Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – Hands-On Preview

Final Fantasy XII is soon receiving a remastered port dubbed Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age this coming July, and during this past PAX East we got hands-on time with the game.

We did not get to see most of the new aspects toted in the remastered port during our demo time, but we did get an eye-full of the redone high definition graphics and audio, as well as the high-speed mode for gameplay. Outside of these upgrades, the remastered port will also feature an improved character leveling system, as well as a trial mode where players can take on monsters and enemies in up to 100 consecutive battles.

In terms of the visuals, Final Fantasy XII was a detailed and vibrant game graphically for its time, with expansive environments across a very large range of terrain. Now in HD, these environments look crisp and more detailed considering their roots come from the PlayStation 2. Naturally this remastering cannot compare to the graphics of full-blown PlayStation 4 games, however this is not the bar one would expect it be held to. Instead the upgraded graphics, and noticeably impressive audio improvements make the game enticing once again to play.

Players who have already traversed Final Fantasy XII and recall how time consuming the expansive environments can be will like the high-speed mode, which during our demo was able to run through battles and running around non-stop. The gambit system, which players may recall is used to automate the actions of their characters in battle, was supremely set up by Square Enix for our demo, and so our demo amounted to just pointing the characters around the map as they literally annihilated any monster that crossed our path. In high speed mode we can imagine level grinding and travel will be much less of a drain on players than the original.

Story elements are untouched in the remastering, and for those needing a reminder, Square Enix describes the story as such, “Enter an era of war within the world of Ivalice. The small kingdom of Dalmasca, conquered by the Archadian Empire, is left in ruin and uncertainty. Princess Ashe, the one and only heir to the throne, devotes herself to the resistance to liberate her country. Vaan, a young man who lost his family in war, dreams of flying freely in the skies. In a fight for freedom and fallen royalty, join these unlikely allies and their companions as they embark on a heroic adventure to free their homeland.”

No mention of Balthier in Square Enix’s synopsis, but players can look forward the the real star of the game in High Definition as well this July, plus auto-save, trophy support, and improved load times too.

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