As we previously experienced in the demo disc that came packed with last year's Dragon Quest VIII, the battles in Final Fantasy XII feel fairly different from other games in the series. Rather than breaking out to a separate battle screen at random times, you'll see enemies roaming the levels and engage them directly. Though you can run right up to, and even circle around enemies while fighting them, this is definitely not an action game.
As with most FF games, you have to wait for a timing meter to fill up before you can perform a move; the difference here is that the timer begins after you pick your option, rather than while you're waiting for your next chance to strike. Even if you're outside of battle but wish to use a healing spell, you'll have to wait for the bar to fill before the spell will be cast. Monsters roaming through the levels with red life meters above their heads will automatically attack you if you get too close; those with green bars will not attack unless you attack them first. In fact, they might even help you out.