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Karifean
05-28-2014, 10:35 AM
So just last Friday I got my hands on Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System. I've been playing it together with my brother, we're up to Giruvegan so far.

Overall impression so far: Far better than the original. And I really liked the original. The job system works surprisingly well. I was worried before I got started, since you cannot change jobs once you pick one, but it turned out fine. We had a good idea of who should get what job and since we were late-game-oriented, we skipped classes like the Machinist, the Red Mage or the Time Mage.


Vaan - Archer
Balthier - Uhlan
Fran - Black Mage
Basch - Knight
Ashe - Breaker
Penelo - White Mage

But the job system is just one of many changes. First-level black and white magic spells are now multi-targeting, making the Black Mage really damn strong early on, and since Fran and Ashe both have the White Magic 1 License by heart, they can use Cure without being White Mages. A multi-target Cure is really helpful.

The L1 speedup has been active for about 95% of the game. It's addictive, having the game run at 3x-5x speed (depends on how many NPCs or monsters are on-screen). Also makes the game's more grindy parts a lot more bearable. I already chained Cerberus wolves up to 300 in getting 6 Hell Gate's Flames (because I'll do it sooner or later) and I wouldn't have had the patience without the superspeed.

Also, many of the game's treasure have been changed. You get a lot of spells and technicks in treasures and a lot more treasures are one-time-onlys with actually useful contents. You can buy all Gambits as soon as you escape the Barheim Passage, something I made quick use of to set up the elemental weakness targeting for the Black Mage. For the first time I realized the crazy power of the Oil spell as well as the elemental Staves. Fire Staff + Oil + Firaga is looking at a ton of damage, not to mention Burning Bow + Fiery Arrows + Oil.

I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the game. The main reason I bought the game was to eventually battle the five Judge Magisters, rumored to be the hardest superboss battle in Final Fantasy. But I'm enjoying myself a ton so far with the main game.

Huckleberry Quin
05-28-2014, 06:06 PM
I WANT.

GIVE ME.

metagloria
05-28-2014, 06:57 PM
I WANT.

GIVE ME.

Formalhaut
05-28-2014, 07:31 PM
Isn't this game Japanese only? I've always wanted to play it as well, but alas.

Fynn
05-28-2014, 08:16 PM
WE NEED THIS!

WE NEED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

HOW DO WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Karifean
05-28-2014, 08:37 PM
Calm down people, it's not even that unlikely that SE decides to do an HD Remaster of FF XII, which would mean a localization of IZJS. But if you're like me and can't wait, playasia is your friend. Although you still need a way to play Japanese games on your PS2 so it might be more trouble than it's worth.

Theoretically, the game is Japanese only (the text at least), but there is an English patch on the net. You can use the data from your English copy of the original version and use the patcher to combine it onto the International version, resulting in an almost entirely English version of the game.

Wolf Kanno
05-29-2014, 03:23 AM
About the only reason I hoped FFX HD would do well is for the possibility we might get an HD remake of this version of the game. Have you tinkered with the Gambits of the Espers and Guest characters yet? I've heard it makes the Espers slightly more useful and they seriously powered down Larsa since his Potion/Hi=Potions are not longer infinite.

Karifean
05-29-2014, 11:03 AM
Yeah you can control Espers and Guest characters now. I can't say I've done much with Espers beyond summoning Belias to open Giruvegan, but we were pretty ridiculously overpowered for most of the game so far, so there was no need. Being able to freely execute the special moves does seem pretty handy though.

As for Guests, Larsa no longer has infinite potions, but the upsides outweigh that easily. For one, he has Cura which is actually better than having him spam potions, and he also comes with Shades of Black which has quite huge potential damage. Can't really say he was nerfed much. Since Mist charges are now separate from MP, everyone's base MP is now much higher than before, which is especially noticeable on Guests.

Reddas will be joining soon so I'll see what technicks he comes with.

