I'll get this right out there, my favorite numbered Final Fantasy game is XII.
Some of the characters and plot points may have been shoehorned in, but I feel the environments and mechanics are brilliant.
It follows a MMO-inspired style, with real time party combat, aggro management, large ares and lots of content that crisscrosses back and forth so the entire world feels useful.
Based on the polarized reception and lack of comparable games mentioned in those inevitable arguments I had always though this was an isolated experiment, until I played Xenoblade for the first time today (got it on black friday for $24 on a whim for my WiiU).
I'm loving this as much as I did FFXII (though it does suffer from the lack of Gambits, ways to program your party's actions, or at least I haven't exposed them yet if they are there), and I'm wondering what else I've missed that has this same feel to it.
Are there any similar RPGs out there that are worth trying?
Generally I'm looking for the following features:
Real-time party battles with movement/positioning
Well-developed areas worth exploring and revisiting
On a side note, why have I never seen a comparison of FFXII and Xenoblade? I would think the fervor that FFXII's combat system causes would carry over at least somewhat to Xenoblade as well since they are so similar.