Final Fantasy XII for Switch could be the definitive version

Apparently, I am stupid because this will be the 3rd time I bought the game. I also ordered it on XBOX in case its 4K. If its not, I will keep the switch version (probably going with this version either way). Portability and these new quality of life changes added to the game, such as the ability to respec your jobs and have different gambits for your team which could make a huge difference when you are grinding/farming or doing boss encounters.

Would be really cool if Square updated the PS4 version with these changes (not going to hold my breath).

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is set to include “high-definition graphics, original and remastered soundtracks, and a new trial mode”. Other additional enhancements have been shared in a press release today:

  • License Reset Function : By talking to Clan Centurio’s leader Montblanc in Rabanastre, players can reset and change their party member’s jobs, allowing them to customise the jobs of their party as desired.
  • Additional Gambit Sets : Gambits allow players to customize their party’s AI. Players can now create three unique sets, allowing players to switch between sets for different situations, such as map exploration or boss fights.
  • Improved ‘New Game+’ : Allows users to start the game with party members at level 90 and carry over some items like weapons, magic and gil obtained during previous playthroughs.

Dragon Quest XI is also getting the “definitive” version on Switch which means even more from SE that I’ll likely be buying again. I agree it would be nice to see these things added to the PS4 versions, but seems very unlikely. Is there any precedent for them doing that? Wonder if there’s any influence from Nintendo on this stuff.

Well they updated the PC version of FF7 with the 3x speed that was applied to the PS4 release.

Patching in the PS3 cutscenes into the 360 version download for Xbox for FFXIII are the only updates that come to mind.

Definitely in on this, I missed the original release when it came out in Europe back in early 2007, and I’ve been waiting for a portable version.

Are there still any improvements present in the Japan-only PS2 release FFXII International Zodiac Job System? I heard from someone that that was still better than Zodiac Age?

Probably not - all the improvements are also present in the Xbox One version launching same day. I think with DQXI it’s probably a concession for the Switch version launching so late despite being announced in 2015 for the then-NX.

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I personally didn’t care for the zodiac system because it basically locks you into a specific roll. The way I played the original, everyone was a hybrid class and specialized somewhat between 3 classes (tank, dps and healer). All my party would self buff and self heal before battle to keep things moving quickly. I never found my groove in the zodiac board. It felt too restrictive to me.

This isn’t specific to the Switch version of ZA but I started playing today and I’m pretty disappointed with the presentation of the remaster.

It really comes down to how Virtuous have handled the texturework across almost every environmental object.

Okay, so despite its PS2 origins, in handheld mode the game runs at subnative resolution with smooth edges (probably because this remaster was programmed for PS4 with little efficiency as a result). Now I actually see the soft image as a good thing in theory - it should be consistent with the original PS2 asset quality. Indeed it’s a good showing in busy areas here:

The problem is whenever you start walking up to basically anything. Be it a wall, or door, a closeup of a face in a cutscene, or maybe even the camera, it’s quickly obvious that the textures have all gone through some upscaling algorithm but it’s not particularly refined. Everything is oversharpened and there’s this high resolution grain stuck over it:

That last one is an extreme case of course - you wouldn’t usually walk right up to a wall like that.

The problem is in trying to make old texturework appear HD it instead just heightens its origins, origins where it was designed to be viewed in the lower definition lens of an SD TV and/or CRT…and I just find it really distracting. In some cases the definition has been lost (look at the mosaics around the door) because the algorithm hasn’t correct parsed the pixel structure of the original texture!

As for docked mode…that only really heightens the problems I have above. In those busy areas in my first two screenshots the new oversharpened gritty texturework becomes obvious, and the original poly counts more exposed.

So yeah, it’s a shame. In a way it’s quite inefficient as well. The original game’s texturework would have been designed around the PS2’s video memory limitations, but I get the impression that these new HD textures are much larger in size while looking inferior in appearance. It’s not an issue specific to FFXII ZA but these rereleases in general, particularly as 4K has become a novelty box to tick in order to grab attention.

Elsewhere I have little to fault. It’s clear the developers have spent time and care trying to replicate a lot of the bespoke PS2 effects work as possible. I grimaced a little when I saw the Yebis 3 middleware icon on the back of the box but the image itself hasn’t suffered from unnecessary postprocessing like in some other games that use it.

Edit: Played through the first hour on PS2. Here’s a clear example of their upscaling/sharpening algorithm getting it wrong. It’s mistaking the different gradients on the cement pixels between some of the bricks for the shape of the brick itself:

Amen

I’ve noticed this with HD remakes in the past. Unless a lot of time is spent to make new assets, the games just look better on the original systems. Textures, polygonal models, pre rendered screens, and UI all look correct on the original system at original resolution.

That said I ordered FF12 for switch cause playing games on switch is much more convinient for me right now vs having to be on a TV on a system with no suspend mode.

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It’s really true, especially with low polygonal geometry in certain releases. Rendering it in hd just looks like a bunch of severe angles instead of low poly charm.

