Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch Review
As the last of the Final Fantasy series to release on the PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy XII was a departure from the classic formula of the franchise, trading in the classic ATB style of turn-based combat for a slightly more active approach. With an incredibly lore rich scenario and a wide array of diverse landscapes it is no wonder Final Fantasy XII became something of a cult classic to many Final Fantasy fans both familiar and unfamiliar with the Ivalice Alliance titles. The remaster, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, originally released in 2017, bringing several new features to the PlayStation 4 release, and now the Nintendo Switch version looks to improve on these additions.
The story of Final Fantasy XII is one wrought with political intrigue and touches upon the effects of wartime occupation on average citizens and royalty alike, making for a compelling narrative that allows for the growth of each individual party member. While some may argue that the cast isn’t all that interesting, their perspectives to the events of the world provide unique viewpoints from different walks of life that help elevate the overall narrative and themes of this particular Final Fantasy title. You can read more about this in our review of the PlayStation 4 version of the game from 2017.
This version of The Zodiac Age boasts some new additions, those being a license reset function, additional gambit sets, and a New Game + feature. All of these make Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age more accessible and more enjoyable for new and old players alike - particularly the ability to reset your license board. This allowed me to play around with different party compositions and not dedicate entire runs purely to take out optional mega bosses like Yiazmat. While some might think this removes replayability for the game, I personally think it allows for a greater sense of freedom in terms of what you’ll be able to do with minimal frustration for new players. Those who have never played The Zodiac Age won’t have to worry about potentially making the game exponentially harder for themselves by accident.
All previous features are present in the Nintendo Switch version, this includes the ability to speed up the game by hitting the left bumper of your joy-con. This is an invaluable feature that makes grinding less tiresome or makes crossing the huge maps of Ivalice takes more than a couple of minutes if you prefer traversing on foot. The reorchestrated OST is also available to choose and players can freely switch between this and the original soundtrack that was present in the PS2 release of the original Final Fantasy XII.
While my experience with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on the Nintendo Switch was mostly a positive one, I couldn’t help but notice how environments and character models appeared blurred and muddy when the console was undocked. The Zodiac Age makes for a great portable experience and will definitely help preoccupy any passenger during long flights and train rides, but if you’re mostly concerned with the visuals of the game it’s best to play it docked. Outside of this, there were no performance issues when in either of these modes and I never ran into any glitches or other issues with the game itself.
That being said if you already own The Zodiac Age, I would still suggest getting the Nintendo Switch version purely for the new additions, which are also available in the Xbox One version. The ability to switch jobs is an invaluable one, and the New Game + feature creates a new level of replayability and grinding opportunities for Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode. If you haven’t yet had the chance to play Final Fantasy XII, I would argue that this is one of the best versions of the game yet.