I have played most of the Final Fantasy games over the years, missing out the MMORPG affairs and sucking so badly at others that I had to give it up as a bad job. I have only completed 3 of the games though.
The first being Final Fantasy VII, which was my first foray into this world, followed by Final Fantasy VIII and then going back to Final Fantasy III. I have come close to finishing others, such as Final Fantasy X, but always hit a point where it was just too much effort to push through and knowing I had other responsibilities.
Why am I giving a brief rundown of my Final Fantasy history? Well because Type-0 was a glaring omission on my part, a giant gaping hole that mocked me from afar. My first introduction to this game was in a busy and difficult period of my life, I knew of it, but also knew I would never have the time to get into it.
So fast forward a few years and here it is, the HD remaster of one of my major missing blocks and it isn’t coming to the Vita, despite being a PSP game. I was angry, I was dissapointed, but I sucked it up though and jumped in to the Xbox One version.
What is the first thing I can say? Well it is certainly a Final Fantasy game, sitting through long drawn out cut-scenes with nonsensical dialog and writing, which surround rare glimpses of gameplay and end up really frustrating you.
But, you watch it anyway, because you know at some point things will open up and the balance shifts quite drastically. Honestly though, I really didn’t care for the characters this time around, they didn’t stand out to me like those from other games and the writing was almost painful. So yeah, it is a Final Fantasy alright.
One thing you can never do, is compare another game to a Final Fantasy, it’s not like playing a tactical team based first person shooter and describing it as ‘like Battlefield’. Because you can barely describe one Final Fantasy game as similar to the another and it is the case here.
Type-0 HD is an ARPG, which sets it apart from many of the mainline releases. The real time battle system works a treat as you control a single member of your party, whilst the AI controls the other two. You can switch between members on the fly and use this system against some of the harder enemies.
What really impresses is the AI characters in your party, unlike in a lot of games where there is an over reliance on AI, this does a great job of making sure your party members are actually being helpful and not just getting in the way.
You have a choice of 14 different members to take with you two at a time and each has their own unique strengths, weaknesses and personalities. You’ll want to be sure to have a ranged character and a melee character in the party and get that balance right, especially when taking on the tougher enemies, but when one dies reserves can be called up.
Now there are two things at opposite ends of the scale, one that really impressed and one that was as annoying as hell. So let me start with a bit of a moan.
To go into a mission you have to go through a tedious process of walking the halls of the academy (where the story is set) and get to a door leading to the overworld. You need to do this time and time again, with no apparent way to just skip this and get there from a menu, it adds a level of tedium that more often than not has you thinking about whether it is worth starting the next mission quite yet, or just taking a break.
But on the flip side, there aren’t any two main missions that ever feel like they are copies of each other with slight adjustments to the layout. Each one feels very fresh and often there are some real changes to the mechanics, such as taking control of a cannon in first person to take down a crap ton of dragons.
It is a bit pointless in the grand scheme of things, but it works and just about breaks up the monotony of grinding certain areas.
The final thing to cover is the HD port itself. As this is certainly two sides of a coin. Some of the upgraded visuals are stunning, with character models lovingly updated to look like they fit in a modern HD game, but on the flip side, others look like they were handed off to the intern or work-experience kid to do.
This wouldn’t be as big an issue if both weren’t often in the same scenes, as it really does become jarring. The other minor annoyance is with the camera, which has a load of effects that can make you feel a little sick if exposed to it for too long.
Overall though, if you are a fan of ARPG or the lore of Final Fantasy, then you can’t go far wrong with Type-0 HD, it has many flaws, but the overall enjoyment factor will certainly outweigh that.