About the game:
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: July 11th, 2017 (PS4), February 1st, 2018 (PC), and April 30th, 2019 (Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
- Price: $49.99
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for the game Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
On September 13th, 2018, at Nintendo’s annual September Direct, a giant wave of Final Fantasy titles were announced to be coming to the Nintendo Switch. These included Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, World of Final Fantasy Maxima, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Everybuddy, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X & X2, and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. All of these titles except for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, since Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has released today, April 30th, 2019.
The original release of Final Fantasy XII launched on March 16th, 2006 in Japan, and on October 31st, 2006 in the United States of America. The game released in the AU region on February 22nd, 2007, and in the EU region on February 23rd, 2007. The game was revolutionary as it included core game play features that had not been seen before in the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy XII took advantage of the dual analog sticks, and allowed for a 360 degree view for the first time in the history of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy XII was also the first of the main games to not include random encounters. The enemies were in the over world, and the player has the choice to run up to the enemy and fight, or run away and avoid attacking it. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a full remaster, and launched exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on July 11th, 2019 worldwide. The game was later released for Windows on February 1st, 2018. Finally, it released for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One on April 30th, 2019.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age takes place in the land of Ivalice. Ivalice is a magical place where airships are all over, as well as many magical creatures and spells. Ivalice is made of up 3 distinct continents. These three include Ordalia in the West, Valendia in the East, and Dalmasca in the central part of Ivalice. Magicite is a mineral that is very concentrated in magic, and it is used to help give power to all of the airships and to power the spells used. Magicite is an extremely value and needed resource in the world of Ivalice. The game has a total of six playable characters, as well as many characters you will meet throughout the entirety of the game. The six playable characters are Vaan, Ashe, Balthier, Basch, Penelo, and Fran. The story is that Ivalice is in a great war. Dalmasca has been conquered by the Archadian Empire, and the kingdom is left in ruins with no idea where to go next. Ashe, the last remaining princess, chooses to selflessly dedicate her life to the resistance, and Vaan dreams of becoming a pilot and is determined to accomplish his goal. The game follows these two main characters as they team up to save their homeland from destruction.
The Zodiac Age edition of Final Fantasy XII differs from its predecessor in a number of ways. The Zodiac Age accommodates a New Game + mode, which is extremely useful to players who don’t want to entirely restart the game. It also adds a license reset function, which is incredibly handy when playing the game. The Zodiac Age also brings a completely remastered soundtrack, which is an awesome addition. If you prefer the classic versions of your favorite Final Fantasy XII songs, do not worry! There is an option to use the classic soundtrack instead of the remastered one in the settings. The Zodiac Age edition is the best way for newcomers to join the action of Final Fantasy XII, but it also adds enticing new content to previous players of the game.
The Nintendo Switch version of the game is a fantastic port, and it runs great on docked mode with some slight complaints in handheld mode. My only complaint about the port is that in handheld mode, the resolutions of the characters are somewhat blurry, and it can be extremely distracting when fighting a boss or an enemy. In docked mode, this issue is not present so my preferred way to play Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on the Nintendo Switch is in docked mode hooked up to a display.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is fantastic. I enjoyed getting to play through the game’s unique story, and it kept me extremely occupied throughout the time I played it. I felt that after an hour of playing the game, I understood what was going on. You play in 3rd person with full 360 degree control of your character. As one of the six characters, you travel across Ivalice to protect the people and save your homeland. When in a battle, you have a variety of different options to choose from. These options include: Attack, Magicks & Technicks, Mists, and Items. During battle with an enemy, it is up to you on which combinations you will use. Some might prefer attacking constantly, while others might choose to attack, cast a spell, and heal. It is all up to the player, and making a bad decision could cost you the battle! The gameplay of this classic JRPG reminded me a lot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a game that took inspiration from the original release of Final Fantasy XII. There are quite a bit of magic attacks that can be used, as well as a variety of attacks that are specific and unique to each character.
As a huge fan of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and of JRPGs in general, I absolutely loved playing Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. As someone who had never played a variant of Final Fantasy XII, I enjoyed getting to learn about the characters and the unique world in the game. Although some models are a bit rough in handheld mode, the overall experience with this game on the Nintendo Switch is fantastic. Playing the game in docked mode is extremely enjoyable, and if you don’t mind blurry models, handheld mode is as well. If you enjoy JRPGs, I highly recommend giving this one a shot.