Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age - A Wonderful Return To An Old Favorite.
Back in the 2006-2009 period, I was, sadly, without the internet and my only real source of entertainment was my slightly broken PS2 and the four games I had that worked on it. They were Kingdom Hearts 1&2, Timesplitters Future Perfect, and Final Fantasy 12. Given that I'd had the Kingdom Hearts games for a couple of years prior, I spent most of my time either playing against bots in Timesplitters (Where I eventually racked up 2,200 hours) or adventuring through the world of Ivalice in Final Fantasy 12. My 800+ hour experience into the game was one that I enjoyed a lot, despite the difficulty of the game. After my PS2 slowly became more and more unresponsive to discs being inserted, I got an Xbox 360 and the two games I'd spent a combined 3,000 hours in over three years sat there, waiting to be played once again.
Fast forward to June 2016 and I hear news of a remaster of my favorite Final Fantasy game, Square Enix was bringing back Final Fantasy 12 and I was hyped. I waited patiently, taking in as much detail as I could. Then finally it came. At the age of 24, I walked proudly into the store near my home and picked up my copy on the release day. After getting home I somehow managed to ignore the urge to play immediately so that I could stream my first time playing it in just under 10 years on Twitch. "So how is it?" you ask? Well, let me tell you.
The game itself runs like the old game did, but just a bit smoother, faster and with less loading times, all thanks to me more powerful console it's being played on. The music has been redone for those who choose to have it or you can keep the original soundtrack on throughout the game too. The combat system remains largely the same but the biggest difference now is the Job System. The Job System makes you pick a role for each of the party members, locking them into a certain playstyle. For example, I gave Vaan, the main character, the role of Uhlan. This means he uses spears and also has access to debuff magics. Other roles include white, black and red mages, knights and more. Choosing the right roles for your party is key and though you can't change the Job a character has, you can swap your party on the fly to change to what you need.
The game still stands up as one of my favorites of all time, though the voice acting is very early 2000's it still has a quirky charm about it that I can't help but adore. The characters in the game are all memorable, even if for the wrong reasons. My particular favorites are Fran and Balthier, the sky pirates. While Fran is the more quiet and calculated one, Balthier is the epitome of suave and cocky rolled into one. You run around each area of the game as you come to it and gain the ability to teleport back to previously visited areas as well, while allows you to take on hunts (Which are bounties on dangerous mobs in the game) as well as just collect things you missed prior.
Overall, Square Enix has done a perfect job remastering the game and I fully intend on playing it through as much as I can, over multiple playthroughs so I can see what every Job is like and how different the game is when you adopt a new play style.
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