One of the longest-awaited games of our time was available in several stations in Square Enix's booth, and I had the experience of sitting down to give it a try. The first thing that took me by great surprise; I started in a spacious temple-like dungeon with an unexpected four members in my party. I took control of Vaan and went exploring through an absolutely luscious environment, graphically speaking.
In my experience, not much was showcased outside of the battle system, and what I found was fairly disappointing. First and foremost, it was entirely too easy; it would have been quite possible for me to walk through the entire dungeon without selecting a single command for any of my characters, since upon sight of an enemy, allies immediately leap into the fray and dispatch them soundly. In fact, I made several attempts to use some of the magicks that Vaan came with, but almost without fail, the enemy would be defeated well before the spell could even be used. Magicks come in several varieties; the typical white and black spells are present, along with several other interesting classes (green, arcane, and more), all arranged by type in an easy-to-access menu. The interface seems to be quite straightforward, and I was quite quick to pick up the basics of navigating through it all.
Upon defeat, monsters leave experience points and often drop items, which can easily be obtained by walking into them. I didn't find the need to use any items or curative magic through the entire time I spent with the game, and MP slowly refills outside of battle, so running out shouldn't ever be an issue. Points of interest in the beautiful environment are manipulated simply by press of a button. While the dungeon was fairly basic, some minor puzzle elements were involved in the demo I played; I pressed a switch to lower a wall in order to proceed, for example.
In the end, Final Fantasy XII will be a game that may not appeal to everyone, though the sheer graphical beauty of the game is quite the spectacle indeed, undeniably. The battle system in the demo suffers from being rather brainless, but hopefully this is made up for in other elements of the game. I'd like to report on some plot-related elements, but no story details were unveiled at all during the piece that I played through. We will learn much more, however, in the months to come, and this much-anticipated title is on-track for release this fall.