developer: Square-Enix / Eidos
publisher: Square-Enix / Eidos
Game mode: single player
game language: Japanese
game release date for PS2:
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System on PlayStation 2 is a special and extended version of Final Fantasy XII, the twelfth installment of the world's most popular jRPG series. The title was created by Square Enix, which was established in 2003 as a result of a merger of two distinguished Japanese development studios, Square and Enix. Preparations for the game's production started in 2000. Initially, the development team was supervised by Yasumi Matsuno, responsible for the Final Fantasy Tactics series, and Hiroyuki Ito, responsible for Final Fantasy IX. Matsuno had to resign from his position due to his health problems, but it was thanks to him that the game was set in the world of Ivalice, the same world known from the previous games of this creator - Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions and Vagrant Story. Even at the conceptual stage, the developers decided to introduce drastic changes to the classic jRPG formula, the combat and character development system. They made Final Fantasy XII one of the most unique representatives of the series. International Zodiac Job System was released only in Japan more than a year after the original premiere of Final Fantasy XII. The extended version contains many fixes and completely new gameplay elements.
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System takes place in the world called Ivalice, long before the events presented in the original Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, in an era in which the sky was crossed by majestic aircraft and magic was found everywhere. Rozarria and Archadia, powerful empires spanning two opposite continents, are the dominant political forces in Ivalice and they are at war. Between these nations lies the small kingdom of Dalmasca, which is occupied by the Archadia army. The main protagonist of the game is 17-year-old Vaan living in Rabanastre, the capital of occupied Dalmaska. The boy is an orphan and a street thief dreaming of a career as a pirate. As a result of a coincidence, he meets Princess Ashe, the leader of the local resistance movement, as well as a couple of pirates, who also plan to steal from the city's administrator appointed by Archadia. Soon, together with them and his close friend Penelo, he sets off on a long journey in which the fate of the world is at stake.
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System introduces completely new elements to the series. We observe the action from the third-person perspective. We explore large and often open three-dimensional locations as one of the characters. Your party can consist of up to six characters, but there are only three on the map at the same time. The title does not use the random encounter system. Also, unlike other Final Fantasy games, the fights don't take place on separate arenas. Players attack enemies directly on the world map. The fights take place in real time, but there is an active pause option so that we can easily give orders to the heroes, choosing them from the pop-up menu.
The game also features a unique Gambit system - we can program the artificial intelligence of heroes, controlling their behavior in various specific situations. The skill system is equally interesting - each character has a chessboard-like map, the so-called License, where we spend experience points on new skills. They allow us to use specific abilities and spells, but also elements of equipment (weapons, armour, items, etc.) so that we can freely shape the fighting style and the role of characters on the battlefield. It is worth noting that International Zodiac Job System significantly modifies this aspect of the game. Instead of a single License board which is the same for each hero, we get twelve different types of Licenses, referencing the classic classes of characters from Final Fantasy games such as a Black or White Mage.
International Zodiac Job System also offers three new gameplay modes. New Game Plus allows us to start the game anew, preserving our experience and equipment. In New Game Minus we start the game from scratch, but this time we don't gain any experience. Challenge mode allows us to hunt monsters on more than a hundred different maps.
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System remains one of the best looking titles on PlayStation 2 and one of the most interesting Final Fantasy games in artistic terms. The designers were inspired by the architecture and art of the Mediterranean countries, offering an interesting mix of influences from different cultures and historical periods. Character models, extensive locations and animations are all of the highest quality. In the background, we can hear the soundtrack produced by Hitoshi Sakimoto (the author of soundtracks for games such as Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, Odin Sphere, Dragon's Crown and the Valkyria Chronicles series). The developers of the International Zodiac Job System have offered gamers an improved interface design as well as support for 16:9 screen resolution.
age requirements: 16+
Sony PlayStation 2
Uses: memory card 8 MB