Final Fantasy Type-0 Review

Richard Walker

Final Fantasy has always had a penchant for imminent doom, but it's never felt more immediate and real than in Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD. A remastered version of a 2011 Japan-only PSP title, it's the first chance you'll have had to play it in the west (unless you imported it upon its original release, of course) and an altogether different FF experience. At least in this modest video game writer's admittedly rather limited Final Fantasy experience, that is. Type-0 feels rawer than previous FF games, with its grainy wartime footage and tale of a world tearing itself apart.

Final Fantasy is usually about exploring a huge open-world and visiting various cities and settlements along the way, with much devoted to talking to characters and engaging in various quests. In Type-0, there are no large locations to poke around within the game's world map. There's nowhere bustling with activity like Midgar, Galbadia or Zanarkand. There's most definitely no Gold Saucer or anything like it. Instead, Rubrum and the surrounding areas are mostly sprawling expanses crawling with monsters and the occasional small township to visit. This kind of exploration doesn't seem to be the game's focus. It's more about the combat. Though you can still explore Type-0's realm of Orience to some extent.

Meet Ace. He's you.

And with a war raging between the Dominion of Rubrum and the invading Militesi Empire led by the dictatorial High Commander Cid Aulstyne, it's easy to see why Type-0 is focused on action-driven, real-time combat encounters. The game is essentially a series of fairly long missions, in which the gifted Class Zero fight their way through a seemingly endless swathe of Imperial Troopers and various Magitek Armours that they like to stomp around in. There's a lot of fighting. A LOT.

With button-mashing skirmishes front and centre, FF: Type-0 has a layered set of combat mechanics to match that works remarkably well most of the time. Blending characters with up-close melee attacks and others with projectiles, it's all about assembling the best strategy, wielding magic and special abilities like Eidolon summons, Triad Maneuvers or the Vermilion Bird. It's also about timing, and looking to strike when yellow breaksights or red killsights pop up, dealing massive damage or an instant kill respectively.

There are plenty of options at your disposal, with close-quarters fighters like Eight, Sice, Seven, Queen and Jack complementing the gun-toting King, playing card hurling Ace or the flute-noodling Deuce, who have there own unique projectile attacks. Unfortunately, the ranged character able to launch projectiles are far more useful than their melee counterparts, so they'll likely be your go-to characters, leaving the others on the sidelines.

Combat is mostly varied, and at times, genuinely exciting. But it's not without its shortcomings. When the action gets a little busier later on in the game, the lock-on and the camera struggles to keep up. Sometimes your reticle will switch to other enemies seemingly when it feels like it. It's supremely frustrating when you're trying to hurl projectiles at the biggest, most looming threat, only for your crosshair to flit to a piddling enemy in the background for no apparent reason.

Machina and Rem are new additions to Class Zero. They like to whinge.

While this is only very occasionally an annoyance, it is really one of the game's only irritants. The other is the fairly shoddy AI of your allies in the heat of a skirmish. It's a pain to be locked in a battle of attrition with a foe, only to spin the camera and see your two comrades running against a barrier or a wall, or simply tearing headlong to their inevitable doom. Fortunately, you can call upon a whole battalion of allies when one falls and request support from other Rubrum Academy cadets when things get hairy. And they invariably do, with some of the later battles expending several, if not the entirety of your support.

Combat has one or two niggles then, but the rest of Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD is actually rather enjoyable, despite the English language version of the story being quite laughably delivered at times, with stilted performances and overly portentous lines in all the wrong places. Tonally, it's all over the shop. The visuals are incredibly inconsistent too, with only the 14 members of Class Zero afforded the full HD makeover with brand spanking new character models that look fantastic.

The rest of the cast, meanwhile, are simply given a resolution upscale, which only serves to highlight how unrefined they look next to the game's main players. When Class Zero share cut-scenes with anyone else, the result is somewhat jarring. After a while, none of this really matters and you'll accept the game's visual approach. After all, Square Enix could have simply ramped up the resolution on everything, rather than rebuilding entire characters from scratch. With Class Zero at the heart of the story, it's only fitting that they get the most attention. The backgrounds are far more lavish than they were on PSP too, drawing you into the game's troubled realm of Orience.

As for the story, it's typically convoluted Final Fantasy fare, albeit delivered in a far grittier and realistic fashion than we've ever seen in the series to date. There's a dead blood-spattered chocobo in the opening moments, for crying out loud! From beginning to end, it's made abundantly clear that the stakes are high in the war between Rubrum and the Militesi, and as the chapters roll on, the action escalates accordingly.

