Robert Steinman
E3 2017: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Preview
Positive impressions from someone who didn't care for the original.
06.17.17 - 12:21 AM

Part of me wanted to write "It's Final Fantasy XII, what more do you want" for this article on the updated version of the PS2 classic. The fact is you pretty much know what you're getting, and like nearly every Final Fantasy game to date, XII is a divisive entry that has critics and champions alike. Me, I'm more on the critical side, as I found the story to be lacking, the dungeons tedious, and the overall experience incredibly forgettable. What isn't debatable, however, is just how much effort Square Enix is putting in this HD-ified update.

Right away, it's easy to see just how much work went into modernizing the textures and general look of the game. FFXII was quite the looker already, but the bump in resolution makes a huge difference, and the improved performance makes the game feel pretty dang new and shiny. Better still, we're getting a completely new orchestration of the original game's music, which should certainly play well to our devoted audiophiles. True, I couldn't hear much of the music given the raucous nature of the show floor, but it was a musical delight, nonetheless.

The biggest addition to The Zodiac Age is what we missed out on with the international release years back. XII took a lot of grief for the license board, and Square Enix made vast improvements by adding distinct jobs to incentivize replayability and tactical gameplay. This means you'll be able to make Vaan a black mage if you want (but who would ever choose Vaan, right?) or maybe you'll make Basch into a thief so he can nab you some precious goodies. Many proselytize this version of the game, and it's pretty amazing to finally get it on Western shores. We're also getting a much-needed fast-forward mode like the (amazing) Dragon Quest VIII remake on 3DS, which should make some of those more tedious sojourns into danger more manageable.

But yeah, I don't think Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is going to completely change your opinion on the game one way or another. It might nudge someone a bit towards the "like" column, but I fully expect I'll end up putting the game down right around the time Vaan starts impersonating Basch. Still, good on Square Enix for putting this much effort into a remake, and let's hope this leads to more good things in the future.