Why the Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One versions are worth trying

Final Fantasy 12 is a divisive game. While some fans adore the title’s unique gameplay systems and engrossing narrative, others criticize it for being too enigmatic. It’s obvious that the entry doesn’t enjoy the same popularity as Final Fantasy 7 or Final Fantasy 15. Thanks to the commercial success of the Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster, Square Enix will release Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One versions on April 30. The following are a few reasons why RPG fans should give the game a shot if they haven’t already.

Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One | Characters

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy 12 (Amazon Link – Nintendo Switch) allows fans to play as six distinct characters. Vaan and Penelo are admittedly shallow, as the former haphazardly ventures out into the world in hopes of becoming a sky pirate and the latter follows him just for fun. Ashe’s story is completely different, however, as she’s the leader of a resistance movement that seeks to take back the kingdom of Dalmasca from the ruthless Archadian Empire. The plot’s most emotional moments lie in Ashe’s campaign to usurp the invading monarchy, as the Archadians executed her father and husband when they launched their takeover.

The cast also includes a sky pirate named Balthier and his Viera companion Fran, both of whom steal valuable artifacts from belligerents during wartime. The pair offers intimate insights into Final Fantasy 12‘s world through their backstories. Balthier wrestles with the emotions he has for his crazed, warmongering father. Similarly, Fran is at odds with her sisters after she decides to leave her home in Eruyt Village to see the outside world.

Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg rounds out the group. He’s framed as a traitor early on in the game when his twin brother, Noah, slays the Dalmascan king and Vaan’s older brother, Reks. Though the crew is skeptical of the former officer when they first meet him, he displays his hatred for the Archadian Empire on multiple occasions. As he defends Ashe and supports her movement to retake the throne, he tries his best to come to terms with his sibling’s misdeeds.

Final Fantasy 12 (Amazon Link – Xbox One) offers at least four party members with incredibly relatable human qualities. Few other Final Fantasy characters come close to matching Ashe, Balthier, Fran, and Basch’s endearing backstories and personalities. Witnessing each warrior attempt to change their lives is inspiring, as there’s something to gain even when all seems lost.

Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One | Combat

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy 12‘s combat is a departure from everything the franchise has experimented with thus far. The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system takes place in real time and connects characters with enemies and party members on screen via colored lines. These hues represent distinct actions that players can perform and correspond with a menu that includes one’s standard attack, magic, and item commands. Fans can switch between the game’s six characters at any given point in time or put them on autopilot through the game’s innovative Gambit mechanic.

Of course, Final Fantasy 12 includes gameplay elements that pay homage to previous entries in the series. Like in Final Fantasy 10, veterans can summon Espers such as the original Final Fantasy‘s Chaos or Final Fantasy 6‘s Zeromus to aid them in battle. The title also features a Quickening system that bears a resemblance to Final Fantasy 7‘s Limit Breaks.

While Final Fantasy 12‘s mechanics may seem unintuitive at a glance, some may find that it’s a welcome change of pace for the franchise. The ADB system isn’t as hard to learn as one may think, and players are encouraged to break up lulls with exciting summons and Quickening moves. There’s a lot to love about Final Fantasy 12‘s gameplay if you take the time to study its intricacies.

Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One | Boss battles

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Without giving too much away, the game includes a myriad of interesting bosses that test the player’s ability to quickly command party members and orchestrate effective onslaughts. For example, one of the title’s earlier bosses, Tiamat, increases its defense when its health is running low. Fans must learn how to swiftly chain Quickening attacks with multiple characters if they hope to take it down.

The Archadian Empire’s Judges, who serve as the game’s main antagonists, are appropriately menacing in that they rely on different tactics to keep players on their toes. The boss battles in Final Fantasy 12 are almost never uninspired and successfully covey the anxiety that Ashe and her party must feel as they attempt to take down an omnipotent monarchy.

Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One | Political dialogue

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy 12 also differs from its RPG contemporaries and other entries in franchise through its focus on politics and war. Fans who didn’t resonate with Final Fantasy 10 or Final Fantasy 15‘s love stories may find Ashe’s desperate battle with the Archadians more engaging, as it eschews personal drama in favor of telling a story about hope. Final Fantasy 12‘s central theme of rising up against oppression is especially relevant when taking into account today’s heated political climate and discussions on class warfare.

Final Fantasy 12 Switch and Xbox One | Quality improvements

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age includes a few quality improvements that attempt to make it feel right at home with modern devices. The title’s soundtrack has been remastered and its technical performance has been revamped. A new game plus option is available once players complete the main scenario at least once, and twelve license boards are available to complete from the get-go. That’s not to mention that the game looks prettier than it did when it originally released for PlayStation 2 in 2006.

Even when disregarding these enhancements, the title is filled with plenty of worthwhile content. Outside of the main narrative (which in itself takes about 50 hours to complete), there are tons of rare items to collect, optional bosses to defeat, and secret areas to discover. Getting one’s hands on the title’s most powerful weapon, the Zodiac Spear, and the ultimate arsenal for each class requires that fans spend over 100 hundred hours in Ivalice.

RPG fans who are pining for a lengthy Xbox One, Switch, PlayStation 4, or PC game should no look no further than Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age. This distinct entry in Square Enix’s long-running franchise deserves to be played before being judged. It’s hard to refute its uniqueness, as it chooses to fight back against the norm instead of accepting the genre’s traditions.

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