By Adam Reese / April 3rd, 2015
|Title||Final Fantasy Type-0 HD|
|Developer||Square Enix, HexaDrive|
|Release Date||March 17, 2015|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Mature|
At E3 2006, Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy Agito XIII, a game for next-generation mobile phones and, eventually, the PlayStation Portable. Due to developmental delays and mobile phones not being up to snuff at the time, the game would evolve into the title released exclusively for the PSP in Japan in 2011, Final Fantasy Type-0. Now, over three years later, an HD port of the game has finally been released for Western audiences. This is Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.
In the land of Orience there exist four nations. While the land had been at peace, this all ends when one nation, the Militesi Empire, shatters the peace treaty between the four nations and begins invading their neighbors. One of these neighbors is the Dominion of Rubrum, wielders of magic. The Empire, having developed a new technology called the “Crystal Jammer,” are able to prevent the Dominion’s armies from using magic, negating any sort of resistance they might have had.
Things look grim, and the game spares nothing to tell you exactly how bad it is. Bodies lying dead and covered in blood litter the ruined streets of the Dominion. The ones that have tried to retreat and regroup are hunted down by the Empire’s soldiers and shot dead. War is hell, and Type-0 displays it to the player without remorse.
There is a glimmer of hope, however, as a group of twelve arrives on the scene. Known later as Class Zero, classmates of Rubrum’s Akademia, this game’s version of Final Fantasy VIII’s Balamb Garden, they seem unaffected by the loss of the crystal’s power. They help the army of Rubrum fight back against the Empire, each using their own distinctive fighting style and even magic.
Each of them is named after the number in a deck of cards: Ace, Deuce, Trey, Cater, Cinque, Sice, Seven, Eight, Nine, Jack, Queen and King. These twelve characters, along with two others, Machina and Rem, make up your party in Type-0.
One would think that, with such an extensive cast of playable characters, it would be difficult to tell them all apart from each other, or to even care about more than a few of them, as past RPGs such as Chrono Cross and the Suikoden games have shown. This is not true here. While difficult to differentiate at first, the writing helped flesh out each character, and I started to pick out my favorites and used them more often (for your information, that would be Ace, Eight and King).
I would say that the quality of the writing for each character was excellent, if not for the evidence that, beyond these 14 characters, it is difficult to relate to anyone else. You meet classmates or soldiers, you get a little of their backstory, then they go off-screen and you forget about them, only for them to show up dead later, usually as a result of something big happening off screen. I eventually started to get a “Kill ‘Em All” Tomino vibe from the way the game was heading.
However, I don’t fault the game too much for this, since the characters you do control are so darn engaging and likable. Depending on the character you are controlling, both their quips during dialogue and the way they interact with important NPCs will shine through, from Nine’s tough guy attitude and tendency to tack on “yo” at the end of every sentence, to the air-headed and childlike Cinque.
Well, most of them are likable. It wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy without a sappy romance between a boy and a girl, and Type-0 is no exception, as evidenced by the interactions between Machina and Rem. Suffice it to say, a lot of their dialogue and interaction seems straight out of a drama, but I’ll refrain from expounding on that.
Now, as for the combat, it is simply amazing. Each character you control fights in a unique fashion, with their own set of abilities and weapon of choice. While three party members fight at once, you are only in control of one. However, you are allowed to switch between these three characters on the fly. With the inclusion of vulnerable moments in an enemy’s attack animations that could result in either a great decrease of their health or even an instant kill, your eyes always have to be on the action, keeping the player engaged at all times. With some good AI and the great visuals each battle can bring, there is rarely a dull moment.
However, I should warn you that, if you are prone to motion sickness, this game can quickly give you a headache and a weak stomach. The game has some over-the-top motion blur which I’m assuming is a conceit they put in the game to hide the shortcuts Square Enix had to take in quality in order to bring the game to consoles. Every slight turn of the camera will make you feel like you’re whipping your head around, even at the lowest sensitivity setting. If you want to make it far in the game, you’ll need to quickly get used to this, as there is no setting to disable the motion blur.
Other than that, however, the visuals are pretty spectacular. You have to come into the game with the mindset that this is an enhanced port, not a remake, so you will expect to see some textures and character models that aren’t up to the snuff of other PlayStation 4 games. Other than that, there was obviously a lot of care put into differentiating the various regions of Orience, as well as the look of each nation and their respective cities.
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