Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Game Poster Image
Excellent remake of older classic adds many new features.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

All about fighting for freedom, but focus on combat to achieve your goal limits positivity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Your party of characters seem like good people who want to free their country from oppressive rule, but they use weapons, magic to defeat human enemies, magical creatures.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence

Some violence, mild blood, combat against enemies (human, nonhuman) using weapons like swords, firearms, magic attacks. Some violent imagery in non-playable sequences, too, including a character impaled in chest, another one stabbed to death.

Sex

Some female characters wear revealing clothing, whether it's showing cleavage (including cut-scene sequences) or exposing part of their buttocks.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG). This is the latest installment in the popular franchise. Combat is against enemy soldiers and magical creatures (such as skeletons and dragons), using weapons ranging from swords to guns to devastating magic attacks. There's some blood and a few noninteractive scenes that depict violence (including deceased fighters with arrows or knives stuck in their chest). Some women show cleavage and buttocks.

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What's it about?

FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE is a remastered version of the 2006 PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy XII. The story takes us back to the land of Ivalice, where a small kingdom named Dalmasca was conquered by the evil Archadian Empire. Princess Ashe vows to liberate her fallen country, with the help of Vaan, a young fighter out to avenge his family decimated by the war, among other allies the duo meet along the way. Now in high-definition and with support for 7.1 surround sound, the revamped single-player role-playing game (RPG) also features many gameplay enhancements, including a tweaked turn-based battle mechanic, revamped Zodiac Job system and Licensed Board (offering deeper customization options for leveling up), a new Trial mode (take on enemies in up to 100 consecutive battles), Speed mode (travel faster between areas), mini-games and side challenges (including Hunts), PS4 Trophy support, and share functionality.

Is it any good?

This excellent adventure is great for players who may have missed the original but are eager for a great role-playing game. From the engaging battles (between your party and enemies large and small) to the hunting options, from the deep progression system (that has you choosing jobs and skill upgrades for your party of characters) to the great-looking visuals (if you can forgive lip-synching that doesn't always match up), this epic journey looks, sounds, and plays like a fresh game, not just a dressed-up version of a previously released PS2 title.

Supported by a new voice track and cut-scenes, character interaction and plot development add meaning to your frequent battles, though some of the dialogue is trite or confusing (or both). It's the fighting -- including a programmable Gambit system to tell characters what to do in specific situations -- and the character leveling that will keep you glued to the game, not to mention the new modes (like Trial) that add a lot more gameplay to the mix. There are also some lesser known features, like the ability to toggle between the original and newly record orchestral versions of the soundtrack. Despite a few small niggles, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a fantastic Japanese RPG to boot up on your PS4, whether you've got a soft spot for the original or are new to the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about female representation in video games. Did this game need to show women dressed suggestively? Women can fight alongside men as equals (and the story involves a powerful princess), but why are they showing so much skin? Is this to appease a mostly male audience? Will younger female players think they need to dress this way? Or is it not a problem -- even among women gamers?

  • Talk about the morality of the game world, and how it deals with issues such as ethics, trust, and loyalty. How are these issues handled in the game? Are they similar to or different from the same issues in the real world?

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