Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review
Final Fantasy: Type-0 is an emotional rollercoaster. I very rarely become attached to games. Even though they are supposed to be more immersive, I suppose I tend to play games that don’t require much emotional investment. The last time I played a game that made me feel genuinely sad was MGS4, which is a very long time ago. Whilst Type-0 doesn’t quite match the poignancy of MGS4, it still does a great job in invoking an emotional reaction right from the opening cutscene.
As per traditional Final Fantasy titles, Type-0 also has a pretty length campaign mode. You can easily get well over 40 hours’ worth of gameplay in this. The plot isn’t as in-depth as some of the other games in the franchise, but it’s enough to keep you engaged without wanting to skip any cutscenes. On top of that, the combat mechanics are fluid and enjoyable to master, making Orience a lovely place to loiter around. Sure, occasionally you may come across a frustrating camera angle that serves to block your character’s vision, but on the whole I cannot complain in this department. The balance between action and emotion is almost perfect and it makes for a great single player campaign.
Type-0 is also a very action packed game. Almost every ability and power you have is designed to be used in combat. Even your magical powers are designed to attack enemies in the form of bombs, ammunition and other projectiles. It is extremely military-based and even has some very high level RTS elements since you often have to take part in sequences where your base is under attack and you need to defend it. When you’re not defending your bases, you’re most likely attacking new cities and freeing up its enslaved townspeople. You can go around capturing animals and breed them to become instruments of war. It’s a nice change from the traditional Final Fantasy title that usually doesn’t place such a major emphasis on war.
The poignancy in Type-0 comes from the fact that the game does a great job in emphasizing the true impact of war on its participants. The characters that suffer ill fates tend to be young in the game. It is an unfortunate truth that war in general takes the lives of (hundreds of) thousands of people and a huge proportion of the combatants are young. This reflects brilliantly in Type-0. Having to watch characters go through mental turmoil and watch fellow comrades get killed are just examples of some of the scenarios that you’re going to have to go through when playing Type-0.
The game isn’t all about pulling at the heartstrings though. There is plenty of humour and some of the banter between the characters is truly genius. I thought that the constant English slang from some of the characters was a bit random and didn’t fit the theme very well, but I still smiled at the attempt at humour. Any moments of potential laughter were welcome considering the majority of the campaign is very dark and miserable.
The RTS elements of the game are when you will feel most frustrated with the camera angle. The actual gameplay mechanics weren’t bad, but having to constantly fight the camera to get an overview of the battlefield made playing some section of Type-0 a complete nightmare. For the majority of the game, you’re rampaging through the larger cities and claiming the towns as your own. These sequences were fun, unlike some of the infrequent but not rare enough RTS pieces. However, here is where the problem lies. The camera angle problem is something that existed on the handheld PSP version of the game. I would have thought that the developers would at least do something to fix that issue. Instead, they have almost ported the game from 2011 to the current-gen platforms and given the visuals a slight makeover. This however, isn’t acceptable. If a game is known for having specific bugs and problems, the creators should at the very least fix them before releasing them on any platforms four years in the future! Final Fantasy is supposed to be an extremely pretty game, but Type-0 is sometimes an exception.
For the majority of the game however, Type-0 is a well-polished and nice looking game. You can clearly tell from the added glare amongst some of the surfaces that the game has undergone a facelift. In particular, the cutscenes look exceptional and it’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t help but watch them all. It’s just a shame that the visuals are occasionally tarnished by poor camera angles.
When you can actually see what’s in front of you, you’ll realize that Type-0 has a highly fluid and in-depth combat system that lends itself well to co-op play. You can take part with two other friends and take on the campaign mode as a three-man squad. There is much longevity to be had since each character is distinct in looks, abilities and weapons. Therefore you may be interested in replaying the campaign but as another class member. Although they aren’t called medics, assault, supports etc, the classes pretty much abide by these principles. The only difference is that there is an added element of magic to help make things more interesting on the battlefield especially when some of your allies have fallen.
Type-0’s combat is highly enjoyable due to the very fast combat system that ensures that you’re always engaged on the battlefield. There is a lot that happens at any one point and sometimes you can even destroy quite a large group of enemies in less than a minute as long as you make the most out of your attacks. As you defeat soldiers, your army also levels up with you, but at a steady rate. There are plenty of opportunities through side missions to give them extra XP which is a very helpful way of getting them strong in time for the main missions. However, if you don’t want to attend side missions, you can send your troops away to take classes or spar at the main battle arena. All of what you do with them gains experience which makes them wiser and stronger. You can even replay missions if you want and keep levelling them up.
Whilst this may make it seem as if Type-0 can be easily completed if you keep replaying missions and making your armies stronger, this is not true. This is because between each main mission, you only have a specific amount of time before the next one must begin. Therefore, between the missions, you can do whatever you want to help develop your armies. However, the limited time means that you need to use it wisely and get them as engaged as possible so that they are prepared for battle. It means that you need to be strategic and choose wisely with regards to the activities that your team is engaging in.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a game that you can very easily enjoy without having any prior knowledge of the franchise. I am not a hardcore Final Fantasy fan yet Type-0 had me engaged from start to finish. The fluid and fast-paced combat system made me want to engage in as many battles as possible. Unfortunately the occasional shoddy camera angles ruined the experience however these primarily occurred during the RTS elements. I certainly felt some sort of connection towards the Class Zero soldiers. One of the main surprises was that I somehow felt emotionally attached to the game, which is a rare and quite powerful feeling that only truly creative developers can manage to achieve.
Review code courtesy of Xbox