infused magicite but use spinning rings to somehow generate lift instead of traditional propellers and engines, guns and crossbows can somehow fire status and elementally-attuned bullets and bolts, the Moogling system teleports people across Rabanastre, and high exposure to mist can mutate animals and humans into superbeings with magical powers. And that's all within the first few hours of the game.
- Male Gaze: The camera tends to hug the backsides of the party, and the females of the group have outfits that are very tight and form-fitting in that area.
- Manual Leader, AI Party: It was the first game in the series to use this. The player controls one party member at once and has the option of customizing the AI of the party.
- You can override your party's AI at any time with the exception of espers and guest characters, though.
- Marathon Boss: Omega Mk.XII (an hour), Hell Wyrm (hour and a half) & Yiazmat (twelve hours, which nabs the page's picture) are all offenders here. Zodiark can turn into this if you're not careful.
- Marathon Level: The 100-floor Pharos Lighthouse.
- Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest: You can only complete the Clan Primer by killing a certain number of every single enemy in the game.
- Getting some rare enemies requires chaining a specific number of a single enemy type. The biggest offender is the Urutan Exile, which requires kill 100 Urutan Yensa in a row.
- Maximum HP Reduction: A status ailment called "Disease" prevents healing, by reducing the victim's maximum HP any time they take damage.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Disease lasts after a character has been KO'd, meaning that you first have to revive them, then remove the status, THEN heal them.
- Mayfly-December Friendship: Unlike the rest of the party, Fran is a viera, and her lifespan is three times that of a hume's. Her age is never given (and she refuses to give it when Vaan asks her). She had left Golmore Jungle fifty years before the events of the game - and before any of the other player characters were born. She is friends with Balthier, a hume who is only 22 years old. Though her age is not given, she could very well outlive the rest of the party.
- May the Farce Be with You: In many respects, the game is very much a fantasy-themed take on Star Wars, with Vaan, Balthier, Fran, Basch, and Ashe paralleling Luke, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-wan, and Leia, while of course the Archadians provide The Empire with Vayne as Palpatine and Gabranth as Darth Vader. The story parallels include Ashe being a leader of the resistance who is captured and rescued aboard an airship, Basch being a once-famed knight now presumed dead, and Balthier and Fran only aiding the group in return for money while Balthier and Ashe have Ship Tease. The game could be looked at as an exploration of how the original trilogy would have gone if Luke had no Jedi powers, wasn't Darth Vader's son, and the Separatist movement from the prequels were still around as a faction separate from the Empire, the Separatists being approximated by the Rozarrians.
- Mood Whiplash: Finding the Sword of Kings. After a lengthy dungeon and a battle with what is likely your second Esper, you enter a chamber full of Clock Punk Magitek. The magical machinery grinds to a halt, its glow fades, the sword floats forward for Ashe to take hold off...then clangs to the ground as she finds it too heavy to hold with one hand.
- Money for Nothing / Money Spider: Mostly averted. You only get money from humanoid enemies, but can sell the loot you find to get new items from the Bazaar.
- Motive Rant: Bergan gives one about Vayne's intentions after murdering the Gran-Kiltias.
- Mouth Flaps: Subverted. The characters' mouths will sometimes move much faster than their lines would suggest, most notably the scene where Vaan delivers the sword to Vossler.
- Multi-Melee Master/Multi-Ranged Master: The entire cast has sixteen different weapon types to choose from from Swords, Axes, Hammers Maces, Daggers, Great Swords, Katanas, Ninja Swords, Spears, Poles, Rods, Staves, Bows, Crossbows, Guns, Hand-bombs and Measures. Each character can wield them with near equal efficiency largely only dictated by the characters stats.
- Mr. Fanservice: Vaan
- Ms. Fanservice: Fran and Ashe
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: Vaan and Penelo usually get pegged as this in comparison to the more important party members like Ashe, Basch, Balthier, and Larsa.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: During the talk with Anastasis, Ashe believes that initiating a world war to revive her country and reestablish her part as the Princess of Dalmasca is the best option. It's possible that she was influenced by the Nethicite, but the other characters like Vaan have convinced her to Take a Third Option.
- Mythology Gag: too many to count. Some notable gags:
- The name of one of the Bonus Bosses is Omega Mk. XII. Simple, but gets the point.
- Most of the Airships are named after some of the iconic summons and characters in the series.
