In regards to FFXII, it STARTS really good and starts to kind of crap out eventually. That might be why you get a lot of good reviews for it.
The other problem is that I can't honestly thing of a JRPG that has handled a political storyline well (and I don't play Suikoden games so maybe those do but whatever), and FFXII certainly did not, in my eyes, have the quality of writing or level of confidence and maturity to actually approach that subject without it becoming really silly. In general politics in RPGs are very exaggerated, generalized, and not at all like real-world politics.
And maybe the biggest flaw WAS that it didn't really focus on its characters because people, after all, ARE politicians and ARE at the center of politics.
You also need strong characters for the player to associate with these concepts. IF you're just shooting off ideas, you don't have a story. You have a manifesto.
This is why nobody reads that one part of 1984 that's just Goldstien's Book. It's abstract, boring, and nothing but Orwell getting on a soapbox and furiously masturbating for 80 pages.
Of course, gameplay was, I didn't think FFXII was that big of a departure. The license board was sort of a modified sphere grid. The battles were still based around ATB. The difference is that they took place on the main map and you could walk away at any time. The Gambit system is just AI scripting and you could turn it off if you wanted. I think that's why it started disappointing me later on. The further I got, I realized that the gameplay WAS pretty much the same as it always had been, just gussied up a bit.
If a hypothetical Grandia IV was the best Grandia game in terms of characters and play mechanics, BUT was a hard sci-fi game rather than fantasy, who would be first to cry foul that it isn't Grandia?
Grandia feels more sega to me than strictly fantasy, or strictly grandia, even. Sci-fi is within the boundaries of Sega's typical work -- Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadfia, for instance. And it's not like Grandia 1 didn't have gobs of sci-fi elements anyway.
In general fans bitch about anything. So I mean potentially, you could probably apply this to ANY game, except for cases where the sequel really is better than the original in every way and you can't really come up with a reasonable argument otherwise. Although, reasonable being the operative word there.
Fans bitch about everything!
Anyway, Daggerfall really comes to mind here. Because I hate it. And Morrowind got great reviews, and the Daggerfall fans hated it. And I think the Daggerfall fans are stupid for huge numbers of reasons I could enumerate. In general though they're the kind of people that want to sacrifice fun for realism, though, which is horrible game design.
>:( Tidwell >:(
Didn't someone once say that the opposite of love isn't hate. The opposite of love is apathy.
My 6th grade science teacher did, once.