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Johann

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

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Originally released in 2006 for PS2, this RPG classic from Square Enix has been remastered for Switch, Xbox, PS4, and PC with additional features on Switch/Xbox for their release last week.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

  • Ashe: Princess of the Kingdom of Dalmasca, she is the main hero of our story, trying restore her kingdom from the oppressive Archadian Empire.
  • Vaan: A 17 year old street rat in the Kingdom of Dalmasca, who lost his family in the war with the Empire. The story is told from his perspective.
  • Basch: A disgraced Dalmascan knight convicted for the murder of his king during the kingdom's fall to the Empire two years prior.
  • Balthier: A sky pirate who's in it for the money. THE LEADING MAN, he is voiced by Gideon Emery (FE Awakening's Gaius).
  • Fran: Balthier's partner, she goes where he goes. She is a Viera, a race of rabbit people.
  • Penelo: Vaan's plucky best friend who, like he, is really just along for the ride.

GAMEPLAY STUFF:

  • Real-Time RPG Combat: Unlike previous FF games, this one doesn't have turn-based combat, but instead action happens in real time (though can be paused for commands). In this sense, battle flows similarly to Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • Gambits: You can design your characters' AI based on priorities like healing the wounded, attacking strong foes, or using elemental magic to target enemy weaknesses. Of course, you can manually command them as well.
  • Party Member Swapping: While you use 3 characters at a time, if any or all fall in battle, you can swap in any of your remaining party members and keep fighting.
  • Open World-ish: Unlike most RPGs, you have the freedom to explore a large number of areas long before the plot asks you to go there (if ever). This makes it possible to find many new locations, valuable treasures, and challenging foes if that's what you're looking for.
  • Hunts: A major portion of side content includes quests to hunt strong monsters around the world. These foes make for some fascinating & challenging battles.

NEW FEATURES:

  • Job System: Each character can select two jobs (of twelve) which affect their abilities and equipment choices. Jobs can be switched without penalty.
  • Fast Forward: With the press of a button, you can make the game go 2 or 4 times faster, making travel and other tasks much more convenient.
  • Auto-Save: Anytime you change areas, the game will auto-save in a dedicated slot. Normal save points still exist for separate save slots, of course.
  • Gameplay Changes: Some items/combat features were balanced, such as magic no longer capping at 9999 damage and treasures being better thought out.
  • Control Guests/Espers: In the original, guest party members and summoned Espers were AI controlled. Now, you can take control or issue commands to them.
  • Soundtrack Options: Three versions of the soundtrack can be chosen, including the PS2 music, CD quality, or live recording.
  • Trial Mode: A 100 battle challenge against many enemies, something of a super boss rush.
  • New Game+: After beating the game, you can restart with all your items, as well as being level 90. There's also New Game-, where you are locked at level 1.

RANDOM Q&A STUFF:

I've never played a Final Fantasy game before, will anything make sense to me?
Like all Final Fantasies (barring direct sequels), you do not need to have played any other games in the series to understand and enjoy this. There are many recurring concepts and creatures of course, but the plot is brand new. Fans of older games, especially Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story (both also created by Yasumi Matsuno), will recognize many a reference though!

I wanna play the game with Japanese voice acting, can I?
You can! Though the English VAs (with a few extremely minor exceptions) are considered some of the best in gaming history. The script localization by Alexander O. Smith (an absolute legend in the field) is regarded as a masterpiece, and they hired some A-list voice actors for even small roles, like John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama, Jake from Adventure Time) as the merchant Migelo.

What's this I keep hearing about some Zodiac Lance?
The Zodiac Spear is a weapon from the original game that was pretty powerful and technically possible to get fairly early on, but required not opening certain treasure chests to acquire this way, with no indication that this was a thing. This has been changed, however, the spear instead can come from a side-quest mid-to-late game. Feel free to open any treasure chest you see now!

How much data is it on Switch, and is there a download if I buy a physical copy?
12.6 GB on Switch, and if you buy a physical copy, everything will be on the cartridge.

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Also available on Steam!  I'm trying to play through it, but my computer's not too happy with me.

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I've always enjoyed a good run of this game, it never fails to please either. The mechanic changes from IZJS to this one are really nice, since I played IZJS I can say it's more convenient to have two jobs to use and the speed button not lagging the game so hard in towns. Also, switching jobs was not a thing on the PS4, I don't think? If so, that makes the game easier than before, for sure.