Edit: Reddas has the Arise and Holy spells, of which especially the former comes in handy. He doesn't have much magic power so Holy isn't of much use. Still, a nice ally to have.

Karifean
06-06-2014, 01:02 PM
A little update. We've just beaten Omega Mk. XII for the first time. For an enemy that only does regular attacks it's a surprisingly interesting fight. It came down to a lot of juggling party members, switching out Bubble Belts onto people that would be Arise'd (since Penelo is the only one who can use that spell) so they can survive one hit, and all the while trying to get as much damage out as possible. Wouldn't have thought Quickenings actually came in handy once more.

And yeah, we didn't want to just use Reverse. Or Wither. That would've been too boring.

So all that's left is leveling up to 99, getting the final technick, and then fighting Yiazmat. After that, the Wyrmhero Blade will be ours, we should be Order of Ambrosia so we can stock up on Motes, and then we can get started on the Trial Mode. Given how much trouble we had with Omega, I doubt it will be remotely easy.

I'll post again once we're either done or had a spectacular failure.

Wolf Kanno
06-06-2014, 02:40 PM
Make sure you come up with a good strategy to beat Yiazmat. You have to fight him again in stage 99 of the Trial Mode if my memory serves me correctly.

Karifean
06-06-2014, 03:01 PM
Stage 98 is Yiazmat, Stage 99 is Omega Mk. XII. At least the former only has about 4 million HP there as opposed to his usual 50 million. But yeah, we will.

Karifean
06-08-2014, 11:56 AM
I beat the Trial Mode. First try, one sitting, no Game Overs. It was one hell of a ride, though. Let me describe just what it was like.

Up until Level 81-99 it's all pretty easy. Kinda like with the Via Infinito actually. After that you're gonna see some potentially dangerous formations. The pirates caught me completely off guard and I almost died but I barely came through with Scathe Motes and a lot of reviving. After that, it's pretty much clear until Level 91+.


This final part was definitely very difficult. After a pretty easy Magic Pot encounter, you fight Shadowseer with all his minions at the same time which was quite tough, then Gilgamesh who hits for 4k damage per hit and can combo quite often.

After that came Ultima and this is where I almost died, because Ultima's arena has very dangerous traps. I think there are 5 or more traps stacked ontop of each other and they wiped out my active party instantly. I switched in two reserve characters and they too died instantly. I was scared to be dead as I switched in my last resort, but she survived and I managed to get back on my feet. Ultima is not particularly hard, but she can be resource-heavy and if you don't equip Sage's Rings in time to absorb Holyja you can quickly fall behind.

After that came one round I was completely unprepared for: Abysteels, and dozens of them. I used to farm them with Scathe since Faith + Full HP means Scathe will one-shot-kill them, but since Fran had neither Faith nor Full HP I was in deep trouble. It again came down to a lot of reviving until I could eventually throw enough Scathe Motes to take them out. I pulled through short of about 1 hit of getting a Game Over...

And of course, Zodiark waits next. Quickly threw a Phoenix Down before his Darkja killed my only remaining character, and then came the reviving. I got caught by some traps again which was pretty annoying but not as dangerous as with Ultima. All in all, Zodiark went down pretty quickly.

Thus came Yiazmat. Hooray. Thankfully, I don't think he engages in battle until you walk up to him so I used that time to heal and buff up. He was actually a surprisingly simple fight as with Protect up I easily outhealed what he could do to me with just periodic Curajas. Took a while to drain all his 4 million HP but it wasn't that bad.

After that was Omega. He instantly starts blasting you for 5k+ damage every two seconds but that's perfectly survivable. Bubble'd characters can even survive two hits. I Expose'd him as long as possible, then started going more on the offense. He kills off characters very often and his laser goes right through Shell and Protect so you're better off not worrying much about buffs. Eventually he got into critical HP, which is when you mostly won't even survive one laser. It became a battle of reviving and Gil Tossing and I burned through more Phoenix Downs that I'd have liked, but I ended up as victor.


