Review: Final Fantasy Type-0 HD - A Flawed Beauty

Until now, I’ve never completed a Final Fantasy game. I own almost every game except for I, II, III, IV: The After Years, X/X-2, XI, XII, and the various spin-offs, but I’ve never beaten them. I reached the end of VII and XIII-2, but never managed to defeat the final boss, I got halfway through XIII before getting stuck, and only what I assume to be between 10 to 15 percent of VI. As for Type-0 HD specifically, I originally bought it for Xbox One since that was the only next-gen system I had at the time. I reached Chapter 7 of 8 and stopped dead because I had officially fallen behind in levels and the amount of time it would have taken me to level all 14 characters would have been astronomical. Later I bought it for PS4 to get the Final Fantasy XV demo a second time since it ran a bit better on PS4 and that was the system I ultimately planned to buy XV on. And finally, when it was on sale, I bought the PC version, and that is the one I finally beat it on.

Gameplay

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD’s gameplay is pretty simple. As an Action-RPG, you have a standard attack that requires nothing to use and can deal quite a bit of damage depending on the weapon. Each of Final Fantasy Type-0's characters have their own unique weapon. Ace uses magic Tarot Cards, Deuce uses a Flute, Trey is an Archer, Cater a Pistol, Cinque... something I never really bothered to learn the name of. Something heavy. Sice uses a Scythe, Seven a Whipblade, Eight uses Gauntlets, Nine a Lance, Jack a Katana, Queen a Rapier, King had dual Magnums, Machina has Dual Drill Blades, and Rem has Dual Daggers. In addition to these base weapons, each character has unique abilities and magic attacks that increase in power as you level up and unlock more.

Sadly, the extremely large party tends to go to waste. I tended to stick with three characters throughout the game, only switching one out when it was absolutely necessary or if a boss managed to kill a character. Ranged characters are especially effective due to a large number of enemies being melee types, and some often being outside the reach of melee party members. Thus I more often than not used King as my party leader. His Magnums fire fast and pack a punch, while let me take advantage of Killsights and Breaksights. Killsights and Breaksights appear when you’re locked onto an enemy and certain conditions are met, usually instigated by the enemy themselves. Breaksights are yellow and allow you to deal a massive amount of damage with a single attack, but it won’t kill the enemy. Killsights however, the red ones, are insta-kills should you land a hit while its up. Using them effectively can turn long battles into short ones. Needless to say, I took advantage of them quite often.

However, if there’s a big negative I can think of, its that the second best weapons in the game can only be attained using Support Points. Support Points are accumulated during missions if you accept the support offer when the mission begins. Your party members are then swapped out at random intervals with support party members which are just silhouetted versions of the playable characters with the names of the games development staff attached to them. Sadly, they usually don’t amass very many points, so affording the 5,000 SPP weapons can be quite difficult. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if the best weapons in the game weren’t locked behind a high level Gilgamesh fight towards the end of the game, meaning you’re stuck with the third best weapons which cost 60,000 Gil a piece if you can’t beat Gilgamesh or figure out how to acquire enough SPP for the second best weapons.

Unlike most Final Fantasy games, Type-0 HD has different difficulty levels that you can switch between on the fly. Cadet is the lowest, and the one I played on because the story is vastly more important to me. That being said, the more challenge minded player will find the Officer and Agito difficulty levels more suitable to their tastes. And if you successfully complete the game on any difficulty, you unlock the Finis difficulty level. I haven’t touched it yet, but I imagine I’m going to have a hard go of it.

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Story

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The story of Final Fantasy Type-0 takes place in the world of Orience, which is divided into the four crystal states: Rubrum, Milites, Concordia, and Lorica. Each state controls a crystal which becomes its faith and source of power. When the Militesi Empire launches a blitzkrieg attack on the capital of Rubrum, the mysterious Class Zero appears and repels the attack, and the war for control of Orience begins.

While Type-0's story contains all the hallmarks of a proper Final Fantasy story, as well as the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology it shares with the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy and formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII/Final Fantasy XV(The FNC mythology has since been stripped out of XV following its rebranding.), the way it presents itself is quite different. It’s framed as a war documentary like you would find on the US History Channel. Most of the cinematics are shaded to look like old war footage, further emphasizing this point. Its Final Fantasy’s version of World War II.

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This unique presentations sets Type-0 apart from the rest and makes it a very interesting story. Sadly, the members of Class Zero, save Machina and Rem, are given very little to non-existent character development. The game wants you to care about these characters, but it fails at that and they are little more than cogs in the story machine. That being said however, its still a flawed, but beautiful tale and the ending is quite fitting for a war story.

