What is Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age?
A tale of airships, sky pirates, and an all powerful empire, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a remastered, upgraded version of the 2006 PS2 original. When the Arcahdian Empire invade the land of Dalmasca, young Vaan loses more than most - not only is his home taken over, but his only family - his brother - is lost in the conflict as well. With nothing tying him down, Vaan decides to follow his dreams, falling in with a band of Sky Pirates, and soon getting caught up in the resistance as well... A Japanese style role playing game with same plot as the PS2 original, the major changes here are the upgraded graphics, a smoother learning curve, and a new "job" system, designed to help make each character different.
How do you play Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age?
As a heavily story driven game, Final Fantasy XII is all about quests. On your adventure, you'll get to explore huge cities, tackle sprawling dungeons, and venture across large, open plains as you team up with a gang of misfits and miscreants, and join in with their twisting stories. Chatting with townsfolk and straying off the beaten track will often let you uncover interesting side quests and back stories, but a press of the touch pad will bring up a handy map, with a prompt telling you what you need to do next to drive the story on.
Combat is a little different to earlier Final Fantasy games, although it does still use the Active Time Battle system, straddling the boundary between real time and turn based battles. Doing away with specific battle transitions, enemies in Final Fantasy XII will roam the corridors and dungeons freely. Spot an enemy, and you can press X to bring up a battle menu, which will pause the game, and let you choose to attack, cast some magick, or use an item - although you'll need to wait for a timer to fill before you can perform your move. Playing alongside a party of computer controlled players, you can use what's known as the "gambit system" to essentially "program" your team, and get them to attack how you want them to - as an example, you can tell your teammate to watch for a friend whose health drops below 50%, and then cast a healing spell. If you'd prefer, you can always give your team manual instructions - but the gambit system is powerful, yet deceptively simple.
How easy is Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age to pick up and play?
One of the main differences for Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the difficulty level, which is now much smoother than the original, and more welcoming to beginners - which is a good thing, as there's no adjustable difficulty level either. So long as you stock up on potions to withstand the game's first few battles, though, you shouldn't have too rough of a ride - as soon as you get a party together, the game gets a lot easier. A handy autosave system means that even if you should fall in combat, you won't lose too much in the way of progress.
That said, Final Fantasy XII does give you more in the way of freedom than other games, and how easy you find it will depend on how well you set up your team's gambits (see above), and the jobs you give them. The new job system (the titular "Zodiac" board) is one of the more complex parts of the game, and is essentially a way of differentiating characters, by limiting the abilities they can learn. Now, each character has to choose a specific "job", whether it's a Knight, a Black Mage (damaging magic), a White Mage (healing magic), or a more exotic class like a Foebreaker. Each class has its own job board, with its own specific abilities to unlock. As you beat enemies, you'll earn job points, which can be spent on your respective job board to unlock new abilities. As with many gameplay features in Final Fantasy games, though, nothing is ever quite as complex as it initially seems, and so long as you try and give your team plenty of balance (bearing in mind there's no way to change your job once you've set it), you should be fine.
While the game is fully subtitled, it's only partially voiced, with many of the game's tutorials (and a fair chunk of the story) being delivered through text only. Sample sentences include:
- "While the lights are on, the Passage ain't so bad. But let the charge drop, and some fierce beats start comin' out in the dark."
- "You seek Giza Plains. Speak with the nomads there. You will find your sunstone."
- "You can give commands to allies in your party much like you've been doing for yourself up to now. I'll make my own decision about what to do, too, but you can also give me some specific commands and I'll take care of those first. Got it?"
In terms of mature content, Final Fantasy XII doesn't contain too much for parents to be concerned about. There's little in the way of swearing beyond the word "sod", and similarly very little violence in the game's battles themselves. While you'll attack foes with swords, spears, arrows and spells, enemies simply flash when damaged and disappear when defeated. However, some cutscenes do show a small amount of blood, or briefly a character being impaled by a sword, although neither are overly gory.
In terms of sexual content, the game features one race of female humanoid rabbits, who effectively walk around in their pants.