- The Final Boss, the Undying, fusion of Big Bads Venat and Vayne, is a literal mechanical dragon. In addition, some of its special attacks have Flare in their names (e.g. "Mega Flare"). Most of the parts that make up this monstrosity came from the Airship/fortress "Bahamut".
- See Gilgamesh and his, erm, "borrowed" swords.
- The whole last chapter of the game seems to be an extended mythology gag. Let's see... The party climbs an incredibly tall, well-guarded tower to obtain the ultimate power, and upon leaving, they find the Emperor hovering outside of their hometown in a large flying fortress guarded by a cyclone. Hmmm, now where have I heard that one before?
- There's actually an homage to Final Fantasy's rival series, Dragon Quest, in the form of the Wyrmhero Blade (Called 'Tolo's Sword' in Japan.), modeled after the sword of the legendary hero Loto (also known as Erdrick).
- A stranger form of Mythology Gag is found in Yiazmat's name. Yasumi Matsuno, the man behind Ivalice, was known to his peers as 'YAZMAT.'
- At the end of the game Balthier is said to be off looking for the "Cache of Glabados"—a reference to St. Ajora Glabados of Final Fantasy Tactics. According to background information, Ajora is supposedly alive around the time in Ivalice when Final Fantasy XII occurs.
- He's still looking for it when he appears as a cameo in the PSP version of Tactics. How he did the Time Travel is not explained, but, unlike Cloud, nobody sees him as strange because he's talking about something that probably has some (even if probably different) meaning in their timeline.
- In Final Fantasy X, when fighting the Behemoth enemy, Wakka will sometimes quip "How many steaks do you think we can get out of these?" In Final Fantasy XII, the Behemoth enemies sometimes drop the Loot item "Behemoth Steak".
- The differences might be due to translation, but Ashe loosely quotes another Final Fantasy Princess,Garnet Til Alexandros, at least twice:
Garnet: I have a favour to ask of you - I wish to be kidnapped right away!
Ashe: You're sky pirates, aren't you? Then steal me! Is that too much to ask?
Garnet: Someday I will be queen, but I will always be myself.
Ashe: I am simply myself, no more and no less. And I want only to be free.
- There's a horrifying nod to a Never Say "Die" Good Bad Translation from Final Fantasy I: after Judge Bergan sacks Mt. Bur-Omisace, a boy is crouching near his fatally-wounded mother, and saying, "The man in armor knocked her down!"
- Non-Human Undead: Many of the monster types have an undead version. Examples include undead wolves, undead war horses, undead vampire bats, undead slimes, and undead bombs. There's also the requisite undead boss who is a Conjoined Twins demon with visible skull.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dreadnought Leviathan. Some of the locales have names like this, too.
- New Game+: In the International version. Beat the game, and it unlocks this, where nothing carries over, but everyone starts at level 90 (not as great as you think; you'll find out fast just how gear-dependent this game is). Beat the 100-man trial, and you unlock New Game Minus, where no one gains any ExperiencePoints, period.
- No OSHA Compliance: The city of Bhujerba is on a floating continent in the sky, and some portions of the city have no railings. However, it's said in-game that no one who falls from Bhujerba dies, and a fallen Bhujerban is found in Phon Coast, amnesiac but alive.
- Older Than They Look: The Viera live much for longer than Humes. Fran for example, left her village 50 years before the start of the game, yet still looks like a fit twentysomething.
- One Time Dungeon: Several examples. Some of them are removed from the world map after the player finishes them, but others are not.
- Nalbina fortress, which is destroyed during the attack in the prologue.
- Rabanastre Palace during the heist.
- Nalbina Dungeon is only accessible during your escape.
- Several airship dungeons, including the Leviathan and Shiva, though the latter is less of a dungeon than an area for a Climax Boss fight.
- Draklor Laboratory in Archades.
- One-Winged Angel: The final form of the final boss has wings formed out of parts of Sky Fortress Bahamut.
- Only One Name: In a game where most characters have not just first and last names, but middle names too, Vaan, Fran, Penelo, and Reks only have first names. With Fran it's a cultural thing, while Vaan and Penelo are commoners and orphans. Reks, in addition to being a commoner and orphan, doesn't live long enough to need a last name.
- Opening the Sandbox: More areas become available as you progress through the game.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: A background NPC uses the line, although he doesn't quite finish it.
- Overly Long Fighting Animation: Quickenings. Some of the bosses' special attacks also fit.
