Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – Review

Site Score
7.6
Good: Improved gameplay, graphics and sound
Bad: Might not be enough to get you back in the game
User Score
7.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Gamers are still working their way through Final Fantasy XV, be it the game or DLC, and Square Enix is already banging at the door with yet a new title. Don’t expect a totally new story to plunge into but an updated version of Final Fantasy XII. With the Zodiac Age, you can expect some changes and extras, so read on if you want to find out what has been added.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Story

One of the most common reasons for war is the craving for power and land, which is the beginning from this story. Final Fantasy XII takes place in the world of Ivalice. Magic and airships were common thanks to Magicite as this magic-imbued stone could fuel transportation and help mages. Ivalice is divided into three continents: Ordalia, Valendia and Kerwon. Ordalia is ruled by the Rozarrian Empire, while the second one has the leadership of the Imperial Archadia. In-between these two forces is the kingdom of Dalmasca, which is interesting turf for both parties. Eventually, after a long battle and a lot of losses, the small empire is subjugated by the Archadia.

The fun begins two years afterwards, as you meet the young orphan Vaan in the capital city Rabanastre. Together with his buddy Penelo, he tries to become a Sky Pirate although his actions aren’t always that rightful. For instance, when the Archadian prince Vayne is visiting the city, he breaks into the castle to find some loot. Eventually, he has to team up with Balthier and Fran to escape from the clutches of the empire. As you might think, a lot of different elements are rather important which makes the story rather interesting. Just as any other Final Fantasy game, you will  receive a rather extensive narrative, but that isn’t always enough to make a good game.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Graphics

With this update come new graphics and this is also the case for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. Next to the gameplay improvements, the game also got brushed-up visuals. Especially the textures have gotten a second life while the character models were updated as well. To top everything off, the cinematics are amazing and up to par for this time and technological capacities. Of course, don’t expect the most magnificent visuals you will have ever seen but it looks a lot better.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has a lot of colorful races and you will be able to see the same in this upgrade. The cities might be a bit bland, but the NPCs and details make up for that. The stalls, bars and shops are filled with little accessories that pop out of the scenery.

Sound

It would have been a let-down if everything got a refreshing new look and feel, but the music and SFX weren’t updated. With The Zodiac Age, there will be 7.1 surround support while the voices has gotten an upgrade as well. In the game configuration you can choose between English or Japanese voices and you can choose to go for the original or re-recorded BGM.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

You’ll get pumped up by some rather animated classical tones while the monsters will throw some gnaws and screeches at you. Of course, you can counter this with your weapons and the nice sounds they make, making everything rather energetic.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is an RPG with quite some changes in comparison with the original game. You can take control of several playable characters, while you need to go to several locations to tackle quests and fight bosses. This Final Fantasy title has a combination of both Active Time Battle (ATB) and automatic attacking. Your party members respond to Gambits, which can be set in the menu. With these Gambits, you can give orders like healing a certain member of the crew when their HP is below 30% or to start attacking the strongest foe. Of course, sometimes you don’t want to engage battle so running away is the best option then. It might be a good idea to turn off the Gambits, as your teammates might actually keep attacking. Thanks to the blue and red lines, you can also see who is targeting who so you can think of an accurate strategy. The loot you receive from killing some monsters can be sold in the Bazaar. In return, they make items or weapons from it and expand their wares for you. In the end, it’s a win-win situation and it might be a good idea to regularly steal from your foes so you have a variety of items at your disposal.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Defeating enemies will grants you experience, money and LP which can be used to upgrade your character. First of all, with the new Zodiac Job system, you can choose how to advance. After picking a certain role like Knight and Archer, you’re ready to spend your LP. Before you can actually wear certain weapons or armor, you need to unlock licenses on the board. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind while venturing through the game as it can mean life or death. There are extras you can tackle, like hunts for instance. You can try to track down special monsters in the field and smack them to smithereens, although it might be a good idea to have a well-equipped team and a lot of healing items on you if you’re going for something big.

There are a few extras added to the newest version, like fast forwarding so the battles go a bit faster or the auto save function so you can stop at any time. Also, the loading times are shorter so you can get into action sooner while there is also an overlay map added so you can get a better view of your surrounding area. If you’re a trophy hunter, you’re in luck as there is now a batch of new and shiny awards for you to obtain.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Conclusion

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age will let you experience the original title again but with some extras and improvements. For instance, both the graphics and sound received an upgrade while there is an auto-save function and the possibility to fast-forward. The gameplay itself remained fairly intact and although the story is rather extensive, some of the gamers that dropped out of the game the first time might not find the motivation to continue this title, even though it has had some improvements.

If you’re new to this title, you will be able to experience a rather unique type of combat, something in between active time battles and automatic parts. It could be that you will like this way of battling, or just the opposite. In the end, it’s worth trying to dive into this tale and to get hooked.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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