Originally developed under the name of Final Fantasy Agito XIII, it was intended for release on both mobile phones and PlayStation Portable. With the mobile version cancelled and a name change, to distance it from Final Fantasy XIII, we eventually received a PSP game known as Final Fantasy Type-0. Only this game never made it outside of Japan, mainly due to the ending lifecycle of the PSP at the time of release. With fans desperate for a release from Square Enix the years dragged on only for a fan translation group to release a patched version for the PSP, quickly prompting the announcement of an official Final Fantasy Type-0 HD.
The story of Type-0 is heavily war focused, the opening sequence alone had a great amount of violence and bloodshed. War and the involvement of young people seem to be the main theme, whether its young adults in the form of Class Zero fighting on the fronts lines or fallen friends and family that have been wiped from the memories of their loved ones. The guilt felt by those left to mourn the forgotten plays out in an early cut-scene, giving a great sense of emotion to the characters.
Magic and technology both play a major role in the game; we even had a cameo from what appeared to be Magitek Armor quite early on. Set in the world known as Orience, some mythology from Fabula Nova Crystallis, which also include FFXIII and FFXV, still made it into the game in the form of the four main countries of Orience and their own magic crystals which were originally to be called fal’Cie, l’Cie, on the other hand, did make it into the game.
With fourteen playable characters and the ability to set any one of them as the active leader, not only are battles varied and remain exciting, but the story will cater slightly to whoever is your active leader. This makes the replayability of Type-0 an interesting prospect, as not only will the story cater to whomever you choose as your leader, you can focus entirely on only a select group of characters. The hard-core gamers out their will be able to push themselves further than any previous Final Fantasy.
The battle system is fantastic, it’s free-roaming and action-based much like that of Kingdom Hearts. You have the ability to change which character you want to control and if you die then you can call in a reserve to take over and with a huge cast of characters you’ll always have plenty spare. Each character has a unique move set with varying weapons and abilities, while each has their different uses it’s here that you’ll find your favourites. The game is played out through chapters, with each chapter progressing the war effort, before your mission day you have a set amount of free time available to you. This time can be used to train, take on requests and talking to your fellow classmates, each action will use a certain amount of time which will count down till mission day. Mission day is the main story of the chapter and where most of the battles take place, once given your orders you will commence the operation, generally holding off the opposing armies and trying to reclaim your lands towns and villages.
If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on with Type-0 is that the camera controls are annoying, they are overly sensitive making even the lightest touch send the camera whizzing round. This is apparently present in the PSP version which makes you wonder even more why they didn’t improve on it for this version.
Starting its life as a PSP title Type-0 will not be one of the best looking games of this new generation but that doesn’t mean it’s doomed to be the worst. HexaDrive the company behind the HD re-master have done a pretty decent job overall, screenshots comparisons are readily available online and the difference is outstanding. Of course, the game is not fault-free, as mentioned above there are the annoying camera controls and there seems to be a rather obvious continuity problem with characters in different scenes. This goes double for NPC’s that have blocky facial features, the rest of the game however is great – the buildings, backgrounds and landscape have all gone through a major makeover and look stunning. The cut-scenes have been up-scaled with perfection and looking great on large televisions.
The soundtrack for Type-0 is your usual Final Fantasy fair and by that I mean it’s awesome, Takeharu Ishimoto is the man behind the composition on this title. Ishimoto has previously composed music for Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and The World Ends with You. Both great examples of games with an excellent soundtrack and I’d even go as far as to say that ‘The Price of Freedom’ from Crisis Core is probably my favourite Final Fantasy song. The game has a nice mix of music with updated versions of old Final Fantasy classics and brand new songs that really help give emotion to that war that plays out in this game.
With an emotional and compelling plot, combined with a fantastic battle system and awesome soundtrack this Final Fantasy will be one entry into the series that people will place among the best of them. Forgetting the annoying camera controls and some slightly iffy areas where the visual quality doesn’t quite match up there isn’t anything not to like. Square Enix made a brilliant game that has been eagerly awaited and HexaDrive’s work bringing it to the PlayStation 4 has been near perfect.