Welcome to the kingdom of Ivalice, a neutral country located between two superpowers, Archadia and Rozarria, which are on the verge of war. The story of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age follows the story of a party of intrepid heroes, each of whom has their own reasons, but together they want to prevent a war that could destroy their country.
Developed and published by Square Enix, FFXII was originally released for PlayStation 2 in 2006, but it is now remastered and remixed, and playable on the PlayStation 4 and numerous other consoles. In its remastered state, under the moniker The Zodiac Age, the game has updated high-definition graphics and tweaked game systems.
The Final Fantasy series is best known for its penchant for reinvention and FFXII is no stranger to that. In XII, Square Enix totally changed how the game played and set the game in a world that had been barely visited before in previous titles.
Creating a gameplay system where the player sets the terms of battle but doesn’t fight
One of the biggest changes in FFXII is called the “Gambit” fighting system. As a fighting system, it reinvents the idea of turn-based battles by allowing the player to set up complex if-then logic statements for how characters should behave in fights.
Potential logic could include triggering certain actions when particular conditions are met. For example, setting “Ally: HP < 70%” would cause a character to take an action if an ally were to fall below 70% health, such as casting a heal spell to fix them or a defensive spell to protect them.
In this system, battles commence and execute without much interaction from players. Much of the strategy instead is built up by putting together these logic statements in a way that the player feels will give their party the best chances of winning.
Of course, players can still take manual control during battles and give commands. Those commands are given priority, but afterward, the characters will revert back to their logic-driven tactics.
Like every other Final Fantasy, the game stays close to its RPG roots with a strong growth system
Just like every other RPG game, FFXII characters “level up” in order to gain stats and abilities. As is common to FF games, The Zodiac Age includes an interesting sort of skill selection system that allows players to select buffs and skills from a “License Board.”
The License Board is a checkerboard panel filled with segments that can be selected by players that activate certain buffs and skills for characters. These skills include such things as magic, techniques, accessories, weapons, armor, accessories, and augments (which are stat increases and permanent buffs).
Finally, the game has a beautiful soundtrack, an orchestral combination composed and arranged mostly by Hitoshi Sakimoto. The ending and theme song, “Kiss Me Good-Bye,” though, is contributed by Nobuo Uematsu, features English vocals by Angela Aki with emotional keyboard accompaniment.