PAX West 2016 Impressions: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Having never played much of FFXII, I can’t really make a direct comparison. I can, however, talk about the things I saw and the gameplay I experienced at PAX West this year. I was lucky enough to be part of a two hour session with the folks at Square Enix for a hands-on experience with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a HD remake of the 2006 original that was announced earlier this year at E3.
One of the reasons why I did not play FFXII when it was first released was that I was not familiar with the gambit battle system (and new to the franchise in general). I had only played XIII, IX, and X prior to that (which was mostly ATB based), and there were so many other things that turned me away from it the moment I loaded the game into my PlayStation 2 (hunting board what?). I have been told that it is very similar to the MMORPG, FFXI. Of course, I’ve also never played FFXI, so I really did not know what that meant either. Now that I am an avid player of FFXIV and having spent a good 90 minutes on FFXII, I can agree that the play style of FFXII is similar to that of a MMORPG and without the social aspect.
One of the things that differentiates XII from the rest is the gambit system. The gambit system, in short, allows the player to assign and control each individual character and queue up a list of attacks. For the most part, I left the gambit system on. I would have two characters focus on a certain monster while the other 2 work on another. To change things up, I removed gambit for all the members in my party and found that it was a bit cumbersome. For example, if the mage is out of range, the selected spell will not get cast until the character is close enough to the target.
The “Zodiac Job System” is also something that I took note of during my session. While it is not new to this particular remake, it is a revamp of the original 2006 release and was introduced in 2007 under The International Zodiac Job System version of FFXII. Unfortunately, I was not able to figure out much with this as I only had a small glimpse of the game. From what I understand, the Zodiac Job System, simply put, allows the characters to be assigned one of the twelve jobs available, giving the player greater control over the customization of the team. With this Zodiac Job System, players can change the group’s abilities and stats accordingly and is no longer tied to leveling them up as they are assigned.
Final Fantasy XII has always been one of the games that I’ve been meaning to play but never got around to. With the HD remastered version and an overhaul of the original mechanics, I’m looking forward to playing it when it is released.