Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4) — First Impressions

I primarily bought Final Fantasy Type-0 HD to play the demo for Final Fantasy XV, which I was pretty pleased with.  But the idea behind Type-0 sounded cool enough to me — short missions with three out of 14 party members at once.  I had at least seen and heard about it enough to be interested.

After five hours, it’s clear that I should have done some more research.  I don’t think I’ll be going back to Final Fantasy Type-0 HD anytime soon.

A neat premise, but no thanks.

A neat premise, but Final Fantasy Type-0 just doesn’t do it for me.

Class Zero, a group of gifted students at Akademia (clever), is tasked with helping the Vermillion Empire defend itself against the Militesi Empire, a warring state that broke the peace treaty that was in place for years.  Right off the bat, it’s clear that Final Fantasy Type-0 HD isn’t your typical Final Fantasy game.  It’s immediately more bloody and dark than the typical sword-and-magic setting.  Within five minutes, you see multiple people shot and stabbed, including a poor chocobo with it’s throat cut.  Even a summoned dragon is gunned down.  Color me interested.

Type-0 is also the most action-oriented Final Fantasy title I’ve seen.  You take groups of three members of Class Zero into the field for fast paced combat.  Each of the characters, named after a playing card, has a standard attack move, two swappable action/magic abilites, and a defensive ability.  Some characters have ranged attacks like Ace with his Gambit-style playing cards and King’s dual pistols while others have melee attacks like Jack’s katana, Nine’s dragoon lance, and Cinque’s giant mace.  While attacking, you’ll often see yellow and red circles on enemies, which represent an opening for critical and auto-kill damage.  While it’s fun to use the few abilities at each character’s disposal, combat tends to break down into waiting for the auto-kill reticle to pop, then diving in for the kill.

I was disappointed to learn that you can only swap your active party members if a party member dies.  Whatever set you choose to bring with you is the set you have until it goes bad.  You can choose to accept random help from classmates while on a mission, but those helpers will replace your active members and may end up not being much help at all.

Great question, Jack.

The combat situation sure is unique, Jack.

While on missions, you can accept different bonus missions that pop up almost constantly.  Survive for two minutes, kill three enemies in 30 seconds, that sort of thing.  These mini-bonuses are so frequent that it becomes cumbersome to constantly view them and decide if you want to bother with the current party you have.

Alright, maybe it’s not a perfect action setup, but it should at least be a pleasure to look at, right?  This is a Final Fantasy game after all.   The original Type-0 was released on PSP in Japan in 2011 and while this is supposedly an HD version, Type-0 HD looks like a straight port.  I’ve said many times before that graphics aren’t everything, but the visual style of a game shouldn’t be a detriment.  Textures are very bland and poorly detailed, almost everything except important character’s faces consist of sharp polygons, mouths flap like you’re watching an episode of South Park, and character movement is incredibly stiff.  You also can’t pause during cut scenes, an important fact I learned early in forcing me to replay the first part of the game again after missing what I assumed was an important scene.

HD version my ass.

HD version my ass.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD seems to be getting solid praise, so maybe it’s just me, but it’s just not a game I can see myself spending 30-40 hours on.  If I want a game with crazy action and weapons, I’d much rather play the recently released DmC Definitive Edition, which I haven’t even opened yet but since I enjoyed the first version I’m sure I’ll like it.  If I want an action-oriented RPG, I’ll go play some more Dragon Age: Inquisition.  I’ve heard that Final Fantasy Type-0 HD gets a lot better after chapter 3, which I’m currently on, so maybe I’ll go back to it in the future.  For now, though, I’ll pass.

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