- Our Dragons Are Different: There are flying wyvern-type dragons and huge land-based dragons with seemingly vestigial wings.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: One type is literally made of fear and all of them can teleport.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Bipedal monsters called "Werewolves" live in the Giza Plains south of Dalmasca. They're similar in function to the Behemoths encountered much later, but lore from the game's Monster Compendium claims that they used to be human, and became transformed into monsters after eating some kind of contaminated meat.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: It usually isn't too difficult to tell what treasure pots are really Mimics, especially later in the game when some Mimics are bright red, while the treasure pots they're supposed to be hiding as are usually gray and black.
- The famous sequence in which Vaan runs around Bhujerba declaring himself "Basch fon Ronsenberg of Dalmasca!" is a subversion: it was designed to stir up trouble rather than convince anyone that he really was Basch. It worked.
- Party in My Pocket: In towns your party is represented by Vaan (even if he's not in the active party). Out in the field and in dungeons your three active characters (and whatever guests are with you) are always present and can be swapped out for your reserves at any moment.
- Pause Scumming: The player can enter the party menu any time, during combat or otherwise. This enables such things as removing equipment from characters who are under Confusion ailment and about to murder a party member, or switching accessories and armour to nullify the effect of a status ailment or elemental spell the enemy is readying.
- Percent Damage Attack: Gravity and its variants. Enemies also have abilities like Tri-Attack, which deals damage equal to a third of the target's health. The game determines damage using the target's maximum health.
- Point Build System: The License Grid, which was the same for all six characters and thus led to a certain amount of homogeniety within characters. The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition gives you the option of switching to a Class and Level System for your License Grids (as long as you live in Japan).
- There is now a translation patch for the International edition which makes the game 99% in English.
- Point of No Return: Of the merciful kind, as the game clearly warns you that once you go for the final area, you cannot go back. Furthermore, at several points the game advises you to save in a new slot because you won't be able to go back for a while.
- Poisonous Person: Cuchulainn is one due to having fed on The Corruption for too long.
- Portal Network: You can expend a teleport stone to use save crystals you've visited before to get to all the important locations in the world. In fact, despite Balthier owning an airship, this will be your dominant means of long-distance transport in the game, and it can take you to far more locations than the airship can. Given that it's cheaper than commercial travel in the game (which you'll never use outside of one sidequest), one wonders how the aerodromes stay in business!
- It's possible that Teleport Stones are only available to those affiliated with a clan of monster hunters and due to some bureaucratic nonsense are not commercially available.
- They can only take you to places you've been to before. Your average non-adventurer/non-trader doesn't really have any reason to go to the Sandsea or Golmore Jungle or most of the other wilderness areas that have gate crystals. As such, it's more convenient to use airships or go by sea (as is the case for Mt. Bur-Omisace) to go to another place for the first time and you might as well enjoy yourself on the way there.
- The Power of the Sun: The bonus note in the bestiary for Garuda-Egi suggests that the sun is aligned with holy power, not fire, dispelling the "myth" that the sun is a just large, firey sphere.
- Powers of Two Minus One: The Wyrmhero Blade, the game's resident Infinity+1 Sword, costs 65535 Gil at the Bazaar.
- Power Walk: The five Judges in the opening cinematic.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Ba'Gamnan simply lets Penelo go once her purpose as bait for Balthier was finished.
- Vayne's evenhanded treatment of Dalmasca's citizens may also be an example.
- Prequel in the Lost Age: It's a prequel to Final Fantasy Tactics. Probably.
- Programming Game: The Gambit System.
- Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Ashe is the one to receive the two Swords of Plot Advancement, and in the manga Belias, the first Esper, chooses her as its master.
- "Wingwraiths" in Revenant Wings.
- "Ring Wyrm," in the original game.
- Punny Name: The Foobar enemy.
- Punch Clock Villains: When you're not busy carving your way through their ranks, most of the Archadians are a fairly decent lot. The Archadian civilians are worried about normal day-to-day issues like finding employment and buying their spouses gifts, and some of the Archadian soldiers stationed in Rabanastre show a genuine concern for its citizens and truly want to keep the peace. For example, the Wyvern Lord Hunt is petitioned by an Archadian soldier in the city who saw it while on patrol and is worried it could pose a threat to the city, but his superior brushed him off. Thus, he decided to pay money out of his own pocket to hire you to kill it before it causes trouble.
- The Purge: Vayne frames the Imperial Senate for the poisoning of his father the Emperor and has them rounded up and executed in response to them trying to have him executed.
- Purple Prose: The Magic Pots return again in this game. Rather than simply asking for an elixir in a crude manner such as they've done before ("Gimme Elixir!"), they clamor for the elixirs, and are outraged whenever you attack them.
