[PS4] Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Review
After a long wait, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is finally available on PlayStation 4. Is this the definitive version of the game? Check our Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age review to find out!
It’s indisputable that the Final Fantasy series is one of the greatest and most successful video game franchises in history. It’s also one of the longest running with roots dating back to the 80s — that wonderful decade when DOS games and computers capable of random number generators seemed magical.
The initial Final Fantasy title debuted in Japan in 1987 as creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s sworn last-ditch effort to design a successful game. Of course, Sakaguchi nailed it. Fast forward 30 years and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age appeared for PlayStation 4 on July 11, 2017.
A remastered take on the 2006 release of the same game for PlayStation 2, the updated Zodiac Age features modernized touches like autosaves and a high-speed mode that enables faster travel. There’s a trial mode to challenge expert players and a more engaging system of acquiring skills and leveling up. The graphics lean towards a retro PlayStation 2 look but with noticeably clearer and crisper visuals.
In a nutshell, 2017’s The Zodiac Age vastly improves upon the 2006 version with a better player experience and more cohesion of the game, which should appease the many whose opinions were divided when it was first released 11 years ago. Many Final Fantasy diehards believed that the game was a bit awkward and too much of a departure from the series’ heritage. Nonetheless, The Zodiac Age’s first take went on to sell six million copies. Clearly, there was something with the original that deserved revisiting.
The game’s story begins with the marriage of Princess Ashe of Dalmasca and her beloved Prince Raser of Nabradia. Ashe is sole heir to the Dalmascan throne. During the wedding festivities, the Archadian empire, sworn enemies of Dalmasca, invades. Prince Raser and Ashe’s male relative are both killed in the battle, the latter after signing a treaty of surrender to the Archadian forces. It is later reported that Princess Ashe has taken her own life, having been unable to cope with the loss of several relatives and the Dalmascan kingdom.
The story of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is centered on the classic idea of a dictatorship and the inevitable conflict that follows the innocent people defending and fighting their way to independence. It’s a concept I’ve enjoyed in games and films as much as other parables like salvation and redemption.
The Zodiac Age is sure to reignite the interest of fans who believe that the Final Fantasy series has grown stale over its recent releases. It’s an engaging RPG with an easy-to-follow storyline that is self-contained enough that players need not be familiar with the entire arc of the Final Fantasy universe to appreciate it. However, newbies will come to recognize the subtle nods to previous games. If you are a Final Fantasy newbie, keep in mind that this is a universe where magic is commonplace: it powers vehicles, heals, and performs all wonders in between. The characters are not gods, but mere mortals using their knowledge and skills to overcome difficult situations.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a fantastic game overall. It might not be the greatest achievement to come out of this three-decades’ old franchise, but it’s a solid entry into the catalog that will please hardcore fans and newcomers alike. So, check it out.