My uncle bought me Final Fantasy XII in 2006 for my birthday. At 10 years old, a lot of combat mechanics and branching plotlines were confusing. In any case, I was fascinated by the game’s energy: I especially remember marveling at the hair and clothes fluttering in the desert wind, and the azure sparks of the clinking sword and shield. It remains my favorite Final Fantasy to this day.
The game was originally released as a PlayStation 2 exclusive, but over the past few years a remake called Final Fantasy XII: Age of the Zodiac has launched on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch and PC with performance enhancements , deeper career customization and various quality of life changes. Recently, Square Enix released a remake on PlayStation Now. If you’ve never experienced Final Fantasy XII, here’s why you should grab your chance as soon as possible.
list of actors
Like most parts of Square Enix’s much-loved series, Final Fantasy XII chronicles the lives of heroes fighting against a more powerful hostile force. While other entries used moody, often unrelated comics to advance their plots (yes, I’m talking about everyone’s favorite heroes Cloud and Squier), Final Fantasy XII is less about personal motivation and more More about the sum of its whole parts.
Street urchins Vaan and Penelo call the impoverished slums of Rabanastre home. Penelope tries to find a silver lining in their predicament, while Vane looks to the sky, dreaming of owning an airship and living in freedom. After multiple encounters with shady people, the two young men are thrown into a world of political intrigue and secret coups. Even so, they learned to find company in other people: Ash the forsaken princess, Basch the exiled soldier, and Balthir and Fran, all on the hunt for bounty hunters.
Despite their odd combination, each member of Final Fantasy XII’s main cast shares similar insecurities — cowardice, loneliness, unresolved grief and doubts about self-worth. Vaan and his team of wanderers are still the greatest characters in Final Fantasy lore because of how easy they are to support. Despite battling personal shortcomings, they keep finding ways to challenge their destiny.
Like Final Fantasy Tactics and Wanderers, Final Fantasy XII takes place in the kingdom of Ivalice. Much of the continent is filled with unexplored ruins of ancient dynasties. But when your party isn’t traversing every labyrinthine fortress in the vast backdrop, you’re traversing breathtaking metropolises and towns. As Vaan, you start out with the sprawling cityscape of Rabanastre, which is filled with different areas, including bazaars and palaces. But after opening hours, players will find larger areas with increasingly exotic animals, including waterways with burning stallions, wastelands with roaming tyrannosaurs, and misty jungles with green chocobos.
Each scene in Final Fantasy XII is aesthetically unique and full of secrets. Some areas, like the Sky City in Bujerba, are only accessible by airship; it’s as easy as buying a one-way ticket. Other locations must be discovered on foot, but the hubs are small and (in some cases) linear, meaning traversal is straightforward. What’s more, Ivallis is inhabited by various ethnic groups. For example, Fran, who has bunny ears and is seven feet tall, is Vieira from the village of Eluit. Other races, like the Nu Mou – bipedal canine – are religious nomads. Despite being a cultural melting pot, racial tensions in Ivallis make integration increasingly difficult. Seeing this negativity reflected in the way strangers react to Fran (and everyone else she interacts with) makes the game world feel organic and alive.
Fans of both traditional and modern Square Enix RPGs will find Final Fantasy XII a perfect blend of turn-based combat and real-time combat: the old game’s ATB meter (or cooldown) gets a welcome return, adding urgency to attack input Sex and party orientation. Dynamic cameras with real-time action make combat feel intuitive and smooth.
Rather than unlocking nodes on a static skill tree, progression in Final Fantasy XII is an immersive mini-game. Upgrades are recorded through work permits – spaces on a massive chessboard that unlock ultimates, weapon and armor sets, and stat enhancements. These licenses are associated with assigned jobs (or categories). Each job has its own committee, but some jobs may share licenses that overlap when purchased. For example, my Balthier is a white mage and mechanic. Both job boards have “fast” licenses that reduce cooldowns. By purchasing a swift node on the white mage board, I can access adjacent abilities on the mechanic board.
Players can stack overlapping skills and defeat the most fearsome bosses in the game through multiple class combinations. With the added benefit of “Strategy” – a customizable command system where characters can be programmed to perform important actions, such as healing low HP allies or attacking designated targets – combat becomes easily automated, eliminating frustrating The need for micromanagement.
My favorite RPGs always focus on what matters most: character-driven stories, dynamic locations, and fun, engaging gameplay. In 2006, Final Fantasy XII lived up to those standards, and it’s still one of my favorite gaming experiences. Zodiac Age expands on all the features that made the original great. Now that it’s available to all console players in a few weeks (PlayStation Now accessibility means PS5 owners can finally dive in!), I can’t help but get excited about exploring its world again. If you like intuitive gameplay and the ancient “Final Fantasy formula” done right – wacky related character casts, epic odysseys and grand boss battles – then Final Fantasy XII is for you!
If you’re excited about the remaster, too, watch our video detailing four things you need to know as you prepare to re-release the game.