Yesterday, July 11, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was released on PlayStation 4. That is, re-released. Originally a PlayStation 2 title, this entry in the Final Fantasy series is probably my second favorite (behind Final Fantasy IX- I’m still waiting on the remaster announcement, Square Enix) and with good reason.
Final Fantasy is basically known for its turn-based combat systems, And XII begins to break away from the classic system. While combat is still turn-based, player characters and enemies can move around, enter and exist an existing battle fairly easily, and a new level of strategy exists because you can see enemies before you enter a battle. Usually, you know a good amount of what you’re getting into when you start a fight. Growing up with Legend of Dragoon, FFIX, and FFX/X-2, this new battle system absolutely blew my mind while still feeling comfortable compared to what I knew. It was the first game to make me think strategically, and although I’m not necessarily good at it, I still owe some of my future successes to this game.
As is expected with a Final Fantasy game, the story and characters were amazing and somehow relatable, despite the completely fantasy setting. Well, at least what I played before my disk broke all those years ago. Topped with the exploration and seemingly open-world feeling you got while roaming Dalmasca, playing XII was almost a relaxing experience, even when things got tough or sad story-wise. I still remember spending hours in one of the desert areas just trying to get strong enough to defeat a Wyvern mark for a hunting quest, and while grinding I kept finding new areas, enemies, and equipment.
I’ve only gotten to spend a few hours in-game so far, but I am beyond excited to be back in Dalmasca for the first time in years. If you missed this entry, or need a good shot of nostalgia, be sure to pick up Final Fantasy XII: the Zodiac Age. There won’t be any regrets.