Review: Final Fantasy XII – Revenant Wings


Bouncing right back from my playthrough of Final Fantasy XII, I dove right into the sequel: Final Fantasy XII – Revenant Wings. This is a very unique title in the Final Fantasy series for a number of reasons. First,at the time of release, this game was only the second title in the series to be a sequel to a previous Final Fantasy game. Second, when compared to its predecessor it’s a radically different game. This title was released on the Nintendo DS system only. As a result, it plays very differently than standard games. The game takes full advantage of the two screen experience and while some DS games do not really require playing with a stylus, this game does seem to function much better with one.

Revenant Wings takes place where FFXII left off. Vaan has acquired his own ship and has become somewhat of a sky pirate. The game begins as Vaan finds his airship has been reclaimed by its previous owner, Balthier. Following instructions left for him, Vaan and Penelo meet up with Bathier to hunt for a bit of a treasure. This is followed by a series of events that ultimately lead Vaan and several of his friends, both of old and new, into another epic adventure.


This game is a very strange mix of RTS elements and overhead dungeon crawling. The game itself is divided into chapters, each containing a number of missions. These are very short and the game can be saved after each mission. Typically, each mission will have a particular goal. Once this is accomplished the mission ends. Gameplay consists of mainly walking and combat. Characters you control tend to specialize in certain forms of combat. Be it melee, magic, or ranged attacks. The key is knowing which character to use against certain types of enemies. That being said, you characters do not have to fight alone. This game focuses very heavily on the ability to summon monsters which in turn, fight side by side with your characters.

The key to the whole game really is knowing which monsters to summon based on the enemy you are encountering. Sometimes other minor strategies come into play as well. For example, its often wise not to venture too far from a summoning portal so in the event that your characters get pinned down, they don’t end up being unable to call for reinforcements.


As new summons are unlocked, players have the ability to choose which summons will be available in advance of the next mission. So there is a bit of planning involved as well. This can often make the difference between success and failure.  All in all, this makes for a pretty interesting experience. For me, however, it doesn’t really do much. I’m not a fan of RTS games, and while I wouldn’t call this title a pure RTS, there’s enough of the element present to turn me off. But, that’s just me and my preference.

Despite not really being my cup of tea, it was nice to see Vaan and the other characters from XII make one more appearance.


Difficulty: Medium –  Interestingly enough, the US version of this game is actually more difficult than the original Japanese release. If you take your time and really pay attention to the tutorials that pop up at the beginning of the game, you’ll have a much easier time than someone who speeds through all the text. But, overall, I’d say the same tends to be middle of the road in terms of difficulty.

Story: The story in Revenant Wings is pretty good, but is very self contained. There’s bits of lore presented that serve to enrich the overall world of Ivalice, but the game itself does little to expand on the story presented in the original Final Fantasy XII.

Originality: Despite being a sequel, Revenant Wings is a beast all its own. The unique playcontrol brought by the DS as well and the overall difference in gameplay really make this title an experience all its own. High praise to SE for this.

Soundtrack: The music is in this title is mostly a rehash of tunes found in FFXII. What’s amazing is just how good and true to the original they sound considering the vastly different hardware. The music in Final Fantasy XII was CD quality audio, while the majority of music in this game is digitally created. Also, most of the music here is dynamic. It comes and goes depending on the events that are taking place in a game. Pretty neat stuff.

Fun: I’m somewhat infamous in my dislike of RTS games so it would be easy to let that influence by review. But casting that aside, this game still managed to be quite enjoyable for me. For someone that really enjoys that style of game, Revenant Wings offers a lot of enjoyment.

Graphics: Being a DS title, the in-game graphics are about what you’d expect. The overhead view has a sort of 16bit pixel feel to it, but its fitting and well done. The character art has a more anime-style feel to it. Surprisingly, the game also contains some pretty amazing cutscenes that are on par with what you’d expect from a Final Fantasy console game.

Playcontrol: Being a DS title, the playcontrol here is interesting, but not as bad as many games on that platform. For most of the game, the top screen serves as a map. The bottom/touch screen is where the action takes place. Characters are selected by tapping on them, or from a tab at the top of the screen. Actions are menu driven, so a stylus is highly recommended. Overall, it takes a bit of getting used to but once you have the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake.

Mature Content: No Concerns

Value:  This game is out of print and often sells for over $50 on Amazon in new condition. At that price, I find it hard to recommend considering the amount of content in the game. But if you came manage to find this for under $30 or less, you will certainly get your money’s worth.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – Even though I’m not  fan of these types of games, its not hard to see that this is a very well put together title. Fans of Ivalice and FFXII should certainly give this game a look. Players who strictly enjoy RPGs may have a harder time with this title. But that being said, the quality of the game is undeniable.

Currently not available.

Other Reviews In This Series:

Main Series:

I – II – III – IV – V – VI – VII – VIII – IX – X – X2 – XI – XII – XIII – XIII 2 – XIII Lightning Returns – XIV – XV 

IV: After Years – VII: Dirge of Cerberus – VII: Crisis Core – VII: Advent Children (Movie) – XII: Revenant Wings – Type-0 – XV: A King’s Tale – XV: Brotherhood (Anime) – XV: Kingsglaive (Movie)

Misc Titles:

World of Final Fantasy – Explorers – Mystic Quest – 4 Heroes of Light 


Tactics – Tactics Advance – Tactics A2


Dissidia – Dissidia 012 – Dissidia NT

Crystal Chronicles:

Crystal Chronicles – Ring of Fates – My Life as King – My Life as Darklord – Echoes of Time – Crystal Bearers

Mobile Titles:

Dimensions – Dimensions 2 – Record Keeper – Brave Exvius – Mobius Final Fantasy  – Justice Monsters V – King’s Knight  – Dissida Final Fantasy Opera Omnia

Collective Review: Warcraft & Warcraft II

What trip down the PC gaming memory lane would be complete without mentioning the juggernaut known as Warcraft. These games help popularize Real Time Strategy games almost as much as the ever popular Civilization series, not to mention they provided a setting for what is arguably the most popular MMO of all time, World of Warcraft.

