Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age REVIEW

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age REVIEW

0 comments 📅21 July 2017, 16:44

A youthful and naive protagonist is caught up in a grand political tale. He’s reluctantly joined by a cocky sky pirate and his trustworthy partner. There’s a princess who comes out of hiding to form a resistance and reclaim her throne. The main antagonists are fancy-armoured judges whose breathy diatribes echo off their well-decorated helmets. Desert towns and floating sky cities are populated by multiple cultures and species. Nope, it’s not Star Wars. This is Final Fantasy XII.

Of all the main numbered entries in the series, it’s surprising that this cult favourite is only just seeing a current generation remaster. It was – and still is – a unique outlier when compared to almost any other entry in the series.

Its combat is a strange hybrid of the iconic ATB system of the classic era and more forward-thinking ideas such as overworld encounters and A.I. controlled party members. Commands you set before entering battle, called Gambits, dictate their actions – anything from casting fire magic on an enemy that’s weak to that element or using a potion when an ally gets below a certain health threshold.

It’s a system that many would accuse of playing the game for you, and while that is true in some respects, it fails to recognise the strategic mindfulness you need to set the correct priorities and the satisfaction of watching your elaborate list of orders play out perfectly in front of you to down the strongest foes.

Although we were being a little facetious earlier, there is still more than a hint of A New Hope in the game’s story. Initially a little overwhelming with its heavy political overtones and barrage of pronouns, things do eventually settle into a compelling tale of rebellion and uprising. The cast is strong too, with the charismatic Balthier and determined Ashe making up for Vaan’s regular bouts of adolescent whining.

Elsewhere, the additions that come with The Zodiac Age make Final Fantasy XII an even better game. The license grid, which served as your way to learn new skills and abilities throughout the original, is improved by the inclusion of specific roles from the International Zodiac Job System release. Each character can now hone their specialities with two different jobs, dictating the weapons and armour they can use in combat as well as their skills and magic proficiencies.

A turbo button to speed up the game is welcome too, making all those long journeys across the vast open field areas and epic grinding sessions less sluggish.

All in all, it’s a solid package. Whether you’re looking to run through the game again if you haven’t touched it in the decade since its original release, or are completely fresh to the world of Ivalice, this is the best way to experience Final Fantasy XII.

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release: Out Now
Formats: PS4
Price: £34.99

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