Final Fantasy XII is back with The Zodiac Age, a new PS4 release that leverages the Japan-only Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System.
That’s quite the mouthful, eh?
Released to Japan in 2007, a year after the game’s original PS2 release, International Zodiac Job System looked to tweak some of the RPG’s failings. While players could control a party of six characters, they all played the same, earning XP and levelling up identical License Boards (think Final Fantasy X‘s Sphere Grid, and you’re on the right track). The Zodiac update eliminated the carbon copy situation, adding in 12 unique jobs that a character could instead specialise in. White Mage, Black Mage, Knight and more, they made your party unique… even though you could only use six jobs in one adventure.
The Zodiac Age builds upon this concept, giving each character the chance to learn two jobs — so now, you can have all twelve jobs enabled in a single playthrough. Combined with the title’s ever-present Gambit system, real-time combat is as enjoyable as ever. Simplistic AI, Gambits allow you to pre-program behaviours and attitudes into your party, casting spells under certain conditions and more. The Gambit system hasn’t seen much of an overhaul, and that’s a shame — it would have been amazing to one step further in this PS4 iteration, layering jobs and conditions upon one another.
Another big change in The Zodiac Age is the ability to speed gameplay up two or four times. With Gambits enabled, combat is vicious and quick, and this new sense of speed helps to break up the game’s large, barren open world. The ability to bring up a map without pausing is also quite useful, though the game’s old (and slightly useless) mini-map, ever-present in the top corner of the screen, becomes superfluous. With these new additions present, I’m left to wonder why Square Enix didn’t add a fast travel system to address (still) ridiculous travel times.
A new Trial Mode is also on offer, meant for those who’ve completed the main game. With 100 consecutive battles in the mode, you’re definitely going to need a beefed up, diverse party. Strategy and expertly-crafted Gambits are also vital should you wish to engage.
In short, Final Fantasy XII was a great RPG, swapping out gunblades and epic, world-destroying storylines in favour of ones revolving around political intrigue; it remains as such. It’s as fun to play now as it was back in the dying stages of the PS2, and is perfect for returning fans or those who missed out previously.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was reviewed using a promotional code on PS4, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.