I should take a moment to note that I’m not really a fan of RTS games. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, I get the concept, but personally I find them to be a bit boring as a general rule. Obviously, this is a personally opinion as many people love these games with a passion. I just don’t care for them. That being said, if I’m forced to play an RTS game, I’m quick to go with a Warcraft title.

The concept of Warcraft is as follows. In the land of Azeroth there is a war brewing between two factions, Orcs and Humans. The Orcs come from another world and have recently invaded Azeroth through a magical portal. Their attacks on human villages and cities have increased in ferocity and the humans have began to strike back.

In these games, you can play campaigns as both the Orc Horde and the Human Alliance. Each campaign is filled will a number of scenarios. For example, you may be asked to construct a specific number of buildings to help train troops to defend against an upcoming invasion. To do so, you will first need to harvest lumber and mine gold to finance the operation. Once you have enough, you can build a barracks to train soldiers. As your soldiers explore and defend their territory, your laborers can continue to mine and harvest so that you are able to bolster your defensive and offensive capabilities. As you progress through the games, the objectives increase in complexity and difficulty.


Warcraft: Orcs and Humans

The original Warcraft was released in the days of DOS and shows its age quite a bit. Despite this, the game was actually quite advanced for its day. Both the audio and graphics were really top of the line at the time. In fact, this is what first captured my attention about the game. Admittedly, I never played the original Warcraft all the way to completion until this review, but there were many nights in my High School days spent wasted on this game instead of doing things more productive. That’s the sign of a solid game.

Despite everything that I enjoyed about the game, it quite honestly got on my nerves pretty quickly as well. The feedback that you get from your units when assigning tasks is repetitive and frequent. I found myself playing with the sound off as a result. The UI also feels a bit basic and loose at times. Also, the game tended to drag on a bit and had an overall “rinse and repeat” feel to it.

Regardless of some of its shortcomings, Warcraft was a huge success. Naturally, a sequel was released that provided a better all-around experience. Warcraft II took all of the great elements of the first game and made them even better. Aside from enhanced graphics and audio, many complaints about the original game were addressed. The storyline also received more of a focus and as a result, the game is bit more engaging for those who are into that sort of thing. Most importantly, Warcraft II also brought with it a multiplayer experience.

Warcraft II spawned an expansion that added a new setting and two new campaigns and multiplayer enhancements. A definitive version of the game was eventually released, The Battlenet Edition. This version compiled both the main title and its expansion, as well added support for Blizzard’s Battlenet Network. Playing online was now easier than ever. If you’re curious to check out this classic game, the Battlenet Edition should be your first stop.

warcraft-2-tides-of-darkness-3-5B1-5D1     Warcraft II: Battlenet Edition


Difficulty: Somewhat Variable–  The original Warcraft is pretty straight forward. It has its difficult moments, but the enemy AI is fairly predictable and easy to thwart if you’re willing to plan ahead a bit. Warcraft II is a bit of a different story. This game seems to be a bit tougher in the long run, but there are some settings that can be adjusted in the main menu that makes things a bit easier to deal with. For example you can adjust the game speed or disable the “fog of war” feature.

Story: Most of game story of the first title is found in the game manual. The second game does a slightly better job of providing lore in the game itself. The backstory for these games is actually quite detailed. Novels were written that provide more information than you can shake a stick at. If you enjoy the games, and fantasy storytelling, there’s actually lot to see if you’re willing to do a little digging.

Originality: While RTS games were nothing new, the Warcraft series really gave a new approach to the genre. Warcraft really laid the foundation, while Warcraft II provided the polish to make the series shine

Soundtrack: The first game features crude, midi based music but some surprisingly good speech effects. The music in Warcraft II is much improved and features some really well done, epic music to accompany the gameplay. My only complaint with both titles is really the frequency and redundancy of some of the in-game speech. Assigning a command to nearly any unit is followed by a ridiculous reply. This gets old after a while.

Fun: If RTS games are your cup of tea, there’s hours of fun to be had here. Unless you’re a completest or a rabid Warcraft fan, I think its safe to suggest that you can skip right over to Warcraft II for the best all around experience. Even with myself not being a fan of RTS-style games, Warcraft II is quite enjoyable.

Graphics: By today’s standards both games are somewhat crude, but at the time these games were released the graphics were astounding. Warcraft II takes a noticeably more “cartoonish” approach that the original game. I assume this was done for clarity, but it eventually became a staple of the series.

Playcontrol: These games are played primarily using the mouse alone. The speed in which the screen scrolls around seems a bit too accelerated for my tastes, but it’s easy to get used to. Warcraft II is a dramatic improvement over its predecessor in terms of UI. Still, it always felt a bit “off” to me.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – Great games overall but not without their quirks. Warcraft II is by far the most accessible of the two for new players. Multiplayer games can be a bit hard to find these days unless you’re using Battlenet. As I said before, I’m not a fan of these types of games as a general rule, but even I can see what makes Warcraft a great gaming experience.

Currently not available: Out of Print

Other Reviews In This Series:

Warcraft –    Warcraft II –    Warcraft III  –    World of Warcraft