After Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, and X-2, Final Fantasy XII is the latest title in the long-running role-playing game franchise to hit the Nintendo Switch. Dubbed as Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, it brings a host of improvements to an already solid experience. However, when you consider how barebones recent Final Fantasy entries have on the Nintendo Switch, is Final Fantasy XII worth the price of entry? We tell you.
First up, Final Fantasy XII on the Nintendo Switch is good looking game. Be it in handheld mode or docked, it's great to look at. It looks clean for most part, and there are no signs of the jagged edges and blurriness of the PS2 version. While there's slight blurriness in handheld mode, it does little to take away from the action.
From arid badlands to grand cities, Final Fantasy XII's environments are solid. Despite being over a decade old, Iconic vistas such as the dusty streets of Rabanastre and the floating town of Bhujerba don't look out of place thanks to the art direction. It also addresses some of our biggest concerns with Final Fantasy XII on PS4, with little disparity between facial details of its many characters in cut-scenes or in-game.
Even its many open-world areas hold up well with a steady frame rate regardless of playing it on the go or on a screen. As for the frame-rate itself, at 30fps, it's similar to what Final Fantasy X and X-2 Remaster had.
The combat in Final Fantasy XII, however, differs dramatically from Final Fantasy X and X-2. This one follows a rather realistic approach where you see your enemies on screen and fight them in actual game context, in contrast to prior entries where battles were mostly random, turn-based affairs. Added to this are Gambits, an automated set of actions for each of your characters during battle. Suppose you want to be healed every time your health goes down by seventy percent, all you have to do is set the required Gambit.
This is of course, nowhere close to the quick real-time approach we've seen in Final Fantasy XV, but Final Fantasy XII holds its own. You have a slew of options to wage war on your terms and this freedom makes it a joy to play.
Interestingly, Final Fantasy XII on the Nintendo Switch comes with two pivotal new features — License Board resets and Gambit sets. The former lets you swap your characters' classes which were permanent in past versions while the latter lets you swap between three Gambits on the fly. These come in handy when you have to improvise your strategies against different boss enemies without having to worry about resetting your Gambits to their default state at the end of a battle.
These two features are absent from the PS4 and PC versions of the game. Considering Square Enix's lack of feature parity for its Final Fantasy games across platforms, the chance of them showing up elsewhere is pretty slim.
One element that's the same across platforms is the plot. You'll control a ragtag group that's set out to free the country of Dalmasca from the clutches of the Archadian Empire, which took it over by force. Along the way you'll discover the motivations of your likeable cast such as Basch, a disgraced knight of Dalmasca; pirate Balthier who appears to be the Final Fantasy equivalent of Han Solo; and his partner, the rabbitlike Fran.
It's an interesting tale told on a grand scale replete with political intrigue and scheming aplenty. Final Fantasy XII's story was good on the PS2 and holds up extremely well even on the Nintendo Switch.
Our only grouse is how fast it eats through the Nintendo Switch's battery. 30 minute sessions of Final Fantasy XII saw us lose around 15 percent which is a lot considering that it's a remaster with some new features. And if you're buying it on cartridge, there's no additional download required to play it, unlike Final Fantasy X and X-2 and Mortal Kombat 11 on the Nintendo Switch. Everything you need is on the cartridge itself.
Final Fantasy XII is a welcome departure from the lacklustre Nintendo Switch ports of past Final Fantasy games. There's enough in way of gameplay changes to justify picking it up while the story remains as good as ever. If you own a Nintendo Switch, this is one Final Fantasy game you have to play.
Rating (out of 10): 9
Gadgets 360 played a review copy of Final Fantasy XII on the Nintendo Switch. The game is out now for Rs. 1,999 at retail ($50 on the Nintendo eShop).
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