Final Fantasy 12 is unfortunately seen as unpopular by most gamers, even Final Fantasy games fans themselves. Maybe it’s the drastic change in the gameplay. Perhaps it’s the unusual narrative approach and character designs. Whatever the reason may be, Final Fantasy 12 seemingly gets unwarranted hate that, in my opinion, it does not really deserve. Thankfully, the divisive Final Fantasy game was given another chance. This is in the form of a definitive remaster: Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age. And unlike its original version, this time, Vaan and the gang received the love they rightfully deserve.
In order to fully comprehend why Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age continues to enthrall both longtime fans and franchise newbies, let us take a look back at what exactly made the game special. In this review, we will examine the game’s crucial elements, such as gameplay, combat, and aesthetics. Without further ado, here is Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age; arguably the Final Fantasy franchise’s greatest remaster.
What is Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age?
Square Enix reinvites gamers to the intricate realm of Ivalice, this time with clearer textures and more improved features. Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age is an enhanced edition of the renowned yet very divisive PlayStation 2 JRPG. It features upgraded gameplay mechanics, an improved combat system, and breathtaking visuals.
All these combined, makes this game the definitive version to experience Final Fantasy 12. This remaster serves as a testament to the enduring allure of the Final Fantasy franchise. Additionally, it is also an excellent game that puts the Final Fantasy 12 property in a much brighter light.
The Zodiac Age presents a remarkable visual upgrade that revitalizes the already awe-inspiring realm of Ivalice. This remastered edition showcases high-definition character models, exquisitely crafted environments, and enhanced textures. The level of detail is exceptional, encompassing intricate architectural designs, lush landscapes, and vibrant color schemes that fully immerse players in the world of Ivalice like never before.
The character designs, both for the main protagonists and supporting cast, are visually captivating and leave a lasting impression. Each character, from the charismatic Vaan to the mysterious sky pirate Balthier, is brought to life with meticulous attention to detail. The game’s cutscenes and FMV sequences are visually stunning, effectively conveying the grandeur of the game’s epic storyline.
Furthermore, the remastered soundtrack is a masterpiece in itself, blending familiar melodies from the original game with newly composed tracks. The music heightens the atmosphere and emotional impact of each scene, drawing players even deeper into the narrative.
The Gameplay is More Approachable and Even Better
The gameplay that fans loved (and hated) in the original game is definitely made much better in The Zodiac Age. Final Fantasy 12’s innovative gameplay mechanic, such as the “Active Dimension Battle” (ADB) is now more robust than ever. It further blends real-time and turn-based combat systems seamlessly, making for a gameplay loop that never gets tiring.
The combat system in The Zodiac Age is refined and engrossing. Battles take place seamlessly in the game’s environments, with enemies visible on the field, eliminating random encounters. Engaging foes triggers the transition into real-time combat, where players control a single character while the AI controls the others. The Gambit system, a programmable AI system, allows players to customize their party’s behavior and tactics. Not only is it fun to play, it also significantly enhances the strategic depth of battles.
Much like the original, The Zodiac Age prioritizes player exploration. The semi open-world design of the previous game is now more gorgeous in this game. The meticulously crafted landscapes of Ivalice continue to captivate gamers worldwide with its intricate details. It showcases a wide array of environments that encompass bustling cities, verdant forests, and expansive deserts. The game encourages exploration, presenting numerous side quests, hidden treasures, and optional bosses, rewarding players for delving deeper into its vast world.
Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age’s Notable Additions
A notable inclusion in The Zodiac Age is the introduction of the Zodiac Job System, which brings forth a class-based progression system. This feature allows players to assign specific job roles, such as knight, white mage, or black mage, to their characters, granting them the ability to customize and specialize their party members. This system enhances character development by adding depth and strategy, empowering players to create distinct party compositions tailored to their unique playstyles.
Moreover, The Zodiac Age also introduces the “Trial Mode,” a challenging gauntlet of battles that pits players against increasingly powerful enemies. This mode provides an excellent opportunity to test and optimize party setups, making for thrilling and rewarding gameplay. In addition, The Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode serves as the game’s pseudo-endgame content. It gives dedicated players reason to continue playing the game even after the credits roll. That said, it is a worthy addition that further adds to the magnificence of The Zodiac Age as an excellent Final Fantasy remaster.
Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age is without a doubt an excellent remaster of the original Final Fantasy 12 game. In fact, some may even argue that it is the greatest remaster Square Enix has ever made! It offers a wealth of improvements and enhancements while staying true to its roots. This game’s engaging gameplay, strategic combat system, and captivating visuals make for an unforgettable gaming experience. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Final Fantasy XII or a newcomer to the series, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is an excellent choice for those seeking an epic RPG adventure.
Those that may find the original Final Fantasy 12 unsatisfactory can easily change their minds once they get the chance to play this one. As for those that already love the classic JRPG despite its flaws, The Zodiac Age gives you the opportunity to revisit the game with a fresh perspective. Lastly, to those that are yet to experience what the 12th installment in the mainline Final Fantasy franchise has to offer, there is no better way to do just that than with Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age.