Graphics:
6.8
Gameplay:
7.1
Sound:
7.3
Control:
7.0
Replay Value:
6.6
Overall Rating:
7.0
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Square Enix
Developer:
Square Enix
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/RPG
Release Date:
March 17, 2015


If you weren’t aware, Final Fantasy Type-0 originally launched for PSP back in October 2011. It was only made available to Japanese gamers, though, which is why fans of the series were excited to hear about the remastered version heading to PlayStation 4. Not only does it come with a long demo of Final Fantasy XV , it also features upgraded graphics and a few other nifty additions and improvements that make this the best version yet. The only problem is that despite a solid foundation and a combat mechanic with a massive amount of potential, the game can’t quite deliver a complete, engaging experience.

Firstly, the graphics are hit-and-miss. While the backgrounds are beautiful and the animations are especially impressive during hectic periods of action, this quality clashes with various pitfalls. The developer put a lot of effort into updating the look of Class Zero characters but other characters, like NPCs, aren’t as improved. Plus, the textures are wildly variable; some are actually quite good on PS4 while others are downright terrible. It’s just jarring to have some visual content look nearly identical to the old PSP version, and then see glimpses of graphical brilliance when fighting certain bosses with certain characters. Oh, and somebody needs to teach Japanese devs how to get lip-syncing right. Seriously.

The sound is a little better, thanks to a rousing soundtrack and a series of amazingly high-impact effects. The battles are often so intense that your speakers are filled with an invigorating audio extravaganza, fueled by over-the-top physical and magical assaults. Unfortunately, the voice performances are mediocre at best, even if some of the main characters aren’t half-bad. The Japanese were behind in this aspect of game production as well; it seems Western designers started recruiting real voice professionals well before the Japanese did. And while the soundtrack really is fitting and typically well-orchestrated, I’m not sure it can stand up to the gorgeous scores of past Final Fantasy entries.

The story in Final Fantasy Type-0 HD hinges on military and political themes, with a fair amount of tumultuous romance tossed in for good measure. The player takes control of 14 characters known as Class Zero; these characters interact with one another throughout the quest, but sadly, none are fleshed out enough. There’s a lot of arguing going on amongst the group and it doesn’t help that Rem and Machina are involved in a seemingly endless dance of flirting and jabbing. There are some legitimate high points to the story and I liked some of the characters, but I was never allowed to really become drawn to any one character. This isn’t due entirely to poor storytelling; it’s also due to an obvious drawback: When you’ve got 14 playable characters, it’s extremely difficult to make them all stand out.

War rages in the world of Orience and you’re in the middle of seemingly every major battle. The story, while somewhat ambitious, takes an immediate back seat to the gameplay. Therefore, even though the writers don’t explain the situation anywhere near well enough (tossing words like “L-Cie” out there as if the entire world knows what it means), it doesn’t really matter. You’re usually far too busy fighting. That combat, as I said above, has a boatload of promise. It really does. In a lot of ways, I’d say the developers come through with flying colors, delivering an experience that’s exceedingly entertaining and quite challenging. There’s a bit of grinding involved but I’ve never once had a problem with that.

Each of the 14 characters has four moves: There’s a physical attack, a defensive spell, and two abilities that can later be customized with spells and physical attacks unique to that particular fighter. Three party members take to the battlefield but as everything plays out in real time, you only control one character. However, you can switch between them on the fly and you can even swap characters in and out at will. This allows for an immense amount of diversity because with 14 characters, you can sample quite the variety of styles in any given encounter. That being said, I think some characters simply aren’t distinct enough, which gives the battles a stronger feeling of unfortunate repetition.