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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review

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Graphics:

 

6.8

Gameplay:

 

7.1

Sound:

 

7.3

Control:

 

7.0

Replay Value:

 

6.6

Overall Rating:       7.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Square Enix

Developer:

Square Enix

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/RPG

Release Date:

March 17, 2015

If you weren’t aware, Final Fantasy Type-0 originally launched for PSP back in October 2011. It was only made available to Japanese gamers, though, which is why fans of the series were excited to hear about the remastered version heading to PlayStation 4. Not only does it come with a long demo of Final Fantasy XV, it also features upgraded graphics and a few other nifty additions and improvements that make this the best version yet. The only problem is that despite a solid foundation and a combat mechanic with a massive amount of potential, the game can’t quite deliver a complete, engaging experience.

Firstly, the graphics are hit-and-miss. While the backgrounds are beautiful and the animations are especially impressive during hectic periods of action, this quality clashes with various pitfalls. The developer put a lot of effort into updating the look of Class Zero characters but other characters, like NPCs, aren’t as improved. Plus, the textures are wildly variable; some are actually quite good on PS4 while others are downright terrible. It’s just jarring to have some visual content look nearly identical to the old PSP version, and then see glimpses of graphical brilliance when fighting certain bosses with certain characters. Oh, and somebody needs to teach Japanese devs how to get lip-syncing right. Seriously.

The sound is a little better, thanks to a rousing soundtrack and a series of amazingly high-impact effects. The battles are often so intense that your speakers are filled with an invigorating audio extravaganza, fueled by over-the-top physical and magical assaults. Unfortunately, the voice performances are mediocre at best, even if some of the main characters aren’t half-bad. The Japanese were behind in this aspect of game production as well; it seems Western designers started recruiting real voice professionals well before the Japanese did. And while the soundtrack really is fitting and typically well-orchestrated, I’m not sure it can stand up to the gorgeous scores of past Final Fantasy entries.

The story in Final Fantasy Type-0 HD hinges on military and political themes, with a fair amount of tumultuous romance tossed in for good measure. The player takes control of 14 characters known as Class Zero; these characters interact with one another throughout the quest, but sadly, none are fleshed out enough. There’s a lot of arguing going on amongst the group and it doesn’t help that Rem and Machina are involved in a seemingly endless dance of flirting and jabbing. There are some legitimate high points to the story and I liked some of the characters, but I was never allowed to really become drawn to any one character. This isn’t due entirely to poor storytelling; it’s also due to an obvious drawback: When you’ve got 14 playable characters, it’s extremely difficult to make them all stand out.

War rages in the world of Orience and you’re in the middle of seemingly every major battle. The story, while somewhat ambitious, takes an immediate back seat to the gameplay. Therefore, even though the writers don’t explain the situation anywhere near well enough (tossing words like “L-Cie” out there as if the entire world knows what it means), it doesn’t really matter. You’re usually far too busy fighting. That combat, as I said above, has a boatload of promise. It really does. In a lot of ways, I’d say the developers come through with flying colors, delivering an experience that’s exceedingly entertaining and quite challenging. There’s a bit of grinding involved but I’ve never once had a problem with that.

Each of the 14 characters has four moves: There’s a physical attack, a defensive spell, and two abilities that can later be customized with spells and physical attacks unique to that particular fighter. Three party members take to the battlefield but as everything plays out in real time, you only control one character. However, you can switch between them on the fly and you can even swap characters in and out at will. This allows for an immense amount of diversity because with 14 characters, you can sample quite the variety of styles in any given encounter. That being said, I think some characters simply aren’t distinct enough, which gives the battles a stronger feeling of unfortunate repetition.

The good news is that the AI is actually quite competent. You can rely on your allies to respond as they should; switching to another character doesn’t mean the one you left behind will perform worse. So, you’re never too concerned about switching fighters because you know your buddies can take care of themselves. This is definitely a highlight of the combat mechanic, because you feel as if you’ve got helpful, reliable fighters surrounding you. You don’t have to do everything yourself, you know? It’s not one of those scenarios where you have to keep switching back and forth because a character is being a numbskull; rather, you switch just ‘cuz you want to. It’s a good feeling.

I do have some problems with the gameplay. The system itself is great but again, there’s not enough distinctness between some of the characters, and the camera isn’t very good, either. To add insult to injury, every time the camera spins, it blurs the action; the faster the camera spins, the heavier the blur. It’s just really disorienting and annoying. I get that Square Enix desperately wants to turn Final Fantasy into the fastest-playing video game series on earth (for whatever ridiculous reason), and I also get that this is a spin-off. I just don’t think the blurring effects add anything and in fact, they detract from one's enjoyment. It doesn’t help that there isn’t much in the way of exploration, so you really do spend the overwhelming majority of time locked in fierce combat.