- The Queen's Latin
- Randomly Drops: Oh yes.
- Read the Freaking Manual: The reply of every person frustrated with newbies who equipped the Goddess Magicite or the Dawn/Dusk Shard (They cause forever zero MP or Silence as long as it's worn) without bothering to read the item information displayed on screen, and then asked why they couldn't use magick.
- Realpolitik: Pretty much the core theme of the game. The Archadean Empire is not on a war of conquest for glory or power, at least not only for those things, but because it is surrounded by nations who are the puppets of the Occuria. The twisted scheme to force a total surrender on Rabanastre - they couldn't comb the city for nethicite otherwise. Their quest for nethicite, again not for selfish reasons - nethicite is the tool used by the Occuria to manipulate humanity, and the only means Archades can fight back. Vayne is actually completely honest about accepting Rabanastre's hatred of him - he knows he's temporarily reduced them to slaves in his quest to free the world from the Occuria, and accepts that he'll be remembered as a monster for it. Anything as long as the Occuria are defeated, because that's the only way his nation will be safe. The numberless people who suffer and die due to this are regrettable but disposable.
- Recurring Boss: Gilgamesh in more than one sense. You can fight him twice during the game. Furthermore, this could be the same Gilgamesh from previous Final Fantasy games as evidenced by him possessing various (replicas of) familiar swords such as the Gunblade and the Buster Sword.
- It was implied in an earlier game that Gilgamesh's "death" in FFV really just sent him careening through time and space, sticking his nose into every game along the way and borrowing trophies.
- Redemption Equals Death: Gabranth, and Reddas for destroying Nabudis.
- Regenerating Mana: Walking around restores MP.
- Repeatable Quest: The game has only one repeatable quest, and it's very modest, and available very early. By visiting the Giza village and running around in the Giza Plains area, you can create multiple Sunstones, which sell for what is a moderate bonus for the player at that part of the game — but the player could get the amount from just killing wolves and selling the loot, and on the side get both EXP and LP.
- Revenant Zombie: Zombie mages are described in the bestiary as mages who wanted to live forever, but settled for undeath.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: They appear as two pieces of mystic armor.
- Rotating Protagonist: Everyone gets A Day in the Limelight.
- Royal Blood: Played with: Ashe's royal name carries weight, but not enough. The entire reason Ashe wants the Dawn Shard is because she needs power to back up her lineage and with it could try to rally kingdoms to her cause, or maybe negotiate for Dalmasca's freedom. Ghis comments though that the Shard is the real item of worth against her bloodline: if Arcadia needs Ashe, they can come up with a look-alike and use the Shard to declare her the real thing.
- Running Gag: Ashe would like you to know that she leads a resistance, not an insurgence.
- Early on in the game, you'll start hearing random citizens in Bhujerba going on about "Bhujerban Madhu," a local brew that's in short supply. Then you start seeing NPCs who are suicidally depressed, half-drunk, or raging over a bad day, all of whom are jonesing for Bhujerban Madhu. Then you start finding caskets of Bhujerban Madhu. Then you start selling them...
- Sacrificial Lion: Reddas. It was his choice.
- Vossler is a straighter example, dying at approximately the quarter-way mark of the story. He's a former Guest Star Party Member. At this point, it became clear that even the protagonists weren't completely safe.
- Sacrificial Revival Spell: The game has the Revive Technick, but you don't get it until long after you got the basic Revive spell, and it is also on the market next to the more useful Arise spell.
- Satan: Venat. To prove how much of an utter group of jackasses the Occuria are, Venat is the game's Bigger Bad and still comes across as the most sympathetic among them, and even performing a Villainous Sacrifice to help Vayne. This doesn't work, but it still wins, as the Occuria have been rendered powerless now that all their conduits to the physical world have been severed.
- Sand Is Water: The Ogir-Yensa and Nam-Yensa sandseas.
- Savage Wolves: A lot of regions have at least one variety of either these or hyenas.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Esper, Famfrit. The "can" in this case being a suit of armor.
