I began my playthrough of Final Fantasy XII not at the beginning of the game but somewhere in the middle, in an icy area covered in snow. While I wasn't overcome with enemies, I did have my fair share of monsters to plow through as I explored through the areas I had open to me. The variety was pleasing; I fought about 8 different kinds of monsters as I bumbled my way through the area, trying to get used to the style of gameplay. One analog stick controlled my movement while the other one controlled my view; it took a few tries to get used to this sort of movement but once I had a handle on it, things got fun.
I ran up to an enemy, expecting to have to be inputting commands for the character I was controlling constantly. However, I sat back one battle to enjoy the different actions my allies were performing. As it turns out, I had chosen a decent team when I took over the game. I had one character who was a frontline fighter, Fran, and Vaan. Vaan, the one I was controlling, would attempt to steal if I didn't tell him to immediately attack. He would also cast Esuna, as several of the enemies in the area were casting blind. Fran also pulled out some big cures once my HP was falling dangerously low. I used next to no menus for my fights, which surprised me since I was under the impression that the battle system was similar to Final Fantasy XI Online's.
Sadly, the area I was exploring wasn't very big; nor could I find any bosses to try to tackle, so while the demo whetted my appetite, it also left a little bit to be desired. There was also nothing in the way of story in my particular demo, so I grabbed another play at the game a few screens down from where I was, and was able to see a bit of story.
From the small bit of story I was able to glean from the game, thanks to the sheer wall of noise the Square-Enix booth tends to be, I was looking at how some of the later characters were being brought into the party. This meant I was playing in a section before the ice level that I had been stomping bad guys in, as my party at that point had been full.
It was really fun to play the demo, and I walked out feeling confident that it was a game that I could enjoy had I been given more time to play it. It seems to have a lot of potential for fun, although a further examination of the character customization system is needed before I fully decide whether it's a title I myself will enjoy. However, I am optimistic it will appeal to many RPGamers and may even bring some new players into the genre with its simple-to-use system.