Radical is a strong word, different ? maybe in how the story is told in some aspects, but having played every ogre battle, vagrant story and final fantasy tactics, maybe i am used on how yazmat tells a story, i found all the elements in you run of the mill final fantasy in place: Crystals, Evil Empire, Gods/super beings, Cid, Airships, Chocobos, rebel group etc etc.
What was so radical ? The intermissions where the marquis would explain stuff at the end of a chapter ?
Er, just little things, like:
1) Far less story in general than other FF's.
2) The "protagonist" isn't really even the main character.
3) Extremely little character development.
4) A minor note really, but you forgot about the summons which have been present in almost every FF (even FFT), which were completely absent in XII.
None of the games you've listed were part of the number Final Fantasy series. Again, I'm not arguing that it was bad... just that it was a radical departure. Chicken is a perfectly fine meat, but if you label it as steak and serve it up to me, I'm going to be confused if not disappointed.
1) It has a complete storyline, i can see where is a more simplified story of war and politics, where in your run of the mill FF is more about monsters and aliens and powers and plotholes, but is a solid story, it has more story than FF1,FF2,FF3,FFVIII,FFIX and X.(Maybe IX is a stretch.)
2) Did you play VI ? Terra is the protagonist, but she is not the main character of 100% of the story, VI does not revolve around her 100%, van is the protagonist but the story does not revolve around him, is a story of those around him, told from his point of view. (Btw: he was not meant to be the protagonist, SE Higher ups made yazmat change the protagonist.)
3) I agree. And i could explain to you why, but is more of behind the scenes of what went down in the development of the game so i'll just agree with you.
4) There are summons in FFXII... You mean the traditional summons ?
Now let me leave something clear, i am by no means trying to change your mind, if you did not like it, you did not like it, for example i don't consider VII the best FF, while i do understand some people see is as the holy grail of RPGS. I am just trying to explain that while being different from other titles in the series, every title in the series is different from one another, that should not be a reason to claim FFXII is not a true FF, it is different than others, because unlike previous FF, FFXII is set in the world of Ivalice, it has it's own lore and mechanics already in place before the creation of FFXII.
P.S: While the games that i mentioned are not part of Final Fantasy series, they are a core part of the Ivalice series, FFXII is based on the Ivalice world (Vagrant story, FFT, FFA world) so maybe while to me, it was a great addition to the ivalice story, to you as a stand alone FF, it felt lackluster, tho having played every FF game and spin off, i do not see it as the most distant, i mean there is a game called FFXIIII and FFX-2 and FFXIII-2 and FFXIV. And there is also the issue that FFXII is an incomplete game, and it was full of problems in it's developing cycle, all the while it still the only FF to score a perfect score in famitsu.... Of only yazmat had finished the game and SE din't ruin it :(