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User Review : Final Fantasy Type-0

  • Solid combat
  • Tons of extra content to take on (outside of the main story)
  • Good cast
  • Combat can rely a little much on break-sight at times
  • Story is hit and miss at times

A quality modern Final Fantasy game. No, really.

Before I begin my review I would just like to point out something for players that haven't played Type-0 but intend to with the impending HD re-release. A significant enough issue with Type-0 which I found was the lack of clarity for players in regards to side-quests and replaying the game on New Game +, namely what quests would remain open for you to do after you do a main mission and which ones wouldn't, and the fact that the majority of quests and dungeons weren't meant for players to play in their first playthrough but the second (due to the difficult and high-level nature of them). My experience in the middle of the game was extremely jarred, as I spent about 10-15 hours grinding to do certain missions and with 14 characters to level up I had a lot of time between one particular mission and the next so I was irritated by it and became a little lost in the game (and only then did I find out that this was rather pointless as I had NG+ to look forward to). Square didn't necessarily make this clear to players initially, however with the HD release almost ready Hajime Tabata has been attempting to rectify this by making it known through various interviews and AMA's as he advertises the game, particularly to all of those that are awaiting Type-0 in the West. Regardless, in the case that you haven't heard of it beforehand, those of you buying Type-0 HD please take note of it now.

Opening with the beginning of a war across the world of Orience, Type-0 revolves around the nation of Suzaku, a country which holds its war expertise in the field of magic and its continued training of cadets and trainees in its famous Magic Academy, which is under siege by the nation of Milites. With the withering away of the lands of Byakko and its ability to create enough output to sustain the empire, the Milites leader Cid Aulstyne invades Suzaku in an attempt to steal the crystal of Rubrum in order to return to prosperity. Suzaku's magic-wielding cadets in turn have to attempt to stave off the Imperial's attack and try and gain a foothold in the opening of what will become a grand war across Orience. While the plot is what keeps Type-0 moving, the game doesn't necessarily have its central focus on narrative which makes it a bit of a change from some (or most, I should probably say) Final Fantasy games. The game moves forward from mission to mission, but with a lot of your time in-between missions being spent doing other jobs and exploring other lands and areas, you get a better idea of the politics of the world of Orience and what goes on. It definitely is a game that focuses on its combat and action more than its narrative, and that is probably emphasised in the fact that its narrative is based on a war and the act of war itself, something director Hajime Tabata has made clear he has a large interest in. The story does have some rather peculiar and fragile points at times along with some not-so-surprising twists, but it is solid. It isn't top notch by any means and isn't particularly outstanding (then again most Final Fantasy stories aren't exactly ground-breaking) but it is still quite enjoyable if you can look past its flaws. The one thing that is very noticeable from the very start, however, is that Type-0 can be very gory and violent and rarely attempts to hold anything back, which is presumably what Square alluded to when they labelled this as "the first mature Final Fantasy" in that dire Type-0 HD survey a few weeks back. If you haven't noticed it in some of Square's spoiler-ridden trailers (although luckily without context most spoilers will go unnoticed), you'll see it from the very first scenes of the game. Of course most of us will know that not many of the Final Fantasy stories of the past were necessarily "immature" (if you could even go that far), but Type-0's depiction of war and what people experience during wartime (yes, even in a fantastical game and game world) does stand a bit apart from what has gone before in the series.

I would rather not spend too long dwelling on the characters of the game, but despite none of them being particularly exceptional individuals (ignoring their fighting capabilities), I do have a large fondness for Type-0's cast. They aren't incredibly interesting people and chances are not many of them (if any) will leave a long-lasting effect on you, but Type-0 takes a different approach to the norm when it comes to party members in Final Fantasy. In fact there's not even really a protagonist among the lot (in spite of Ace being the character advertised the most). Yet they all each have their own unique aspects to their personalities and their own mannerisms that make them different, and the way in which they all interact each other and with other cadets is what makes their story engaging and alluring. They mix together quite well and the game tends to focus on the group as a whole rather than as individuals which I find is a nice change. (That isn't to say that previous Final Fantasy games never did this, however, but I think Type-0 almost always focuses on the group of Class 0 and how they are as a class and as a collection rather than a number of individuals.) It can be argued that Type-0 does play to some JRPG stereotypes (like Nine as the jock or Cinque as the happily-ignorant airhead), but the game places enough focus on character development that you will find that Class 0 are more than a collection of conventional types. But if that doesn't satisfy you all enough, for those of you that simply adore the latest Final Fantasy heroine, Type-0's Seven takes her character design inspiration from Final Fantasy XIII's Lightning just so you all can have even more Lightning in your lives! (On a more serious note, don't worry, Seven is actually likeable.)

