Review: Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

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I can still remember back many years ago when Final Fantasy Type-0 was known as Final Fantasy Agito, and it was a game being developed for the mobile phone in Japan. Later it would take on the Type-0 name and be moved to the PlayStation Portable in Japan.

For years, players around the globe have petitioned to see a localization of the game finally be released, with one group going as far as to take it into their own hands, releasing their own translated version of it.

Now, after the long, long wait, Final Fantasy Type-0 has arrived in North America but instead of on a handheld platform, it has been re-mastered for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Final Fantasy Type-0 is the story of Class Zero, a elite combat force from the Dominion of Rubrum, one of the four Crystal States of Orience.

The game starts with the Militesi Empire, led by Marshal Cid Aulstyne (Cid is a bad guy in this one!) invading Rubram in an unprovoked attack. The Militesi army deploys a “Crystal Jammer” which interupts the Rubrum Crystal’s energies, preventing its citizens from using magic. With the jammer deployed, the battle is swayed and the Empire appears to be winning until the cadets of Class Zero show up to turn the tide of battle.

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One of the things that I love about the story of Type-0 is that it’s a war story. Not in the way that say, Final Fantasy VIII was about a military class of SEED that ended up kinda going off on their own and traveling around through time and space. This is a dark story, where you take on missions and are fighting for the Dominion every step of the way. As can be seen from the opening act, this is also a bloody Final Fantasy- people die. With the way some of these scenes progress, it’s no wonder that Type-0 HD has received an M rating.

HD

The first thing everyone is going to notice when loading up Type-0 HD for the first time is that… even though the name says HD, this is still very much a PSP game, although Square Enix has gone in and updated the character models for the members of Class Zero and added in some new lighting effects. The problem with these character models are the same ones that plagued the HD Remaster of Final Fantasy X and X-2: The main characters receive upgrades, while all the other characters do not and as a result, look terribly out of place.

The lightning effects sadly, only magnify the lower quality of everything else in the game. The halls of the Suzaku Peristylium for example, the home base of the cadets and Class Zero has very dated looking textures used in the architecture, but the floor, which has a nice reflective coating on it, looks lovely. I’ll certainly acknowledge that they put some effort into adding this new updated lightning into the game, but it doesn’t really make things look better. In fact, if anything it creates an unevenness in the overall graphic style of the game which also includes cutscenes (left) that appear to be polished straight from the PSP version of the game as the character models and color tone appear out of place when compared to the actual gameplay portions (right).

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Oddly enough, some of these graphical issues appear to diminish a bit if you’re using the remote play feature on the PlayStation 4. The smaller screen is definitely a better home for Type-0 HD than a large flat screen TV and it’s an incredible shame that Square Enix chose not to release the game for any handheld platform with this localization. With the exception of a few updated models, all of the textures in this game were designed for a handheld – not a big screen. Sadly that fact can be painfully apparent at times.

Luckily for Type-0, a game is about more than just looks.

Gameplay

One thing that Type-0 does well is its combat. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so much diversity with the way the characters can be played during combat. You get to choose a three member party in Type-0 from the entire list of Class Zero cadets and you can swap them around quite freely, being able to directly control whichever character you want. Every single character in Class Zero has a different set of skills that sets them apart from their classmates.

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Do you like ranged attacks with an element of chance? Ace can attack at a distance with a deck of cards, drawing from the deck to create several types of effects. Maybe you like to get up close to your enemy? Eight uses his fists as his weapon, using different types of stances to perform combos. If you would rather support the party, Deuce can simply play her Flute in battle to enhance the abilities of her allies.

In addition to already having large differences between them, each one of the cadets can unlock new abilities as you progress through the game’s missions. Each choice further tailors the makeup of Class Zero to your own play style. Just when I thought I had settled into playing as a particular character, I would bring another into the fray and end up liking them even more!

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During combat, you might occasionally see a yellow or red circle appear on an enemy you’re facing. These are kill and break sights. They’ll appear during certain movements made by the enemies and if you can time your attack at the moment the sight appears, you’ll deal extra damage, or in the case of the kill sight, kill the enemy. As you progress though the game, noticing when the sights appear on enemies can give you a huge advantage in battle especially against tougher foes like a Behemoth.

The downside of this otherwise fun battle system is, sadly, the targeting and camera controls. One of the things that I still haven’t gotten used to during my time with Type-0 is the camera. The camera is moved using the right analog stick on the controller- like every other game. The problem is in its execution, which seems to blur the whole screen, and it rotates quite fast. Many times I’ll go to turn the camera as I’m exploring the environments and I’ll end up moving it way past the point where I wanted it, which can be an even bigger hassle when navigating narrow corridors.

The targeting in battle can also be somewhat of a hassle, where R1 will lock into an enemy and then the right analog stick will switch between enemies. Often when I’m moving in battle, I’ll attempt to rotate the camera, only to end up locking onto a different enemy. Locking on takes a bit of getting used to and as I’ve progressed through the game, I’ve gotten more used to it. If only the same were true of the camera.

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We’ve Arrived

While it’s certainly updated from it’s PSP roots, the elements that were further polished for this HD version only serve to disrupt the overall tone of the game and I can’t help but wonder if it might have been better to exclude them altogether. This isn’t to say Type-0 is an ugly game, however it really does beg the question of why Square Enix decided to release this title on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as opposed to the Vita or even the Nintendo 3DS.

The combat is fun, and makes the game fun to play which is the most important part of a game at the end of the day. The variety of the characters in combat is fantastic and thinking about it makes me sad that you only control one character in the upcoming Final Fantasy XV.

Is this game worth checking out? Absolutely.

Is it worth the $59.99 price point? No, especially when you consider how much Square Enix charged for previous remastered titles which had multiple games in the box.

However, those that do pick up the Day One Edition (as marked on the box) will get a code for the Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae demo and based on what we played at PAX East, that might make the game more worth the high price tag for some.

Square Enix provided us with a copy of this title for review purposes.


This game is a bit of an oddball when it comes to our normal review process. Typically, whenever a “remastered” version of a title is released, we look at the updates that the title has received and judge more on those elements than the game itself. When the game is new, we judge it as a whole, taking all elements into account. This is both a remastered title and a game that has never been released in North America. As such, we have elected to not give this title a score.