Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Preview
Okay, so we never got Final Fantasy Type-0 for the PSP here in North America. But that just means we can appreciate a greatly updated version when it drops next year for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Revamped with brilliant high-definition visuals and a few other tweaks and improvements, it’ll come with a playable demo of Final Fantasy XV. Perhaps that’s reason enough to grab it but really, Type-0 has a lot going for it. It’s not the traditional FF style in terms of gameplay but it offers fast, furious, in-depth action that should keep you playing for many hours.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the story is significantly darker (and bloodier) than any previous Final Fantasy iteration. Battles are rapid and violent and when someone (or something dies), you’ll know it. Perhaps this grittier visage isn’t what the old-school fans want but at least it’s something different. Another twist: There are actually 14 protagonists in the game, and you meet them all right at the start of the adventure. How you utilize each is critical to your success, as each has distinct traits on the battlefield. Having the freedom to select your party from this grouping of 14 immediately gives the game a deeper, more customizable feel.
The gameplay is essentially an extension of the mechanic in Crisis Core, the excellent PSP entry that made us look at FF in a very different way. And Type-0 is no walk in the park; reportedly, the enemies are so powerful that many have the capability to eliminate allies in only one strike. Unfortunately, in checking some import reviews of the game, it seems the AI can be problematic, as they don’t always respond to being hammered. I suppose we could hope that Square Enix has improved the AI for the new version but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s an outdated issue that could drag the entire experience down, but I’m hoping it’s not such a severe problem.
On the plus side, you won’t be spending countless hours grinding due to the game’s difficulty. The developers ask you to attack this game differently; rather than fighting battle after battle to get stronger, success will rely more on your timing and strategy in battle. Remember, this is a real-time system that rewards reflexes and thinking-on-the-fly. While your character level is certainly important, it’s not the only factor that’s going to come into play when facing down a tough boss. Now, for some, this may not sound all that appealing. After all, a Final Fantasy game shouldn’t be about reflexes and dexterity, right?
Still, this spin-off got pretty solid reviews when it launched in Japan back in 2011 and despite the challenge, hardcore franchise followers seemed to enjoy it. It’ll certainly look a lot better on the new consoles, and perhaps the most crucial upgrade will involve control. The PSP was a great little unit but when it came to fast-action gameplay, you could end up with serious hand cramps. Having a regular gamepad in your hand will probably work wonders, and you won’t have to worry so much about a frustrating button layout. This way, you can take the time to focus on the intricacies of combat and evidently, you’ll definitely need that time.
Final Fantasy Type-0 is finally on its way and yeah, that FFXV demo makes it infinitely more attractive. Maybe it would’ve been more logical to put Type-0 on the Vita (and Vita owners would’ve had reason to cheer), but I’m not about to complain that it’s coming to PS4. We’ll just have to see how the Western audience responds to it.
12/5/2014 Ben Dutka