Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Review
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has finally made its way onto the ever-so-portable Nintendo Switch, and the game has made itself right at home on the contemporary device. Ever a fan of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XII was one title I could not get into when it first released. Over time, I found myself increasingly drawn to the title, despite never having the opportunity to give it another fair shot. Years later, Final Fantasy XII has made its way to the Nintendo Switch with its The Zodiac Age edition.
In addition to all the previous upgrades found in the PS4 version of The Zodiac Age such as a remastered soundtrack and improved performance, the Nintendo Switch finds itself at the next step up. The Nintendo Switch version of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age includes all of that along with a license reset function, additional gambit sets, and an improved New Game+ mode. Of course, the additions from Japan’s International Zodiac version from 2007 such as the ability to fast forward the game speed are included.
The plot of Final Fantasy XII is one that is a bit grittier and more grounded than a typical Final Fantasy story in my opinion and is a welcome change. The narrative is somewhat political and features warring kingdoms, assassinations, and a resistance. Without spoiling any plot points, the story of Final Fantasy XII is one that I found myself enjoying more than I anticipated. With an overall solid cast of characters, interesting locations, and a story that hits some personal favorite concepts, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age holds up well.
As my first playthrough of the title, the biggest departure from other Final Fantasy titles is that of its battle system. The battle gameplay is neither turn-based nor action-based, but somewhere in-between. Most likely, it would be best compared to an MMO-style of combat, in which the player attacks selected enemies until prompted to perform another action. While it may take a bit of getting used to, I found it to be a nice change of pace compared to other games, and the speeding up of game speed makes the encounter time much quicker.
Most of my time on Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age came on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode. Typically, I prefer experiencing games with the Switch docked but personally thought that the game looked better in handheld mode. Specifically, I felt that the game in docked mode looked its age more than it did in handheld mode. The only caveat is that the information on the screen can be somewhat cluttered on the smaller screen, but overall it became my preferred way to play the game.
Going back to when Final Fantasy XII first released, I must say that I regret not giving the game a fair shot. Roughly 12 years after its release, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age brings an epic narrative and deserving entry to a classic franchise to the Nintendo Switch. The game also feels right at home on the console and brings with it all the improvements and additions from throughout the years.
*** A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher ***
- Great handheld experience
- Gameplay and story hold up well
- Shows its age
- Docked mode a bit disappointing