Fantasy Game, Gaming Review, PC Game, RPG Game

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – PC/Steam Review

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Everything you’d expect from the spectacular original, but with plenty more features under the hood.

Game Info

  • System: Steam/PC
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: February 1, 2018

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age PC Edition Launch Trailer

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJahiFFtJdE&w=560&h=315]

Who it Caters to

There are a lot of titles in the industry that have become so iconic in so many ways, whether it be due to that game’s overall performance, compelling story or colorful character personalities. You have the Crash Bandicoot’s, the Banjo Kazooie’s among a plethora of others. However there’s an elite class of video games that have helped to revolutionize the entire industry as a whole by introducing groundbreaking mechanics never before experienced in any game before it. These are titles like Nihon Falcom’s Dragon Slayer series which debuted back in 1984 and helped to pave the way for the now popular Action RPG genre to emerge. That very same series then evolved into the now popular Legend of Heroes series and has wooed audiences worldwide for its fun and thrilling gameplay and deep endearing story. Another one of those groundbreaking titles was from Square Enix back in 2006 with their release of Final Fantasy XII, which made its debut on the PlayStation 2 and totally reshaped the entire industry as a whole. It was a game well beyond its time, innovating the series a whole but also ushering in a new era of RPGs to come later on after its success. It introduced open worlds, a fluid battle system, a camera in which players could freely control, a fresh gambit system that allowed for customization and control of character AI, among a handful of others. Fast forward to 2018 and we now have Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, also known as The International Zodiac Job System, which sees the same game we’ve all grown to admire but now with all the perks from The International Zodiac Job System and a totally revamped visual and audible experience.

What to Expect

Everything that you enjoyed from the original is still very much intact but now, more icing has been poured onto the already satisfying cake, giving players a more electrifying experience. Visual upgrades give it a more updated feel along with a revamped job system, reconstructed battle design, a remastered soundtrack to stimulate the ears, the ‘New Game+/-’ options, Maximized License Points and Gil and most importantly, that juicy 60FPS. What you’re getting in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age will still give you those feels that you received back on the PlayStation 2 but with all the Steam perks thrown into the mix; it’s truly a complete package that any fan of the title will surely be jovial over. Newcomers to the series will most certainly have the most fun since you’re getting to experience everything fresh from the very beginning, from the emotional highs to those heartbreaking lows. We’ll go into more detail about the added features in the gameplay section but for now, all we can say is that Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a game worth playing from start to finish because every portion of the game has something new to offer every time.
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Story

The world of Ivalice is under constant distress as wars continue to ensue, and kingdoms continue to suffer. The small and once prosperous kingdom of Damalsca, which is being controlled by Archadian Empire, is now under fire and its future remain uncertain. Women and children are in dire need of peace and so they rely on Princess Ashe, the sole heir to the throne, to restore freedom back into the country. Vaan, the main protagonist, lost his family as a result of the war but has a desire to continue striving to live out his dream of flying majestically in the skies. With everything in shambles and the fate of the kingdom in danger, Vaan must now team up with some unlikely allies on his journey to ensure that peace is restored back to Damalsca and free his homeland from strife.

Gameplay

So we mentioned earlier in the article, one of the fresh features in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the New Game +/- modes, with both having their own pros and cons. The New Game+ option pretty much buffs your characters and provides them with a large amount of HP going forward. New Game - makes no use of gaining experience which adds more challenge overall, while Trail Mode allows players to hunt monsters across various maps in order to obtain money and items. Since we played the game numerous times back on the PlayStation 2, we wanted to have a little bit more fun this time around so we went along with New Game+ to pretty much cruise through the opening portions of the game. Much like any fantasy RPG the story and gameplay initially start off very slow, acting more like a tutorial to get you into the swing of things before the real action takes place.
Once the ball gets rolling however, everything starts to grow more thrilling, with every battle testing your skills and seeing just how far you can go without dying. The license boards now include 12 compared to the one which was in the original which gives you ample selection and allows you to create your own unique team of characters for the journey. You can make Vaan a Shikari which compliments his use of Daggers or take it in a new direction and give him the Black Mage treatment. The world is essentially yours in The Zodiac Age and so there’s a plethora of ways to approach the game. With the new functionality of allowing players max License Points and Gil means that you have even more to play with and aren’t limited to what direction you can take. This is exactly why Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a remarkable title, not only because Vaan,Fran and rest of the team look more stellar than ever in 60FPS but because your use of creativity is actually a merit and really rewards you heavily in the long run.
Veteran players will have a field day just maxing out their License points and buffing their Gambits to ensure their AI never die, while new players can test new mechanics out and come to embrace this wonderful game for what it provides. You’ll also come to admire and show an utmost respect for Square Enix and their ingenuity to take the RPG genre to the next level with this title, and the deeper you dive into the game your fondness only grows bigger. All the perks that we’ve now come to enjoy in titles like Tales of Berseria, Horizon Zero Dawn and of course, Square’s latest title Final Fantasy XV have derived from this very game and so our hat goes off to the entire team who made it all happen. Gallant effort indeed!
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Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

We don’t want to spoil any of the story since it’s very deep and any detail that slips out could create a snowball effect, so we encourage you to really dive deep into the world of Damalsca to help save the country from peril. The only flaw (if you can call it that) of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is that it’s not necessarily a ‘new’ game and is really only an updated port of the PlayStation 2 classic. So if you’ve already cleared the game several times like we had, then maybe it’s something you’d throw under the rug and ignore, but true fans of the game will surely find all the revamped and remastered updates to be genuinely delightful. Did we mention that you can play the game with 21:9 ultra-wide monitors? What’s that? You don’t know what that is? It means that you can play this game with three monitors to get a 48(16x3):9 experience! Oh modern technology, how you’ve graced us splendidly!

Honey's Pros:

  • 100’s of hours can be poured into the game easily.
  • Remastered soundtrack (three background music options) to give you ear orgasms.
  • 60FPS of true beauty.
  • New game modes allow for a fresh new experience not only for veterans, but newcomers as well!
  • Full controller support!
  • Visually stunning!

Honey's Cons:

  • It’s still a port in the end and not a brand new game in that sense.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Final Fantasy XII will stand the test of time as being one of the most celebrated games ever made, and The Zodiac Age just helped to cement its name into the history books permanently. With so much to explore and uncover through the battle system, incredibly deep License system and free flow Gambit system this is the quintessential RPG experience for anyone who’s a true to heart RPG junkie. To see more from Honey’s Gaming, be sure to check us out on Twitch.tv/honeysgaming where we’ll stream an array of anime games ranging from RPG, Visual Novels and more! Be sure to also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with all the gaming news along with everything otaku! As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
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