FFXII Zo­diac

Re­turn to a (some­what) for­got­ten age, writes Heidi Kemps

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

Fi­nal Fan­tasy XII is per­haps one of the more over­looked in­stal­ments of the sto­ried saga. Many fac­tors con­trib­uted to the game not get­ting quite as much at­ten­tion: its pro­tracted de­vel­op­ment time, gen­eral JRPG fa­tigue among the pub­lic be­gin­ning to set in, and per­haps most im­por­tantly, the English lan­guage ver­sion’s 2006 launch be­ing next to the de­but of not one but two con­soles. No mat­ter how good a game is, it’s hard to keep ex­cite­ment high in the face of shiny new hard­ware. The fans that did play through FFXII, how­ever, found a su­perbly crafted RPG mas­ter­piece with a strik­ing vis­ual de­sign, fresh and en­gag­ing com­bat me­chan­ics, as well as a story and set­ting that felt far dif­fer­ent from any FF be­fore it.

So when a game is good and its fan base is pas­sion­ate, it’s likely that the game will get a sec­ond chance to en­chant a new audience. That’s ex­actly what Square Enix is do­ing with the up­com­ing re­lease of Fi­nal Fan­tasy XII: The Zo­diac Age for PlayS­ta­tion 4 and Xbox One.

The Zo­diac Age re­turns us to the tu­mul­tuous land of Ival­ice, where schem­ing, pol­i­tics, and Mag­ick com­bine to cre­ate a tem­pes­tu­ous mix. The desert king­dom of Dal­masca has been forcibly an­nexed into the Ar­cha­dian Em­pire and their crown princess has gone into hid­ing. Amid this tur­moil, a small team of dream­ers, rebels, sky pi­rates, and dis­graced sol­diers band to­gether to un­cover a deeper plot be­ing hatched within the Em­pire – one that could have a drastic im­pact on all of Ival­ice.

Be­ing a late-gen PS2 game – and a Square Enix game, at that – meant that Fi­nal Fan­tasy XII was among the pret­ti­est ti­tles on the plat­form, both in terms of sheer art de­sign and push­ing the con­sole to its graph­i­cal lim­its. The Zo­diac Age gives FFXII a wellde­served HD makeover, re­do­ing all of the vi­su­als down to tiny details – even the dis­play fonts have been re­made in crisp HD for­mat. If you saw the qual­ity of FFX and X-2’s HD re­mas­ter, then you know ex­actly what to ex­pect here.

Per­haps more ex­cit­ing to sea­soned fans of FFXII, how­ever, are some of the new fea­tures that will be com­ing to The Zo­diac Age. Dual-lan­guage au­dio al­lows play­ers to hear the voices in ei­ther English or Ja­panese – a first for an FF game on con­sole. Nu­mer­ous fea­tures from the Ja­pan-only Zo­diac Job Sys­tem ver­sion of the game will also make their West­ern de­but. The Zo­diac Job Sys­tem ups the num­ber of abil­ity-grant­ing Li­cense Boards from one to 12, al­low­ing play­ers to mould char­ac­ters to fill spe­cific roles in bat­tle. Op­tional speed fea­tures can con­trol the pace of the game’s bat­tles, al­low­ing play­ers to zip through fights if they please – a wel­come fea­ture for tak­ing on some of the in­cred­i­bly time-con­sum­ing ul­ti­mate bosses. Other ad­di­tions, like a New Game+ mode, auto-sav­ing, eas­ier use of party-con­trol­ling Gam­bits, and a Trial Mode whereby play­ers take on a gaunt­let of fierce mon­ster en­coun­ters all in a row, will also fea­ture promi­nently in this par­tic­u­lar re­mas­ter.

Fi­nal Fan­tasy XII: The Zo­diac Age is sched­uled for re­lease in early 2017 for Xbox One and PlayS­ta­tion 4. Thank­fully, that gives us plenty of time to fin­ish Fi­nal Fan­tasy XV be­fore­hand.

The Zo­diac age gives FFXii a well-de­served hd makeover, re­do­ing all oF The vi­su­als down To Tiny deTails, in­clud­ing The dis­play FonTs

Developer pub­lisher plat­form re­lease Date Square Enix Square Enix PS4, Xbone TBA 2017

More colour­ful than Just Dance 2017, ex­cept with more dragons

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