Final Fantasy XII is the twelfth iteration of Square Enix's flagship roleplaying series for the PlayStation 2 and was released on October 31, 2006, five years after Final Fantasy X. It was the last game in the main franchise to come out on the PS2. In June 2016 Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a HD remaster of the International Zodiac Job System version of the game due to be released in 2017.
The game takes place the world of Ivalice, which fans of the franchise will recognize from Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics. The limits have been pushed on Sony’s console to deliver a true and genuine experience with a lot of new features that are firsts for the series.
This installment offers a deep storyline with beautifully rendered cutscenes that can completely immerse the player into the world of Ivalice. The immense amount of content can easily add up to over 100 hours of gameplay with a diverse set of side-quests and challenges for the player to complete.
The story of Final Fantasy XII places emphasis on political intrigue — a common theme in the other games set in Ivalice — that places the player's characters in the center of a much wider conflict of saving Dalmasca from the corrupt and power-hungry leaders of the Archadian army.
The gameplay has seen substantial changes from past iterations, borrowing some mechanics from its online game Final Fantasy XI. Instead of fighting random encounters, players have have the ability to run around freely and see their enemies roaming the horizon in real-time, picking and choosing which ones they'll fight. The game revolves around the Active Time Battle turn-based system with timed bars filling up for each character's next action. Most combat can happen automatically using the gambit system, but a more traditional menu can also be brought such that players can choose from a variety of actions, including Magicks, Technicks, Items, and Mist attacks.
New to Final Fantasy XII is the addition of the Gambit System. Instead of having to stop the action every 5 seconds or so to micromanage each of your teammates, players are given the option to use Gambits. Through this system you give specific commands to each teammate that activate under certain if-then conditions. For example if the player wants to make a character primarily a healer, they would give them the gambit “Ally: HP < 50%“ and the action associated with it would be the Cure spell. Players can then rank each gambit in order of importance, such that if there are no allies whose HP has fallen below 50%, the party member would move to the next gambit “Foe: Nearest” with the command of attack. As a result, combat in the game is about strategically scripting a series of Gambits rather than micro-mangaging the individual behavior of each party member.
Gambits are unlockable, and while many can be bought at a store, rare ones are often found in chests around the world of Ivalice. While any action players can command their allies to do (such as any magic, ability, or item you have in your inventory) will always be available, it’s the conditions in which these can be used that need to be unlocked. The power of the gambit system comes from the fact that a player can turn any character into any class they choose. This goes hand in hand with the new license board as well, where players can unlock licenses to unlock new attacks, weapons, spells, etc.
Players have the ability to turn all gambits off if they so choose. This turns the battle system into a more traditional turn-based combat system where players are choosing character actions every turn.
Also new to Final Fantasy XII is the License Board. Somewhat like the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X, players unlock the ability to use different magic techniques, perks (such as 10% less MP costs, or more status effects curable by a remedy), different forms of armor and weapons, and also Quickenings.
License points are gained by defeating enemies. The harder the enemy, the more points players will get per kill. It is also possible to obtain items that increase the amount of license points gained from each kill.
Quickenings—which are are essentially the "Limit Breaks" of Final Fantasy XII—are all located on the outskirts of the board. They add an extra bar to the characters mana bar in game, with the new bars increasing the base amount of MP the character has (for example, if Vaan unlocks 1 Quickening and currently has 50 MP, he will now have 100 MP. If he unlocks another, he'll have 150 MP total.). Each character can only unlock 3 Quickenings, and then the rest are erased from their version of the board. Thus, because the Quickenings are so desirable, there is a perhaps an unwanted side-effect of the Licenses Board because rushing towards the Quickenings means unlocking licenses to equipment that the player wouldn’t even come near to obtaining until extremely late in the game.
Espers are the name of the Summons in Final Fantasy XII. Players will gain a few from the main story; most are acquired by defeating them and the rest are found by side quests and exploration. Once players obtain summons they have to learn them on the license board before they can be used. Each summon can only be learned by one character.
Final Fantasy XII takes place mostly in the kingdom known as Dalmasca, a small city-state in the fantastical world of Ivalice. A neutral party in the past wars between its two neighboring kingdoms of Archadia and Rosaria, Dalmasca was ultimately conquered by the ruthless Archadia and reduced to the status of an occupied state under Archadian rule.
