The Weekend Hangover: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

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The Weekend Hangover is Too Much Gaming's Monday rumination of the games or game we played over the weekend. Sometimes there is alcohol involved in the hangover we’re nursing, but most other times there’s just too much gaming.

It was a Friday and I was excited for the this particular weekend. Not only did I survive three days without getting spoiled for Avengers: Endgame, I finally picked up a game I never finished - Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - the remastered version of the 2006 PlayStation 2 JRPG, which upgrades visuals, bolts on new features and introduces a revamped License Board system.

Every now and then I find myself itching for a good RPG, and The Zodiac Age is one of those games that I’ve always wanted to complete. It’s the only numbered game in the Final Fantasy franchise that I’ve never finished. Why? I got bored - plain and simple.

It has a good story despite its strong similarities to Star Wars: A New Hope, but the Gambit System turned me off back then. It’s a system that lets you set certain commands to occur based on certain conditions; for example - you can program a character to use a potion if his/her life goes below 50%. If you properly use the system, you simply need to engage in a fight and let the Gambit AI do the rest. I hit that point in my first playthrough and lost interest pretty quickly as I’m just there watching my party flow naturally, thanks to how I configured my team.

X2 or X4 the game speed was all I needed

Final Fantasy XII is paced rather slowly, even down to the exploration. There’s a lot of open space given to the player, even in dungeons. I was worried that I’d lose interest just as I did in 2006, but The Zodiac Age let me crank up the game’s speed by either times two or times four its normal speed. And that was a godsend. Going through the big city of Rabanastre is a breeze now, and fodder fights conclude in seconds. The only time I bring the speed back to normal is during boss fights, and that’s about it. This added feature to speed up the game works perfectly with the Gambit System as you quickly get to see if you’ve effectively made your team self-sufficient.

The revamped License Board system in The Zodiac Age is the redesigned version of the system that was originally released in Asia only, giving players more build variety by adding 12 jobs instead of giving a big license board for all the characters. The option to speed up and the improved character progression makes it a better game and i’m already 14 hours in, enjoying the fight against the “evil” empire.

It was a purchase long overdue and I can see myself completing it this time. Balthier is just great and Square Enix did a good job at improving the game’s graphic detail, especially the character models, to a point that it can pass as a game released for this generation. Honestly, I was really tempted by Mortal Kombat 11 this weekend but I honestly think I made the right decision in responding to my craving for a JRPG. The Zodiac Age was exactly what I needed.