Anyone who knows Final Fantasy XII will tell you that 15 minutes isn’t enough to give you a solid impression of what the game has to offer. It’s so stupidly complex that I would need an entire afternoon to play it and accurately report all of the changes in this remaster.
Instead, I got a reminder of why I never finished it a decade ago and why I’ll definitely be picking it up next year.
This demo actually highlighted one of the biggest weaknesses of the game, and that’s the overly long dungeons. Running, lots of running through claustrophobic ruins. Vaan and his squad picked a few simple fights against bats and skeletons, but they spent a majority of my demo trotting through a sewer I barely remember. Seems like an accurate recreation so far.
I can’t comment on the extra Zodiac Age content and job classes coming to America for the first time because the demo didn’t even let me access a menu. I can’t even talk about gambits, licenses, or Limit Breaks, all the important pieces of Final Fantasy XII’s critical success. All I had was the basic combat, which is exceptionally boring without access to the systems behind it.
I want everyone to play this game, but even in this world where gamers are more comfortable with open-ended adventures like this, I have a feeling Final Fantasy XII will remain just as polarizing as it was in 2005.
That leaves us with the one sole reason why this port even exists. It looks brilliant on PlayStation 4. Final Fantasy XII is one of those late games that pushed the PlayStation 2 to the brink, using huge resources that have always looked stunning when blown up on an emulator. It’s almost as if they were meant for HD.
Now, those expanded resources have official backing from Square Enix, and fans will easily fall in love with this game all over again or at least have a new appreciation for it. The fact that it is playable on modern consoles is good enough reason to celebrate, but with the boosted resolution and new content, this game’s reputation as a weird outlier of the main series should come to an end real soon.
Games have changed quite a bit since 2005, and time has caught up to Final Fantasy XII’s forward thinking. Now, I just wish this fit on a Vita.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age will be released for the PlayStation 4 in 2017.