by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
This is a title I’ve actually reviewed fairly recently, so there isn’t a lot I can tell you now that you didn’t already know. But, let’s give it a go! Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on PC/Steam is a port of the PS4 Remaster, which on its own, was already gorgeous. You play as a cast of characters ranging from “Riff Raff, Street Rat” in Vaan/Penelo, to “I’m actually the main character” in Balthier. There are exiled knights, princesses, evil corrupt judges, and a gorgeous world the likes we won’t see again until Final Fantasy XV. This version of the game does take it a step further though in several ways. First, you can set it to play at 60 fps. 60 lovely frames per second. I saw no tearing, no slowdown, no weird crap as a result of that (but I’m using a GeForce 1080 and an i7 7700k so take from that what you will), and cranking all the settings up did not slow me down in the least.
It was still a vision of loveliness. This is different because the PS4 release is hard-locked at 30 fps. Sure, that 30 fps is just fine, but 60 is better. Let’s be honest. The graphics settings are vast, and to be frank, I don’t even understand all of them. But they are plentiful and make an already visually appealing game more so. There are three options for your soundtrack too, Original, Extra Tasty Crispy, and BBQ. I mean. Original, Remastered, and OST. The remastered/OST are clearly the superior choices, and one thing I do not recall if I noticed in previous playthroughs, but the music has a very Final Fantasy Tactics feel to it. Yes, I know this takes place in Ivalice, home of said Tactics game, but still. The OST option is a very lovely sound, and I think has a lot of appeal. Again, not a necessity, but it’s there if you want it. However, this version has one giant glaring flaw that I have to bring to light. If I chose not to, what kind of journalist would I be? A bad one, that’s what.
You have Full Screen, Borderless, and Windowed options for your screen. That’s wonderful, because I tab out a lot, and want the full-screen experience, so I go with Borderless in most of my games. Any time you tab out of the game, no matter which you’re using (even in Windowed!) it pauses the game. This is a real-time battle game, so in that aspect, it’s certainly useful, but you know, there’s a pause feature! You can pause yourself if you need to! Nobody is stopping you! When I stream, I tab around a lot on my screen, checking the giveaway screen, pulling up walkthroughs if I need to, or answering work requests if they happen to come up/emails show up in the middle of the stream. That way I can see how important they are. I don’t understand why this decision was made, and it drives me absolutely damn batty. It’s the worst part about the game, and at least the other problem I had (before the game went officially live half the time it wouldn’t recognize my controller. For whatever reason, that’s fixed. For reference, PS4 wireless). It also has the “cheat” features seen in Final Fantasy X. It offers max Gil and unlimited license points, but that’s not a deal breaker one way or another. The speed-up buff that was in the PS4 version also made it over (hit L1 to 2x/4x speed, great for grinding/wandering huge maps, little else).
Who Is This For: 4/5
That’s the big question I should be asking in these port reviews, and moving forward, I shall. Who is this aimed at? Who is this for? If you had an Xbox One and love Final Fantasy, or have a Switch and simply missed the original launch, this is for you. I cannot imagine someone who already has it on PS4 wanting to get it, except to play in 60fps, or are a hardcore fan of Final Fantasy XII. All the other features, looks, and mechanics are the same on console, but if that pause function were not in the game, I’d say this is the “definitive” version of Final Fantasy XII. If for some reason you missed out, this is the best time to get the remake, in my opinion. It’s gorgeous, it has tons of gameplay and secrets (especially if you didn’t play the original), and the chests from the Zodiac Spear in the original were changed in both of these versions. In the original FFXII, there are five chests you are not supposed to open. You have no idea if you haven’t looked it up. If you open up even one of those before it’s time, you miss out on the most powerful spear in the game, the Zodiac Spear. It also has the superior License Board (Zodiac Job System) in that it’s more compact and less cluttered plus it also thematically fits into the FFT world. I love this version of the game, far more than I did the original for a whole host of reasons. If you’d like to read my more detailed review of the title, from the PS4 version, please click this link.
Ed Note: A key was provided for this review.