In spite of its clean, fresh-faced, all-white cast, you'll also grow to care about Class Zero, with the game enabling you to interact with them all between missions at the Rubrum Akademeia. Most of the time, you'll play as main protagonist, Ace, who becomes something of a cipher, with little in the way of real personality. You can assign playable control to any member of Class Zero, which in turn unlocks additional interactions with other characters, like shared moments between childhood friends Rem and Machina.

It's at the Rubrum Akademeia that you can also breed the chocobos you've captured out in the open-world or complete tasks for certain NPCs. You can also have lessons with Moglin the Moogle in class and upgrade magic in the Altocrystarium. You'll also find a battle arena in which to hone your skills and an airship landing pad where you can take the shuttle to various spots around Orience in exchange for gil, or station your very own Setzer airship once you've located it and brought it roaring back to life.

Time it right, and this red killsight means one dead enemy.

Final Fantasy: Type-0 is full of secrets that really only emerge once you scratch a little deeper beneath the surface. A quick playthrough could take around 25 hours or so, but you'd be missing out on so much. Type-0 is a game that truly rewards exploration, granting powerful Eidolons to summon or different locations to scour for even more hidden secrets. Little of it is handed to you on a plate. You'll have to seek things out for yourself, and therein lies FF: Type-0's long-term appeal.

Where the game's core chapters are at the heart of the narrative experience, it transpires that the real meat is in the elements that surround it. Simply breezing through each mission is missing the point, and chances are you won't get nearly as much joy out of the game as you otherwise would. That said, 'breezing' is probably the wrong way to describe some missions in FF: Type-0. The final chapter is especially trying, with a severe lack of relic terminals at which to save your game. There are parts of the game that can feel horribly interminable, as you slowly and agonisingly chip away at enemies.

As for the exploration aspect of Type-0, the achievements tend to prod you in the right direction, rewarding you for things you might otherwise miss. Other activities like chocobo breeding and harvesting valuable Phantoma from enemies (in turn used to upgrade magic) is also reward with achievements, while others encourage you to replay missions (possible at any time from the title menu), or seek out side quests like raising the Setzer airship from its subterranean slumber.

Then there are the mid-mission SO objectives to sample, as well as combat training, collectibles and a host of other tasks to discover as part of the achievement list. It's a perfect selection, covering all of the right territory without requiring much in the way of grinding. As RPG achievement lists go, Type-0's is an unbridled pleasure.

I killed this thing with a flute. I'm not even joking.

Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD can initially feel like something of a mixed bag. Its open-world doesn't seem all that appealing as an explorable space at first and the combat mechanics can seem a little flat. Stick with it for a few hours, however, and you'll soon sink into everything the game has to offer, peeling back layers of depth and detail.

There's a generous amount to experience, from roaming the plains of Orience on the back of a chocobo to battling monsters, dogfighting in the Setzer, foraging through dungeons, wandering the corridors of Rubrum Academy or simply engaging the Milites forces in an all-encompassing war across each of the world's vast regions. Factor in all of this, and Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD never fails to be anything but completely enthralling.

Final Fantasy Type-0

Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD might not be to everyone's tastes, but the game's combat is mostly enjoyable and there's plenty to explore and discover. The story might be convoluted, but it's engaging and the characters are (mostly) likeable. Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD is good fun, and well worth delving into for a few dozen hours.

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Type-0 has the trademark sweeping Final Fantasy score and jaunty chocobo theme, which is a win right off the bat. The voice work is decent, but patchy.


Class Zero look wonderful, while the rest of the cast haven't had the same care and attention lavished upon them. This makes for a visually jarring experience, but overall, Type-0 HD looks nice enough.


With much of the focus on combat, the gameplay mechanics are not without a few issues. The lock-on system and camera is smooth for the most part, but has a tendency to flip out, locking on to different enemies and getting a bit twitchy when there's too much going on. Some battles can be drawn out wars of attrition that grow wearisome very quickly. Despite all this, Type-0 is still a joy for the most part.


An enormous game with plenty to see and do. It might not satisfy the appetites of those used to vast, sprawling Final Fantasy experiences, but we'll wager that it'll be a long, long time before you reach the top of the Tower of Agito. Type-0 is deceptively huge.


An RPG list that's actually enjoyable? With very little grinding involved? We never thought we'd see the day, but there's a good spread here and in all, a very decent list indeed.

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