So then came the Judges. Everyone was alive, but low on HP and I had no buffs to speak of, and I was down to just 15 Phoenix Downs. The Judges give you about five seconds before they attack you, and then they don't hold back, at all. I was pleasantly surprised that I could mostly outheal what they did in damage as long as I used good positioning (they suck at hitting you if you run away from them) and Protect. I changed my Gambits to always target the enemy with lowest HP. Then I could start fighting back.

Now I knew about this beforehand, but the Judges use Elixirs to heal themselves when their HP drop to about 1/3. Not all of them do this and they only throw them on specific other Judges so figuring out who heals who is quite useful. Ghis has the lowest HP so my attacker (Balthier with the Zodiac Spear) started attacking him. Before long he was in critical HP which I took as a chance and I finished him off with a Quickening.

Man was that relieving. Ghis casts all sorts of offensive magicks including status effects so taking him out lets you use Bubble Belts instead of Ribbons which tremendously helps your survival. If I hadn't taken out Ghis this quickly I would've died. Next came Drace (according to my Gambit). However here a problem will arise: she parries and blocks a lot. I realized I had to do something about that but it was too dangerous to take off the Bubble Belts, so I had to be patient.

I whittled her down only to see her get healed by an Elixir before she even started flashing red. Damn. But then I remembered that she is vulnerable to Disease, which solves the problem quite nicely. After I inflicted that with a Meteorite, she went down not too long thereafter.

Drace was the one casting Hastega, Protectga and Shellga so taking her out removes the need for the periodic Dispel... mostly. Zargabaath still casts Bravery and Berserk on Bergan and just Bravery on Gabranth, the two big physical hitters, but he was the one with the next lowest HP. This is where the blocking and parrying became a problem too big to ignore and I timed my Bubble cast with an accessory switch over to Cameo Belt so as to not have a character outside of Bubble for more than a second. Then I started attacking Zargabaath. Problem is, he gets healed by Gabranth when his HP get low and you almost cannot break through that. So after a few feeble attempts at taking him out, I switched targets over to Bergan.

Turns out nobody heals Bergan. That was relieving and after a while, he went down. Now you're down to Gabranth and Zargabaath, the duo of doom. Why? Because they heal each other. They're both immune to Disease and Berserk (believe me I tried) and they heal quite early on. Since they do get a massive defense boost in critical HP, you're not easily taking one of them out.

There is a weakness in their defense, and it's that Zargabaath is vulnerable to Sleep. However, I pretended not to know this as I wanted to know if it was possible to defeat them without that. So I Expose'd both of them until their Defense was a flat 0, Berserk'd and Bravery'd two characters while healing with the third and after a long fight, they finally managed to take one of them out. I even cast Holy with my White Mage to delay their Elixirs for a few seconds, giving a bit more time to attack. Gabranth fell and Zargabaath followed just shortly thereafter.

And so it came to an end and I emerged as victor. Damn was that awesome. One of the hardest challenges I've ever faced in Final Fantasy, and yes I refused to use Reverse, Wither, Dark Matters, Dark Energies or Zodiark's special ability. It was still perfectly beatable, but not without good reflexes and quick thinking. ...okay sometimes I would be in the command menu for a minute wondering what to do next but as long as you come up with something that's fine right?

Really wouldn't have expected to get this done in one try (and I came SO close to dying a few times) but it feels pretty great. As reward I got to create a Weak Mode file. Pretty neat, I don't think they could've come up with a better reward than that. The Judges (and Omega if you don't abuse Reverse or Wither) are definitely up there as one of the hardest battles in Final Fantasy, along with the superbosses from X-2 (HD/Int). To anyone who likes FFXII as much as I do, I can definitely recommend buying this game.

Wolf Kanno
06-08-2014, 07:46 PM
Congratulations man. :cool: