Final Fantasy Type-0 is a game that has been tossed and turned along with much of the silliness of the Fabula Noval Crystalis saga before being released on the PSP in Japan. While the game unfortunately did not make its way to North America on the PSP, it is getting a remastered HD version for PlayStation 4. While at New York Comic Con 2014, I had the chance to finally sit down and get some hands-on time with the game and see what exactly it had to offer Final Fantasy fans. What I discovered was a game with typical Square Enix characteristics while offering a different kind of game not found in other entries of the series.
The first thing I noticed was the close similarities to Musou games like Dynasty Warriors. The main premise is you go against a legion of enemies standing between you and your objectives, some of which involve mini-bosses or other key goals. Yet this isn’t a copy and paste experience of those kinds of games. Square Enix leaves its accent on the experience with RPG customization and growth, along with a deep story and characters that seem to have a wide scope beyond the demo shown. I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous visuals of the environment and enemies flowing across the screen as I played the demo, a staple of almost all Final Fantasy games.
I was able to play through a full story level at around the mid-point of the game. Despite things being out of context, there seemed to be a lot of drama happening to the characters I was in control of. A long-range character named Ace that uses cards to attack enemies, a girl called Rem who uses close range attacks with a dagger while dodging, and a woman named Seven who uses a whip-sword that can draw enemies in close to her from mid-range. I was able to switch between all three characters on the fly whenever I needed, adapting to enemies and obstacles that I encountered. There will definitely be more characters to choose from in the full game, but the demo did give a basic idea of how each mission may feel like utilizing different characters in battle.
Much like the Dynasty Warriors games, you can battle enemies with both weak and strong attacks, however every so often a red cursor prompt will appear when an enemy charges up an attack. When hit at the right moment, an enemy will stagger and take massive damage. This is important when taking on legions of tough enemies, as it will make the battles more manageable and move faster. In some sections, I was enclosed by magic barriers until I defeated all the enemies in the area, only then could I progress to the next area. One section had a super powerful mini-boss that was way too powerful for me at the level for the characters I was using. To get around this, I was able to attack a wall with a magical lock, which when destroyed allowed me to flee to a new area and continue my mission. There is the option to fight the mini-boss, but according to a Square Enix rep that guided me through the demo, the rewards don’t change much should you take the harder challenge.
One section of the demo allowed me to summon an Eidolon, a term for a summon character similar to that from Final Fantasy XIII. The Eidolon in the demo was Ifrit, a classic Final Fantasy summon spell based on the element of fire. In Type-0, summons are done by sacrificing a character in your party in order to bring forth these powerful spells. I was able to actively control Ifrit and take out enemies for a set time limit that the Eidolon was active. In the full game, summoning an Eidolon will have a more drastic cost and effect during a mission, as revives for characters are super scarce in this game. The demo though allowed me infinite summons so I could at least see all the cool benefits for summoning an Eidolon. Ifrit himself was very powerful and delivered tons of damage to enemies with each attack. The full game would have other Eidolons to use in a mission with their own unique abilities and styles, some of which are some of the series’ classics like Odin, Shiva, and Bahamut.
My time with playing through Final Fantasy Type-0’s demo culminated in a boss fight with the same kind of flash and drama found throughout the series. I was told that the difficulty was brought down a bit from the Japanese release due to many Japanese players complaining that the game was too difficult in some sections. When playing the boss fight in the demo, I got a very clear sense of why this may be, as the boss I fought quickly teleported and moved around the area at incredible speeds. The biggest detriment to this fight was the placement of the camera, which had been moved further back behind characters you control for the HD release. The camera would jerk from side to side constantly as I would try to refocus on the boss that was attacking me, making it a bit hard to clearly get a stable view of what was happening. I was able to defeat the boss eventually, but only after constantly fighting with my field of vision while trying to get a good lock-on. Hopefully this kind of issue can be handled a bit better before the game’s final release.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a great re-release of the original PSP game for PS4. The time I spent with it was quite enjoyable despite the few quirks I had about the camera and movement speed of the characters I controlled. Having never played the original PSP release of the game, since it was never released in North America, I found everything I saw in the demo enticing. The story tidbits present in the demo seemed very interesting and makes me to want to see more.
Look for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for PlayStation 4 in stores when it releases on March 17, 2015. The game will include a playable demo for the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XV.
This preview is written based on a demo build of Final Fantasy Type-0 played at New York Comic Con 2014 provided by Square Enix.