Presumably anyone and everyone that has been interested in playing Type-0 since its release back in Japan in 2011 on the PSP has seen the game's battle system, but I will write what seems like an unending paragraph about it in a review that will go on way too long anyway. It is quite fun and is very action-oriented and fast-paced, although with some characters you can slow things down a little if you prefer. There are lots of different fighting styles to utilise between Class 0's roster but they all use one unique style, such as Cinque with her very slow attacking but strong hammer weapons, Trey with his long-reaching yet powerful bow, Seven with her stunning whip, or Jack with his extremely powerful katana strikes. It is fast, challenging and fluently fun. Unfortunately in a few places the game does place a dependence on break-sight, which in practice is when an enemy leaves themselves open to being attacked at their weak point (normally after a missed attack, for example) and if you attack them you either kill them - if their health is low enough - or you deal massive damage to them (I know what you're thinking, Tabata clearly must have been a fan of Sony's E3 conference in 2006). While it is a useful feature to change up certain battles and gives you different options, it does tend to become something battles rely on in order for you to be able to beat certain enemies. Most of the boss battles in the game are ruined by the emphasis on this, as are a lot of the encounters with larger enemies like behemoths. In fact, frankly, most of Type-0's boss battles are pretty dire and poorly thought-out, so don't expect anything good from the majority of them. But that's not to say that general gameplay and combat against enemies on the field can't be fun and enjoyable and challenging, because they are, especially when you get to the more difficult quests and dungeons which you can seek out yourself (particularly in your additional playthroughs). but I will get to that later. You also have a few special attacks which you can choose between before each mission, including the use of an Eidolon (which will, however, come at the the cost of the caster's death), a special Suzaku fire attack which can be charged up to a very high level (although with this leaving the caster standing still in one spot you are wide open to attacks, so it needs to be used tactically), or an attack which utilises synchronised physical attacks from all 3 members of your battle party. Type-0's combat system and gameplay is undoubtedly satisfying and fun, however the shallow nature of a lot of the boss battles and the lack of effort that went into them is a disappointment. But with the amount of challenging fights you can find for yourself as you further explore the world and take on more quests post ending in NG+ (including some boss battles), you will realise that there are many much better fights out there to be found and that Type-0 does have a lot of fulfilling fights for you to challenge yourself with.

It's really nice to have a world map to explore in a modern Final Fantasy game, and the first moment I stepped onto it I was struck with awe, especially as I didn't expect it (this is what jumping into a game fairly blindly does to you). Type-0 has random encounters but they don't hound you like they do in some older FF games (looking at you IV) so it's nothing to worry about if you dislike them, in fact I'd venture as far to say that they're spaced out nicely here in comparison. You can also avoid them completely if you wish by traversing the world on chocobos (and those chocobos can be either found and caught on the world map, or bred at the Magic Academy, although you should really do both). The world map isn't magnificent but there are a good few towns and cities to visit in which you can do quests and buy and sell items among other things, but be aware that if you are unable to free certain regions through some of the specific Combat Exercises given to you before each main mission, some towns will be unavailable for you to visit during your whole playthrough (and yes, this is one of those things you'll miss out on inevitably in your first playthrough due to the high level and difficult nature of the combat exercises early on, unless you want to try and make your brain implode by grinding enough to get everything done in one go). Admittedly Orience's towns aren't particularly amazing or glamorous (or even very different from each other) but they're still nice to have there, although it's pretty clear that they weren't a central focus of the game, or at the very least their designs and layouts sure weren't. While the world map isn't magnificent, it's a step on the right path for Final Fantasy.

The Magic Academy for me is the best part of the game. This is where everything that goes on in the lives of Class 0's pupils begins and happens. Here is where your country, Suzaku, has its base of operations. This is where all of the cadets and soldiers are stationed, and almost definitely where you will gain most of your satisfaction in the game with so much to do. You can talk to people from all the other classes, talk to the moogles, class captains, members of the military bureau, you can train, find new quests, talk to the other members of Class Zero, view scenes, view the Crimson Codex (a fantastic historical record of a huge amount of information from the game, including character biographies, mission summaries, quest summaries, etc.), buy new equipment, upgrade your magic, breed chocobos, spy depravedly on Emina (I didn't say that) and more. Just exploring the academy and talking to NPCs will take up a lot of your time and is a lot of fun as you can find out additional bits of information and listen to whatever is on the minds of other people from the Academy. The Magic Academy is done so well and is really enjoyable to explore and return to after each mission to see what new quests and people to chat to are there, and the classic Final Fantasy Prelude-themed tune that follows you around the halls hits you almost immediately with a dose of nostalgia.

