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Thread: FFXII: TZA Impressions

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    fat_moogle's Avatar
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    Default FFXII: TZA Impressions

    So today is the day that many of you have been anticipating - the launch of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. For those of you that have played the game before how does it compare to the original? Does it feel like a 10 year old game, or have the new features given it another lease of life? Or maybe you missed out on the PS2 version and are playing for the first time? Either way, discuss
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    'Just Friends' Formalhaut's Avatar
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    Ooh I really want to play this. Can't afford it yet though. Maybe next month or the end of summer.


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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    If I wasn't so damn broke I would have picked this up. #adulting #firstworldproblems

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying the hell out of this game. I've already talked a bit about my thoughts on it in the Discord chat, but basically... man I love this game. I've played IZJS so not much new stuff for me (so far), but still a definitive step above the original in my eyes.

    I just beat Belias so everyone finally gets their second job. My combos are:

    Vaan: Time Battlemage --> Monk
    Balthier: Machinist --> Uhlan
    Fran: Red Battlemage --> Black Mage
    Basch: Knight --> Bushi
    Ashe: Foebreaker --> Archer
    Penelo: Shikari --> White Mage

    - I forgot that Red Mage doesn't get the Tier 1 spells. Good thing I gave the role to Fran who knows most of them innately. Probably should've gone Black Mage first instead.
    - Be it Red Mage or Black Mage though, they need a *lot* of gambit slots to cover every weakness.
    - Early Time Mage is outclassed by Red Mage, like, completely. It gets nothing Red Mage doesn't get. Might as well have it be your second job. Though I did enjoy destroying the Flowering Cactoid with the 100% accurate (and pretty powerful!) crossbow with just Vaan and Penelo.
    - No regrets in leaving White Mage out for later. All the girls know Cure and Blindna innately anyways, and Red Mage gets Cura and Raise just as well. And Shikari is pretty powerful early on.
    - I should've gone Uhlan before Machinist since guns fall off very quickly, a faster-charging weapon is just more useful. Buuut I just invested the time into getting the early Arcturus which killed Belias in 5 hits. So that's a thing.
    - Serenity and Focus are absolute monster licenses. +50% on all damage and healing when your HP is full, it's easy to overlook just how good that is.
    - Aero decimates both Yensa sandseas. One-shots pretty much everything, with or without Serenity. And that was without the Cherry Staff that increases Wind damage by 50%.
    - Guest characters are bonkers. Lamont joins the party with the Shades of Black technick, and if you don't already realize what that means I urge you to set it as his main attacking gambit. Needless to say that little passage through the Lhusu mines was pretty laid back. Later on, Vossler comes with Wither and Expose, the former being the most broken move in the game. Managed to beat both the Ring Drake and Marilith with it. And that was before Belias.
    - Finding spells and technicks and unique accessories in chests is so satisfying. You can find all sorts of handy stuff just by looking around enough. The lack of that feelings was one of original XII's biggest flaws IMO.

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    Slothstronaut Slothy's Avatar
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    My impressions are if they ever decide to release this on the PC I'll be a lot more impressed.

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    Ray "Bloody" Purchase! Crop's Avatar
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    I played it all Tuesday and Wednesday and will do so again today. I'm just gutted I have to go back to work tomorrow.

    Needless to say I'm enjoying it immensely.

  7. #7

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    Honestly, this is to me the greatest FF release in about fifteen years. So much better than XII or XV were.

    When XII first came out I was rather disappointed with it. This release has fixed so many of the things that bothered me with that original release.

    Visually, it is gorgeous, but the fact that it is a remastered PS2 game is noticeable. I am hesitant to fault it for that though, and it is a better HD remaster than X/X-2 and Type 0 were.

    The music is truly amazing. The new orchestrated tracks have only impressed me so far.

    I'm having lots of fun with the jobs and I like that they have really opened up the gambits and equipment.

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    DMKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothy View Post
    My impressions are if they ever decide to release this on the PC I'll be a lot more impressed.
    Why though? FFXII:IZJS HD has been on PC for years.

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    Slothstronaut Slothy's Avatar
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    If I emulated sure but I know from experience how hit or miss PS2 emulation can still be.

    Besides, I've still got the original PS2 version of FFXII and if I'm going to bother with the extra stuff I'd just as soon pay Square for making smart decisions and continuing to release good Final Fantasies on the PC.

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    I platinum'd this game on Monday. Decided to make use of the PS4's handy dandy record feature to record my fight against the ultimate superbosses of the game - the five Judge Magisters in the Trial Mode.

    Video

  11. #11
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Finally got this for my birthday. I haven't done a complete playthrough since my first playthrough back in 06, but I feel all the new features and the fact I haven't played it in awhile will make this a bit different. About the only difference I've noticed besides the "talking panels" being changed is that the game looks so much more vibrant than I remember it being.

