Final Fantasy Type-0, like a good soap opera, has seen its fair share of twists. It originally came out on the PlayStation Portable and was only released in Japan. Fans have been waiting for a very long time to play it and Square Enix has finally given them the chance with the release of a high definition port on the current generation.
Type-O is a very different experience when compared to the other Final Fantasy games. For starters there is no turn based fighting. Instead, the player is given control over three characters to fight with. Each of these characters can use up to three abilities in battle. Each ability is mapped to a button on the controller and is used instantly. Combat abilities don’t use any points. However, the one magic spell assigned to each character uses magic points. It’s also necessary to move around in order to dodge enemy attacks.
In addition, it is possible to also have a list of additonal characters to substitute any characters that are defeated. There’s also the option to let random characters join the team during a mission and support the player controlled character. Any help is appreciated given that missions take longer with each new story chapter.
One of the more exciting abilities added later on is the use of the Eidolons – creatures that are summoned in Final Fantasy games. In this one summoning one of the creatures means sacrificing the character. It’s quite the gamble given that it means having to use a reserve character, after the amount of time the Eidolon is summoned for expires. There is also a special ability involving the characters being used.
There are fourteen characters to choose from with their unique abilities. As usual there are many ways to improve character stats and their abilities. The Altocrystarium is where magic spells are upgraded. Characters and Eidolons are also given the opportunity to use points earned by levelling up to learn new abilities and boost stats with the aid of items. It’s surprising how the battle system is actually more complex once taking a closer look.
The only way to progress is by completing missions given to the class 0 students. Admittedly, there is a lot of fighting involved in these missions. However, it also soon becomes clear that the dungeons these fights take place in are not that interesting to explore. The dungeon layouts are rather simple and it all starts to feel too similar after only completing a few missions. It doesn’t help that most missions just consist of defeating a few enemies and proceeding to a designated location. A bit more diversity in the missions objectives would have made it more memorable. Sometimes characters are given special orders during missions and bonuses are earned if players choose to complete them.
There are times when battles takes place on the field and it involves supporting the army. Only one character is used and the objective is to push back the enemy and liberate towns.
In typical JRPG fashion, there are also requests from characters in the towns visited. These involve hunting monsters and other objectives. It’s actually quite enjoyable to do something different for a change.
Walking on the field means having to face random encounters with monsters. This is useful for getting resources from defeated enemies. It does get better later on once a much better solution is provided. Fans of the Chocobo bird like creatures will like that characters can ride them. It seems like riding a Chocobo will also mean avoiding random monster encounters.
In order to go on a mission, it is necessary to pass time by interacting with characters. It’s not even possible to wait it out. This provides some truly dreadful moments where players find themselves chatting to guys about their girl crushes, in order to deduct two hours from the total number of hours until the mission begins. On the bright side, it is possible to spend time by going outside of the Akademeia, or at least until a certain amount of time remains. It’s clear that Square Enix wanted players to explore the hub and get to know the many characters it is populated with and get involved in activities, such as playing with the Chocobos. But at the same time, it is rather frustrating that such activities are mandatory.
The locations within the main Akademeia hub are not exactly the most exciting either. A teleport in the middle of the main hall even makes it possible to go to most of them. The game does open up further on, but it really isn’t the Final Fantasy game with the most inspiring locations to explore.
Where Type-0 exceeds is in how it presents itself with very swish menus and an inspiring soundtrack. Even the visuals are not looking so shabby considering that this is a port of a PlayStation Portable title. However, it’s clear this is a port once paying close attention to details such as character animations and the very basic layouts of locations visited.
Not even the story can make this a memorable Final Fantasy entry. It certainly has potential given that it is part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. It has a cast of fourteen characters who are special students at the academy. Yet it seems to focus too much on the war going on between the nations. This makes for some fairly dull moments and the dialogue doesn’t help either. The way that the story is presented never really gives much of a reason to care about the cast.
There’s also a strange blur effect with the camera that makes it difficult to focus on what is going on-screen. In fact, it can even cause headaches. This is possibly something that players already experienced on the original release, but wasn’t as noticeable on a smaller screen.
There is certainly a lot of content to get through and Type-0 does a decent job of presenting itself. But it’s irrelevant for anyone who hasn’t been waiting for this title to come out and is curious to find out what it’s like. It’s very difficult to fully recommend this title when there are so much better Final Fantasy titles released that are more accessible and also entertaining.
Final Fantasy Type-0 does have some interesting ideas that fail to work properly in the long run and it is clear that this is a title that would have been better enjoyed in short burst on a hand-held system.
We would like to thank the team at Xbox who have kindly provided review code.