Monday, 6 July 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review

Originally a 2011 PSP game, Final Fantasy Type-0 found its way to the new generation of consoles and the PC earlier this year. This action JRPG was brought to us by Square Enix with assistance of HexaDrive who formed this game in high fidelity. Much like other Final Fantasy games, the story is bound to crystals and magic powers they are holding which can be used or abused depending on the person we are taking a look on. Now this is where it gets a bit complicated. Square did a great job to add as much characters to the game as you can possibly imagine. Not only are there three parties that fight each other but these three parties are overrun by people. It is war! More about the war later.

Main goal of the Rubrumians, Rubrum is a city on the continent of Orience and which you are part of, is to fight against a whole army of the Milites forces who are using magitek as their main weapons, tanks, airships, et cetera. The third party is rather "spoilery" and I won't get on about that. Basically it is magic vs technology, as you might know it from other Final Fantasy games. In Rubrum, the playable characters are students in the Rubrum academy, known as a Peristylium. Orience is divided in four nations, each of them having a Peristylium and a certain magical crystal, that are being researched at these facilities.

Certain people of Orience get selected by the crystals to become l'Cie (known from the Final Fantasy XIII series), who are marked with a symbol and have a "Focus" that serves as their goal in life. By completing their Focus, l'Cie become crystals themselves and live an almost eternal life, the downside though is that they lose their memories, even those that are deeply anchored in the brain. The Milites are going for these crystals, with a purpose still unknown. They wiped out a complete city by using crystal jammers that keep the magic-wielding students at silence.
You are controlling 14 different characters and all of these 14 have weird names, so you have to get used to that weirdness very quickly. In missions you are heading out with three people, and if one of these three dies, you can bring one from the reserve party. So all 14 characters may have to die in a mission to get a "Game Over". But it is up to you how many of these reserves you are taking on a mission. Every mission is followed by free time, which you can spend differently, either through talking to fellow students, or doing side quests, and even by exploring the world map. It's huge, so get on a Chocobo and ride from point A to B. Oh, Chocobos can be bred at the academy, so you never run out of them.

You might have wondered why I describe the game's genre as action RPG. That's where the combat comes into play, which is very different from any other Final Fantasy game. Everything is happening in real time, you press a button and you do certain action, may it be an attack, a spell, or your defensive moves. It feels kind of arcade-style but all the characters have their unique weapons equipped and you feel changes every time you have another student in battle. Some are slower, some are quicker, but it is more about timing, as you try to use the enemies' weaknesses that pop open as soon as they are trying to attack you or they are doing a special move.

There are two types of missions, either in a city alone, where you walk a certain path and get orders, or on the world map fighting against the Milites forces in more strategic battles. The combat works the same only are there now troops from cities trying to occupy a settlement or another city. You can, if you have unlocked it in a battle, give these troops orders and equip them with a certain type of magic. Some magic is good against machinery, some are good against humans. After you successfully occupy a city, you need to infiltrate it and cleanse it from Milites that are stationed there.
What I like about the game:
The open world is big, so big that it takes quite some time to move from a city to another. So preparations, like having some Chocobos in your repertoire, are needed to move forward quickly and safely.

The battle system is easy to understand even though it is so different than in other Final Fantasy games. I like it very much, as you not only have to be quick enough but also need to time you actions. Sounds contrary but trust me on this one. Also the strategic battles are very interesting and a lot of fun. If you want, you can replay missions from the main menu, I find myself doing this sometimes since these missions on the battlefield are so much fun.

The dialogue is always humorous, especially when you talk to the Moogles that serve as the ambassadors of the different classes of an academy. 
What I am neutral about:
The story is sometimes a bit complicated but you get the hang of it eventually by talking to strangers and all the other NPC in the game.
The music in Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is as expected from a Final Fantasy game very beautiful. The only thing I have to criticize is the fact that you hear some tracks over and over again. It gets very repetitive very soon in the game.

What I don't like about the game:
I don't really mind it too much most of the times but if you're giving me an HD version of a game, I expect HD graphics. Sometimes textures are looking like from good ol' PS2/PSP times. This is very understandable since the game is originally a PSP game. But I think Final Fantasy Type-0 HD may have a good place on handhelds like the PlayStation Vita. Since there is not a big audience on handhelds compared to consoles and the PC, this is a move that had to be done. Again, I understand it, I don't think it's too bad, but I wished more... kinda.

The wrap-up:
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD surprises with a well made battle system and intriguing story. It is a good way to spend some time with a Final Fantasy game during the wait of Square Enix's next big title, Final Fantasy XV, which still has no release date set. But also included is the demo to that new game. I have much fun with Type-0 HD and can recommend it to every Final Fantasy, JRPG, or even game fan in general to pick this up and play it if time allows it. Even more so now since the update. That one fixed the camera movement (really important since it was all buggy and not optimized), as well as some other minor issues. Now it's even more fun to play!

Released: October 27, 2011 (original), March 20, 2015 (HD)
Developers: Square Enix, HexaDrive
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing
System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
JerriKoe - Game on!

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