On the flip side, it’s definitely a rewarding system, and one that demands patience and skill. I also like how NPCs in the world will react differently to various members of your crew; this encourages experimentation with your allies. Then there are the missions, which offer a fair amount of variety and introduce you to new sights and challenges. As an action/RPG, the gameplay system works well when it’s used correctly; those who wish to abuse the system will come away disappointed. I never like mechanics with loopholes or critical flaws and thankfully, I see no such problems here. I just think it could’ve been better presented and a lot more could’ve been done with those 14 characters. Well, actually, I would’ve preferred fewer characters.

Playing on Normal is tough, so newcomers might want to switch to Easy so they can get a feel for how everything works. You can change the difficulty at any checkpoint in the game, too, so you won’t be locked into an early decision. Certain bosses can be colossal pains in the ass; if this is the case, either start grinding or simply alter the difficulty level. There is definitely a learning curve here, although I wouldn’t call that a negative, as any role-playing game should require some practice and diligence. And I suppose this is a role-playing adventure, as the depth is obviously here and you can’t just mash buttons throughout the quest. Well, you can’t always get away with mashing buttons, anyway.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD has its ups and downs. The narrative falls well shy of the intended mark, as none of the characters really stick with you after playing, and the writers explain very few of the minute details. The camera and blurring effect puts a crimp in the flow of combat, and I wish some of the fighters had more originality in terms what they can do on a battlefield. But the base gameplay mechanic is pretty sweet, the challenge is stiff yet very rewarding, and the game is relatively well-paced. The missions are another highlight, especially ones that prove Square Enix still has an unparalleled creative touch. As for that FFXV demo, that has no place in this review, but I’m sure it has already inspired more than a few purchases. ;)

The Good: A few great musical tracks and sharp audio effects. Missions are diverse and encourage party experimentation. Decent pacing and styling throughout. Combat is appropriately deep rewarding. Fluid, fast-paced gameplay can be a joy.

The Bad: Some of the characters and scenery haven’t been spruced up. Story is disjointed and underwhelming. Camera and “blur” effect are definite drawbacks. Not enough distinctness between some characters.

The Ugly: “Faster is not always better. One of these days, Square Enix will learn this.”

3/20/2015 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System


Legacy Comment System (19 posts)


xenris
Friday, March 20, 2015 @ 11:30:04 PM
Reply

I agree with the graphic inconsistencies and the motion blur. Seriously the motion blur starts to give me a headache after a while :(

I think though that the story and the combat are fantastic and I have had a hard time putting this down since I picked it up. I'm about 14 hours into it so far.

I would also argue that there is exploration, but you have to spend some of your hours before the mission to leave the Akademia and explore the world map. But there are treasure chests hidden about out there.

So far I'm enjoying this way more than I ever enjoyed FF13. This game might have some cringe worthy dialogue but at least you can listen to it in Japanese which makes it much more tolerable.

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Deleted User
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 12:54:48 AM

Yeah, man it's really awesome.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 6:47:19 AM

Yes, I entered a cave with Coeurl beasts and felt relieved to see a treasure chest. But admittedly the towns you visit are uninspiring, it just feels like a room.

& Yes, motion blur... it is just so bad! a light touch of the right analogue stick and it the background looks like it's in a timewarp... I've never experienced something like that, it's really that bad.

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xenris
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 9:56:00 AM

Yeah Vivi I agree the towns are a little lacking. I can only imagine how amazing this game would have been if it was built from the ground up on the PS4!

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Lone Wanderer
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 12:29:16 AM
Reply

Just one question. What is it that makes this an M-rated game? I ask because it's the first in the "Final Fantasy" series to get an M18 rating.F-bombs, gore?

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DIsmael85
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 12:31:04 AM

Lots and lots of blood and violence in a war time setting. Pretty graphic for a Final Fantasy.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 6:54:49 AM

Interestingly Type-0 is rated a PEGI 16+ here in the UK which is the same as all the XIII titles, X/X-2 Remaster got a 12+. But yes, there is blood in this title, so I think that alone is what has made the difference.

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xenris
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 9:56:54 AM

Lots of blood and people dying within the first 15 minutes of the game.

The themes are pretty intense too.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 6:44:38 AM
Reply

I am finding the experience to be underwhelming. Firstly, the combat is great, I love controlling Nine and waiting patiently for a KillSight alert, it makes the game very tense and engaging and its fun to find out each enemies KillSight weakness.