Twilight Princess HD really looks bad in HD for this very reason. Especially the NPCs. But looks incredible on a proper 480p display (in certain scenes).

WWHD looks odd with its new lighting, but is a more well done remake overall due to the care put into retexturing and remodeling. (I still prefer the GCN release though due to the superior static lighting for indoor environments though).

HD games tend to render better at higher resolutions than those made for SD displays.

I agree that Wind Waker HD was a better effort, though that has its own issues - the new lighting is arguably more inconsistent than the original, with darker scenes lending everything a strange plastic appearance. The textures weren’t redone but upscaled via an algorithm, but Wind Waker’s stylised texture design in general suits that, much like Hexadrive’s work with Okami HD.

Twilight Princess HD has redrawn textures but like you mention the low poly geometry - and to be honest, the simplistic lighting - just don’t lend well to HD anyway. From what I’ve seen they even dialled back some of the softer approaches to lighting in that game probably because they don’t look crisp enough for HD rendering! Madness - that’s all part of the look.

What was nice was how Shenmue HD allowed the option to render at 480p. Actually I’m quite happy that Sega published the games as Shenmue I & II - there’s no false attempt at making the games appear to be high definition there.

I would be happy with FFXII if it maintained the original texture designs - coupled with the soft, low-res output on Switch handheld it would be rather handsome I think. But it’s hard not to notice the developers trying to fake ‘HD’ textures throughout the game world. Going back to that wall I posted earlier, here’s how it looked on PS2 compared to the rerelease…

On Switch you can still see the original texturework beneath the super defined grittiness added on top, and the inconsistency is distracting.

The grit is almost everywhere you look:

Same here, while I did pick up a PS2 copy to check out, I don’t think I’ll be able to set aside time to work around the save points. I hope I can get over being irked by the new textures though, it’s still super obvious to me.

WWHD also has the swift sail, simplified triforce hunt, and better inventory management on its side.

I prefer to play it on GC ultimately but those changes are great.

Am I the only person who likes the triforce hunt in WW?

No. No you are not. I fucking loved most parts of that game that other people hated. I loved the sailing and time it took to travel and the world never felt empty to me. The triforce hunt wasn’t even something that stood out to me as bad or hard or too time consuming while I did it and was shocked when that was the only stuff I read about it online after beating the game.

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Glad to hear I’m not the only one. I thought the game was beautifully paced and actually had a lot less padding than TP and SS. But again, you have to like the sailing I suppose (and I did).

I also like the horse riding in BotW. They feel similar.

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I also enjoyed that…if I ever did it. Too many secrets that I traveled everywhere climbing everything and going over mountains so never really used the horse till like 200 hours in. And then soon after I had a rad motorcycle…

I also rather enjoyed the parts of Wind Waker that were considered padding. I wonder if the reception might have been different had Nintendo not told people that two dungeons had to be cut from the game. One of my favourite things about Wind Waker is how they stuck a place of interest on every grid square in the map - there were loads of cool places to discover and travel between. It was also great having an interconnected world of sorts, you could whip out the telescope, find your bearings and immediately sail out to a silhouette in the distance.

This reminds me…Regarding the convenience, because the textures across the board are considerably darker (presumably to hide the now-low res pixel art) it’s actually really hard to see darker areas in handheld mode now. Especially when you’re travelling. Even when locking brightness to max I found it hard to navigate some areas.

Because the Switch is now conforming with home consoles we’re seeing this quite often, for instance developers not changing their tiny text interfaces to be more legible on the handheld display (an issue many Vita ports faced). But the dark textures are interesting - historically handheld ports have always had brighter colours to improve legibility outdoors. Square Enix’s own Dragon Quest VIII port to 3DS was an example of this, with more vivid reworked textures.

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The approach to the new texturework really messes with how the original pixel art was designed to look through bi/trilinear texture filtering. Check out the grass here for instance:

It reminds me a bit of playing a 2D game with one of those filters that merges/blends the pixels together to make them appear higher resolution. It’s the wrong approach to anti-aliasing pixel art - and thus a lot of the world’s textures ironically have worse definition because the shapes are parsed incorrectly :confused:

How was the original release of FFXII mechanically? I might try and make time to play it on PS2 instead in the future if the future editions from the Japanese PS2 releases, and ZA, aren’t essential to the experience.

Make that three.

Original Wind Waker was pure magic.

Remake, while improved in some ways, is inferior overall.

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Handheld games need to be brightened significantly even on backlit displays to improve visibility in sunlight.

Switch games just don’t do that and yeah it’s a problem.

I tried playing MGS1 on the bus on Vita and it’s was completely unplayable at times.

Yup, had problems with Ominusha Warlords as well because by nature that is a dark game.

FFXII would probably be alright if it weren’t for the darkened textures in the remaster. I’m currently in the dungeons after you break into the castle and I can barely see a thing while travelling in daylight with auto brightness turned off and the brightness cranked up to max. The PS2 textures are brighter, and ironically less oversaturated at the same time due to the lack of sharpening.