As much as I would like to say that the story ends there, it does not. I didn’t realize it at first, but after reading some things online, it turns out that parts of the story are hidden behind multiple playthroughs, about two or three to be exact, including the Gilgamesh fights that grant you your best weapon if he’s defeated. Personally speaking, I would have preferred the story be told in a single playthrough, and you can do just that. You get most of the story in the first playthrough. But there are bits and pieces of side material that shed some light on some parts of the story locked behind multiple playthroughs including an alternate ending. I’m not counting this as a negative, but I can’t entirely say its a positive either.

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Unfortunately, Type-0 HD is just a slightly prettier port of a PSP title from 2011, which means it was made on a PSP spin-off budget. Most conversation scenes have the characters standing in place and motioning as they speak to each other, but they never move. There are a lot of conversations that are just text. A lot of cutscenes feel... lesser than they should have been. The story was presented beautifully, but it was told in a stilted manner. The team had admitted that content had to be cut from the game, and they couldn’t do more to the port due to a lack of time and resources. So we’re left to wonder what Type-0 would have been like if it had received the budget and manpower of Final Fantasy XV.

Graphics

Left: Final Fantasy Type-0 HD(PS4, Xbox One, PC), Right: Final Fantasy Type-0(PSP)
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As I mentioned before, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a port of a 2011 PSP title. And sadly, this does it very few favors. Unlike most remasters which increase the resolution of every texture in the game while also improving the lighting, screen resolution, and framerate, Type-0 HD only improves the lighting, draw distance, and depth. The only reason the character models of the protagonists look better than the others in the game is because they pulled the models from the pre-rendered cinematics to be used as the in-game models. These models are only slightly less photorealistic than Final Fantasy XV, but when compared to the rest of the characters in the game, the difference is like night and day. Some characters had their clothes switched out for the versions that protagonists are wearing, making them extremely high-rez, but their faces, hair, hands, and legs are left low-resolution, making the characters look a tad odd, while some didn’t even get this upgrade for some reason.

Other than that, the framerate is stable and 1080p really lets the character models and lighting shine. Not much else to say.

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Verdict

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a half-baked port. It could have used a much bigger touch up, in fact I think a remake for next-gen consoles would have been more appropriate given its original platform and budget. Even the English dub seems to suffer because of it. I was forced to switch to Japanese audio because the English dub made me cringe so hard.

However, the game more than makes up for its shortcomings with an interesting story, characters who are at least unique even if they’re one-dimensional, and fun gameplay. If you want to experience Type-0 for yourself, this HD port is sufficient enough.

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Final Score: 7/10 or Good

Bonus Section

I’ll confess to you all that I didn’t the play the game legitimately. I used a leveling exploit to boost all 14 characters to level 99 in order to make the game far easier, encountering stiff resistance only from a few bosses and late game enemies. Cheap? Cheating? Sure, but I don’t regret a thing.

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Halfway through Chapter 2, you unlock the Arena. The trainer on the right offers a special service called Secret Training. Simply pick the character you want to level and apply them for the training. It will let you save and then send you to the main menu. Secret Training only works if you don’t play the game for a long time. If you try to start up your save immediately or even in a day or two, you won’t have gained too much experience. Maybe a level or two depending on what level you were, but it’ll eventually slow. So to get around this, once you’re on the main menu, you simply have to change the date on your system and then load up your save. Setting your systems date about a year forward will net you the maximum experience possible from Secret Training. You’ll hit level 99 sometime in the 2050's if you do it right. It should take you about 30 to 40 minutes for each character.

To accompany that, I’ll tell you how to unlock the second best weapons in the game and how to earn enough SPP to acquire them. First things first, you need to unlock them. They require 300 killsight kills for each character. This can easily be done by going to the Arena and speaking with the trainer on the left. You simply need to repeatedly kill the enemies spawned in the Arena and then periodically check the Rubicus in the Crystarium. When you hit 200, you’ll unlock the third best weapon for 60,000 Gil, and at 300 you’ll unlock the second best weapon for 5,000 SPP. You can replay missions to obtain Gil, but the missions can be long sometimes, so replaying them can be quite time consuming, and the most you’ll likely make is 10,000 per mission. Just an FYI, the weapons you unlock will not appear in the SPP Post or Armory until you play a mission and clear it. You can honestly obtain these gil bought weapons early in the game if you grind for gil and get the 200 killsights required.

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To farm SPP, you need to reach Chapter 5. When you enter Toguagh during a mission, go to the second area which is a long stretch of road, with the exit on your left. Don’t go through there. Go straight down to the end of the road which ends in a dead end. Three basic Militesi soldiers will spawn here indefinitely. Allow your supports to kill them and rack up SPP, just don’t let them kill you since the enemies will gravitate to you. After about one to two hours, you’ll definitely have racked up enough SPP to buy a weapon, maybe even two or three. But you have to complete the mission to get the SPP. You can replay the mission at any time from the main menu, so do this as many times as you like. You don’t need to get all the SPP possible in one go.

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