Final Fantasy Type-0 takes you into the world of Orience as Class Zero. After a four year journey, players outside of Japan finally get to take this step. Has the wait been worth it?
Four years. That’s how long it’s been since the original PSP release of Final Fantasy Type-0. Although the game has been translated for ages, we never got to see it until this HD Remaster on PS4. It’s been a long four years leading up to this. For me, it’s been a long, four year media blackout to stay spoiler free. And boy oh boy has it been an adventure.
Orience is at war, and you are part of an elite group of cadets. Not just that however – Class Zero is the best. They have special abilities, are able to do things others can’t. Twelve strong, you all look to your Mother. Two new members are added as well, though what purpose do they serve? They aren’t quite the same as you.
For having fourteen characters, the story in Final Fantasy Type-0 is strong. Boasting the darkest story in the series, you really are thrown right into the war. And while also part of the same basic lore as Final Fantasy XIII, there are a ton of differences between them. The l’Cie aren’t feared – they are basically saviours. There are key fal’Cie for each faction, and these fal’Cie determine who become l’Cie that might go to fulfill their focus.
As Class Zero, you are given orders to head into frontlines. This leads to how the game progresses the story – missions. Each mission will have you doing things within the realm. While the main plot ones advance the war in a variety of ways, the side missions help you advance your territory so that you might be able to visit more cities.
Missions tend to vary in difficulty. I played through for the first time on Officer, despite the warnings to play on Novice. Some missions, particularly around the middle of the game, absolutely kicked my butt. I still don’t know how I got through them honestly. And then the later missions were easy, despite my being under leveled. What? Well, the final area did make up for that I suppose in some places of difficulty, but the point still stands.
Combat feels tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s fairly fluid. Well, okay, at least on ranged characters. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t play them enough, but any time I went to play one of the melee characters I felt lost and insanely slow. I felt like hitting an enemy was the toughest job in the world. Go back to a ranged character… and I just feel insanely overpowered.
While I can’t speak for the combat system on PSP, I do know how it is on PS4. There are definitely elements in there that you can tell “this was a PSP game.” However, as mentioned, once you get used to it it’s fairly fluid. You have access to four commands – your weapon, an ability and offensive magic (potentially 2 of one and none of the either, depending on setup), and a defense spell. You’ll typically have 3 characters in battle at once, and you can switch your leader between the three at any time. You also have an item equipped, and can access your menu to use more.
Occasionally in combat an opportunity to land a “killstrike” will come up. You’ll know this has happened when a yellow or red circle appears on your enemy. Land a hit when this is showing and you’ll deal massive damage and stun the enemy, sometimes even allowing you to do even more of these. The timing can be finicky though – attack preemptively (when you think one will appear), and nothing will appear at all. Attack too late and you’ll miss the window completely. How easy or hard it is to land a hit also tends to depend on who you are playing as. Again – ranged characters are amazing here.
As you level up in combat you’ll earn AP, however, take note that only the active participants in battle will get experience! Anyone sitting out or in the reserves will receive none. This earned AP can be used to earn skills when you’re at a save point. These skills will either grant you more abilities to potentially set for use in combat or give you passives such as increased movement speed or improved dodging. It really never feels like you get enough AP on levels though, at least it didn’t feel that way to me.
Speaking of places where “this feels like a PSP game”, the world map really reigns supreme here. Really, certain aspects of the graphics in general just scream this. Okay, yeah, it WAS a PSP game. Now it’s remastered onto PS4. So why does every NPC still look like it’s on a PSP? Oh, of course, your main cast of 14 look nice and pretty… but then you put them next to an NPC and the NPCs just look awful. Oh, and shiny. Oh so very shiny.
The world map is the same – it’s shiny. It also shows its PSP roots by how it is broken up. Each “region” is its own zone with loading screens in between. This, I felt, is one of the biggest places where it’s just like “this really should have just been on Vita”. Between how barren some of the areas feel – Oh look, a forest! Oh look, more plains! – to how the “roaming enemies” are, yeah…
The roaming enemies? Yeah, avoid them until you are MUCH higher level. They are extremely high level and will just destroy you on your first playthrough. Unfortunately, they also like to chase you… even on chocobo. Oh, but don’t worry – those chocobos you see on the map are fine. In fact, you want to go up to them and try and catch them! It was actually a bit frustrating when I was just trying to look around some and I’d get in the line of sight for a big enemy and have to start just running for my life.
