Light theme

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age review
by NotPositive-XP

My favorite Final Fantasy, 12 is an exceptional story of political intrigue, with charismatic characters and relaxing gameplay
«Can’t stop playing»
«Liked before it became a hit»
«Sit back and relax»
«OST on repeat»

Other reviews7

Final Fantasy 12 is a tale that revolves around the word "doesn't". It doesn't have the more classic RPG combat that you enjoyed from, say, FF4, 6, or 7, but it also doesn't have more active combat like you might see in, for example, Kingdom Hearts, even though it might look like it if you just look at the screenshots. Instead, FF12 opts for a frankenstein mashup of a visually active combat interface mixed with the old turn-based mechanics - basically they try to serve two masters but end up serving none. So, if you're in it for the gameplay, I can already list about a hundred better alternatives depending on whether you prefer active combat or turn based combat.

But what about the story? Well, Final Fantasy 12 certainly doesn't have likeable characters to gravitate towards - there's Vaan the whiny idiot with the featureless plank of wood that he calls a "love interest", the same stock action girl princess trope that you have personally seen at least ten times in your life, an ADHD villain who can't seem to decide scene by scene which lame overdone trope he's's really grim. The only character I could even possibly see anyone taking a liking to is Balthier, and even he radiates forced charm more often than he actually says or does anything likeable.

As far as the actual story, as in "what actually happens in the game" rather than "how likeable the characters are" know how the plots of the worse Final Fantasy games tend to confuse 'complicated with 'interesting'? Yeah, I'm sure you see where I'm going with this. Legitimately all it is is constant nonsense political intrigue about characters that they barely even try to introduce you to before we delve into their stupid machinations that really don't even seem to even have anything to do with the alleged main character - and, as a final sucker punch, when you do wrap your head around what exactly is going on, you realize you're actually sitting through an extremely shallow, trite story obfuscated by layers upon layers of nonsense that doesn't ever come close to mattering.

At the end of the day, the story is the same old "save the world with the power of friendship" tale as ever - which is fine, don't get me wrong, I don't demand a film noir quality story in my games. The game pretending to be deeper than it actually is by covering this simple, uninspired story in gallons of bullshit is where the problem comes in. Shallowness with a craft store mask of depth - that's FF12 for you, in both gameplay and narrative.
I wish I could find an issue with this game, but I honestly lost for words.
I guess you could have issues with the story, but that's about it, I have no other objective issues with the game.
Ever since I have beaten this game and completed all the end-game content, I have been salivating for another major as such, only to be disappointed with recent RPGs. I would love to see a FFXII-2, although it is already far too late on for that to happen.
Final Fantasy XII is arguably the best final fantasy to date. It's the most well rounded and feature complete of all the entries, with stellar presentation to top it off. The Zodiac Age improves upon the original in all aspects.

Compared to other Final Fantasy entries, FFXII's story is significantly more grounded. It follows the political turmoil in Dalmasca, a country caught between two warring nations. Thus, the plot can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but I feel it does a good job introducing new people, cities, nations, and locales throughout the game. The cast is brought together by circumstance, unified by the desire to protect their homeland. I find Vaan and Penelo (the first two characters) annoying at times, but the rest of the cast are stellar, charming, and have great character arcs. One clever advantage to having Vaan, a mostly naive, politically insignificant youth, as a main character is that he serves as the player's window into the world of Ivalice. Without him, contextualizing the world might have been more challenging.

The story is mostly voice-acted, with only a few sequences lacking voices. Animations, with one or two exceptions, look great and natural. I had no issues getting immersed in the world and enjoying the story.   

Combat occurs in the overworld, without any random encounters and seperate battle screens like previous FF games. You have three active characters at a time, and control one of them directly. The other two use "gambits" to govern their behavior. Gambits are a fully customizable AI system that lets you tell characters what actions to take ("Use Potion") and when to take them ("Ally<70% HP"). You have to purchase various gambits, restricting your strategies early on when you don't have the funds to do so. They really should have given you all of them at the start. I would have also liked to see more than 3 active characters at once.

