Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Medium: Cartridge/Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: n/a

Some of you may know this little game called Final Fantasy XII which came out on PS2 back in the day. But if you don?t then who can blame you since it was so under the radar! Okay enough with the sarcasm because this game recently got a big remaster a year ago with Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age which is now on the Switch and completes the big addition of several heavy-hitting FF entries to the console?s library.

And what you probably want to know right off the bat is how this port runs on the Switch which I?m happy to say is that it?s just great. The game plays and looks very good in docked and portable mode meaning you?re getting a similar experience that is available on other consoles but a small dip in graphics when going portable and overall 30fps framerate. But we all know what to expect with the Switch hardware not being super powerful like the competition so if that?s all you wanted to know then the game checks out and you can feel at ease picking it up.

And if you don?t know what this game is about then it?s an RPG where you follow the story of Vaan who wants to be a sky pirate and ends up in a journey full of political intrigue and interesting cast of characters. It?s not the most original story but it is more mature than others in the Final Fantasy series and features a unique style of gameplay where all the battles are on the map and in real time. Because you will manage your party by assigning Gambits which work like a set of orders on how party members will behave in battle it can have an MMO feel but in a very good way. But this game was received with a mix of opinion back in the day and over time become more beloved by fans.

As for the game it?s the same version we were treated to on PS4 and PC with many tweaks from the International version previously available only to Japanese players in the PS2 days and new bonuses for today?s busy gamer. The biggest change from the original game is of course the Zodiac system where you will choose a License for each character that is basically what jobs used to be.

But the Switch and the Xbox One versions actually have a few new extras you won’t find on the PS4 or elsewhere, like the ability to now change jobs after a certain point in the game. You can do this by talking to Montblanc in Rabanastre and while the PS4 game added the ability to add a second job this lets you reset a license board giving true freedom. There is also a New Game + that lets you carry over levels and all the crap you collected and up to three Gambit sets so you don’t have to reshuffle orders between a big boss battle and just grinding. And you know what these are great additions that not only sweeten the deal but add to a more definitive and enjoyable version of the game!

Some other carried over features which are very welcome but somehow not included in the FFX/X-2 remasters are the ability to skip cutscenes and speed up the gameplay. These are great time saving features for those looking to just revisit the game or cut down on grind. The turbo mode lets you use either a 2X or 4X speed and I found just 2X to be best for me but I?m not a pro yet.

Sound is still a disappointment in the voice category. While the game does feature both English and Japanese voice options the actual quality f audio sounds very bad especially when compared to the three beautiful versions of soundtrack and quality sound effects. This is not new since the voices were just as scratchy on PS4 but I am sad that there was no effort to making them less grating since the game is fully voiced and you will hear the characters talk a lot!

The game also seems like it?s better balanced than I remember on PS2 back in the day. And even though I did play the PS4 version too it?s either my recent familiarity or just using things like the map more so I don?t get brave and die trying to fight a dinosaur in the first hour. But I?m not complaining because even without the auto saves and turbo mode in Zodiac Age the original game was brutally hard in how you could easily lose time and levels to a difficult encounter that you had not planned for but instead become dead meat!

So the last thing worth mentioning is again the price. And unlike the FFX collection or PSOne era Final Fantasy game?s on Switch this game is rolling out at a full $49.99 for just the one game. If you take the FFX/X-2 bundle into account it?s easy to call that $25 a game so at nearly double the price and with cheaper versions on other platforms it?s ultimately gonna be up to you whether you want to buy this now or later because at the end of the day it?s not going anywhere. And if you?re like me then the convenience of a big game like this on Switch is a big deal when I want to get invested into a game like this.

In terms of the quality of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age on Switch this is a very worthy port. And in terms of value that?s up to how you want to look at the whole package because where it?s virtually double the cost of any previous Final Fantasy port yet you do have a load of added features and content that weren?t in the original PS2 version and even extras to the Switch and Xbox One since then which make this one the definitive and best way to play Final Fantasy XII. So it almost squares even and really you can’t go wrong with this version of the game no matter when you choose to jump in.

Note: Square Enix provided us with a Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A