    Just left Rabanastre to fight a Rogue Tomato.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Going to do what I did with FFXV here:

    Pros:
    • I'm loving the Zodiac Job system, it gives more focus to just about everything in the game. From characters now feeling distinct from each other, to the challenge of the game kind of being dictated by which classes you start, to shops finally giving you access to great weapons you normally wouldn't have at this point in the game. It's actually just been pretty thrilling to have that extra layer of tension from your choices finally mattering.
    • The remixed OST has been pretty interesting and I'm honestly surprised how well I remembered the original soundtrack because it's very noticeable which tracks have changed. So far the new tracks are pretty snazzy but Sakimoto is a pretty damn good composer.
    • The gameplay balance has been fixed in some interesting ways. You get early access to late game accessories like Firefly and Diamond Armlet, but all the items in the early sections have been switched around and with the exception of enemy drops staying the same, it feels like the devs removed a few early game breakers from the starting areas. I started Vaan as a Shikari which is a blend of Thief and Ninja but Ninja blades are still a long ways off and unlike the original, daggers are surprisingly rare. So it's been interesting to watch Vaan have to rely on support abilities like Battle Lores or his natural levels to compensate for his lack of decent weapons. Speaking of which...
    • Thank god the stats for the party have been modified to make everyone a bit more balanced. Vaan is no longer the "Master of All" in stats gain and Fran now sports the highest vitality making her much more useful. I initially based my ideas on what classes each character would get based on the old stat knowledge but now I need to rethink some things.
    • The fast forward feature is insane and makes this the fastest battle system in the series.
    • I'm still amazed at how early and how much there is to do before the plot really kicks off. I have three Mark Hunts completed, got access to the Sunstone making quest, already tripped over two other quest lines involving Ktjn the Viera and Jovy the Seeq. I also completed half of the Patient in the Desert Quest and I just got back to Rabanastre after wandering through the Barheim Passage. In a lot of ways, I feel like XII's quests are better integrated and more varied than the game that came afterwards.


    Cons:
    • For an HD Remaster, I'm not noticing much. Granted, visual clarity is something I usually never notice, nor does it bother me. I think the colors look more vibrant but overall the HD treatment doesn't seem to be improving a game that I felt was pretty good looking to begin with.
    • At the moment, the ability to "control" Guest character's Gambits is pretty irrelevant. I know it will change once the real guest characters pop up but at the moment "Amelia" and "Broken Basch" have not exactly shown to me why this was a feature that needed to be implemented.
    • Despite how much stuff unlocks so early in the game, I'm surprised how long it takes to open up Gambits. Was a bit annoyed making Penelo a White Mage only to quickly discover I needed to switch to her as the party leader in order to make any use of it.
    • I'm still hesitant about the idea of making all of the gambits available from the beginning. Some of them are pretty game breaking like the ones that let you use magic to exploit enemy weaknesses if they have them. We'll have to see how this turns out.
    • Zodiac Ages doesn't fix one of my gripes with XII which is the cluttered battle menu screen. I know this is largely just a programming shortcut to make everyone use the same menu, but it's annoying having Vaan and Balthier using pure melee classes with access to Techniks and I still have to bypass four blacked out magic options they can't use to get to them. Would have preferred a cleaner menu screen.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Finally have a full party. I'm suppose to go to the Yensa Sandsea, but I'm stopping to check to see if some other sidequests have opened up yet, and I might grind some loot cause wouldn't you know, all the shops updated.

    Pros:
    • So far I've been impressed with the balance of the Job classes, about the only one that kind of feels like a gamebreaker is the Red Battlemage because holy trout does this class get a great assortment of spells, including all of the Arcana spells, but the amount of great support lores it gets makes it pretty mean. The two that have surprised me the most have been Machinist and Time Battlemage. The Machinist mainly because the class is eerily similar to my own idea of a build I was doing for Balthier in my last playthrough of the vanilla version. Basically the class doesn't learn magic but gets access to most of the Techniks. TB on the other hand is just kind of a surprise because it's not how I imagined the class would work but makes sense in context. Basically the class focuses on Crossbows and Heavy Armor which makes sense to me because Time Magic has few offensive abilities so Magic Gear isn't terribly useful, instead the class is built for survival.
    • Now that I've had some proper guest party members, the Gambit control is more interesting, especially since they have more skills to offer than first thought and they've all been rebalanced so Larsa is no longer MVP of the Guest party members.
    • Even though I absolutely destroyed him with a Quickening Chain, I still have to hand it to Judge Ghis and the Judges in general for having so much scene stealing presence. I was actually quivering with excitement when I finally got to face Ghis despite it turning into a pretty one-sided affair.
    • I think what I love about XII's quests is that so many of them are minor and only available if you bother to talk to NPCs all the time. I did a quest for Pilika (No, not that one) after her Rocktoise Hunt and did a little errand for her that got me a cool accessory and there was no real hooplah for it because it was just a simple chore. If this game had been made today, it would have had some grandiose "YOU'VE ACCEPTED AN IMPORTANT QUEST!" type line and been added to my cluttered quest queue, instead it just a hidden gem you could easily bypass and forget with no ceremony attached to it and it was so simple it would have been insulting to treat it as important. I feel like this is a better way to handle these types of things.
    • I've been hunting some of the Rare Game in this file and it's been a nice challenge for some of them, I even grabbed the Gladius from that Rare Wolf in the Westersand so Vaan has something to look forward to. Despite the game's liberal use of palette swap enemies; their stats, skills, and A.I. make them all feel really different from each other and there are still some cool quirks in this game that really show how completely ahead of it's time the game really was which just makes modern FFs feel poorer in comparison.


