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