While everyone often wonders about the status of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, another FF title has been getting plenty of attention lately. It’s Final Fantasy Type-0 for the PSP; Square Enix has given us some fairly impressive portable adventures in recent years, and their new effort looks intriguing. It’s an action/RPG and you will play as the character Rem, who is surprisingly capable for a mere school student. Yes, the game utilizes that now-familiar school setting (Shin Megami Tensei fans are used to such environments); the Sazaku school of magic will be your home. But you’ll also be able to explore other locales and travel about via airship. Cool!
Random encounters will be involved in the combat, and Rem will bring two allies with her into every encounter. This will be an action-based affair with a heavy emphasis on magic: every dispatched enemy will give Rem and Co. some phantoma energy that restores mana points, and such energy can even be used to upgrade and customize spells. One other element of the gameplay that I find interesting is the Battle Zone. When running around exploring, you will come across areas that are being overrun by troops from opposing countries, so you can either choose to go your own way and tackle a mission, or lend a helping hand. It’ll be in your best interest to help your comrades, though, because once the enemy is vanquished in that particular Battle Zone, it once again becomes a neutral territory.
During your plot-driven battles, you will come across the standard assortment of enemies; soldiers, mechs, monsters, and just about everything in between. The combat will be fast and fluid and we’ll have to keep an eye on our characters: whenever a red indicator appears over their heads, they can pull off a devastating instant kill maneuver. Getting that red indicator to show up may take some practice, though. If you’re having trouble with a large number of foes (or one particularly large boss), you can summon a creature to come to your aid. The only downside is that you sacrifice a teammate for the sake of that summoned beast, so choose your help carefully!
The summoned creature will only stick around for 40 seconds and based on the information we have now, it doesn’t appear as if you get that sacrificed character back...so that’s a strategic issue. You better hope you finish the fight after 40 seconds; if not, you’re a man short for the remainder of the encounter. If a battle proves extra hard, you might want to bring some friends; other players can jump into a mission provided you have the multiplayer support option turned on. But the gameplay should be engaging for solo players: complete with summoning and a dynamic team-based combat, along with a few original twists, the game should be super fun.
Final Fantasy Type-0 doesn’t have an official release date just yet, but we’re hoping to see it before the end of the year.
7/11/2011 Ben Dutka