Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

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ptdebate
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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby ptdebate » March 3rd, 2018, 8:39 pm

I bought this remaster of FFXII when it first came out on PS4, and then rebought it on PC so that I can play it on my laptop.

So far, I am extremely impressed with this title. After my disappointment in FFXV, It's refreshing to dive back into a quality FF game.

The direct focus on metagaming from FFXIII is present here but in so much greater detail. You basically plan out an entire attack routine in advance and then watch your meticulous design succeed (or fail). It's a very satisfying system that requires you to think logically about how your three party members' attack and support patterns will work together and complement one another. It also means that if you plan intelligently, your role during the actual battles is rather passive. This version of the game features a job system reminiscent of III and V, but with a grid-based progression system that feels similar to the sphere grid from X.

The graphics are jaw-droppingly beautiful for what is at its core a PS2 game. The character designs and facial animations hold up particularly well.

The story, a densely woven tale of political intrigue, appeals more to adults than teenagers, and feels especially relevant with the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards. The characters are well-written and sympathetic through struggles like the betrayal of friends and family members, the loss of loved ones, and the difficulty in staying true to your ideals.

I'm looking forward to how the game plays out and will be writing a review for the site. Anyone else playing this game? Let me know your thoughts!

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Retro STrife
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Re: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby Retro STrife » March 5th, 2018, 1:13 pm

I know we differ on this one, pt... FF12 is my least favorite among the main PS1 & PS2 Final Fantasy games. It never hooked me, and I just forced myself to trudge along with the game for a year or so until I finally finished it. I never felt invested in the characters or the world around them. In fact, you could show me a line-up of all the FF12 characters, and I could not name a single one of them at this point (not even the main character), despite playing over 100 hours with the game. So either they're not memorable at all, or my memory is totally shot.

And while certain things, like the battle system, were a nice improvement from prior FF games, the battling isn't what I play the games for. I'd say that FF12 has a lot to do with me moving away from the series and not playing FF13 or 15. (Though, at the same time, I was also getting burnt out from playing so many RPGs by the mid-2000s, so it's possible that that also played a role in me disliking FF12 and moving away from the series.)

I know the Zodiac Age has a lot of improvements over the original, but I feel like it can't improve on the areas that I disliked, which more involved the characters and story.

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ptdebate
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Re: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby ptdebate » March 5th, 2018, 5:01 pm

You and I usually agree on things so I find it interesting that we have opposite takes on this one. I would say that the mechanics in FF games are a large part of my enjoyment of them, although the story plays a big role as well. I'd say it's about 50/50. XV's mechanics didn't do much for me at all, which is why my reaction to it was largely negative, although the story has somewhat redeemed itself as they have added new content to the game.

FFXII is very different from the others - especially in the type of story it tells. So different, in fact, that FFXIII - controversial though it is - feels like a return to form in a lot of ways.

I'm curious though - what age were you when you originally played FFXII? Because I can honestly say that if I had played FFXII back when it first came out, I probably wouldn't have liked it either.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby Retro STrife » March 5th, 2018, 7:33 pm

ptdebate wrote:I'm curious though - what age were you when you originally played FFXII? Because I can honestly say that if I had played FFXII back when it first came out, I probably wouldn't have liked it either.


Yeah I played it back when it was a fairly new game. I would have been in my early 20s, whereas I was in my teens while playing the other FF games. Not sure if age played a role though. FF VII and X are my two favorites, and the strong stories and characters played a big role in that. And going outside the mainline series, I'd say FF Tactics is my overall favorite..maybe even my favorite game ever.. largely due to it having one of the best video game stories ever. So story plays a big part for me. Meanwhile, I glanced at the wikipedia page for FF XII after my last post, and still couldn't remember anything about the game. Every time I tried to picture the main character, I just saw Zidane from FF9 in my head. Then I looked him up.. Vaan? I vaguely remember his face and nothing else. He has to be the weakest protagonist of any FF game.. Balthier and Fran are the only two characters that I recognized, and I can't even remember if I liked them or not. I swear I wasn't on drugs while playing that game...it just isn't remotely memorable. But I could be in the minority on this one.

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ptdebate
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Re: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby ptdebate » March 5th, 2018, 7:45 pm

Retro STrife wrote:Yeah I played it back when it was a fairly new game. I would have been in my early 20s, whereas I was in my teens while playing the other FF games. Not sure if age played a role though. FF VII and X are my two favorites, and the strong stories and characters played a big role in that. And going outside the mainline series, I'd say FF Tactics is my overall favorite..maybe even my favorite game ever.. largely due to it having one of the best video game stories ever. So story plays a big part for me. Meanwhile, I glanced at the wikipedia page for FF XII after my last post, and still couldn't remember anything about the game. Every time I tried to picture the main character, I just saw Zidane from FF9 in my head. Then I looked him up.. Vaan? I vaguely remember his face and nothing else. He has to be the weakest protagonist of any FF game.. Balthier and Fran are the only two characters that I recognized, and I can't even remember if I liked them or not. I swear I wasn't on drugs while playing that game...it just isn't remotely memorable. But I could be in the minority on this one.


I'm honestly not sure whether you're in the minority or the majority. I do know there are a lot of fans who grew up with FFI-FFX and pretty much fell off after that point. I'm not sure whether it was XI or XII that split the fanbase more, but for whatever reason - probably the merger to be honest - the series post-FFX has far fewer fans than do the previous games. Another factor is that there were a lot of other good JRPGs on the PS2 to choose from and FFXII was extremely delayed. If you didn't get into XI, you were stuck waiting 5 years for the next installment.

See, I haven't actually finished FFT yet but I still see a TON of similarities between it and XII. They're set in the same world and share the same creator (although Matsuno did leave FFXII halfway through production). The style of the dialogue and the themes are very similar.

Vaan is a very lightly drawn figure in the story. There's really not a whole lot that can be said about him - he plays the role of a POV character. I don't know if I would say he's the protagonist though...Like VI and XIII, it's very much an ensemble cast. It doesn't suprise me that you remember Balthier and Fran as they are two of the more entertaining characters - Balthier with his dry wit especially.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4, PC)

Postby Retro STrife » March 5th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Yeah I forgot about the big delay, but I noticed that when I was looking at the Wikipedia pages. I had zero interest in FF XI, due to the online component, so I totally skipped that. So it would have been a 5+ year wait between X and XII. A lot changes in that time, and the same is probably true for other people that grew up on the 90s FF games. Maybe that was a factor.

Definitely make sure you finish out FFT though. The PSP version has some nice enhancements, but no harm in playing the PS1 version either. I played both to completion -- PS1 back in the day, and PSP several years ago. Playing it again on the PSP reaffirmed for me that the game is a true classic, and that it wasn't just nostalgia messing with my head. I rank it above FF VII.


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