I guess it’s a Final Fantasy tradition that there are post game activities to complete. Well, not in the sense that you complete them after the last boss, but more in that the last boss is considered easy mode to the post game stuff.
The Hunting system (it’s much more than a mini-game), adds challenges at every level from the first real battle on well past the final boss. At nearly every occasion, if you can take down a hunt when its offered to you, that means the “regular story” combat is going to be very easy.
FF12’s final boss is targeted for the mid 50s. You can do it earlier with a bit more planning (and items), or you can do it later and destroy the bugger in a few hits. Levels make a very big difference in FF12, damage scales tremendously well. In truth, I think this is FF’s easiest final boss. You’re just dealing with damage, which is easy enough to mitigate. Status effects… those are the things of nightmares.
FF12 adds status effects to increase difficulty. The optional bosses all make liberal use of these to make life painful. In order of most painful to least:
- Inverse (swap HP with MP)
- Disease (can’t heal)
- Reverse (damage heals, and heals damage)
- Reflect (enemies cast on you to heal themselves)
- Stop (can’t move)
- Confuse (hit others, likely killing them)
- Sleep (wake up on damage, but healers dont normally get damaged)
- Silence (can’t heal)
- Drain (removes all MP)
FF staple the Marlboro has a habit of casting many of these in a single attack – as a regular enemy. Thankfully they have low HP and with a (buffed) Remedy you can clear most of it in a single turn. Bosses… that’s different. Let’s start with Zodiark, the “final” esper.
Just getting to him in the Henne Mines means you’re in the mid 60s, as it’s the highest level zone in the game. Zodiark uses Darkja, which deals a ton of dark damage (can 1 shot) and has a good chance to instant KO. Losing all 3 team members in a shot should be expected. If the entire team has dark absorbing gear, then he casts Darkja twice as often. He also comes buffed with Reflect/Haste/Shell/Protect, which if you dispel he casts a damage immunity spell. He avoids evasion (ignoring shields). He casts AE (Scathe) at multiple targets for very high damage. Gravija to drop team HP to 25%.
He’s a high group damage boss, with the ability to randomly KO the entire team.
The penultimate hunt requires you to clear the bottom of Pharos. Clearing that out is an exercise in frustration, as there are multiple enemies that can cast different status effects. And it’s more than probable that even at max level, you’re going to have a squad wiped out if they can be inflicted by Stop/Disease/Silence. That’s a good prep for the actual boss.
The actual boss takes all of that and dials it up to 11. He summons previous 4 previous marks, all leveled up for the fight. He himself goes immune to everything for 2 minutes. And he’ll keep wailing on you (combos up to 11!) during the fight.
He has high damage group attacks, he dispels, he slows you, he prevents you from moving, he inflicts disease, he removes all your mana, and he casts invert. The math on those last 2 are the worst. He’ll remove all the mana from your entire squad, then invert 1 character’s HP/MP. So you end up with 2 people with no mana, and one with no hit points – and primed to die due to a fart in the wind. Doesn’t matter what level you are – you are going to die.
A hidden boss that you need to clear for getting the Yiazmat hunt. He’s the first boss you fight with multiple HP bars, since he has nearly 9m HP. Shadowseer by comparison has 300k.
He’s more of a battle of attrition due to pure damage output and liberal use of Stop. Near the end, he uses Invert and the -ga spell series to do a really good job of wiping out your HP. If your “tank” dies, there are pretty good odds that everyone else is going to die in 1-2 melee hits.
Yiazmat / Omega Mark XII
In the original release, due to damage cap (9,999) it took about 4 hours to kill Yiazmat due to his insane HP pool, and his random KO attack. Omega Mark XII is just pure damage – killing a maxed out level 99 character in 2 hits.
The former requires significant planning in the damage dealing departments (TZA has no damage cap thankfully, so it’s only about 2 hours now), ideally high combo character with a darkblade (his weakness), haste, and beserk.
The latter requires a sacrificial lamb + healer + someone who can chain cast Wither – a hard to find ability that reduces enemy attack power. You need to get those attacks to under 1,000 damage total to have a chance to get through it.
FF12 comes with a trial mode, where you’re in a gauntlet of battles against tougher foes, saving every 10 levels. Stages 51-60 are in line with the regular game difficulty. 61-80 are tough hunts. 81-90 is the difficulty of Hell Wyrm. 91-100 includes (with no pauses between):
- Magic Pot
- lvl99 Red Chochobo
- Omega Mark XII
- 5 level 99 judges (this is pretty much the equivalent of the Moroes fight of Karazan in WoW/TBC, where you need to take out a crazy group of enemies with deadly AI)
That was long
I didn’t expect this to be such a long post. It does go to show that FF12 put in some big efforts to have content outside the main story line to challenge players. Without the Gambit system, each of these battles would have been insanely tedious start/stop to get the right actions going. The game does a really kick butt job of throwing the kitchen sink at you AND giving you the tools to deal with it. This game scratched a heck of an itch.