Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Switch, PS2, PS4,, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Switch

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Switch) – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Graphics, Story, Mechanics
Bad: Tutorials might slow the game down
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Ok, let’s face it. Final Fantasy is taking over the Nintendo Switch console. After the last releases, now it’s time for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age to be featured on this handheld. Having the latest fixes and extras, going on the road with Vaan and his companions was never any better.

Story

We’re taken to the lands of Ivalice, where several nations rule the lands. The forces of Archadia and Rozarria are in an endless conflict, taking the other nations with them. Dalmasca and Nabradia are two small countries in-between these two. The game starts with Princess Ashelia and Prince Raster’s wedding, increasing the bonds between the two smaller nations. Not too long after, the Archadian Empire makes its move and invades the home country of the Prince. Nabudis, the capital of Nabradia is then destroyed and it’s also the last moments for Prince Raster. It’s only a matter of time before Dalmascia would fall too, so King Raminas decides to sign a treaty of surrender, although it doesn’t end well.

Two years later, we meet Vaan. He is a Rabanastre orphan as his family died during the war. The Archadian army is reigning the city and he isn’t liking it. Trying to make his dream a reality, he decides to take matters in his own hands, against the advice of his friend Penelo. The young man makes his way into the palace to find some valuables, but he finds something else instead. Unwillingly teaming up with Fran and Balthier, the item he stole is going to be the first step in a roller coaster ride.

Just like always, the story is immersive and extensive, grabbing you and pulling you in. The start might feel a bit slow as the tutorials pop up quite late in the game but push through and you’re rewarded for your hard work.

Graphics

Compared to the previous games, the style of this title seems to be a tad different than before. The way the characters are drawn, the several different races, the backgrounds and environments, it all feels more dreamy than before. Everything is really detailed and sparks freshness and excitement, a different world than you’ve ever been before. The cinematics are marvelous too, even if watching on the small screen of the Switch, thanks to the HD-remastering.

Battles are a bit different in this game than in previous titles, meaning that the enemies do have to stand out in the environment for you to be able to spot them and act accordingly. This isn’t always the case though, as the colors of the monsters and surroundings are sometimes similar, which could lead to some unexpected surprises.

Sound

As always, you’re treated with a really extensive and amazing soundtrack. At the beginning of the game you can choose which version of soundtrack you want to hear, being the original, re-orchestrated or the OST. The different songs switch nicely and fit the setting or situation really nicely. There will be more upbeat sounds for fighting and bustling tunes for when you’re venturing a busy city for example. You’ll never get bored of listening to this variety of tracks. The sound effects surely help to get you immersed, even though they’re not that outstanding. It blends well with the music, making it the perfect balance.

With this game comes voice acting as well, which can be heard during certain moments in the game. The different voice actors really fit for each character and it makes it that much more fun to venture in this world. This also has received an overhaul with the HD-remastering, giving it a fresh and new feeling.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is an RPG where you have to venture through the lands to find the truth and bring balance back to the lands of Ivalice. The main activity in this game will be fighting, which is done on a rather new way compared to the previous titles. The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) is a battle system where the party is still able to run around freely and they will attack or perform their action whenever the action bar is filled. Targeting is now visible by blue and red lines popping up (respectively the party and enemy colors). This way of fighting also eliminated the random encounters, as all the enemies are already roaming around the area. Not feeling like battling? Just try to avoid them or run away. If you get too close, the enemy will likely target you and the battle starts.

You have a max of three active members in your party, one that you’re controlling and the others are reacting according to their Gambits. It’s possible to make the other party members do something else by switching to this character, but they will normally follow the orders of the Gambits. This is a new system where you can customize the different actions someone has to perform by using specific conditions. You will have to determine the target, an action and the priority of this gambit. For example, if an ally falls below a certain amount of health, it will make this character pop a potion on that party member. You can play around with any of these rules, although you’ll need to buy or collect quite a bit of the several actions and targets as these aren’t accessible from the get-go.

After defeating your foe with normal attacks, Magicks, Techniks, or anything else, it’s time for the spoils. Next to experience and License Points (more on this later), monsters drop mostly loot rather than gil. To gain this currency, you can sell the loot you obtain from battling enemies. By doing so, you also unlock the bazaar option in shops. This will give you the possibility to buy items at a lower price or even exclusive ones.

Now, the license boards. You can customize your party however you want as you can choose their role in battle by getting licenses. Depending on the ‘class’ you pick, this will be different. For example, there are 12 jobs, linked to zodiac signs, and some are magic casters like red mage or white mage while others go for brute force like warriors. The licenses on these boards are going to be related to magic or strength, just like they will have different armor options on there as well. The bottom line is, before you can actually use or wear something, you need to have the correct license for it, which can be obtained by using LP. This is also the place to get the Magick and Technick which you can then use in battle. Even more, you can also unlock Quickenings and Espers

The first are special attacks, three per character, and are similar to limit breaks from previous games. These can be combined with other Quickenings, making it one big pile of damage. The Espers on the other hand are similar to summons. Once you defeat one during battle and get the license, this creature can join you in your fights. Different from before, the party member now fights alongside the Esper rather than being idle.

As you’re following a predefined path, there isn’t much more to the game than just follow the breadcrumbs. Of course, having the ability to use the gate crystals (which also function as save points) to teleport between several cities or locations, means it’s easier to get lost in the world of grinding or just fooling around. You can also go on hunts to gain more gil or other goodies. Each area has a map, which you need to buy or find. The enemies respawn after some time, and the same goes for some of the treasure chests you can find all over the place.

There are some new additions to the Switch version, like the possibility to reset the License board. This wasn’t possible before, but now you can start over whenever you want. Before, you were also bound to one set of Gambits, while there are now three available and the New Game + now will carry over the items you had as well.

Conclusion

For the first time, Final Fantasy XII provided a world where the monsters were roaming the map, together with a rotating camera. Of course, this really is normal these days but back then it was a refreshing element for the game. With the new version on the Switch, you’re even able to take it with you while traveling. The improved HD graphics will pop of your screen and the soothing tunes will take you on quite a journey. The gameplay is improved as well, with the option to reset the jobs of your characters. Are you ready to dive into Ivalice? Vaan is waiting for you to go on an adventure.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Switch) - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Chun-Li
Chun-Li


Faster than lightning

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