As a Final Fantasy fan myself, I was truly excited when Type-0 was finally getting a western release as an HD version for the current consoles with added bonus, a demo code for the long awaited FF XV.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD takes place in Orience , a land divided into four nations constantly in conflict for power . The story focuses on Class zero, an elite group of fourteen students from the Vermillion Peristylium. The Militesi Empire seeks to control each nation’s respective crystals and it is Class zero’s mission to push back and defeat the forces of Militesi.

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It is clear that Type-0 is more of an HD update than a remaster. The new models for class zero look remarkable, while every other aspect is overlooked, blurry textures, blocky NPC  and the terrains resemble sets of pixilated lego pieces that don’t blend well because of its monotonous singular coloring. That said, CGI cutscenes are an extravaganza that emphasize the gloomy atmosphere of Type-0 with bloody shots of soldiers being massacred, coupled with grieving  goodbyes, both of which complement the story well being that of one of the darkest and most disturbing in the  franchise.

The story suffers from poor narrative structure and odd editing that leaps from scene to scene without any sort of clarification, leaving the player bewildered. The atrocious voice acting distance you even further from investing in the story with its misplaced tone reflecting a certain mood that doesn’t fit with the scenario. Nevertheless, it is worth to sit through the end for a very worthwhile ending.

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Musically, The Final Fantasy series has never been a disappointment in that area, and Type-0 is no exception. It merges beautifully and meticulously with the different sequences of the game setting the right mood perfectly. I could spend hours standing in the academia just listening to its soothing soundtrack.

The heart and soul of FF Type-0 is undoubtedly the gameplay; the combat is simple but demands strategy. RPGs tend to have a flaw with introducing too many companions, especially when those who lack any unique trait, forcing you to abandon them for your already favorite archer, mage, or what not. Surprisingly, because of the varied mission structures , Type-0 motivates you to ultimately use all of your 14 playable characters, keeping the combat fresh throughout its 25-30 hours of game time.

Each character has four move sets, a main attack , two offensive ones such as magic like fira–Final Fantasy’s fire magic–or abilities like jump, and one defensive move like cure or block. Three party members take to the battlefield but you only control one and others are reserved as back ups.

The diversity of enemy combatants encourages you to build a team with a structure that strengthens each other’s weaknesses. For example, enemies who are immune to physical attacks can quickly be brought down by swapping to a member equipped with a magic spell. The capability to swap between members instantaneously keeps the gameplay fast-paced and overall enjoyable. The camera, however, is a cluster of a mess, especially when it insists on locking at corpses for you to harvest while other enemies are still in play. This is particularly a problem because you will need to harvest specific enemy corpse in order to destroy them completely, otherwise they will respawn.

However, the locking mechanic could be helpful by offering a timely exposure to enemy weak points. Landing those crit attacks deliver a hefty damage, especially against some bosses who can only be defeated by attacking their weak points.

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There are a bunch of side missions such as fetch quests or missions that send our elite members to slaughter a set number of enemies. Some of the NPC’s are marked with a “!,” and interacting with them strikes up a conversation that may lead to a more tasteful story that has you explore your companions and truly get to know them better; Queen the cold rational one, Trey the wise guy , Cinque  the simple-minded, or the impulsive and straightforward nine.

There are also Real-time strategy segments. Class zero is required to travel into the outer world, commanding troops to invade and capture enemy towns which is quite a delight. Yet, there are some instances where the game throws overpowered aircrafts whose defeat will only be result of brute force and not strategy.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, despite its flaws, is a pleasant surprise. It seeks to be different than its precursors with its fast paced and rich combat system. I can not stress enough how moving the ending is, and I can safely say that is one of my favorite endings in the series and does justice to the Final Fantasy franchise.

 

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available for the PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One. A review code was made available to us via Square Enix.