Character development uses the new "License" system which you use to unlock the ability to wield better equipment, cast spells, and get stronger. The Zodiac Edition overhauled this system by splitting up the License Board into 12 distinct classes each with their own unique board. This was a welcome change that encourages a more diverse party than in the original. Only your active party gains experience from combat, but everyone gains License Points regardless if they were active or not. This lead to me favoring a few characters who ended up 15+ levels higher than the rest of the party by the end of the game.

Some mechanics can be a bit cryptic. The descriptions of spells, weapons, armour, and weapons are all lacking. The Bazaar system and some hunts are also poorly explained. The Final Fantasy wiki helps with all these things, and I highly recommend searching anything you're unsure on.

The Zodiac Edition brings a lot of visual, audio, and game balance changes. It also brings New Game+, Trial Mode, and New Game-, all of which are unlocked at the start of the game. The voices do still sound a bit tinny, however. The changes that I most enjoyed were:
60+ fps
Speed Mode (I can't imagine playing this again without 2x and 4x speed)
Minimap overlay
License Job System
Max LP/Gil (while I didn't use it in my 30 hour playthrough, you can circumvent any grinding with these options)
Achievements (gives more motivation to do hunts and post-game superbosses)

I recommend FFXII to all fans of JRPG's. Its grounded story and gambit system remain a unique experience to this day.
Game play is great but sometimes feel boring
I remember putting 100s of hours into, exploring the vastness of the open world map it offered at the time. I'd see myself playing it again on Switch one day. 
«Sit back and relax»
«Beaten more than once»
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
I love Final Fantasy XII. I Always have and always will. Personally, I can RECOMMEND this Game ONLY. There is no other option in my Case. Pro-The Graphics are beautiful and yet have lost none of the PS2 flair 10/10-The Game starts and runs fantastically (no Problems starting or Crashing) 10/10-It runs absolutely liquid 10/10-is now not a single Bug 10/10-The Combat System of Final Fantasy XII, has always been one of my Sweethearts (more real than a Undeni-based Combat system, but not as a mess as in Final Fantasy 13) 10/10 Kontra But there's a single Thing That really pretty spoils the fun of the Game To me. Namely, the new ' Classes System '. Most People think it's great and say it has enriched the Game, made it more real, given more depth to the Characters, offered more Freedom. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with such Comments. I spent thousands of Hours in Ivalice on PS2 because I like to complete my Games 100% (all Mobs, all Charas Lv. 99, Pirate nest complete, monster Catalog as complete as possible, ect.) and this World eventually became my second home. But with the Classes System ... In the PS2 Version you could acquire with all The Characters, almost any Lizens ... And sure, if you wanted to make it easy for yourself (which the old Linzensboard Invited), you have equipped each Character with the same strong Weapon and the same strong Armor and has all the Magic and Skills in every Fight with every Party people. Rushed that there was. MAN HAT ES SICH SO BUT SENER ONLY GEMACHT! Fact is, I never did anything in a Fight with all The Characters. Before a Fight against a Boss opponent or a Mob, it sometimes took Me hours before a fight against a boss opponent or a mob to decide what Character, in what fight, what role will take and then Built my Strategy on it and then equipment, Weapons, Accessories and then Gambits adapted. However, I could Still consider every Character for each Position. I don't have that Freedom anymore in Zodiac Age. In Zodice Age you are bound per Chara To 2 selectable Classes, which for me is more of a Rub Step. This is like being prescribed in real Life that you can only know yourself super well in 2 Areas and you can't be interested in anything else. And even if there are several ' ' Specialty areas ' in a few Classes, it does not affect the Quality of The game. After all, I am such a Person who is interested in everything and wants to learn new Things and know again and again (which is why I think I want to handle it in Games). And that's why I have to say that the Classes system, has made the Game (for me personally) more unrealistic. DESHALB:-Lizens System 2/10 The Game gets an Overall Rating of 8.5/10 Punten from me and is therefore an absolute must have. If I could connect my PS2 to the TV Without the Risk of Eye Cancer, however, I would NOT HAVE bought it UNBEDINGT. But the same goes for PS1 Games that are in my Library.