Cementing the idea that this generation of games is all about remakes and remasters comes a remaster of Final Fantasy XII only a few weeks after the Crash Bandicoot and Wipeout remakes. There’s a comfort playing games I’ve played before, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels it, or they wouldn’t bother with remasters at all. Looking over the PS4 games that I own, there are a ton of remasters, more than there should be. How many times do I need to own Resident Evil 4? Too many times to admit. But some remasters are special. Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age is special.
It’s been about 10 years since I last walked in Ivalice, the setting of Final Fantasy XII as well as the Final Fantasy Tactics games and the often overlooked Vagrant Story. It’s good to be back. This time we get not just Final Fantasy XII but a new an updated version, based on the Japan only International Edition of the original.
We get a more focused job system. Instead of the open licence board from the original, you have to choose jobs for each character, forcing you to think about the party you’re creating as these jobs can’t be changed. While I liked the original, this is reason enough to come back. It makes the characters feel like they have more purpose. You need to choose the healer, the tank and the damage dealer.
Another very welcome addition is the fast forward button. Speeding up gameplay by either x 2 or x 4 makes grinding and walking the long distances, simple and less painstakingly boring. The truth is that 10 years ago when I was playing every night for way too long after school, I had the time to play Final Fantasy. I don’t have the same liberties now, I have work, other games, trying to maintain what I like to call a social life.
I do feel a little sick with the screen shaking. It makes me dizzy for some reason. But I’ve still been using it, all the time since I accidentally pressed L1. It feels too slow without it on. I love RPGs and it seems like this is the best way to play Final Fantasy XII.
I’ve only played around 5 hours so far, only starting it this morning. It’s great to play this masterpiece again. I don’t use that word lightly. The battle system in this game, is superb. Setting gambits and walking around and seeing monsters, no more random battles, was mind-blowing back then, and it feels just as great now. It may not be my favourite game in the series, X by the way, but I still love it. Playing it today took me back to when I was still in Secondary School. I remember talking to friends about this, discussing how far through it we were, how we got past certain areas. I miss those days. Simple times with no worries.
The game looks stunning as well. Obviously, as it’s a remaster, nowhere near as beautiful as Final Fantasy XV which is a piece of art to look at. But there’s something about walking around in a Final Fantasy game which is so engrossing, the world looks amazing, the vast sprawling desert, the bustling towns, and of course the characters. They all look really good, as good as they felt on the original.
It may be because I’m older, but the game feels easier. I haven’t died yet, while I remember dying quite a bit in the early parts of the game. I’m still as stupid with potions, saving them for the last possible second, working out if I can kill another enemy before I use one. I don’t know why I do this. But even still, I haven’t died. Maybe at 23 the gambit system makes more sense to me. I hope that’s what it is, because I remember some parts of this game being challenging and I hope they still are when I get there.
Final Fantasy XII is still a wonderful game set in a beautiful world full of character and captivating music. The soundtrack to this game is one of my favourites from the series, along with 6, and you have the option of the original or a re-orchestrated version, which is a nice touch. I love this game, and have done since the first time I played it. A worry with revisiting anything is that I won’t like it as much, or I won’t get it in the same way. Things age, but Final Fantasy XII hasn’t. This game is brilliant. I’ve only been playing it today, but I know this is going to take up so much of my time over the next few weeks. I’m already more immersed than I was with XV. If you haven’t played this game before, then there has never been a better time. It takes the original and adds to it.
Thanks for reading,
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