Level design also still greatly shows the PSPness of the game. Levels are built in “small” areas broken up into sections. Cities are as well, though you’ll only have one screen to traverse here. Sometimes they’ll change as you progress further in the story, but not all of them. So usually, once you’ve seen an area once and done what there is to do there… you’re done unless you need to return to do some shopping there.
In missions you can accept to allow special forces onto your team. These will allow “special” characters to join for a bit. They will replace your other two active characters while they are there, and will also earn you SPP over time and as enemies are killed. This SPP can be used to purchase special items, in particular really good weapons. However, items in this shop only tend to unlock over time as you use particular characters to do stuff. For example, the main character I played had 3 weapons available to her last I looked, but everyone else only had one. The SPP can also be used for a chain of Tasks available to you.
If you choose to turn them on, occasionally within missions Special Orders will appear. These are typically challenges, and if you accept them and fulfill the requirement you’ll receive a reward. Should you fail, the penalty is death – unless you can avoid it of course. While I didn’t explore these as much, I have tried some out. They tend to range from survive for a certain amount of time to perform a certain action within a certain amount of time.
Among the missions are some RTS ones. These will have you going out to reclaim cities, with you heading in to infiltrate the main cities. I didn’t find these nearly as fun. In the “RTS” segments, the best I could find to do was just kill the enemies marching at your own troops. Once your troops are at the cities or dominions, all it seems you can really do is sit there and wait while they take down the defense. Not very exciting you know? And whenever you attack the enemies, they tend to like to counter with seemingly undodgeable attacks. Fantastic! Yeah, I wasn’t that big of a fan of the RTS missions.
Gil in Final Fantasy Type-0 feels a bit limited as well, though not as bad as it was in Final Fantasy XIII. Most of your gil will come from mission rewards, though you can also sell items to get some gil. And while you can repeat missions as often as you want – in fact, you can even do so from the title screen – you’ll still likely find yourself penny pinching. It feels worse on SPP though, since that’s much harder to get and can eventually lead to much better items.
Within Akademia, your main headquarters, you’ll be able to freely explore. And during your free time in each chapter, you’ll find yourself wandering about trying to find all of the events you can do to use up time. Even just talking to an NPC for a few dialogue boxes apparently takes two hours. If you want to head out into the world map, either through the front gate or by airship? 6 hours. Taking on an Expert Trial will use up another 6 hours, though don’t expect to do any of these until your second playthrough.The events within Akademia will give you insight into the world, its inhabitants, and your party members.
You’ll also be able to find a variety of tasks around the world, though most of them are within Akademia. These will have you doing things from turning in items to going out to kill enemies. Unfortunately, you can only take on one task at a time. You’ll feel the pain of this the most when you’re faced with multiple “go out and kill certain enemies in certain areas” tasks, knowing that you’ll use up 6 hours any time you go back into Akademia. It definitely would’ve been extremely nice to be able to accept more than one task at a time. There are also actual sidequests, though I found the majority of these within the small cities. You can accept as many of these as you want, but there’s no indication as to if they are there. They’ll typically involve doing some small task with running around and aren’t generally that difficult.
In Final Fantasy Type-0 your game doesn’t actually pause unless you choose “Pause” in the menu. This had been in another game I tried before, Infinite Undiscovery, and it drove me away from playing it. While it didn’t have the same effect on me here, it was pretty irritating trying to balance running for my life and scrolling through my massive item list to find say my Phoenix Downs.
Don’t expect to do everything in a single playthrough of Final Fantasy Type-0 however. While New Game+ exclusive content usually frustrates me, I’ve been enjoying it in Type-0. There are new missions you can take on, along with being able to tackle things you couldn’t before. There’s also a ton of side stuff one can do that will require extremely high level characters to even think of tackling it. So completionists out there – even ones going beyond “just” getting the Platinum Trophy – be warned: You’ll be at it for awhile in Final Fantasy Type-0! It is mostly enjoyable, however, and will likely challenge you, even on the easiest difficulty – I don’t even want to imagine it on the hardest one!
When it all comes down to it though, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is definitely worthwhile to check out. The story is one of the best I’ve seen in Final Fantasy, the combat is fantastic (once you’re used to it), and there’s a ton of extra content to do. Unfortunately, not all that shines is gold – the graphics hinder this from being absolutely fantastic, and really make you wonder as to why it wasn’t just on the Vita. Regardless, if you’re a fan of the series this is a worthwhile addition to your collection.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review Score
I would like to thank Square Enix for providing me with a copy of the game for review.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available for purchase now on Amazon for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.