Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a fairly large game, with a fairly expansive world, offering players a lot to explore. The world is split into many different areas, which are further split into separate zones, including both towns and places with enemies. You move your character with the [Left Analog Stick] and can control the camera with the [Right Analog Stick]. Pressing [X] will allow you to interact with objects or talk to people, but not just anything or anyone. Objects you can interact with will have an “!” above them when you get close enough, with people having the same marker.
The minimap is shown in the upper right corner of the screen and will show the layout of the current zone. Pressing the [Touchpad] will open up the big version of the map and new to this version, you can overlay the map by press the [L3] button (press in on the Left Analog Stick). Under typical circumstances, such as when you’re first visiting an area, the map will be filled in as you explore it, but there are maps that you can purchase/find that will show the whole map for an area (minus the hidden bits). You can buy them from certain NPCs called Cartographers (they are Moogles), while some can be found in special green urns on maps (typically for dungeons).
For a good portion of your adventure, you will be traveling on foot, hopping from place to place, although there are other methods of getting around. One of the better ways involves an item called a Teleport Stone, which will be easy enough to come across, as you will be able to purchase them. These handy little trinkets allow you to utilize the orange Gate Crystals to zip around to others of the same kind. Teleport Stones/Gate Crystals will likely be your main mode of getting around, but you can also hire Chocobos from some towns/outposts.
There is one problem with Chocobos in FFXII, which is that they are limited in what they can do. Not only do you have a timer with them, but you can only sprint with them a total of three times before you are done. Another thing that is restrictive with Chocobos is the fact that you can’t enter peaceful areas with them, as the transitional line will be reddish-orange on your map. These are the areas where you control only Vaan, like a town. Note that there will be at least two instances in the game where you will need to use a Chocobo to access certain areas. Later on in the game, you get an additional mode of transportation, which acts similar to Teleport Stones but without actual items.
As you’re wandering around the various zones and areas in the game, you will see treasure laying about, which comes in various forms, such as coffers, urns and even crystals (the general term, chest, will be used from now on). Approach one of them and you will get an item some of the time and even some gil. Unlike traditional RPGs, where you will always get the same item from a treasure chest, Final Fantasy XII mixes things up a bit. First of all, chests in this game operate on a percentage spawn chance, with the majority of them having a pretty good chance of showing up.
This means that if you open a chest and respawn it, which is done by just heading a single zone away and coming back, there is a chance that it will not be there. Note that there are some chests that have a 100% spawn rate, which usually contain magicks and technicks, with the majority of those not respawning at all. When a chest does spawn, it has a chance to contain gil (most of the time), then a chance to contain an item or two. So, you have to get the treasure to spawn and if you want a specific item, then you have to keep opening the treasure until you get the item you want. Let’s take a look at an example treasure, which can house either a Phoenix Down or an Iron Sword, with you wanting to grab that Iron Sword. It has a 75% chance to spawn, so it will not always be there, and there is a 50% chance that it will cough up some gil. That means there is a 50% chance it will contain an item, with a 25% chance for it to be the Iron Sword.
Things get a little complicated when you throw in a particular accessory, the Diamond Armlet. Not only does this typically change the contents of the loot in a chest, but it actually changes the percentages. Using the same example above, the appearance rate of the chest stays the same, as does the chance to obtain gil. However, with the Diamond Armlet equipped on your party leader, the items change from a 25% chance to get them to a 95/5% split. So, if the items with a Diamond Armlet were an Elixir and a Meteorite, then you would have a 47.5% chance to get the former and a 2.5% chance to get the latter (when factoring in the other percentages). It can all be a little confusing, but the Diamond Armlet is rarely used outside of one late-game area, so don’t worry too much about it.
Throughout your adventures, you will come across large crystals that you can interact with. These are Save Crystals and will function as your save points in the field. There are two kinds of Save Crystals, blues ones, which adopt the name already mentioned, and orange ones, called Gate Crystals. All crystals will completely heal your party to full HP/MP, as well as cure any statuses. Gate Crystals also come with a second function, which requires the use of an item called a Teleport Crystal. These can be awarded from doing hunts/quests, dropped from enemies and even bought later on in the game. Note that you need to touch a Gate Crystal in order to use it.
First introduced in the International Zodiac Job System, the Speed Up Multiplier is found in the options menu and allows you to essentially speed up the game, including everything from the characters to enemies and even all attack animations. The default setting in the options is on x2 and the only other option is for x4 speed. To toggle it off and on, you have a few ways, such as just tapping the [L1 button]. Additionally, you can hold L1 and press up and down on the directional pad to change the speeds without having to always go into the options. Note that this speed up does not affect the in-game timer at all, which operates normally. This also includes areas and enemies affected by the real-time clock.