Quests are a little difficult to generalise in one statement when it comes to Type-0. The majority of quests are simple "go to X place and find Y thing and bring it back" or "defeat X number of Y type of enemy in Z area". Nothing difficult. However the irritating thing with quests in Type-0 is that, for some bizarre reason, you can only pick up one active quest at a time which is a little nonsensical when a lot of the time requests will require you to leave the Academy even just for about 5 minutes to do it, and then return again. This normally wouldn't be a big issue (apart from the fact that it is simply annoying), except on your downtime between missions you have a set number of hours free to do things. Talking to specific NPCs or activating specific scenes in the Magic Academy (talking with NPCs with exclamation marks over their heads or interacting with certain areas which are signified with an exclamation mark) will take up 2 hours. Leaving the academy to visit the world map, however, will cost you 6 hours, which is where the issue with not being able to stack up quests begins, especially when you have multiple available which all require you to do things on the world map. It isn't an oversight that will really heavily affect your experience (especially as a lot of these should be tackled in your second playthrough), however it is a hindrance. I could be mistaken and this was actually an intended gameplay design to encourage players to play the game multiple times, but either way it's an annoyance. In your following playthroughs you will be able to view the scenes you already viewed again and have the same discussions again without your time being taken away from you which will allow you to do a little more each time. It's a nice feature for those that wish to take in everything again and then go on to do what they didn't have the chance to before.

Type-0's missions follow a fairly simple path: you go to your classroom to receive your orders and then head on out to the destination. During your missions you can receive SOs, or Special Orders, which are present to test Class Zero's abilities in combat. You can choose to accept or dismiss them freely, however once you choose to accept an SO, if you are unable to complete it then you will run the risk of death, as a giant magic sigil will appear 3 times onto which lightning will strike. It can be evaded, especially if you have upgraded your character's abilities well (predominantly in the speed and dodging department) and are able to time your rolling well, but even then it is always tricky and can be a risky game. However, if you accept and complete an SO, you will receive something in return, while simply accepting an SO will sometimes provide your party with certain benefits for a limited amount of time while you try and complete it, such as Trance mode or even a 0 magic point cost. There are also strategic missions you will have to take on, which will require you to manage various army squads on the world map with the aim of taking control of specific areas or towns. These missions give you a bit of diversion from normal combat which can be pretty fun, although as your strategy is more or less given straight to you every time and you have to follow it directly, if you are ever replaying them you won't find a huge difference on each experience. You will also receive a mission rating at the end of each mission which is affected by your completion time, number of deaths and the amount of phantoma which you collect from enemies on the field. With a better rating, you will receive better benefits, such as extra gil, extra items or even things like new Eidolons for your use. If you don't get the rating you are looking for on your first attempt at a mission, you can scroll back to the main menu of the game and attempt them again (and trust me, it is definitely worth going for an S rank on a lot of missions considering the possible rewards). Not only that but you have different difficulties to replay these missions at each time, each offering different benefits.

Initially, I have to admit that I was quite sceptical about Type-0's soundtrack. I thought that while it had one or two decent tracks, the majority were fairly mediocre, but as you progress through the game and particularly as you approach the end, it becomes clear that Type-0 has a pretty darn impressive soundtrack. Now I wouldn't compare it to the days of Uematsu's VI or VII, however I still think that Type-0 has enough strong and arguably outstanding tracks to call it a must-listen. It has quite a different style to it than the majority of previous Final Fantasy titles, with a much heavier focus on on Latin choral pieces and heavy orchestral tones (even though these are features of many Final Fantasy OSTs), but it does differentiate itself enough with a good number of prominent tracks to make it stand well on its own. Highlights are tracks like 'We Have Arrived' and 'Divine Protection of the Crystal'.

Where Type-0 really stands out, though, is in additional playthroughs on NG+, or NG++ (and so on). On your first run you will only be able to do so much in your free time before each mission (unless you use an hourglass which will give you more free time, although these are quite hard to come by). Take note that requests from within the Magic Academy will disappear after you complete the upcoming mission if you do not do them, but requests outside of the Magic Academy will be available for you to do whenever you wish. But when you get to your second playthrough of the game, you have tons to look forward to: extra scenes, extra quests you'll be ready to take on, extra dungeons you will be ready to face, extra towns you can take a look in, heck you even get extra missions to do as you are offered different ways to take on certain missions (although in reality these are simply different missions). In essence the more you do, the more that becomes available to you. It is here where you might really come to appreciate the game (like myself) as you begin to see the depth of it and how much there really is for players to do and to keep coming back to.

