FF 12 Opening
Be prepared for a long opening. Eventually after a long opening and some dialog, you’ll have control of Reks. Basch will teach you some basics about the control and you’ll then have to talk to him and a guard to advance. Continue to follow their commands as you open the gate and run forward.
You’ll reach an enemy and you’ll have a short dialog about fighting. It’s much different than FF10 – you have to target your enemy and then select your action. Control might seem hard at first but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Normal attacks should suffice against this soldier and then continue on.
Now Reks will have the option to go into the menu and use the other controls. Again, experiment with these, the better you are at working your camera angle the better you’ll be in battle. Soon enough you’ll be in a “boss” battle against Tiny Airship Remora. Not a difficult fight as you’ll have plenty of help including the fact that you’ll be healed. Regular attacks should be fine but Thunder takes off more damage. A Mist attack by Basch will end this.
You’ll get to a harder to navigate area with several turns. Search around for a Potion (one of the dead ends to the right). You’ll fight a bunch of Imperial Soldiers that you can run from (R2) if you want. If you continue all the way to the stairs you’ll come to a Save Crystal. The stairs are after you take a left fork, and if you go north past it you’ll see a bigger area with another treasure (Potion). Continue along up the stairs and Reks will fight three Imperial Soldiers by himself.
This is a decent test of your abilities up to this point. If you’re attacking, make sure you’re near the one you’re locked on. Also, stay back if you’re casting magic. After the battle go through the door and you’ll see a bunch of scenes with Reks and then it’ll switch to Vaan.
After some scenes you’ll gain control of Vaan. He’ll be fighting three Dire Rats, easy prey for you. They are sneakily fast and Vaan is weak and low leveled so stay aware. More scenes will occur and you’ll be outside in town with control of Vaan.
You can’t go in any stores but you can talk to all the townspeople. Penelo is in the north part, so talk to her and then go to Migelo in the very bottom. He wants you to go to the Sand Sea restaurant in the north part of town.
You’ll find Kytes here and Tomaj. Tomaj will give you a Clan Report so that you can track monsters that you hunt. In addition he has an Orrachea Armlet for you, and he’ll show you how to acquire licenses for abilities and equipment. Last, he’ll give you a Writ of Transit that will allow you to leave.
Go to the north part of town and then go west to get to the Clan HQ. Talk to Montblanc and he’ll enlist you in their clan. You can talk some more and continue west to the Bazaar where you can shop. Unfortunately you can only get things based on your rank, and since yours is low at the moment means that there won’t be much.
Directly in the middle (southwest of the weapon shop) and you’ll meet a banga that has a special package for his friend. He can’t get by the east gate though, so take his package and go east and the guard will let you through. Talk to the bangaa merchant by the save point and this will be the one you were supposed to deliver to. He’ll gladly take the package and you can continue on.
Your first real freedom with Vaan (or anyone for that matter). Fight the Wolves and the Cactites, but the Wild Saurian’s are probably too much for you to handle at this point. Wander around and get the treasures that hold either Gil or a Potion. In the north part is an exit, which leads to a rest area with some travelers. You can spend 100 gil to rest but you’re better off just using Potions to restore yourself. If you search around here you’ll find more Potions and small amounts of Gil. At this stage in the game it’s probably worth your time.
Back outside, head to the middle area where you will see the Rogue Tomato. He’s not too difficult at first, and you’ll knock him down a level once you get his HP to about half. Run after him but take care as he’ll soon ready Flame Breath. Shouldn’t be too much for you to overcome as long as you keep up with the Potions. Galbana Lilies are your reward for defeating him, along with a message that you’ve vanquished him.
Back in Rabanstre, Vaan will be stopped from entering as some Chocobos get to go in first. Migelo eventually gets you in and you’ll see some scenes and have some free time. Return to the Sand Sea Restaurant to see Tomaj, who will reward you with 300 gil, 2 Potions and a Teleport Stone for your efforts against the Tomato. You can check the board on the other side of the bar to see that Thextera (Mutant Wolf) is now available. Agree to this mark and you can talk to Gatsly (he’s waiting right by the board). Thextera is on the other side of Rabanastre (Westersand) near Galtea Downs. He’ll give you more specific directions also.
At this point, I bought the Broad Sword and Cure Magic, and I got both from their respective shops in town. The coming battles against Thextera and his wolf friends will prove difficult. You’ll first want to clear out the area and get the Potions, Gil and other treasures (you get a water-based item also). I had Vaan up to level four, and then I returned to the Save Point at the Rabanastre gate to rest.
Back in Westersand, if you take that left right away like Gatsly says, you’ll come to several wolves gathering around one big one. This is why you want to clear as many wolves out as possible, making this fight as easy as possible. It will be hard though and you’ll have to keep your wits about you. Remember, you can run to the save point to recharge if need be. Thextera and his wolf friends (usually 2 or 3) are at the top of that mountain on the left and they’ll charge you when you get close (and they will follow you all the way back if you try to run). They’re fast and do multiple attacks.
