I’ve got to start this one with a disclaimer of sorts. I am a Final Fantasy fan from way way back. I am talking all the way back to the good old Nintendo days. I even went so far as to hunt down and play the Japanese versions that were never actually released here. That is how much I love the series. All of this just so that you know precisely where I am coming from when I start in on story and character arcs and all of that wonderful wonderful stuff.
As for the basic rundown on the game, I can’t do it any more justice than the folks at Square-Enix have. So, according to them, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is…
“The year 842 is the beginning of the end. In an act of unprovoked aggression, the Militesi Empire invaded the Dominion of Rubrum. Imperial dreadnoughts swarmed the skies, assailing the unsuspecting countryside under the banner of the White Tiger. From amidst the flames of the besieged dominion, the Vermilion Bird rose in defiance, her crystal granting magic and mighty eidolons that her disciples might cast out the technologically advanced aggressors.
Thrust into the tumult of war, the fate of the world and its four crystals now rests on the shoulders of fourteen brave, young warriors.”
So with that laid out for you, let me give you my impressions on things:
The story itself is what you would expect from your typical Final Fantasy fare post 2000. You are once again dropped into a world of l’Cie, Eidolons, and Crystals. That is no more than is to be expected from such a game. The confusion of it all comes in when you realize that your team isn’t the usual 3 or 6 characters, but a collection of 14 individual characters. Each one of them has specific parts to play in advancing the overall story and they have their own stories that you are expected to delve into and follow, as well. In fact, certain elements of the main story cannot be advanced without advancing the proper elements of a particular character’s individual story. It can be a bit too much. It feels overwhelming at times and can get down right frustrating if you can’t figure out precisely which character you need to access to advance the main storyline.
The gameplay isn’t what I was expecting from a Final Fantasy game. I have played Final Fantasy games for over 20 years now and I have watched as the combat system has changed and evolved over time. From the simple turn based system of Final Fantasy I, through the Active Time Battle system used in Final Fantasy VII and others, to the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system of Final Fantasy X, delved into the Real-Time Battle system used in Final Fantasy X!, and my most recent battle system encountered is that utilized by Final Fantasy Type-0 HD; called Active X Battle. A quick run down on the system is that players encounter enemies in the field and have a chance to flee before the encounter gauge fills, or, stay and fight. During the fight itself, the player controls one member of the party and other members of the party are controlled via the AI system. In Type-0 HD, the player has the option of swapping which member of the party they are controlling. You are also capable of performing co-op maneuvers and issuing special commands to the members of the party that you are not actively controlling. The system was new to me and it took a bit of time to adjust to, but even once I adjusted, I just couldn’t enjoy it. There was the option for a whole host of automation with members of the reserve squad, your selection of up to 11 of the remaining 14 members of your available squad, jumping in and taking the place of one of your primary squad members, or external characters jumping in to lend an assist during combat.
I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with this installment in the Final Fantasy series. The change up to the combat system could be adjusted to with time, but it just didn’t have the enjoyment built into it that previous combat systems did for me. I just couldn’t get into it. I gave it more time than I probably should have thanks to it being a Final Fantasy game. Add to the less than pleasing combat system; the feeling of watching a bad, old, kung-fu movie during the cut scenes and the animation. The English voice acting didn’t fit with the characters all that well either. I would have much preferred to keep the Japanese audio and just have subtitles than to deal with the English dubbing that came with this one. The graphics themselves were spectacular, both the cinematics and the active gameplay graphics. The controls were smooth as well, but ultimately, I can’t recommend this one to my fellow PS4 gamers out there. If you happen to have a PSP, which this game was originally released for, I have a feeling that the style of gameplay and everything is much more conducive to the small screen and the portable play format.
Still, I love Final Fantasy as a series and I am going to throw time and money at XV when it hits.
As usual, if you have comments, requests, or questions, feel free to send me an email.