Gameplay Tips: IZJS/TZA
As mentioned in the introduction, IZJS is an expansion of the original game; something of a director’s cut. Its main new feature is the addition of twelve job classes, each of which come with a license board. Once you pick one, that’s it for the entire game. You can’t change it.
Given that the original FFXII is my favorite game of all time, you can imagine how much I wanted to play IZJS — it sounded incredible! I love job classes, and the idea of being stuck with one for the entire game meant two things to me: I’d have to plan my party very carefully to ensure I’d covered all my bases, because I wouldn’t get another shot, and two, talk about replay value.
More importantly, I’d already beaten the original FFXII about three times, and while I love it, it’s not very hard after a certain point. While you could direct your characters to unlock only certain parts of the license board and become specialized to do certain things, that’s not how I play. I’m the kind of person who’s going to unlock everything, get the three best weapons I can, and then end up with six characters whose only differences are their inherent stats. IZJS made FFXII hard and strategic, and thus much more enjoyable.
2017 Update It's finally happening! IZJS is being remastered in HD and released on the PS4 this July as The Zodiac Age.
To be clear, TZA is a remaster of IZJS, and not the original game; the zodiac job system is a core component of the new release. A few changes have been announced, the most notable being that you can now use two jobs at once. In all honesty, I have no idea how it's going to affect the balance of the game, but I have a feeling it'll be easier (which seems to be what they're going for). IZJS could be very difficult at points, so that's not a bad thing, but it will be quite different.
Until I can play the game and get a good feel for the changes to the job system, that aspect of this site will remain IZJS-specific. All other information should remain accurate for both IZJS and TZA.
What if I played the original years ago and didn't like it? If this is the case for you, then play IZJS or TZA. Chances are you're going to find the things you didn't like about it have been changed. IZJS/TZA is a significant enough change to warrant a fresh try at the game. (This is doubly true for TZA, given the modern improvements to the game.) If you don't like it even then, that's fine! It's just not the game for you.
And if you've never played FFXII at all — give TZA a try! It's a unique entry in the Final Fantasy series and it's worth checking out. Admittedly, I am very biased, but TZA is the best version of the game to try out. Plus, you're already on a website with lots of tips!
You’ll find notes about things that help in IZJS/TZA throughout the gameplay locations section, which I wrote during an IZJS playthrough. You'll also find general notes in the original game tips, many of which are true for all versions of the game. Otherwise, here are some IZJS/TZA-specific tips!
- There really is no wrong set of job classes to pick if you know the game well enough. All of the license boards give you enough options to cover for their weaknesses. And, yes, you can get by in this game without magic. Really! (It is very difficult and I do recommend at least having one character who can cast buffing spells and someone who can cast Esuna, but it’s entirely possible to beat the game and the sidequests without it.) For an indepth guide on how to build a party, click here.
- That said, don’t give two people the same job. Only four quickening spaces appear on each license board, so you can’t max out two people on the same board. (Again, more on this for TZA once I play it.)
- Look at the entire license board before unlocking a quickening. Many link to extra spaces. If you take the first three and the fourth links to another space, you won’t be able to access it!
- Be sure someone in each of your parties can use Libra. You wouldn’t think this was that important until you nearly set up a party without it.
- Many of the spells and equipment in the game appear in treasure pots. Most are 100% spawns, but not all. For IZJS, a good guide to follow is this one, which has screenshots. (This guide also has translations of all terms in Japanese if you can’t use the patch for whatever reason.)
- Before using an Esper, make sure you know what it unlocks on everyone’s boards. Like the original game it’ll disappear from everyone’s boards, but since in this game the Espers link to special spaces, it can be hard to pick what to go for!
- Make use of the Bazaar. For several weapons for the different job classes and a few accessories, the only way to get them is via the Bazaar. If you make a note of which ones you’re interested in early on, it’s not hard to keep track of what items you need to keep track of. The IZJS walkthrough will let you know where you can get the items you need. Cross reference things on the Bazaar and Loot pages of the FF wiki as needed. Keep in mind that several recipes changed between the original game and IZJS!