Originally a PSP exclusive in Japan back in 2011, Final Fantasy Type-0 has received a HD release on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, with a PC release also in the pipeline. It is a title that Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV has started to allow experimentation with the Final Fantasy franchise, resulting in a good first attempt to take Final Fantasy into a new direction of sorts.
For a HD port of a PSP game, Type-0 didn’t get the love and attention I feel that other Square-Enix HD efforts got as this wasn’t a major overhaul on the original PSP graphics. Instead, it was just upscaled for the most part while the character models of the main cast got a true HD update. The problem with this is that older character models for side characters didn’t so it creates a really weird contrast when this happens in scenes but the game doesn’t look horrible far from it. The musical score is fantastic! It really sets the tone of game perfectly and really invites you into the world for full immersion. The musical direction that plays throughout the scenes were spot on, I actually cannot praise it enough.
Final Fantasy Type-0 at its core is centered around war, following themes of death, loyalty, betrayal and more this can all be rather thought provoking and hard hitting. The story revolves around an elite group of cadets, Class Zero, consisting of fourteen students that all carry their own unique combat styles while holding the power to wield magic. They are brought into the fray of war when one of the nations of four that rule the world of Orience invades a neighbouring kingdom plunging the world into war. I found the story to be good despite it losing impact on some the story. On the initial playthrough, the story suffers on a narrative point of view as they do odd cut away effects during cutscenes when they are explaining more of the important points of the story. This makes your first run of the game confusing and I personally found myself not caring as much for some characters or the antagonist as I really didn’t know much about him or what his motives were. The reason being for this is that Type-0 wants you to play through the game a second and third time as new cutscenes and missions come into play on those runs.
Before progressing the main story through the main missions, you will have free time ranging from a certain amount of hours given. In this time, you can do a fair number of activities which all take up an amount of dedicated time before mission day, so there is some time management required. Although, it isn’t anywhere near restrictive as it may sound as there is a fair bit you are able to before the hours are up. You can undergo a sub-quest from a NPC, do a bit of Chocobo breeding, going out and exploring the overworld of Orience or catching up with Class Zero in Academia to get to know the characters better. Traversing over the overworld is such a nice feeling as for long time Final Fantasy fans the last time we got to truly visit a overworld was back in Final Fantasy IX not only that travel via Chocobos and airships that has you doing aerial battles was such an awesome addition.
Combat is where Type-0 really excels in as it is fast and frantic while keeping the strategy that JRPGs are known for in-tact. You have to strategically plan out when to dodge roll, learn enemy patterns to know when a kill/break sight occurs these sights are key in battle as the kill sight acts as a one hit kill for smaller enemies when they are vulnerable like in a real war these can be animations of when soldiers are reloading their guns or they are on the ground and a breaksight happens when a monster or soldier appears with more than one health bar before a killsight pops up for the final bar. These may sound like they make the game easy but far from it. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a punishing game for when you mess up and will give you a run for your money however they added an easy mode to this HD upgrade for those who just want to play through the story so don’t worry if you was finding that daunting. You have a choice of fourteen different playable characters this is where again the combat really shines as you have 14 very diverse characters so you can find a style that is more suited to you straight away so no character is the same as the other. You have 3 party on the field at any given time although if one was to fall you can go into your reserves of the rest of the cast and bring them out to fill in that empty spot. Summons are a Final Fantasy staple but they return in the form of Eidolons in which you control in real time as well to summon these mighty beings you must sacrifice a party member so in a way they are like a last resort measure. There is also another feature for when you are in a bind and about to wiped out you can call upon emergency backup characters this takes place over the multiplayer feature that was present in the PSP version of the game but not present in this HD port.
The camera is easily the deterring factor of this game in general as you swivel the camera around there is a motion blur effect as shown below in the image and this can make you feel a sense of motion sickness at first. My eyes did adjust to it over time but I still it was incredibly distracting roaming around the city and in battles where it is fast and frantic
UPDATE: As of June 9th 2015. Square-Enix has updated the game to version 1.01 which is a 12mb patch that gets rid of this motion blur effect and it was much needed! If you were someone who was put off from playing the game at first because of the motion blur. Give the game another try as it is far more enjoyable to play now.