Final Fantasy XII is a game that has always seemed like an unsung hero of the Final Fantasy series. It did so many things right, in terms of the battle system, story, characters, and leveling system, but never really seemed to reach the heights of games like Final Fantasy VII, IX, or X. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age improves it by giving us the International Zodiac Job System version of the game. Combined with the seamless battle system and gambits, the 12 jobs give people a chance to further refine their party and battling experience.
Previously, Final Fantasy XII had a single license board for every character. You could build people out on certain ways, but there wasn’t the same sense of definition you get from a typical job system. When characters would defeat enemies, they would get license points that would allow them to expand their horizons. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has twelve jobs to choose from. People can make their characters archers, black mages, bushis, foebreakers, knights, machinists, monks, red battlemages, shikaris, time battlemages, uhlans, and white mages. Each person can have one initial job class, but each license board also has a “second board” space for 30 LP that allows them to add a second “job” to their repertoire after defeating Belias, the first Esper the party encounters.
Though the names may not all be familiar, their roles in battle are. At a glance, anyone can tell what parts the knights, mages, and monks may play. The others may sound unfamiliar, but make sense when you think about what they do. An Uhlan, for example, is a dragoon that can’t jump, but can use black magic and a trademack souleater/shadow blade/dark wave kind of attack, making it feel like a more grounded dragoon focused on devastating attacks. A shikari is similar to a rogue, what with it being able to use daggers, guns, and swords, as well as light armor. The machinist is a ranged specialist that relies on guns and hand-bombs, but can also use some green and time spells. My favorite is the foebreaker, a heavy tank type of character that I love to use to break through enemies. They have every break technique, use both axes and hammers, and rely on the heaviest armor and best shields.
Being able to assign two classes to each Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age makes everything even better. Being able to assign roles to people, ones that can compliment the gambits, allows people to get even more specific. You can pick roles that compliment each other well, such as pairing a shikari and a bushi for its blades, dark attacks, and multiple-hit genji gloves. You can make a fantastic healing and buffing mage by giving one person the time and white mage roles, or have an offensive mage by pairing the black and red mages. You could even try to recreate other Final Fantasy characters, perhaps pairing the archer and white mage jobs to put someone in the same role Rosa served in Final Fantasy IV.
The way characters are and work, you could get away with making anyone anything you want. Certainly, some characters join your group with certain licenses. Vaan and Penelo know how to use daggers right away. Ashe and Basch are good with swords, while Balthier uses guns and Fran bows. Ashe and Penelo both know some basic white magic spells, while Fran knows white and black spells. These offer hints at what you could do. While you could theoretically use every job, doling them out among the characters, it is smarter to go with combinations you think you will use well and love.
It can make it difficult to make recommendations, since it really can come down to personal preferences. I made Basch a foebreaker first, then made him a knight too. This made him quite a tank, able to stand tall against any foe. Vaan became a shikari, then bushi, so he could take advantage of his speed and hit hard and fast. Fran became an archer and red mage. With her magic stats being so high and having a head start on archery, it seemed wise. Penelo was a black mage and white mage, to really focus on her magic stats. Balthier was a machinist and shikari, again so he could hit fast and hard. Finally, Ashe was a monk first, then time mage, so she could deal damage, act as a healer, and then buff other characters. Of course, these were my preferences. Everyone may have their own thoughts and ideas.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age’s zodiac system gives people an opportunity to go even further when it comes to plotting out roles and preparing a party. Being able to assign jobs to people from the 12 different classes, with each character able to take on two roles, allows you to refine your party. It adds an extra level of depth to the game.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is available for the PlayStation 4.