Thextera gets more difficult as his HP lessens (like most monsters). He uses Fang which’ll take off around 110 on you. He’ll also cry for help, and a wolf will come to help him (especially rough if you already have a lot on you). So basically, keep yourself rested until he gets to the half way mark, where you’ll want to be even more careful. Once he is dispatched remember that the other wolves won’t disappear so deal with them and then go back to Gatsly. He’ll reward you with a Headguard, Teleport Stone and 500 Gil.
You can go to Lowtown now, via the east. Once down there you should talk to everyone and go south. Old Dalan lives in the southmost house, and Vaan will have a talk with him. Rest up and go south toward the Giza Plains (hopefully you bought a map in the center of Rabanastre).
The monsters here are decidely easier than what you encounted during your hunt of Thextera. The Hyena’s are much easier than the Wolves and the Giza Rabbits are a joke. Grab the treasures (Potions and maybe some Gil) and then go to the south area.
You’ll meet a bunch of nomad’s. In the southern part of the area you’ll meet Masyua. Masyua will explain the situation to you regarding the sunstones that you need. First, you have to save Jinn, a boy who helps collect them. After this talk is over, Vaan will spot Penelo, and she’ll invite herself along. When you’re ready, head out via the south exit. Before you are allowed to leave, Penelo will bring up some group fighting basics along with gambits. Basically now that you have two characters, you can switch between them and you can also set plans for the character(s) that you aren’t controlling(otherwise they’ll just act normally, attacking usually). It’s not too complicated and you’ll get plenty of practice against monsters you were doing okay against by yourself. However there will be some tougher monsters, notably in the left and west side (like the Urstrix, Wild Snake, Alpha Hyena and Slaven).
You can reach Dalmasca Estersand if you go east, but there is no reason for that. Instead, clear out the east route (with the help of a bangaa warrior) and then go south, where you will meet an injured Jinn. He’ll tell you how to make a sunstone with a shadestone (use the Dark Crystals until the energy is sufficient). Save at the save point and go out and get the energy up and return to Jinn. Use select to see the four Black Crystal locations. You’ll get a Sunstone after you visit the fourth one, and then Jinn will give his approval.
Masyua will give you 50 gil, 2 Potions and 2 Teleport Stones afterwards. Back to the lowertown and to Dalan’s house. Penelo will leave you and then you’ll talk to Dalan alone. He gives you the scoop on how to enter – first go to the Storehouse 5 (where you fought the Dire Rats). It’s directly north in Lowtown. Then talk to Kytes inside, who will open the door and give you 2 Potions and 4 Phials of Eye Drops. You are to use the Crescent Stone that was given to you by Dalan to light your way. By the way, buying black magic (especially Blizzard) might not be a bad idea for Vaan.
Mostly you’ll encounter Dire Rats and Steeling down here. Take a right first although it is a dead end, it is worth fighting Rats to level up. Shortly after entering I had Vaan up to level 6, just for reference. Save and go the other way now (left from the entrance). You’ll be at the bottom left level of a huge area. Work your way to the other side, killing the Rats and the Steeling present. There are a few Potions in some of the dead end alley-type areas, so get them if need be.
You’ll get to a narrower area with an Ether and a Steeling. Careful here, the monsters behind you will tend to re-appear so you can’t retreat too far or else you’ll be screwed. This is why having Fire Magic (or some kind of magic) is good for long-range purposes. Continue to the northeast part of the floor to get another Potion and the exit.
There are Razorfin’s and Ichthon’s on this next floor. They’re a bit more difficult than what you’ve been dealing with in the first area. Be patient and deal with them one at a time and you shouldn’t have any issue. Continue to check the dead ends for petty treasures (Potions / Gil) and then continue along. You’ll get to an area where your navigate is basically worthless as there are enemies below you but it looks like they’re right next to you on the navigator.
Careful though, some of these enemies are Steeling’s which can fly at you at any point, so as soon as you seen yourself become targetted, target them. You’ll make your way to another water-filled area with a few Ichthon’s waiting your arrival. Kill them off and then take the passage leading south (eventually winding towards the northwest corner of the map) and to a Mage Masher. This is a better weapon than you probably have, so use some License Points to get Daggers 1 and you can use it. Work your way back to the initial fork and go north, eventually to the palace stairs. Cure yourself and head up the stairs. You’ll be asked twice if you want to go – just making sure you’re ready.
The Royal Palace of Rabanastre
You finally made it. Okay it wasn’t that long. Save your game (in a new slot, like the game suggests). Search the urn for a map of the palace. The passage to Garamsythe is there but Vaan won’t use it.
