The gaming world got to know Final Fantasy (FF) XII when Square Enix released it for PlayStation 2, earning global recognition as well as a 92% Metacritic score. Since then, there was a bold new direction in the series which separated Final Fantasy fans into two separate groups: those who loved the new take on FF’s iconic combat system or those who hated the new approach. Twelve years later, fans get the remastered version they all deserve in FFXII: The Zodiac Age which answers problems of its predecessors like the all-new character progression system and a lot more features.
The biggest feature that they will be adding to the game is the new International Zodiac Job System, which has been out since 2007 in Japan, but is now accessible to everyone. Before, players were given a set of talents for every character which led to characters having the same skills and attributes, resulting into a weird end game where most characters are overpowered.
This time, the new system gives the player full freedom to customize each character by giving them the ability to choose specific jobs for each character and the respective attributes and skills they will be manifesting. Final Fantasy brings staple character favorites like the Red Mage, the Samurai and the Shikari.
Back in 2006, the game brought a fully revamped way to fight by removing random encounters and replacing it with a free roaming battle system. While it met mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, it was the change that the series needed.
There was a very steep learning curve in this aspect of the game, so the remastered Zodiac Age has added a new game balancing feature that helps players who are jumping in for the first time to experience the game and not be mauled down by the first mob of monsters they see. It was made to feel more like the classic Final Fantasy titles.
Hardcore players on the other hand get a crack at a new feature that the developers have added called the Trial mode. It is a separate mode from the main story but the player will be allowed to load his or her saved game to battle in different scenarios. Players who try this mode will surely be challenged by the ever-increasing difficulty of each battle scenario, but of course they’ll be awarded with experience and items that they can use in the main game.
Players are also treated to two Square Enix New Game+ Modes: Weak Mode, where all characters start at Level 1 and don’t level up throughout the main storyline, and Strong Mode, where the players can start straight at Level 90.
The game also introduces Ultra Speed Mode, a feature that was only seen in emulators on the computer and has finally made its way to the console. By giving players freedom to speed up time in any part of the game, this feature is an unsung hero for those traversing on massive open zone landscapes which can be a drag after being repeatedly killed by a tough boss.
With all these new features, a remastered game is never complete without a fully realized HD visual upgrade which FFXII is now packing. Square Enix is hoping that players and those who haven’t played FFXII will pick this and hopefully get hooked on one of the most innovative games in the series.