Final Fantasy XII was released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and later re-released and remastered on PlayStation 4 and PC. It will also be re-released on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2019.
In the land of Ivalice, the empires of Archadia and Rozarria are engaged in an endless war, with the small nation of Dalmasca caught in the middle.
Archadia’s success annexing Dalmasca causes Dalmasca’s princess to create a resistance movement. She later meets a young man who dreams of being a sky pirate, and they team up with a band of allies to take on the tyranny of the Archadian empire.
Vaan, who dreams of being a sky pirate.
Ashe, princess of Dalmasca.
Basch, a knight.
Balthier, a sky pirate.
Fran, Balthier’s long-eared partner who is an expert on myths and legends.
Penelo, Vaan’s friend from childhood.
Gramis, an evil emperor.
Vayne, a military genius.
Larsa, a charismatic peace seeker.
Doctor Cid, an Archadian researcher.
There were a lot of people new to the mainline Final Fantasy series working on this game. The game was directed by Hiroyuki Ito and Hiroshi Minagawa, with writing by Daisuke Watanabe, Miwa Shoda and Yasumi Matsuno, designs by Hiroyuki Ito and art by Akihiko Yoshida, Hideo Manaba and Isamu Kamikokuryo.
This game introduced the idea of loot in place of currency. When you defeated enemies, they often dropped loot, which you could sell at shops to unlock bonuses. The loot could improve in value if you obtain it from a certain type of enemy multiple times in a row.
New to this game was the “Gambit” system, which allowed characters to be programmed to perform certain actions in response to certain battle conditions, similar to American football when you strategize a play on the field.
Espers are monsters you can defeat and subsequently summon in battle who become active allies for a limited time. Some even originated from previous Final Fantasy games as bosses.
A replacement to Limit Breaks were “quickenings.” These were connected on a panel board and could be connected across the board in chains to customize the unique abilities of certain characters, which resulted in large combo attacks in battle and led to a powerful final strike called a “concurrence” if the chain was long enough.
Another thing that could be obtained after defeating enemies were license points (as opposed to traditional experience points) which could be spent to access the license board, allowing for attack and weapon upgrades as well as the use of Espers and quickenings.
Final Fantasy XII received widespread critical acclaim and commercial success and was seen as the best game or at least one of the best games of the year. Everything from the gameplay and the graphics to the story and the voice acting was really well done, making for a memorable RPG. Once again, a Final Fantasy game knocks it out of the park and proves the series is one of the best in video game history.
The game received a Japanese re-release in 2007 subtitled International Zodiac Job System, which included twelve license boards instead of one (each corresponding to a different zodiac sign and job). The game included gameplay upgrades, new game modes and the English voice cast from the localized version of FFXII.
A hi-def remaster of this version of the game called Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was released for the PlayStation 4 in 2017. The Microsoft Windows version came in 2018 via Steam and the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions are set to be released in 2019 this month.
A sequel called Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and takes place one year after the events of FFXII and follows the further adventures of Vaan.
This game would be the last main entry in the series released for the PlayStation 2.