- Secret Shop: Very, very much. It's in the optional dungeon, which opens after you beat an optional boss that becomes available to fight midway through the game and is filled with powerful enemies, and it's invisible. Its best wares are only available near the end, though.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: While still not all that hard once you get the hang of the battle system, this is still one of the harder main series Final Fantasy games. Enemies have group attacks and status attacks and they will use them, and conversely paying or not paying attention to the elemental and status vulnerabilities of enemies can make a big difference. Level Grinding and the subquests aren't mandatory, but the game assumes you're at least taking your time between areas and not just zooming through them, because if you do you'll be overwhelmed in the next major area when the enemies suddenly get stronger. Money for Nothing is also averted: new skills and equipment are expensive and you may not always have enough loot to sell to afford what you want.
- Sequence Breaking: With a few exceptions you're free to move between areas freely as you like, accessing rare drops and new shops ahead of time. However, you still have to do the storyline events in a specific order and a few areas are sealed off before you do. Plus, if you skip ahead to a later area out of order, the monsters you meet will often be at a much higher level, and thus sequence breaking is very dangerous unless you flee from fights.
- Scenery Porn: The game's scenery is absolutely gorgeous.
- Science Is Bad: Most tech you see hails from the evil Archadian Empire which isn't evil at all, and the divine Occuria condemn it for manufacturing Nethicite ("the power of the gods") because they don't want mortals to have control of their own fates.
- Completely averted with the Moogles, whose engineering skills are second to none, kupo!
- Moogles are the source of a lot of other technology, including Bhujerban airships.
- Shaggy Dog Story: From a certain point of view. As early as the Tomb of Raithwall the Empire actually offers to let Ashe take the throne publically and rule over Dalmasca again, but she refuses because she wants to keep fighting the Empire. Ultimately her attempts to attain power or weaken Archadia's don't amount to anything, and while it's her Character Development that convinces her to change her mind, up until then the party really doesn't do a thing to affect the grander scheme of things except making the world powers more suspicious and paranoid than they already were. Which of course almost begins a world war that the party has to act to stop in the climax.
- Shout-Out: See Pun above.
- A background conversation between Vaan, Penelo and Larsa while Ashe and Basch discuss weightier matters is a shout out to the notorious Good Bad Translation of Final Fantasy Tactics. "I had a good feeling." "This is the way!"
- The Leamonde Entite's name comes from Leá Monde from Vagrant Story, not lemonade.
- Also from Vagrant Story, the Light of Kiltia religion.
- There's also its rare game called Vagrant Soul, yet another reference to Vagrant Story. Its name in the Japanese version is Soul of Chaos, which refers to Final Fantasy I.
- The Espers that aren't Continuity Nods towards Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, specifically Chaos, Zeromus, and Exodus, reference the Final Bosses of Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy IV, and Final Fantasy V, respectively. In addition, (Emperor) Mateus and Famfrit (humans and moogles' respective Totema who first appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and promoted to Esper status for this game) had their backgrounds expanded to reference Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III.
- None of the traditional summons from the main games are featured in the game (a first!) but their names survive as the names of the airships used by the Archadian and Resistance fleets. Notably, two flagships which serve as mini-dungeons are Shiva and Leviathan, Marquis Ondore's ship is Odin and the final dungeon is Bahamut.
- Furthermore, the ship destroyed at the beginning is called "Tonberry."
- It's been speculated that the Bonus Boss Fury might be a Shout-Out to the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- The whole back story of Venat being disowned by her own race for giving the humes the secret of magicks via magicite/nethicite, is similar to the tale of Prometheus.
- When talking to Dantro when accepting the Flowering Cactoid hunt, he says of the cactaurs in general, "They mostly keep to themselves. Mostly."
- At the start of the side-quest "Anne and her Sisters", the gentleman that Anne is talking to is named Rande.
- A Pirate Gossip in the bar in Balfonheim tells you about a strange fellow he met who talked about defeating a wyrm on Cerobi Steppe... "But I heard all he does is yell at windmills. Pity the man that rides with him."
- Bhujerba has a large castle, which sports a pair of massive angelic wings, a visual reference to Final Fantasy IX. There is also a scene set within this castle wherein a Rebellious Princess asks to be kidnapped by pirates in their airship.
- Northswain's Glow's Japanese name is literally "North Star Bone Crushing Slash" which uses the same naming convention in Fist of the North Star.
- The Smurfette Principle: Ultima and Shemhazzai are the only female Espers while Drace is the only female Judge.
- Averted with your immediate party, however, which has a 50/50 male/female split.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Fighting on the field in Ozmone Plain, Cerobi Steppe, Paramina Rift, and the Great Crystal. Also, hunting Marks in these areas (music does not change when fighting Marks (except for when luring out Ba'gamnan and encountering Gilgamesh), such as Trickster in Paramina Rift, where you fight a particularly tough Bonus Boss with a calm movie score-like song playing.
