Fun fact: Now that Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has been ported to PC, every single main series Final Fantasy game can now be played on a single system (well, Final Fantasy XV won’t be available until March, but that’s not far off). That’s great and all, but that wouldn’t really mean much if the PC version wasn’t any good, and sadly that is the case with some Final Fantasy games on PC, such as Final Fantasy V and VI with their questionable art style. For Final Fantasy XII, though, the PC version of the Zodiac Age remaster is not just good – it’s the best version of Final Fantasy XII that has ever been released.
First, a little history. The Zodiac Age is the second upgraded version of 2006’s Final Fantasy XII, the first being the Japan-only PS2 upgraded re-release with the subtitle “International Zodiac Job System.” Last year, a HD remaster of that version of Final Fantasy XII was released on PS4, with all of the added features, including the ability to speed the game up and, of course, the zodiac job system. Now that version has been ported to the PC with a few more upgrades that make it the definitive version.
The most notable improvement is the FPS boost from 30 to 60 FPS. The game is set to cap at 30 FPS by default, so be sure to change that option to 60 in the settings. If this is your first time playing Final Fantasy XII, you may not notice the improvement, but if you’re coming off of the PS2 or PS4 version, this is something that will definitely catch your eye. I just recently played through the PS4 version, and although the game looks and runs perfectly fine at 30 FPS, I was pretty amazed by how good it looks at 60. There were no noticeable dips during combat or cutscenes either. You may be familiar with Square Enix’s botched launch of the PS4 version of Kingdom Hearts I and II where the jump from 30 to 60 FPS caused some unintentional bugs (some enemies’ attacks would act quicker than they should). Thankfully, these issues seem to be non-existent in the PC version of Final Fantasy XII.
Another visual upgrade to mention is that the game supports 21:9 ultrawide monitors. It’s not a feature that I was able to test out personally, but it’s good to know that the option is there for those who can take advantage of it. It should be noted that cutscenes haven’t been updated to support this, and will show the usual black bars on the sides of the screen.
The Zodiac Age also features mouse and keyboard support on PC, too. I can’t say that I really liked playing with a mouse and keyboard though. While the game plays more like an action RPG than a majority of Final Fantasy games, it isn’t as active as, for example, Final Fantasy XIV or XV, and you’ll still be navigating menus very frequently. Fumbling around the keyboard interface when just trying to input a simple menu command can be super tedious. It’s something that you might be able to get used to, but I’d definitely recommend playing with a controller. And Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age actually has native PS4 controller support, so it’s very easy to play the game with a controller that it was originally designed for. Xbox controllers work great too. Just be sure to switch the confirm button from the default option of the B button to the A button.
There is one last noticeable difference in the PC version, which is that the New Game+ and New Game- modes are available as soon as you begin the game; in the PS4 version, these modes would only become unlocked after completing the game once. New Game+ doesn’t work like it does in many other RPGs in that you don’t carry anything over from a previous playthrough. Instead, New Game+ just starts your characters off at level 90, allowing you to blast through the whole game with no worries. If you’re a Final Fantasy XII veteran and you just want to see all of the new visual improvements of the PC version, then this is a great option for you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it for your first playthrough as the game’s combat system is one of the more interesting and integral parts of Final Fantasy XII, and being level 90 from the get-go would likely spoil that. New Game- is a mode that stops your characters from leveling at all. If you want your PC playthrough of Final Fantasy XII to be a challenge run, then there’s your mode right there.
The PC version of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is exactly what a PC version should be. It makes the most of the advantages that the platform has to offer, boosting the visuals but not skimping on the performance. There’s nothing wrong with the PS4 version of the game – it’s a great HD remaster – but if you were to ask me which version is better, it’s hands down the PC version. So long as you have a controller to play with, that is.