In the next room, talk to everyone and get the treasures. An Antidote, Remedy and a decent amount of gil. To the north, the imperial guards will tell you that you cannot go upstairs. Go up and talk to the guard personally. Return to the Seeq nearby and he’ll help you. He tells you to yell at the guard, so press square to do so. Vaan calls the guard a bucket head, and then the guard runs over to you and the Seeq. Now run to the right wall and hug that wall as you wrap around and up the stairs. Time it so that he won’t see you (ie make your break just as he’s getting to the Seeq). Shouldn’t be too hard.
Next floor, Vaan will recall Dalan mentioning to stand on a signet and use the sunstone (now the Crescent Stone). This area is a little tricky but you’re going to use the same concept you used to get up the stairs. Press square to call the guards over to a certain area. Press select first. You’ll see four horizontal lines in this room. The one you start off on has the Hawk signet in the middle. This is useless, but the one north of that (second-northmost one) has the Lion signet. Here’s how I got there.
Go to the very south and hug the north-part of the wall there. Wrap around and go north a little and you’ll have south guards on both sides of you, but not close enough to catch you (the guards in the southeast corner and the ones directly north (on par with the Hawk signet route) that you need to call over. Press square to do so, and then circle back to the area where you entered and go down the Hawk signet route. The guards who were at the end of this should now be further south since you called them down there. This should give you the opportunity to run along the east side and then go west along the Lion signet route. Use that Crescent Stone and a switch will light. You’re not out of trouble yet though, you have to call a few more sets of soldiers to get to the northwest corner. Return back to the initial part of this stage to call the soldiers on the left further south. Now run up to the Lion signet path and that should be open as you go west. Call the soldiers to the north of you, and then go east and up and west and it should be open. Continue straight and you’ll see the green flame that lit up. Search that door and you’ll go through.
Hit the switch and go through the door. You’ll see a goddess magicite and Vaan will take it, but two others will bust in on him. Continue along and watch the scenes, going north when you have a chance to continue the scenes.
Eventually Balthier and Fran will join you and you’ll go over Gambits again. For now I just keep it on attack the leader’s foe and heal at my own discretion, as I think healing when the HP goes below 70% is a little overuse.
Time to make your way back through the Waterway. Check the soldiers and go to the next room. Hang a left and get the Garamsythe Waterway Map. Press select and you’ll see it’s a pretty linear path from this point forward.
Continue along and take the stairs to your right when you have a choice, for a Potion. Further along and you shouldn’t have any problem mowing through Rats and Bats with three characters. Soon you’ll be in the next room, where you should take the dead end path first (up the stairs) so that you can get an Ether. Take the next path and you’ll see a Gigantoad. These suckers have a ton of HP so be smart. Along the way you’ll get a Longsword, equal in power to the Mage Masher.
You’ll get to a section with two Steeling’s and two Gigantoads. The Gigantoads are likely to run up the stairs after you if you go that way and the Steelings will follow you wherever, so it’s likely that you’re going to get swamped. Still though, hold your ground and you’ll clear up the area. Grab the rest of the treasures in the dead end and continue on until you see a Save Point. Save and be ready.
A mysterious woman will be fighting imperial soldiers, but she gets backed into a corner. She jumps into Vaan’s hands and a battle ensues (but she’s not in it). There are four Imperial Soldiers, they aren’t difficult. After the battle, she’ll introduce herself as Amalia. Unlike the other two, she won’t take orders from you and fights on her own accord. Return back and save, and then go to the next room.
Circle around the left corner for a Leather Shield and then go forward to initiate a battle against four Flan. Tough, slime-like creatures. They are weak against fire, so you are well served to cast it with Vaan or whomever, but try to cast Fire once on each and have the others attack it to it’s death. This should create good flow as you can go one by one. After the battle, go straight to get the Dagger and then take the right path to go downstairs to the next area. Grab the Tuft of a Phoenix Down but watch out, monsters will come after you if you go a little further.
The Gigantoad is around these parts, as is a Ghost and a Garchimacera. Veterans of FF5 remember “Garkimasra” in the Walse dungeon. Fortunately you have four members fighting total. A good strategy is to run ahead and hit someone quick without them seeing (with Vaan) and then retreat, allowing the others to peg away at the monster chasing you. This allows for more efficient battle for your party, taking less damage long term. Check the corners for treasure and continue to the next room.
The second left passage has a Cotton Shirt here. Take the lower end to kill the Gigantoad and the Ghost and then go back upstairs to continue along to the Garchimacera’s. There are several of them (3 or 4 I think) and they’ll rush you at the same time, so be prepared. Continue further and lean towards the right and you’ll come across The Gambit Foe: Targeting Self. In the next room, you can save and look at four rusted devices. Not much you can do, go through the door.
A fire-based boss appears, the Firemane. That’s why you should have bought Blizzard for Vaan. Use it exclusively, healing when necessary. Attacking is fine too. Careful of Bush Fire, it’ll poison you and take off 100 each likely. Heal up and watch for the Kicks he uses often. After the battle, you are caught by the imperials.
The townspeople think the commotion was all over you. You are locked up and Vaan has a dream of sorts. You’ll wake up in Nalbina Dungeons.