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Final Fantasy takes over London - full report

Cosplayers descend on HMV Oxford Street for the launch of FFXII - costume carnage inside

For Londoners, visiting the local HMV this afternoon was like stepping into a Dalmasca tavern, as Square Enix took over the retail hub and drenched it in Final Fantasy attire to celebrate the European launch of the much-anticipated twelfth instalment today.

Alright, so it wasn't quite like stepping into the game (unless your version of the game has papier-mâchéd anime obsessives running around), but there was Final Fantasy music blaring out of the store speakers and plenty of 6ft Moogles browsing the adult section of DVDs.

The main attraction for role-playing fans was the chance to get copies of the PS2 stat-stunner signed by makers from Square Enix. The RPG masterminds signing swag included the executive producer and director of the game, Akitoshi Kawazu and Hiroshi Minagawa, who amazingly didn't look worried at all.

These two just happened to be passing by

Decked-out Final Fantasy fans turned out in force for a chance of snatching the title of best cosplayer, along with prizes and a trip to Japan where dressing up as videogame characters is as common as the tramps outside Baker Street tube station.

"I've never really seen a big games launch before, so I thought I'd come down and take a look", Luke from South London told CVG, pointing to his Moogle antennae to point out "these aren't mine". Sure they're not, Luke.

'Professional' cosplayer Emily from South London donned one of the most impressive costumes of the day, which she tells us is that of Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII.

"I heard about the launch in Paris and I was really excited because they had a cosplay competition there as well. When I heard about the one here I was like 'wow'", she beamed, strapping on her DIY fantasy boots.

And as for the game, swag-clutching punters certainly seemed positive about the latest and greatest PS2 role-player, which was recently awarded Edge's Best Game 2006 award.

"To be honest I kind of prefer the Final Fantasies based on sci-fi like seven or eight," fancy-dress master Emily said. "But at the same time I think twelve looks really beautiful - I haven't heard anything about the story yet because I don't want to ruin it for myself."

Don't read our review then, Emily; lots of story details in there.