At the beginning of the game Vaan, a young street dweller living in the Dalmascan capital of Rabanastre, is stealing some treasure from the Archadian Consul's residence in the old royal castle of Dalmasca. While plundering the castle's safe Vaan meets the dashing Balthier, a sky pirate set on stealing all the Consul's treasures, and his companion Fran, a fierce Viera warrior. By sheer coincidence the rebel Dalmascan resistance movement attacks the castle on the same time, to defeat the Archadian Consul. Vaan's looting gets revealed and he, Fran and Balthier are pursued by Archadian soldiers, along with the insurgents storming the castle, making them seem to be involved in the attack. This eventually brings the three face to face with Ashe, the usurped princess of Dalmasca and now the leader of the resistance group.
Balthier, Vaan and Fran are sent to a dungeon from where they promptly escape bringing with them Basch, who had been held captive in the dungeon since the war. Headhunters looking for Balthier kidnap Vaan's childhood friend Penelo in the hopes that Balthier will try to free her. Together, the team head to sky city of Bhujerba to free Penelo and meet Larsa in their adventures there. Larsa is shockingly revealed to be a royal heir, the second in line for the throne of Archadia. He helps the party rescue Penelo and later keeps her and the party safe from hostile Archadian troops. At Bhujerba the party meets Ashe again and she humbly requests Balthier's help to retrieve a proof of her royal lineage - the Dawn Shard.
The party heads to the ancient Dynast King's Tomb to retrieve the Dawn Shard and gets captured by Judge Ghis as soon as they do so. A large, mysterious explosion provides opportunity for the party to make their escape. During their escape they realize, to their dismay, that Judge Ghis's Ship and the entire Archadian 8th fleet was destroyed by the immense power of the Dawn Shard, which is composed of a strange substance called Nethicite . Bent on wielding that power to free Dalmasca and avenge her fallen comrades, Ashe heads to a place where she can learn more about the Stone's power. By chance they meet Larsa again, who persuades them to join him and another mysterious enemy / ally at Mt. Bur-Omisace to plan on how to stop the imminent war.
Disgraced by the 8th fleet's destruction, Vayne is called back to Archadia and starts suspecting that his father and the Archadian Senate will bypass him for King, giving the throne to his brother Larsa instead. Unwilling to risk being bypassed to the throne Vayne brutally murders his father and dissolves the Senate and immediately sends a ship to Mt. Bur-Omisace to capture the Dawn Shard from Ashe. His envoy, Judge Bergan, arrives too late: Ashe and Larsa heard of the events and Ashe has obtained the Sword of Kings, while Larsa goes back to Archadia in haste. An enraged Bergan kills the holy man Gran Kiltias Anastasis and bombs Mt. Bur Omisace but is unable to get the shard or the sword.
Ashe and her party decide it is time to destroy all the Nethicite available in Ivalice and head to Draklor Labs in the heart of the Archadian Empire, where the last shard is, to destroy it and the lab where Dr. Cid is successfully using what he has learned from that Nethicite shard to manufacture dangerous artificial Nethicite (Manufacted Nethicite).
They are unsuccessful in destroying the Nethicite in Draklor Labs, and are instead left with information pointing them to the ancient city of Giruvegan. Dr. Cid is supposedly going there to retrieve more Deifacted (god made) Nethicite. The party enters the city and fights to the center of the Great Crystal, an incredibly large and powerful piece of Nethicite in which the Occurians live. There, the history of Raithwall and Nethicite is revealed. Ashe is given the magical Treaty Blade so that she can carve out additional pieces of Deifacted Nethicite in order to achieve greater power. She is told to destroy the Archadian Empire. Ashe is conflicted as to her course of action as she does not want to destroy Larsa and other innocent Archadians.
Ashe and the party leave Giruvegan with the knowledge that Dr. Cid has used them to retrieve the Treaty Blade, and had no intention of travelling to Giruvegan. They return to the port of Balfonheim and meet with a pirate named Reddas joins the party to travel to Ridorana Cataract, where the Sun Cryst is housed in the lighthouse at Pharos. In the lighthouse Ashe realizes that all of the appearances of Lord Rassler (her late husband) are images constructed by the Occurians. Judge Gabranth arrives and fights the party. Upon his defeat, Dr. Cid appears and banishes him back to the fleet. Cid wants to use the power of the Sun Cryst to make himself a God before Ashe destroys it. Upon defeating Dr. Cid, the Sun Cryst begins generating so much power that there is no way that the party could survive, until Reddas sacrifices himself to destroy the Sun Cryst with the Sword of Kings.