In all, Type-0 is a good game and a much-improved entry to the Final Fantasy series. I have been going to-and-fro throughout my time with it trying to figure out whether it feels like a traditional Final Fantasy game or not. In thinking about it as a whole package it does feel like a Final Fantasy game, but with a few changes from what we have come to expect from the series. Yet while it can feel a little strange at times, I think Square actually deserve a little praise for trying to take such a large and significant series and actually implement some changes to it, even they're fairly minor and even if some of those changes could have been implemented better. For those that aren't willing to take that jump, Type-0 may seem a little light on detail or not worthy of much praise, but with so much content in Type-0 you can easily break the 100 hour bar if you are willing to delve into everything the game has to offer. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn't do anything incredibly different to the norm (apart from combat), but the fact that Square did try and do some things a little different is good, and looking on to Final Fantasy XV after Type-0 and after such a horrid few years for Square with the issues of XIII and the incredible amount of developmental problems Square faced with XIV, things just may be turning around for the series, and for the better. And yes, I am aware that Type-0 was released back in 2011, however I think the fact that they want to release it again and now for the first time to the West and have tried to tie-in the re-release with the oncoming Final Fantasy XV may say a lot about where Square are going (or looking to go, at least) in the near future. Or maybe they just want an excuse to sell the XV demo. Who knows. Either way, Type-0 definitely deserves your time.

For a PSP game, Type-0 looks amazing. A HD remaster from a system like the PSP to the PS4 / Xbox One won't make it look fantastic, especially alongside the XV demo, but the original looks superb for a PSP game.
Type-0 does have a very good soundtrack, and the original voice-acting cast did a very good job, some of their work was absolutely fantastic.
Combat is a lot of fun, and walking around the Magic Academy and interacting with other people is exactly the type of thing that games like XIII missed. The world map and its towns aren't particularly different or unique but it's still great to see them again.
Fun Factor
With so much to do you can't deny the amount of content and the fun that Type-0 has in store for players which can keep you playing for easily over 100 hours. Gameplay is great fun and the Magic Academy is simply wonderful to explore time and again.
BiggCMan3152d ago

So excited for the HD release! It's a funny story for me. I never had any interest in this game at all. Then they announced it was coming with a demo for XV, and that game I have been unbelievably excited for for so many years now. So I just had to get it.

But then something amazing happened. The HD release started getting more and more trailers, gameplay footage at TGS and other conventions. And I said to myself, this game actually looks fantastic!

So now i'm equally excited for the actual game as I am for the XV demo, and i'm happy about that because I was originally going to waste money on a demo.


How Final Fantasy’s First M-Rated Game Laid the Foundation for XVI’s Dark Tone

Final Fantasy XVI demonstrates how the franchise has matured since the release of its first M-rated installment, Final Fantasy Type-0.


Type-0 Is The Darkest Final Fantasy Ever Made

DS: “I hate that Type-0 is forgotten among the Final Fantasy games. While not the strongest entry, its mature story makes it stand out from the others. And even though Final Fantasy now has three rated M games — including Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin and Final Fantasy XVI, — Type-0 will always have the crown of being the first, and arguably the darkest.”

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gold_drake113d ago

i agree that it is indeed dark, but it has its issues.

and i feel like the ending is what makes it really a dark final fantasy game.

the rest is more or less war where teenagers fight.

112d ago
fsfsxii112d ago

This game was the epitome of the FF dark age pretty much, was hella boring and the gameplay was tedious. I'm glad SE got the series back on track

gold_drake112d ago

well, it was more of a spin off rly.
especially after they dropped the fabula nova crystalis stuff

H9112d ago

I actually really love this game, the main problem however was that the entire story and personality of the characters, was in the lore that you need to dig very deep to find and external materials outside of the game, honestly it has my favorite lore in the franchise, I wish they had made the game more story focused, god it would have been a masterpiece


5 JRPG Music Pieces Sure To Pump You Up In The Mornings

KeenGamer: "Ever been in the position where you just don't want to get out of bed? Probably had a bad night's sleep or just lazy? These JRPG music pieces will surely get you on your feet and make you moonwalk or headbang your way to a better morning."

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