Rats, in the sewers, you know you have to take them on to practice. You walk down a flight of stairs into a dark, dank sewer beneath the city. You see rats all over the place. You find a target, draw your sword, and begin your attack. One rat, then another, then another fall to your blade. Then one of them launches at your face with claws and teeth showing. Just as it hits your face you awaken. You sit up with fright as you look around and you don’t know what awaits you aboard the sky ship you are riding on. Everyone looks at you like you are losing your mind. This is our review for Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age.
From Square Enix comes the next Final Fantasy game that has been ported to the Nintendo Switch. The world of Ivalice is in a state of war, with the warring countries taking their sights on the small kingdom of Dalmasca. You will be thrown into a situation where you have to help the heir to the throne fight back against the Archadian forces that now control the country. You don what awaits for you as you leave the capital. Join Vaan, Ashe, and all their allies in this RPG that has been masterfully remastered for the Nintendo Switch. Will you save the kingdom?
If you played this game when it released in North America for PlayStation 2, then you will see there are some improvements, as well as key differences for this new version of the game. The first thing that really stands out is how well the graphics were redone. When you take a look at the PS2 graphics you see how solid all of the clothes were. Everything was basically painted onto solid objects, and now you can see that it looks like the character models were remade to have clothes that look realistic, at least as realistic as you can get for this game based on its graphical set. Clothing now looks like it matters as it moves as you walk or interact with the world.
The next thing you will notice with this version is the change to the license board. In the original release for PlayStation 2 in North America, the license board allowed every character to learn everything from magic to wearing heavy armor. This allowed you to play the game with a feeling of “hey I can do this.” Now we get the remastered release for PC, Switch, PS4, and what do we see? We see that these versions have been more stylized after the original Japanese release. The license board is set up with jobs. When you gain a new character you have to pick what job they will have. Be careful, because when you pick a job you are stuck with it for the rest of the game. Choose, but choose wisely, as a wise old knight once said. The good thing is that you can choose a second job for your characters later in the game. There are plenty of sites out there that are dedicated to which classes are the best to pick for each character also. This was a big hurdle for myself. I am used to playing with everything opened up, and available for use. Restricting my characters to only two jobs is definitely a game changer. It makes you think more strategically about the game, and it could affect what characters you level up throughout the game as well. Like you might use Vaan, Basche, and Ashe as your mains because one acts like a rogue type, one is a knight, and one is your magic user.
Combat within the world of Ivalice is the same as I remember it. Your characters can free move during combat, and seamlessly transfer from walking around into fighting mode. You can use any of your characters during a battle by using the directional pad to select a new leader. Or you can just use the directional pad in a different direction to pick the other characters in order to make them use specific attacks while you are still controlling your main character. I am a big fan of turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy 7, and I like that they kept it mostly turn-based with 12 with only a few changes. Personally, next to 7, 12 is probably one of the most fun stories I have played. There are difficult bosses everywhere, and some areas where you need to really think about what you are doing and plan it out. That is what makes Final Fantasy such a fun franchise.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.