    Cons:
    • So far White Mage has been the most disappointing Job Class. It's just kind of boring overall and with the amount of healing magic Red Battlemage gets and the fact Ashe starts with healing magic regardless of her class, poor Penelo is just not seeing a whole lot of action in my game file. Even looking at the optional sections to unlock with Espers later on, the class has fewer options I would actually consider. Course part of the issue here may be due to the fact...
    • ... the Zodiac Age nerfed the difficulty. I'm conflicted about the secondary jobs because I love the idea of new min/max but concerned how game breaking it's going to be since my party is having no problem wiping the floor with most things thrown at them.
    • I miss the Sky Pirates Den. I wish they had kept it cause it was a cool little trophy room that feels more impressive than just going to your actual trophy screen and seeing a list.
    • For a game with so many airships, sky pirates, and actually getting a hold of an airship ridiculously early, it's kind of sad how useless it all is with teleporters and just going on foot being more useful. No wonder people miss the Seven Sisters quest, you have to actually use airships to unlock it and most players wouldn't need to bother.

  14. #14
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    About to fight Garuda and enter Raithwall's Tomb.

    Pros:
    • I think my favorite thing about the class system is that I really get to test out the various magic and skills in the game I probably wouldn't bother with. I actually have each character set up with various gambit options that take advantage of any ability they may have. This leaves Basch and Vaan currently stuck as status effect healers since most of their skills are buried behind a wall of Accessory and Equipment Licenses I'm likely not going to grind through for awhile, but it's been interesting seeing which time magic works on enemies and how useful certain skills like Horology can be.
    • There are some seriously good accessories lying around the Yensa Sandsea.I don't remember getting the Double License Points/XP accessories this early.
    • While the treasure chest system is not my preferred method, I appreciate the fact the chests seem to drop the good item the first time around.
    • I still like the Urhtan Eater Quest, was interesting to get a Mark Hunt mid-dungeon and the lore with the Urhtan is pretty interesting.
    • Now that I have Cura, Penelo is much more useful.
    • Oh hey, the game lets you save before the Garuda fight now, how quaint.


    Cons:
    • As I feared, early access to the Elemental Weak/Vulnerable Gambits makes offensive mages game breakers. Seriously, if it wasn't for the Salamander Elemental wandering around the map, Fran would be destroying almost everything before my party got a chance to reach it.
    • I don't even feel like I've been seriously trying to grind here but I feel way overpowered for this part of the game. I remember the Sandsea kind of being a "Grind Stage" where it was purposely made long to force you to gain a few levels before the game knocks the difficulty up a bit but I am destroying things left and right here. I'm starting to look forward to the Lv. 1 Only Game you can unlock cause it may finally give this game back it's teeth.
    • Oi, I started unlocking the second tier Quickenings and it just dawns on me that I'll eventually get access to a second board. Why this is an issue is because these skills sometimes block access to useful skills, so I should be waiting for the second board to appear to get a better assessment of which board I should unlock the skill on in case it's blocking access to something useful.

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    • There are some seriously good accessories lying around the Yensa Sandsea.I don't remember getting the Double License Points/XP accessories this early.
    • While the treasure chest system is not my preferred method, I appreciate the fact the chests seem to drop the good item the first time around.
    This is probably one of my favorite changes about the Zodiac versions. Seeking out treasures especially in optional dungeons feels so rewarding now because you actually find useful stuff a lot of the time, including all sorts of accessories, magicks and technicks.

    • As I feared, early access to the Elemental Weak/Vulnerable Gambits makes offensive mages game breakers. Seriously, if it wasn't for the Salamander Elemental wandering around the map, Fran would be destroying almost everything before my party got a chance to reach it.
    • I don't even feel like I've been seriously trying to grind here but I feel way overpowered for this part of the game. I remember the Sandsea kind of being a "Grind Stage" where it was purposely made long to force you to gain a few levels before the game knocks the difficulty up a bit but I am destroying things left and right here. I'm starting to look forward to the Lv. 1 Only Game you can unlock cause it may finally give this game back it's teeth.
    Not sure how much of that is really up to the gambits or more that this is kinda the "tutorial stage" on AoE Black Magic casting. If you have the Cherry Staff you're using the first AoE Black Magic spell in the game (Aero) with the Wind-boosting staff, in Wind-boosting weather, against tons of Wind-weak enemies. Pretty sure it's not a coincidence that all those things play together at the same time here.

    Though I do agree that the difficulty is pretty extremely chill, mostly. The biggest challenges in the game really come from trying to tackle some of those optional areas as soon as you can (and most likely end up getting your ass kicked). It's an unfortunate side effect that doing so will give you gear, spells and levels that all make the main game pretty much trivial. Still, doing stuff like Barheim Passage, Zertinan Caverns, Garamsythe Waterways and the Necrohol of Nabudis as soon as is remotely reasonable makes for some interesting fights and party management challenges.

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