Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age finally arrives on PC, bringing with it the ability to run at native 4K resolution at 60 frames per-second. With PS4 Pro operating at 1440p with a 30fps cap ( and base PS4 limited to 1080p30), this upgrade has the potential to deliver the best version of the game to date, completely fulfilling expectations of what a remaster should deliver.
Similar to the Final Fantasy 10 titles, gameplay mechanics, animation, and other core components were originally designed to run at 30fps and need to be reworked to enable higher frame-rates without breaking parts of the game. It's not always a straightforward task, but for the most part Virtuos Games has done a good job here. 60fps works here on this new PC build with minimal issues: animations run at the correct speed, lip-syncing appears reasonably well implemented, while the gameplay mechanics translate nicely to the higher frame-rate.
On that front it's a great release. Playing the game at 60fps adds an additional layer of polish that no previous releases have been able to deliver. Despite the game's 12-year-old PlayStation 2 origins, the colourful artwork, iconic character designs and grand locations still hold up well in remastered form. Meanwhile, the gameplay is nicely enhanced by the higher frame-rate. Controls feel crisp, as one would expect, but really, it's the extra fluidity and overall smoothness that really transforms the experience. It adds an extra level of refinement to an already solid remastering of a classic Square Enix RPG.
Over the years, I've had many friends. Some of these friendships have been like bottles of fine wine - stored in ideal conditions in a temperature-controlled room, and slowly increasing in value every year. Other friendships have been fleeting - a few beers thrown in the picnic cooler of life. And some friendships were little more than a couple of shots at the bar - a brief, fleeting flirtation that burned the throat with its intensity, but was forgotten within hours. This is a story about one such friend. A friend that I danced and fought with for with many hours, a friend who was surprisingly unreliable, and yet also a friend who was exactly what I needed at the time. But now his face only exists as a hazy half-developed Polaroid memory of a night elegantly wasted. His name was Negalmuur, and he was a necromancer in the Stilshrine of Miriam.
PlayStation 4-exclusive Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is the new UK chart number one.
Square Enix's role-playing game remaster is the publisher's first chart topper since Deus Ex: Mankind Divided last year.
The Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, which topped the chart for the last two weeks, notched up another respectable week of sales in third place. A discounted Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was second.
"They just don't make games like that anymore. I don't think they ever really made games like that."
We didn't quite know what to expect from Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age on PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. On the one hand, developer Virtuos Games did a good job with its existing Final Fantasy 10 and 10-2 remasters, with decent artwork upgrades that sat well on a full HD display. On the other hand, the same developer handled Batman: Return to Arkham - a reasonable port, but with scant upgrades for PS4 Pro users. The good news is that The Zodiac Age is the best way to experience Final Fantasy 12, but the bad news is that PS4 Pro users are still poorly served with only minimal upgrades over base hardware.
At least Virtuos Games' work holds up generally though - with graphical upgrades that range from massively upgraded resolution, along with enhanced effects work, tweaked texturing, and a few welcome gameplay changes. The original PS2 release operates at an anamorphic 512x448 resolution, meaning a 9x increase in pixel-count for base PlayStation 4 users, rising to a 16x boost on PS4 Pro.
It's a sizeable increase in resolution, but the reality is that Pro users still only get a 1440p output and it's hard to believe that native 4K couldn't have been achieved bearing in mind Square's own excellent work with its Kingdom Hearts remasters, all of which have not only achieved ultra HD resolution on Pro - but run at 60fps as well on both PlayStation 4 systems. The Zodiac Age is a 30fps title on both base PS4 and PS4 Pro.
It is, perhaps most famously, the game that plays itself. Final Fantasy 12 was a peculiar entry in Square Enix's banner RPG series in so many ways, but its most fascinating trait also proved to be its most divisive.
Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age will launch for PlayStation 4 on 11th July in Europe.
Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age will let players speed up the gameplay by 4x.
The very best Final Fantasy game ever made - and if you think otherwise I will fight you - is getting an HD remaster, with Final Fantasy 12 coming to PlayStation 4 in 2017.
Square Enix made the announcement via its YouTube channel, releasing a brief trailer that shows the makeover in the works for the 2006 PlayStation 2 game. Excitingly, it seems the Final Fantasy 12 remaster will be taking its cues from the International Edition of the game which never saw release outside of Japan, introducing tweaked combat and a new Zodiac job system.
There's no mention of platforms outside of the PS4 (and we'll likely have to give up on our hopes of a Vita version), and Square's yet to make an announcement beyond the video itself.