With the veritable cornucopia of fantastic games which have landed on our laps in the last three or four months, it's easy sometimes to forget that the first half of 2007 was no slouch in gaming terms either. For many, the highlight of the early months of the year was Final Fantasy XII - Square Enix's triumphant return to its best-loved RPG franchise, and to the fascinating world of Ivalice.
It was, admittedly, not exactly everyone's cup of tea. Some adored the game's brave move to real-time combat, with a party of characters controlled by the highly customisable Gambit system which allowed the player to set up triggers for specific actions, but others hated it and accused the game of "playing itself". Some were engrossed by the mature and complex high fantasy storyline, which dragged Final Fantasy away from teen soap opera and gave it a stunning ensemble cast and a heavy dose of political intrigue, while others lamented the lack of melodrama and the slightly ill-defined central character, Vaan.
For those who loved both aspects, though, Final Fantasy XII was a genre-redefining game - and as a result, the team's rapid development of a sequel title for the Nintendo DS has been followed with keen interest. Revenant Wings picks up from the end of Final Fantasy XII; for those craving a return to Ivalice, this is it.