Vaan's party travel back to Balfonheim and learn that the discharge of power activated the largest airship ever built, Bahamut, and the resistance armies have staged a battle in the skies above Rabanastre. They travel to Bahamut to land and kill Vayne before he can destroy the country of Dalmasca, and all of the ships in the fleet. Before they can reach Vayne, Gabranth arrives to stop them. This time, Gabranth appears to have given up everything except his need to destroy his own brother. The party defeats Gabranth and leave him beaten in the elevator. Vayne attacks, and Larsa courageously helps the party to fight him. As Vayne is beaten down, his manufacted Nethicite sucks power from Larsa, and the ship around him. Gabranth joins the attack against Vayne, but is struck down, just as Vayne loses his greater power. The rogue Occuria Venat joins with Vayne granting him more power, and the party once again attacks him, winning this time.
The game concludes with Dalmasca being freed from the wrath of Archadia and Ashe having her rightful place restored as princess.
Early on in the game the player is introduced to the Clan Centurio, the monster hunter guild led by Montblanc the moogle, a recognizable character From Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Upon becoming a member, the ability to take on monster hunts is opened up. These hunts can be discovered through posters in the various towns, or through other members of the guild. Completing the first hunt is mandatory (The Rogue Tomato) as part of the main storyline, but once this is completed the player can pursue or ignore the hunts at their discretion.
Later you can encounter a group that will let you take on much more rare hunts. While not essential for finishing the game, some of the quests tie up loose plot strands that would otherwise go unresolved.
Yiazmat is the Ultimate Elite Mark in Final Fantasy XII, the final Monster Hunt in the Hunting Club. It is considered to be one of the toughest optional bosses in the Final Fantasy series, and the fight against it usually takes hours to win, even with the player's party at the highest levels and using the best equipment. Yiazmat has over 50 million hit points; the highest of any enemy combatant in the entire Final Fantasy series. Defeating Yiazmat is necessary in creating one of the strongest swords in the game.
Strengths: 50% protection from all elements except Holy (absorbed)
Drop/Reward: 30,000 Gil; Godslayer's Badge
Steal: Holy Stone; Holy Magicite; Holy Crystal
Location: Ridorana Cataracts - Colosseum
Hunt Petitioner: Montblanc - Rabanastre Clan Hall
Cost: 65,535 Gil; selling Lu Shang's Badge, Omega Badge, and Godslayer's Badge to Bazaar
The Barheim Passage
After the completion of several, low level mark hunts, the player has the option of undertaking a side-quest to obtain the Barheim Key and, subsequently, a powerful, rare single handed weapon. The majority of the quest takes place in the Dalmasca Estersand, an area just outside of Rabanastre, and involves various fetch quests revolving around the medical treatment of a 'traveler'. The end result is the Barheim Key, allowing access to a high level weapon drop.
The fishing mini-game becomes available after the player visits the Draklor Laboratories area in the main plot. For its full benefits to be available several mark hunts have to be completed as well as the Barheim side-quest. It consists of a very basic button memory game, with six opportunities to catch a bottle or fish. As you progress through the five areas, increasingly valuable rewards are earned. The ultimate reward is the Lu-Shang Badge, a key component of the, statistically, most powerful weapon in the game.
Rare Monsters Sidequest
Within the hundreds of regular monsters running around the world of Ivalice, there are 80 Rare monsters for the player to search out as part of the Phon Coast Hunter's Camp side-quest. Each of these monsters requires specific conditions to be met for the monster to appear in their respective areas. These range from the sex of the party members to the length of the player's kill chain. After their defeat, each monster drops a trophy for the player to bring back to the Hunter's Camp for confirmation of their kill. However, only 30 of the 80 Rare monsters have trophies to collect.
Some of these monsters also drop or have stealable rare items, items that don't appear anywhere else. Such examples include Scarletite (crucial to obtaining the Tournesol sword) and Adamantite (for the Ultima Blade).
For the first time in all of the main Final Fantasy games, Nobuo Uematsu was not the composer of the soundtrack (though he did contribute the opening theme). Instead, Hitoshi Sakimoto composed the score. The soundtrack was sold as a four disc boxed set and released in 2006.
