Time is running out. We are changing — changing, and our tastes and Hobbies. Once your favorite movies, books, games thing of the past, covered with layers of dust: a few manage to stand the test of the years and not to be forgotten. But there are exceptions to the rule: works eternally young, eternally relevant. And every year they get better. Resident Evil 4, System Shock 2, DOOM, Deus Ex… Worthy of Final Fantasy XII to join in this glorious Pantheon?
Storm of swords
The question, of course, is rhetorical: it is already there — with those ratings and sales. But then, back in 2006, the twelfth part of a legendary series abused. For pretentiousness, for (allegedly) rejecting the canons of the cycle, Moody story with political overtones and an unusual, sometimes bold decisions like poluavtomatizirovannuju fighting. Let the critics were generous with deserved high scores (merit her do not take), many fans found the new failure — a failed experiment that it is better to forget. A decade later, the game got a second chance in the form of The Zodiac Age, its long-awaited HD remake. And now, the second time, she managed to win over the people.
It’s not prettier graphics, and rewritten from scratch the music as it might seem at first glance. Yes, on the PlayStation 4 in Full HD to explore the wonderful continent of Ivalice much nicer than antiquated old emulator or PS2. But the visual beauty and trophies-achievements are just little things, a nice bonus. Much more important content: the story, characters, gameplay.
Small free people
If they passed the test of time? With glitter! Already from the first shots of Final Fantasy XII captivate their approach is serious, thorough, without the usual genre of nonsense and purely Oriental frivolity. No joke: in high budget Japanese game in the center of the story are tricky court intrigue and a very controversial personality. Even the characters-Teens, from forced optimism which spit longtime fans of the JRPG, and those with their injuries, emotional scars, sometimes not in time properly to heal. It is not surprising: in the world there is a fratricidal, merciless war. The confrontation, which may not be the winner.
But here’s the weird thing: despite the bleakness of the setting and “adulthood”, however, the brainchild of Square Enix never slipping into depressive dill. The writers kept a careful balance, which, frankly, don’t expect from a game where the main heroine is a widowed Princess of the occupied Kingdom. How so? The answer is simple.
The authors understood the essence of the series: Final Fantasy is not just a JRPG with beautiful CG cutscenes. This whole journey is an amazing road movie in the company of bright, charismatic, charming renegades. Here and XII, nominally a political Thriller, feels like a road trip through the quaint, but most likely the continent. And that is, don’t tell, fine.
To arms! To arms!
However, some discover it will not be: where throw, everywhere monsters. Horror? Not at all. The combat system is The Zodiac Age of discovery, which fit the songs to lay down. But once she was reviled: they say that because of gambits (set of finely tuned autocommand like Dragon Age: Origins) “the game runs itself”. And really — if you want everyone is able to find the ideal combination of players to give orders and the rest of the trip acting like a platoon of mighty death squad. But this is only one of the options is undoubtedly effective, and at the same time frankly trivial.
The merit of Final Fantasy XII is that it allows you to concentrate on the main thing — the action and research environment. Tired after every battle a chore to get fighters drink potions, cast protective buffs and remove the effects of enemy spells? Just set a gambit. Want to where the healer stood, like a statue, and put half dead soldiers on foot? A couple of easy moves in the menu and voila. And if you pull to do everything yourself — nobody is stopping, macros are easy to disable. Dragon Age fans will feel right at home and newcomers will quickly get used to the new rules and forget about frustration as about a bad dream.
Not less freedom is given and when choosing unique roles for each ally. My dream is to turn the Archer into the sensible white mage? To make the fragile Princess “tank” with an ax at the ready? No problem, have fun! A great number of variations, all so I can’t count. The balance, meanwhile, observed: the most difficult bosses and monsters (usually optional, living somewhere on the outskirts of the game world) unceremoniously not take it. That’s something that, as optional content in the distant 2006, did not for the faint of heart.
Here it is worth emphasizing that The Zodiac Age — the HD remake not the original Final Fantasy XII, and its updated (only released in Japan) version. Created based on International Zodiac Job System re-release introduces a number of changes in gameplay — sometimes cosmetic (say, shuffles the rewards for side quests), but mostly functional and highly visible. The key item is the presence of classes with the zodiac signs for each character. That means even more ways to customize the characters according to taste, giving them unique skills and specializations.
Another interesting feature is the acceleration function of the gameplay. Knowing that the frequent battles with normal monsters risk quickly get bored, even in IZJS, Square Enix added an option to fast-forward everything.
Great? Still. However, the developers of the Zodiac Age went ahead and added in the formula a couple of his own previously unseen improvements. And, unfortunately, a bit overdone.
For example, the AutoSave function is very convenient, useful, but its very existence it in the Bud kills the tension in a long, dangerous dungeon full of monsters and locations. Why bother, if after death there is nothing stopping to reload the save minutes ago and nothing, in fact, not to lose. Yes, and the ability to create multi-class fighters (for example, the ninja-knight) too simplifies action: find frankly unbalanced combinations is easy.
The baptism of fire
However, the paragraph above is rather nitpicking. Trying to find something bad in the game that capture the imagination even now, 11 years after its debut. And it is not empty words for the author of these lines The Zodiac Age — first encounter with Final Fantasy XII.
It was rumored, a lot of legends — good and bad — but who would have thought that the Ivalice really is so beautiful. A world where there are no annoying random encounters, where the villains (if you can call it that) are making clear, sometimes noble goals, and the combat system is not limiting — on the contrary, unleashes gamers hands. Whatever you say, and time and failed to pay all this splendor in the dust.
XII — holistic, weathered JRPG old school, which today is very little. The developers are not trying to take the public with cheap fan service and the curvaceous beauties, like the authors of some of the Tales of. Not hide part of the content for the DLC for ten dollars. They just tell a fascinating story about the war — almost without blood and steel, but with a twisted intrigue and complex conflicts. Tell you because you know such scenes are laid in memory is best.
And yet, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age — is not just a great story. Not a movie that you can go on YouTube and nothing to lose. It’s A Game. Gigantic, fascinating, full of mysteries and secrets RPG, which is so difficult to put down until the very end. Don’t believe? See for yourself.
- well written and thoroughly enjoyed the story;
- flexible, still a unique combat system;
- small car and truck of the content;
- AutoSave and a number of gameplay improvements;
- excellent restoration image;
- gentle reorchestrate soundtrack;
- the ability to speed up the game several times;
- user-friendly interface.
- a serious political drama runs the risk not to catch part of the audience;
- due to certain edits of The Zodiac Age turned out to be easier than the original;
- technically the graphics are not up to modern standards;
- biting price tag.
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Square Enix, Virtuos
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release date in Russia: 11 July 2017
- Localization: missing
- Similar games: Final Fantasy series, Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Is it worth buying now? Yes, especially RPG fans
Lyricist: Igor eryshev
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