- The music does not change for Quickenings either, so you get to hear the calm music of Ozmone Plain or Paramina Rift while your characters tear asunder space and time.
- Space Cold War: Rozarria = NATO, Archades = Warsaw Pact, Nethicite = Nuclear Weapons, Dalmasca = any country that got a proxy war in it such as Korea and Vietnam. This game could even be viewed as what would happen if during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba was researching ancient magic that would let them mass-produce even more nuclear weapons. All in all, this is why so much of the plot of the game is about politics and faction leaders while your party tries to get an edge in on the coming conflict — Rozarria and Archadia both don't trust the other to back down and don't want to do so themselves for fear of appearing weak, and while Archadia's nethicite research is allowing them to acquire more and more power, Rozarria is itching to seize the chance to make the first move before Archadia can. This is why the game's climax centers around stopping the battle between Archadia and the Resistance, because it's the chance Rozarria has been waiting for and if they get involved the dreaded world war will begin.
- Subverted since the conflict between Archadia and Rozarria was sparked by Vayne moving toward an unrelated goal that is revealed later in the game.
- Spanner in the Works: Despite his status as the Decoy Protagonist, Vaan of all people manages to undermine the Occuria's plans. His ability to see Reks, as Ashe saw Rasler, implies that the Occuria would use him were Ashe to turn aside from their plan for her. Instead, he overcomes the illusions, refuses to take revenge on behalf of his brother, and ultimately may have been the role model Ashe needed to reject the Occuria.
- Stab the Sky: Prince Rasler in the opening cutscene.
- Stat Grinding: Though less so than in other games.
- Sticks to the Back: All greatswords stick directly to your back, with a slight clang, suggesting they're stuck there using magnets.
- Stripperiffic: Ashe and her micro-skirt and Fran and her armored teddy for the guys, and Vaan's vest and pants for the girls. Penelo's skintight jumpsuit is modest by those standards, but still pretty revealing.
- The arguable winner in this category is a minor NPC in Reddas' crew◊. She wears a coat that might as well not exist for all the coverage it provides and sports a pink g-string over hot pants. It's as though she's had clothing described to her, but doesn't actually understand the concept.
- Summon Magic: Of the Western variety.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Uniquely, all the magic doodads you find during the course of the game - such as Nethicite and the swords you're sent to find, etc. - are equippable but have ridiculously bad stats. Nethicite, true to its plot purpose of sucking up magic, reduces your MP to zero, but also reduces magic attacks against you big time. Helpful against the boss fight with Mateus.
- Justified in the case of the swords, seeing as they were made with the sole purpose of destroying nethicite and the Sun-Cryst and not for combat.
- Tech Points: Defeated enemies yield "License Points" used to purchase new abilities, in addition to the traditional Experience Points.
- Tell Me How You Fight: Although with the proper license, any character can use any type of weapon, each of them has a particular style that's visible regardless of weapon equipped. Balthier tends to use everything one-handed, even two-handed weapons, which reflects on his laid-back persona. Fran holds anything that isn't a ranged weapon elegantly to one side. Vaan uses low, wide stances that, in real life, generally allows a person to cover ground quickly. Penelo, starting with a knife, has an acrobatic, dance-like fighting style most easily seen with her unarmed style with Brawler unlocked. Ashe's style is pretty defensive, with even her unarmed stance has her putting a hand up in front of her like she's using a shield. Basch is pretty much the Combat Pragmatist given that all his moves are basic strikes executed from a natural standing stance and border on Boring but Practical.
- Tiered by Name: The game has another Omega named Omega Mark XII, one of the last marks you fight and also an optional superboss. In the Japan-exclusive version (named Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System) Omega Mark XII is also fought on the 99th floor of trial mode.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Judge Zargabaath struggles with this most of the game, usually deciding on Lawful.
- Too Dumb to Live: The second page of the Chimera Brain's entry in the Bestiary is Report #A0075 O.P.O.D:
Eat the head of the wise, and his wisdom you shall gain! Like eating food whence to gain nourishment. To determine the truth of this, I have just now eaten a whole chimera head. No effects as yet. On the morrow, we shall see.
No further reports, poacher no longer at large. Investigation closed, by Imperial Decree." Sgt. Xerse of the 8th
- Turns Red: Everyone. Even your party.
- Twin Switch: Basch and Noah, twice.
