What you won’t like
For as enjoyable as the story of Final Fantasy Type-0 is, it’s a bit difficult to settle in with all of the odd locale names and world-specific lingo the narrative throws at the player. It even rivals Final Fantasy XIII’s similar-sounding proper nouns (l’Cie and fal’Cie) with its jargon and too-large initial helping of backstory. Reading the dialogue was mind-numbing at some points early on. Hang in there. The game’s story is excellent and certainly worth working through these initial challenges.
Disappointing teammate A.I.
Though you can take up to three classmates with you into a mission, you’ll feel like you’re on your own most of the time as the ally A.I. is messy and unreliable. Regardless of your level, you’ll find that they die for the worst reasons and often way too quickly. At their worst, allies will get stuck in geometry and stand stupidly, taking hits from enemies.
A neat support system lets random non-player characters drop in for a few minutes of support to sort of make up for the poor ally backing, but it’s hardly a fix for the bad A.I.
Too light on exploration
Type-0’s mobile and portable roots show in the lack of exploration provided. While the academy and its grounds have plenty in store to thrill players at first, that feeling dulls with each in-game day that passes. And you’ll work through a lot of days. Players can explore during downtime between missions, but that mostly involves covering the same dozen or so areas of the academy, talking to the same non-player characters over and over. It’s a good thing that a sort of fast-forward option exists to move right into the next mission.
The missions across the game’s world begin to feel like an escape from the halls of the academy, but this is not enough in the end. The world itself is huge, but it’s not varied enough. Towns have a uniform look, with little to no distinguishing features. Even the backdrops for battles begin to look the same after a while.
A frustrating mini strategy game
I love real-time strategy, but I don’t like it when it’s as rough and unpolished as the minigame in Type-0. The idea behind it is great: Send troops to capture surrounding towns outside your kingdom to expand your country’s control by way of map-based troop commands. The title lets you join in as an individual to support your units, too. But the controls for both the individual character and the military units are unwieldy and feel sluggish, to the point that it’s hard to be sure of what you’re doing. And should a base go down amid this confusion, it’s game over.
It’s hard to call out a game for graphical faults knowing that it started as a PSP title before making its way to the considerably more powerful PlayStation 4, but in some instances, the inconsistencies are so great that they distract from the story.
Overall, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD looks outstanding, but for every overly detailed and extra shiny shoulder armor close-up, there’s another full scene from a non-player character that looks as if was pulled straight out of a Sega Dreamcast game. Some of the backdrops are blurry and pixelated. It’s not uncommon to find dazzling, high-quality character models standing against very low-quality textured backgrounds.
Even as a series fan, I feel OK in saying that Final Fantasy definitely needed a shot in the arm. And it got one — a big, dark, serious one. It’s a bit strange to see this shot coming from something that started out as a mobile title.
Bringing such an interesting, varied, and challenging game to consoles was a great move by Square Enix for the franchise. It’s more Final Fantasy than any recent Final Fantasy game.
And hats off to the company for the royal treatment that this title got. Not only was it upgraded and upscaled to be fitting for release on the PlayStation 4, but the script, vocal performances, and related localization work are all top-notch. It’s clear that a lot of hard work went into making this the best it could be.
It took a long journey to get here, but Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is certainly worth checking out.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developer provided GamesBeat with a retail PS4 copy for the purposes of this review.