- Name: Final Fantasy XII Original Sound Track
- Total length: 4:54:29
|02||FINAL FANTASY ~FFXII Version~||1:17|
|03||Opening Movie (Theme of FINAL FANTASY XII)||6:57|
|08||A Small Happiness||0:08|
|09||The Royal City of Rabanastre / Town Ward Upper Stratum||5:28|
|11||The Dream to be a Sky Pirate||0:35|
|13||The Dalmasca Eastersand||4:03|
|16||Coexistence (Imperial Version)||2:48|
|17||Signs of Change||2:21|
|22||The Dalmasca Wasteland||1:34|
|24||A Small Bargain||0:09|
|26||Separation with Penelo||0:31|
|27||The Garamsythe Waterway||2:55|
|30||Nalbina Fortress Town Ward||2:22|
|01||The Princess' Vision||3:19|
|02||Clash of Swords||2:35|
|03||Victory Fanfare ~FFXII Version~||0:29|
|05||Dark Clouds )Imperial Version)||2:00|
|06||A Promise with Balthier||0:37|
|08||Nalbina Fortress Underground Prison||4:35|
|11||Theme of the Empire||7:50|
|12||Chocobo FFXII Arrange Ver. 1||2:49|
|13||The Barheim Passage||3:51|
|14||Sorrow (Liberation Army Version)||3:36|
|16||Coexistance (Liberation Army Version)||2:50|
|17||The Skycity of Bhujerba||3:48|
|18||The Secret of Nethecite||3:24|
|19||Dark Night (Imperial Version)||2:00|
|21||The Dreadnought Leviathan Bridge||3:54|
|22||Challenging the Empire||3:19|
|23||State of Emergency||3:16|
|24||Upheaval (Imperial Version)||3:13|
|25||The Tomb of Raithwall||3:36|
|03||Sorrow (Imperial Version)||2:49|
|06||Jahara, Land of the Garif||4:59|
|08||The Golmore Jungle||3:50|
|10||You're Really a Child...||0:013|
|11||Chocobo ~FFXII Version~||2:04|
|12||An Imminent Threat||2:45|
|13||Clash on the Big Bridge ~FFXII Version~||2:46|
|15||The Stilshrine of Miriam||3:24|
|16||Time for a Rest||2:10|
|19||The Phon Coast||3:59|
|21||The Sochen Cave Palace||3:39|
|22||A Moment's Rest||4:32|
|23||Near the Water||3:12|
|24||The Mosphoran Highwaste||2:50|
|01||The Cerobi Steppe||3:13|
|03||The Port of Balfonheim||2:14|
|05||The Zertinan Caverns||3:23|
|06||A Land of Memories||4:01|
|07||The Forgotten Capital||4:16|
|11||To the Place of the Gods||3:24|
|12||The Beginning of the End||3:37|
|13||To the Peak||1:50|
|14||The Sky Fortress Bahamut||3:22|
|16||The Battle for Freedom||8:52|
|17||The End of the Battle||1:14|
|19||Kiss Me Good-Bye -features in FINAL FANTASY XII-||4:59|
|20||Synphonic Poem "Hope" ~FINAL FANTASY XII PV ver.~||3:55|
|21||Theme of FINAL FANTASY XII (Production Announcement Version)||3:06|
International Zodiac Job System
The game has a English vocal track while maintaining the Japanese text. The game can be "fast-forward" by pressing the L1 button, and can go back to normal speed by pressing L1 again. Another new addition are the new mob hunts which contains monsters stronger than Yiazmat (the strongest monster of Final Fantasy XII). More changes to the game is the ability to control not only guest characters but also summons this time around. From the start, all guests are fully playable and stay that way until they leave due to story reasons. As for Gambits, there is a total of 16 new Gambits and ALL of them can be bought from the start of the game. In terms of battle, the game no longer uses MP for Mist Quickening attacks but rather uses a Mist Quickening charge system.
Another change in the battle is the break of the damage limit. From the start, all characters can break the damage limit at no cost which in turn makes the game much easier combined with the chaining of Mist Quickenings. A good player can easily continue to chain Mist Quickenings in a single turn, which leads to high amounts of damage from the start of the game. Because Mist Quickenings no longer use MP, it is only fair that they no longer double the MP of the character when obtained. MP is now raised via leveling rather than obtaining Mist Quickenings on the License Board. The game also contains Trial Mode, New Game Weak Mode, and New Game Strong Mode.
- Trial Mode - 100 stages of non-stop battles in which the player must use tactical strengths to get to the final boss.
- Weak Mode - All characters are at level 99 and never have the need to level up. Hence the naming "Weak Mode".
- Strong Mode - All characters are at level 1 and cannot level. The player must find ways of completing the game with low health and lack of base stat increases.
Final Fantasy XII: IZJS also contains the same Final Fantasy History disc which was included in the North American Collector's Edition of Final Fantasy XII.