- Underground Monkey: Subverted. The in-game encyclopedia gives long explanations on monster genus origins and the subtle differences between subspecies in different areas. The monsters are never just pallete swaps, but actually reflect their habitat in their designs.
- The Unpronounceable: An NPC called Ktjn is involved in an optional sidequest. According to supplementary materials, it's pronounced "kitten", though in Japanese it's "Katrine". Most of the other Viera fall under this too - Fran seems to be the only exception as one of the few Viera fortunate enough to afford a vowel in her name, which seems to fit considering she's not like other Viera.
- Krjn (Caroline in other languages) is her sister.
- Unique Enemy: The Wildsnake, Darkmare and Emperor Aevis and most rare game only appear in one location each. For the Darkmare to respawn, you have to leave the region where it can be found entirely. This trope applies even more to the trophy rare game, which actually ARE one-of-a-kind and never respawn after they are defeated.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: A very strong aversion, many enemies that fight with weapons wield weapons that are recognizable as equipment the player can purchase and equip, and for the same reason enemies tend to wield a variety of different weapons. The only enemies that have unique weapons are the Behemoth-types, which have one-handed BFSes the party wouldn't be able to use anyway on account of them being so huge. Otherwise all enemy-exclusive equipment falls under the domain of bosses, who are usually ranking Imperial officers so it makes sense they'd have customized weaponry.
- Updated Re-release: The wrongly-named "International Version" of the game, whose changes and additions are too numerous and important to list here. Despite being subtitled "International Version : Zodiac Job System", it is Japan-exclusive.
- This is mainly due to the fact that FF VII and X were also given "International Releases", which essentially means that it's all the additions the US versions got that Japan didn't in their initial release, and then some. That being said, the Zodiac Job System version might as well be considered a brand new game.
- Useless Useful Spell: Averted, subverted, played sorta straight, and played completely straight in equal measure. Some of your status effect spells are the difference between success & failure in most boss battles and against many normal enemies (which really don't pull their punches in this game). Others are useless.
- The most blatant example is the Water spell. In the original version of the game, you could only learn the basic Water spell and not the next tiers of the spell tree while enemies could use the stronger version of Water. The only way to do a ton of damage against enemies weak to water was to use a gun with bullets that have the water element.
- Vendor Trash: It's your main source of income. Unlike previous entries enemies don't randomly drop gil when killed, they drop Loot instead, which you have to sell to make money.
- Humanoid enemies do drop money, and you can steal gil from some other enemies, but that's a drop in the bucket.
- Victory Pose: Each character has a multitude of victory poses available after boss fights, mainly depending on what sort of weapon they're carrying. An extensive list can be found here on the official Wiki.
- Videogame Geography: The Kerwon continent is screwed up. Frozen tundra & mountains border lush tropical jungles. Most oddly, Mt. Bur-Omisace, at the top of a long climb through the frozen Paramina Rift, is relatively nice & sunny (or rainy). It's warmer on top of the mountain than at the base! Similarly, the continent temperature varies strongly east-to-west instead of north-to-south.
- Of course, this is in a game with sand seas & floating continents. At least all the deserts are equatorial.
- It is heavily implied the Mist has a profound effect on the environment and the ecology, so Mist concentrations are likely the cause of Kerwon's badly put-together jigsaw puzzle status.
- There's also the fact that with certain environmental conditions (mainly volcanic heat), things like Mt. Bur-Omisace is very much in the realm of possibility.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some actions, when it comes to Gambits anyway, can only be set to be cast on enemies or on allies. However, there are not as many restrictions as you may think. You are within full rights to set up Gambits for your characters to attack themselves or each other over and over until they die, or cast status ailment magic on each other, heal it, and then cast it again. There's little practical reason for doing so, but if you're feeling sadistic, you can do it.
- Voice of the Legion: Mjrn has this briefly while possessed by Venat. The Occuria also have it.
- Voodoo Zombie: Most of the zombie enemies. Some of the skeletons also count.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Ah, so you haven't learned how to handle magick yet? Don't worry, the Elder Wyrm will be your teacher - and this is very much an AP course.
- The Walls Are Closing In: The game has two Demon Wall enemies. The first one you fight presents a twist — it is powered up and offers you little time to defeat it, but it is fortunately a Skippable Boss and you are meant to flee the battle by using the door that it would crush you against, and instead fight the second wall in the next room. The second one (the one you must defeat) is much weaker and offers much more time to win. If so desired, you can come back later in the game to rematch against the first wall. Unless of course, you've done a lot of Level Grinding, in which case you can just off the first one right away and pick up a weapon that you're not intended to have at that point in the game yet (still not quite the Infinity+1 Sword though, but it is one of the games many, many Disc One Nukes).
