Final Fantasy Type-0 HD finally arrived to the west, the iconic Episode adored by many players and PSP fans of the Final Fantasy series, and the first spin-off of the franchise. While I already played the original Japanese game (without understanding much of it), this time it’s not on a handheld that we get the release, but on the recent Sony and Xbox machines remastered in HD for the occasion. So after so much time to wait, is this take on Final Fantasy worth it?
Original released only in Japan back in 2011, for the PSP with limited visual capabilities, the moment you boot it on the current generation of console, the difference is obvious and noticeable. beyond the success of this transfer, there is a more important issue: the vision Hajime Tabata.
For those that are fans of turn-based battles, nostalgic for the old Final Fantasy, Tabata-san is not really your friend. With Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, the title is still ruled out a bit more traditional path of the series Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, adapting to its particular time support: the PSP. The mobile platform is often translated and is still reflected in the minds of some game designers by shorter game sessions in comparison to the consoles.
Think Metal Gear Solid Portable OPS for example, which had introduced the mission format. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD probably is pretty much the same. Combining basic RPG saga and his love for war documentaries, Hajime Tabata began to tell the story of a conflict. One initiated by the Empire of Milites, which seek to invade other nations in Orience and take ownership of their crystals, breaking a fragile but secular peace. Faced with the invader, the dominion of Rubrum and its army of soldiers who can use magic and eidolon; you embody the fourteen members of the famous Class Zero, the exceptional promotion of the Akademeia (the Military School of Rubrum).
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is divided into chapters, which are divided into a bunch of quick missions. You start by selecting a group of three characters, and the others members of the class will stay in reserve to replace the knocked-out ones if necessary. You control at any time one of these three members, with the ability to switch from one to another by pressing the D-Pad.
Your colleagues are powered by an AI, and take part of the mission, despite the lack of real parameters of their actions: they rather help or attack when necessary. As for you, you control your character in a pure A-RPG diagram juice: moving the left stick, camera on right, lock the triggers to fire spells and skills and dodge with the right buttons. Despite a nervous camera motion and a completely exaggerated motion blur, the game is successful rhythmic in choices. This is where the variety of characters, weapons and skills makes sense and anyone should find the right pick for their adventures (although some struggle to be convincing picks).
In addition, you can spice things by accepting occasional reinforcements more or less gifted by the Akademeia instead of one of your heroes, and amassing points to spend on weapons and special items. Same principle for Challenges, which will fall steadily during the battles, which you are free to accept or not.
Between each mission, you are free to wander throughout the Akademeia or even on the world map, basically to grant you access to shops, open conversations with NPCs, completing side quests or participate in the military operations of Rubrum. But you have limited time between each mission, which will be consumed differently according to what you do. Thus, a side mission will take two hours of your game clock, just like talking to an NPC with an exclamation point above the head, or six hours of your time for roaming on the open world map.
I admit that I was very perplexed by this system. Round trips are numerous and not all actions consume your time (even the quests). The management side is actually quite minimal: you can stay for ages to farm on the world map to increase your level, passing by cities to restock, and you will never lose six hours of your game time.
The game also comes up quickly to another major stumbling block, namely the very high number of its protagonists. The attachment or even interest in them gets disregarded quite fast. Ten or fifteen hours within the game, just to be able to identify different personalities (which are luckily not really developed) via cinematics. The attentive and considerate player will try to rotate his squad during the mission, just to provide a uniform and versatile team, ready to face any challenge.
But it is often found to leave the least interesting characters away and still play with the same, even on the battlefield. As for the management of so many heroes, it becomes quite tedious without a surprise, especially as modifying equipments linked to your heroes capabilities. We feel that the journey from the PSP did not happen smoothly in the sense of modernizing the menus and UI, in comparison to the visual appearance of the game, which took a hit of monumental boost.
While some landscapes are still pretty bland and generic, with a over-stretched pixels at times, we salute the work done on the models of the characters (main heroes in particular), lighting and special effects. The Akademeia is really nice way to admire. Another good point is the music of the game: if the loops are unfortunately too many and repetitive, the focus given to the soundtrack stands out positively.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is not free of defects, even far from it. Characters are too numerous and too boring to get attached to between missions. But nevertheless, the title aroused my curiosity as to what will be the future Final Fantasy XV with a dynamic and enjoyable fighting mechanics and missions layout. This PSP port PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is frankly well-managed, although offering quite uneven result visually. In the end, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD has at least the merit to have dared doing things differently now and in the past.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was reviewed using an Xbox One copy of the game provided by Square Enix. The original game was released back in 2011 on the PSP only in Japan. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• The combat system
• diversity of characters
• Huge appendix content
• Able to play with original Japanese voices
• The narrative
• Visually still aged
• Camera and disturbing motion blur
• Dumb AI allies