13 hours ago, Johann said:

 

  • Gameplay Changes: Some items/combat features were balanced, such as magic no longer capping at 9999 damage and treasures being better thought out.

I don't think either passed the 9999 damage limit in the original, and i'm one of those who shamelessly used the RNG manipulation to get the best items early for fun playthroughs.

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1 hour ago, lightcosmo said:

I don't think either passed the 9999 damage limit in the original, and i'm one of those who shamelessly used the RNG manipulation to get the best items early for fun playthroughs.

If I remember right, only some very specific attacks broke 9999 in the original, like some of the big Esper finishing moves. Playing without that cap is awesome since you'll have spells like Ardor doing 30,000 damage to each enemy in a horde of fire weak enemies.

As for treasures, a lot of spells, abilities, and unique accessories are moved to one time guaranteed chests, so exploring is better rewarded, while cheese strats (like Nihopalaoa + Remedy) being less of an option due to the change in availability.

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14 minutes ago, Johann said:

If I remember right, only some very specific attacks broke 9999 in the original, like some of the big Esper finishing moves. Playing without that cap is awesome since you'll have spells like Ardor doing 30,000 damage to each enemy in a horde of fire weak enemies.

As for treasures, a lot of spells, abilities, and unique accessories are moved to one time guaranteed chests, so exploring is better rewarded, while cheese strats (like Nihopalaoa + Remedy) being less of an option due to the change in availability.

Yeah, things like Masamune doing 20,000 each hit is really nice. Like the cerobbi steppe treasures, or getting the Gendarme, etc. I had to abuse rng to get them, I wouldn't have otherwise.

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2 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

Yeah, things like Masamune doing 20,000 each hit is really nice. Like the cerobbi steppe treasures, or getting the Gendarme, etc. I had to abuse rng to get them, I wouldn't have otherwise.

How early could you get to Cerobi Steppe? I feel like it didn't open up until you got to Balfonheim, and by that point almost everything is open and available.

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59 minutes ago, Johann said:

How early could you get to Cerobi Steppe? I feel like it didn't open up until you got to Balfonheim, and by that point almost everything is open and available.

Yeah I dont think the shortcut is available until after that point. I just prefer to get all that rare gear at that point. There's a ton of it there, too.

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I love this game and the IZSJ is pretty great. Makes each character a little more unique, or at least gives you the option to have that. It was a great time.

Having said that, I wish i had known I was going to get a switch and it would eventually release on it. I bought it for PC and while I managed to get it to run fairly well on my laptop, I feel like the game would perform better on the switch than on my PC. My pc can't run quickenings without slowing them down and messing up the sound :<.

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2 hours ago, SlayerX said:

I love this game and the IZSJ is pretty great. Makes each character a little more unique, or at least gives you the option to have that. It was a great time.

Having said that, I wish i had known I was going to get a switch and it would eventually release on it. I bought it for PC and while I managed to get it to run fairly well on my laptop, I feel like the game would perform better on the switch than on my PC. My pc can't run quickenings without slowing them down and messing up the sound :<.

I think that's a good way of looking at it, all the characters were the same in the original, huh? Now if only the extra boss fights weren't so tedious, I would be much happier.

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My re-attempt at beating this game is about ten years overdue, so hearing this game got a remaster really turned my head when it was announced. I hadn't pulled the trigger, even though I had picked up a PS4 between now and then. There's sooooo many RPGs I'm highly considering for my Switch, but really it comes down to if I have the time to blast through it. I've got quite the vacation coming up, so I'm keeping a mental list of the games that interest me most. For now FF12 is a solid mid tier choice. It's a little pricy for a game I've played most of in the past. High tier on my list includes FF15 Royal Edition (been sitting on my desk for half a year), and FF9 which is a game I also own but probably wouldn't play again on the original PS1 hardware.

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2 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

My re-attempt at beating this game is about ten years overdue, so hearing this game got a remaster really turned my head when it was announced. I hadn't pulled the trigger, even though I had picked up a PS4 between now and then. There's sooooo many RPGs I'm highly considering for my Switch, but really it comes down to if I have the time to blast through it. I've got quite the vacation coming up, so I'm keeping a mental list of the games that interest me most. For now FF12 is a solid mid tier choice. It's a little pricy for a game I've played most of in the past. High tier on my list includes FF15 Royal Edition (been sitting on my desk for half a year), and FF9 which is a game I also own but probably wouldn't play again on the original PS1 hardware.

If your talking the original FF XII, this one is so much faster.

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