Sarah had FFXII on release day and has played it non-stop since. On a random day off, I made dinner (she is the cook), so she could sit down and immediately start playing. She's apologized to us several times about monopolizing the only TV in the house. We've all told her to shut up and play. For us, video games aren't just about playing. They are also about watching. It's a community thing. (You should have seen us during Bard's Tale.)
FFXII has gotten rave reviews. This coming after a whole lot of bitching about the battle system. I love it! I wish I could do the Tri-Ace move until your bar is gone, but the gambits work really well. Sarah has only had to pause when I walked in front of her or for a cut scene, while we waited for someone to get their butt back on the sofa. The battle system is so intuitive, that I think I might have found a Final Fantasy game I can play (Dirge of Cerebus does not count).
The characters are actual people from their dialogue to their actions. Each have real motivation for what they do and say. And, for the first time in a long time, we have real heroes: people who aren't either muscle-bound dimwits, depressed loners, or triple D cup tomb raiders. Aaron Linde wrote a very insightful article on Balthier, so I'll leave it to him to explain why the characters are so fantastic.
I once told a coworker that video games were really just the new form of the novel, a story telling device. This is one of the games that proves it. It has one of the finest RPG battle systems around. It is hope for the gaming future.
So stop bitching and go play.
And take your kid sister to watch. You'll need the extra pair of eyes for the treasure chests.