Beyond that, I am not enjoying the game. I think what it comes down to is that it is poorly structured. I find that I want to utilise my time between missions efficiently. But the problem with this is that I end up spending hours on the world map training and not progressing with the actual story. I'm on 16 hours and barely at the start of Chapter 3 and as of now the story just is not engaging at all, I'm hoping events will pick up soon. The characters as you said are high in quanity and due to this most get little screen time. I can only identify most characters by their weapon "Oh, it's the useless Mace girl." Which is a testement to just how undeveloped the characters are... it's reaching MMO territory here. Machina & Rem have an ongoing connect, but they're both very stiff and Rem has a side-story progressiing with his relationship with Machina's brother but beyond that that's all there is so far.

Also, in the school, you progress time by tasks or talking to people. I find just talking to the normal students with '!' above their head is a waste of time. You can tell who is worth talking/spendtime on by the look if their avatar, if they're dressed all fancy they're a unique character and worth seeking out.

Also, another issue I have is these combat reseves to get SPP points. When you go on missions you can accept to have reserves on your team. These are a bunch of shadows which are much stronger than your team - The team which is deemed the Elite of the Academy... It just seems so inconsistent to use them but you get rewards for doing so. Yet, if you use them your party doesnt level up... so I just dont like the system at all.

I'm still early into the game and will progress an see how I feel by the end. But... sorry I have to say it... that Final Fantasy XV demo was simply one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life!

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xenris
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 10:01:36 AM

The SSP system is a bit weird, I just don't use it but I think it is for if you are stuck. I think it is an alternative thing to use when you have already completed missions.

The story hooked me though, not the delivery of it necessarily but the world. I want to know more about the crystals, l'cie, the imperials, why they invaded, and something really big happens around chapter 4-5 that peeked my interest.

I also loooooooooove the FF15 demo! If they can build on this for the final product we are going to get a really awesome Final Fantasy.

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sawao_yamanaka
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 2:13:54 PM
Reply

So psp game? Gotcha! Best this game years ago on the psp, and so far from what I've played it looks like a vita game. Toukiden looks very similar in terms to both vita and ps4 besides a few graphical differences. The game, which I had hoped was updated for ps4, still plays very much like a psp game. Huge empty corridors and besides the few graphical enhancements, the game still is a psp game. Oh well, glad it was rented. Ffxv was worth the rental.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 2:33:43 PM
Reply

Sorry Ben I don't have a counter review to add this time, when I left it I was sitting on 7.3 with a review that explains what is good and also the fact that you are left holding some loose action RPG elements that dance and spin but never come together in a compelling way.

So what do people think of Final Fantasy XV? It's extremely Western. There's mostly wasted time like walking around (could just be this first mission without the car).

The battle system seems to be a confused kind of scream saying: "Heres Something That's Not Just Face Button Mashing"

And it's always behind and clunky for what is clearly an action game.


A demo is a demo though, it could still be awesome but that bland dead world is gonna need an epic story for me to want to go into it. I do like that characters and their fashion hair :)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/21/2015 2:34:16 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 7:42:21 PM

No biggie. I thought we'd probably be of a similar mind, anyway. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 8:31:42 PM

Word brotha

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xenris
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 9:14:18 PM

I disagree 100% with your thoughts on the demo. It is an action RPG, that is why it is slow and more methodical, like Crisis core, like PSO, like the Souls games and other ARPGs that limit the combat in some way.

I think the world is gorgeous, how is the world bland and dead when the animals behaviours change, and certain animals run and hunt other animals? Animals have night time behaviours, and of course the military will be hunting you as well.

So I don't know where your hate towards the game is coming from but it seems largely unjustified, and like you are going into it with a closed mind to begin with.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, March 22, 2015 @ 2:38:31 PM

I meant it's a fallout style world, strange for a fantasy game. And no Crisis Core wasn't slow. I'm not ragging on it, just giving impressions that they need to pick up the press button to action engaged time to make the combat smoother.

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xenris
Sunday, March 22, 2015 @ 6:44:17 PM

What do you mean fallout style? Crisis core had a definite delay, go on youtube and watch any combat video. It wasn't slow but there was a button delay even in that.

Everything in this demo is going to be improved according to tabata, there is no upgrading of abilities, no magic, and in the full version he wants to see if the feedback from the community wants the weapon system to be so that you can use one weapon type for all the attacks and then swap on the fly.

I feel like there is a delay in this game but it ads weight to the characters and combat and I definitely don't mind it.

This is also .5% of the final game so we will see what they tweak for the final version.

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Mdash0009
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 5:37:24 PM
Reply

Unfortunately a lot of the story is in their "History" book, so much of the interesting things too. The camera is poorly done for sure, I feel it's worse than the PSP version.

Tip for chapter 6: Level up enough to plan for chapters 7 and 8.

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Banky A
Sunday, March 22, 2015 @ 8:44:33 AM
Reply

Nice review thanks.

It reminds me of how great the Valkyria Chronicles series was at making me love and appreciate the plethora of characters they had. This is a bit like a violent M18 version of VC, with a little less heart for action gamers.

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