At the start of the game, the player MUST choose a Job Class for every character or else they aren't allowed to use the ability grid. Once a Job Class is selected for a character, it cannot be changed and no two characters are allowed to have the same Job Class. Thus, it is important that the player find a good mix of Job Classes to survive both the Trial Mode and Strong Mode.
Partaking as the ranged class in IZJS, the Archer can also use light armor. The Archer cannot use any magic but rather specializes in abilities that are both passive and battle-ready. One might ask why the Archer has MP when it doesn't use magic...the answer is the Summon cost.
The "nuker" of the party. The Black Mage's ability grid is loaded with MP Boosts and strong Black Magic. The Black Mage is given some of the most powerful abilities in the game and one of the highest MP boosts in the game.
The pure powerhouse and speed in the game. The Breaker carries the great axes while having higher speed and damage than most characters. The draw back is some of it's abilities can backfire and ruin the party at tight spots.
Shikari or Hunter
The Shikari can be seen as being one of the fastest characters in the game with a high DPS. The major drawback of this Job Class is the length it takes to get to the stronger abilities. The Shikari has the ability to obtain Green Magic also, but it requires more AP than it's worth. It's also worth noting that most Shikari obtain Green Magic in the late game and become useless...as Red Mages do a far better job.
Loyal to the end, Knights are the protectors of the party. They are the best tanks in this game and can take in almost twice the party's total HP before the class even begins to sweat. To reward the Knight of his services he's given the strongest weapons in the game but also some fairly weak White Magic to support. It should be recommended that the player NOT use the Knight's White Magic as both the Red and White Mage can do a much better job at no cost.
Can be seen as a "Red Mage" of range. Machinists get a range of all "advanced" weapons. From the start, they can use Guns and can provide to be very damaging. However, overtime their use can be seen as a liability as many other classes can do much more with less work. Even getting the Machinist's final tier Green Magic isn't worth it at the end...considering the AP cost and time to obtain it. One major advantage to the Machinist is the ability to steal items on the fly from enemies.
Fast, powerful, and access to powerful White Magic...maybe would see the IZJS version of Monk a blessing. For the most part it is. It's one of the most powerful characters with access to ALL Battle Lores, making it highly sought over in combat. However, with great power comes a great cost...the Monk cannot burn MP as well as the White Mage nor is it very effective against aerial targets. Late game, the Monk like some other classes...can be seen as a liability rather than an asset. However, good players often handle the Monk quite well in the Trial Mode.
Red Mage - Leo
Personal favorite of many Final Fantasy fans, the Red Mage can be seen as the jack-of-all-trades in the Final Fantasy Lore. This is also true in IZJS as the Red Mage can obtain every color spell in the game, obtain decent weapons, and armor. A must have for any party, the Red Mage can adapt to any role on the fly making it ideal for dynamic fights in late game and in Trial Mode.
Holding the Katana, the Samurai has the highest DPS in the game while also having some of the strongest weapons. The wielder of the Masamune does have some major drawbacks. The Samurai has no magic and can be taken down by a few well placed shots. This Job Class is often difficult without a Knight to take the damage from attackers. However, with a strong supportive and defensive team, the Samurai can be the major damage dealer of the game.
Green Mage or Time Mage
Holders of the most powerful Time Magic, these classes have often been replaced by White Mages and Red Mages. Surprisingly, they aren't much of a liability in this game. For one, they are the only Mage Class to hold heavy armor and fairly strong weapons. They can also be used to Buff or De-Buff while the action is going. Overall, not a bad choice to have if you don't feel the need of a Red Mage.
Uhlan or Lancer
The Job Class with a spear weapon, the Uhlan is a great substitute for a Knight. The Uhlan can be given more powerful spells while having a stronger attack power. However, like all Job Classes, the Uhlan does have drawbacks. First, the Uhlan cannot carry a shield which makes it pretty useless as a tank. It also cannot take damage as well as a Knight which will result in other Classes helping out. Finally, the Magic from a Uhlan can be done by a real Mage without much problem...but hey, he has a LANCE!
The healer, the savior, and/or the priest of the party. Pretty much every time you start up a new game, this should be a primary class to pick. Contains not only the strongest healing magic in the game but also one of the most powerful spells period. The White Magic is the only class to be given Holy and rightfully so. However, the major drawbacks for this class are simple. First, it will die very quickly. Second, if the White Mage cannot cast magic, the party will be in trouble unless a Red Mage can temporary take over. Finally, many consider the White Mage's ability grid to have some of the most useless abilities for the class. There's a lot of filler to go through for this class...so expect a lot of grinding.