- War Is Hell: Basch is very much of this opinion. Vossler believes this to an even greater degree, betraying Ashe in an attempt to peacefully restore Dalmasca.
- Wave Motion Gun: The battery of Mist Cannons mounted on the top levels of Sky Fortress Bahamut, used to sink (read:utterly disintegrate) Resistance cruisers in one shot.
- We Are as Mayflies:
"The Humes ever skew hist'ry's weave. With haste they move through too-short lives. Driven to err by base desires, t'ward waste and wasting on they run. Undying, we Occuria light the path for wayward sons of man."
- Will Talk For A Price: Jules of Archades, a "street-ear" who Balthier states would "bite a Gil given him by his own mother, and shave it by half to pay for her funeral." He's always willing to provide your party with information... for the right price.
Jules: I’ve a message from Master Balthier. He’s waiting in Central. He says to come quickly.
Vaan: On this? But we need a... a Chop. What is a Chop, anyway?
Jules: When a boy wants information…that’s right… A boy pays. 2500 Gil sound about right.
- X Meets Y: Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings films got together and made a video game. This is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Awesomely averted. The semi-Shakespearean dialogue is performed so smoothly and naturally that you stop noticing pretty quickly. When you do notice it, it's only because it's awesome and memorable.
- You ALL Look Familiar: Lampshaded.
- You ALL Share My Story: Played relatively straight. The main characters of the story are;
- Ashe, the Princess who lost her country to invaders.
- Balthier, AKA Ffamran mied Bunansa, the son of one of the architects of the invasion.
- Basch, the guy who took the fall for the invasion.
- Vaan is the Player Character because he has the best perspective of the whole train wreck - a civilian who not only has to live in a conquered country, but lost family to the conquest. Penelo tags along with him to keep him from snapping due to the three blowhards who play their power games, ignoring how normal people suffered in the turmoil.
- Fran is there to remind them that the world is bigger than humes and their squabbles.
- You Bastard: Some of the Mark hunts are memorably harsh, particularly the "Legendary" ones such as the White Chocobo and Black Chocobo, who keel over with a pathetic "Kweh." It's enough to make an FF fan die inside.
- The Behemoth King is tough to even find: the player must slay every monster in the south Feywood within a set time limit. Once the King perishes, its dossier reveals that it's a guardian spirit which protects the creatures of the Feywood. Oops.
The manga adaptation provides examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: The Judges have been each upgraded from Elite Mook to One-Man Army, possessing superhuman strength and speed in addition to their fighting training making them powerful duelists. Take Ghis for example—he kills Firemane single-handedly and then takes on Fran and Balthier and was beating them until Vaan intervened. And he was barehanded the whole time.
- Standard operating procedure seems to be for the game's bosses to suffer Badass Decay so the party members can gain this trait dealing One Hit KOs to them — Fran uses a Quickening to freeze a second Firemane solid, and Basch cleaves the Mimic Queen apart in one swing. Using a rusted and cracked sword he repaired to working condition using Heroic Willpower.
- Adaptation Expansion: Flashbacks show the circumstances of how Ashe and Rasler fell in love, why Archadia began the war, and Basch's side of the story during the night Raminas was killed.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: As the chapters progressed from backstory to the in-game events, it still follows the general outline of the game's plot, but a lot of scenes are swapped out and new ones added in.
- Ascended Extra: Vossler's role in the early game is much more fleshed out.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: What Vaan is shaping into. The other characters note he's an idiot, but when he gets into a fight, through either quick thinking or dumb luck, he's surprisingly capable.
- Flanderization: Vaan is a full Idiot Hero, Balthier is a Chivalrous Pervert, and Ashe has undergone Chickification to emphasize her powerlessness before the Empire.
- Hotter and Sexier: While Ashe is the focus of this as described below, Fran and Penelo aren't exempt either. Penelo appears in her home in her underwear in one scene, and overall the three female party members are often shown from angles that emphasize their breasts and rears.
- Ms. Fanservice: Ashe is prone to being depicted very gratuitously, her rear particularly being emphasized often, and on one page she's fully nude with Barbie Doll Anatomy.
- Shout-Out: When Ashe "borrows" Lord Rasler's sword and runs off, he calls out after her.
- World of Ham: There is a lot of shouting and grandstanding going on.