Eight years ago I embarked on a life altering journey; marriage, buying a home, having a 10 month old and another baby on the way, it’s called burning the candle at both ends. It’s also called becoming an adult. Needless to say I had very little money in 2009, but I did own a brand new PS2 and Final Fantasy XII (originally released in 2006 but by now I owned the Greatest Hits” copy.) I know, I was asking myself the same question, why am I playing a PS2 when the PS3 has already been out for three years? The easy answer is money, I didn’t have any, but I did have my Final Fantasy XII. Eager to get back into gaming I jumped in with as much enthusiasm and energy a young father and newlywed could have, not much. With only a hand full of hours invested into Final Fantasy XII I didn’t consider it much of a loss when by a strike of good fortune a PlayStation 3 landed in my lap. Of course I packed up my brand new PS2 and put my PS2 games away and dove into the newest generation of console gaming, leaving Final Fantasy XII behind to collect dust.
When discussing favorite games in the Final Fantasy series with a friend I always exclaimed my love and admiration for Final Fantasy VIII and my friend Vox would state his love and admiration for Final Fantasy VII. Now don’t misunderstand me, or start hating, I don’t discount the huge positive impact FFVII had on RPG’s, hell on gaming in general. I get it. Unfortunately because of time and circumstance I missed the Final Fantasy VII window/bandwagon. I enjoyed Final Fantasy VIII with a passion and eagerness only equal to the time I lost my virginity, I dove in and explored everything possible.
Over the course of our now blooming eight year friendship we continued to return to the Final Fantasy series and I always lamented not having given Final Fantasy XII its fair shake. It was such a unique gaming experience that I felt I missed out on. Vox would agree. Sure I could always dust off the PS2 and play it but it wouldn’t be the same, past generation games don’t age as well as most 8-Bit games from my early childhood.
On July 11, 2017 I didn’t have to dust off my new old PS2, instead I was fortunate and loved enough to receive a copy of the Collector’s Edition Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age as an early birthday present.
Vaan, Two, Three…GO!
After the initial download I jumped right into Dalmsaca, the Capital City of Rabanastre. and play through the tutorial as Prince Rasier. Immediately, Final Fantasy XII feels both like I remember it but also different. Now, before I go anything further I would like it to be known that for that last two months I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV, my friend Vox likes my company, and I enjoy the world and grind of it all. This world is more in tune with my liking, not like FINAL FANTASY XV, I did not enjoy that game. Let’s get back to Final Fantasy XII.
Final Fantasy XII, so far, is everything I would have hoped it to be. The game play a fun amalgamation of real-time fighting and turn based. Also, instead of random encounters while exploring the Dalmasca and the surrounding areas, you now can see the enemies and choose whether or not you want to engage. The UI feels natural and intuitive. I’ll admit, Final Fantasy XII feels like A LOT of game, and it is, but I’m enjoying every bit of it as I progress through the story.
The License Board and the Gambit System are ‘new’ additions into the game play of the Final Fantasy series. Think of the License Board as a way that allows your characters to equip certain weapons or armor, or perform certain actions. And think of the Gambit System as a way to micro-manage your party, you can instruct Penelo to cast ‘Heal” whenever a character falls below 50% health. Or you can have Fran focus on using potions to heal the party. There are lots of combinations to play with and I can’t wait to figure out which ones work best.
I know what you’re thinking, “Sure the game play is solid but what about the graphics?” The upgraded graphics are nice and add a certain charm to Final Fantasy XII. Sure, it’s not as clean and detailed as Final Fantasy XV but the graphics and design work well for immersion into the world of Final Fantasy XII.
If you can I would highly suggest picking up Final Fantasy XII for $46 with an Amazon Prime membership. Or you can spend almost four times more for one of the best Collector’s Editions to come along in a while over at Square Enix. I’ll be honest, I went with the Collector’s Edition, it was a gift and I’m enjoying every bit of it. The Collector’s Edition comes with the following:
- FINAL FANTASY® XII THE ZODIAC AGE game
- Exclusive Judge Magisters Mini Bust Set, featuring busts of Judges Bergan, Drace, Gabranth, Ghis, and Zargabaath (Exclusive to Collector’s Edition. Will not be sold separately.)
- Selection of soundtrack music from famed composer Hitoshi Sakimoto
- Steelbook featuring art exclusive art to the Collector’s Edition
- Set of Six Art Cards, featuring Vaan, Ashe, Basch, Fran & Balthier, Penelo and World of Ivalice
- Digital code to unlock the original soundtrack background music option in-game