With the version of Final Fantasy XII brought to the PlayStation 4, we’re received the optimal version of the game. The Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System was known for the extras and improvements packed into it. The job system is only part of what makes this version so much richer. The Trial Mode is the other.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode is immediately available from the title screen and can be popped into at any time. It is best if you wait until you have a full party of people who each have access to two license boards, but it is absolutely fine to attempt to tackle it at any time. It is essentially a series of 100 arena battles with fixed enemies, optional opponents, and occasional supports. The moment you start a run, the game will ask which save you want to pull your party from, and off you’ll go.
The most important thing when heading into Trial Mode is to be prepared. There are no shops there. There are usually about two treasure chests are available on every stage, giving you useful equipment and items depending on what you have. You do get the option to save every 10 floors, at which point you also get a larger reward consisting of money and consumable items that will help you survive. You also want to have at least one party member always handling support. That means you want White Mage, Red Mage, and Time Battlemages around. Maybe even a Monk, since they can learn white magic too. You also need to stock up on as many kinds of potions, remedies, ethers, elixirs, and phoenix downs. Having alarm clocks, antidotes, chronos tears, echo herbs, eye drops, gold needles, smelling salts, and vaccines are even more must-haves. If you have room for it, have it.
Once you’re actively engaged in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode, you need to be smart. There are many situations where some enemies are optional. Let’s take the first ten fights as an example. You need to beat all six dire rates in the first stage and the Alpha Hyena, Alpha Wolf, and Thextera in the second stage. When the third stage comes around, you can choose to ignore the Ripe Rampager and focus on the Flowering Cactoid, two Cactoids, and four Cactites instead. In the seventh stage, the two Judges are the only characters that matter. The Imperial Magus and two Imperial Swordsmen are distractions.
Now, you don’t earn experience from Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode. However, you do collect License Points from each enemy you defeat. This means going through it over and over, even if you fail, doesn’t inflict any penalty. You’ll lose the items you used when going through the stages, but will keep any treasures you found and didn’t use and the LP that will help you fill up License Boards faster.
The most intriguing Trial Mode reward is the last one. We’re rather accustomed to games offering a New Game+ option where you can carry over things like equipment, items, job progress, levels, money, and skills. Well, clearing the last stage unlocks New Game-. You can start a New Game- file immediately after earning it, giving you a game where every character will remain at level one for the entire game.
Trial Mode is a great experience for people who played Final Fantasy XII when it first launched on the PlayStation 2, are doing better than ever when running through Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, and want to really push themselves. Knowing your team is strong enough and you are smart enough to survive 100 stages filled with incredibly powerful enemies is so satisfying. And, even if you can’t, getting those extra items and LPs you can use in the main game is just as nice.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is available for the PlayStation 4.