Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Review: Revisiting A Lost Classic

In Japan, gamers have had access to Final Fantasy Type-0 for almost four years, via the Sony PSP. The action/RPG, which is nestled in the Fabula Nova Crystallis storyline of Final Fantasy XIII, is similar to the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII in presentation and gameplay. While Crisis Core focused on what is arguably one of the best RPGs ever created in FF VII, and was able to capture some of VII‘s magic, Type-0‘s storyline in the critically-mixed FF XIII world was met with high praise, surpassing the core game in almost every way.

Now, Square-Enix has taken the PSP classic and upgraded it to high def for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One systems for western audiences, and I can say with good authority, the wait was worth it.

The story follows a war between four nations, each represented by an element/component (or crystal type, as this is a FF game). When the White Tiger empire — they of the science and industry religion — begins its assault on its sister nations, a class of 12 students from the Vermillion Empire (Magic-based), known as Class Zero, rise up to fight. The students each have simple names like Jack, Queen, Ace, Nine, and so on (this is based in FF XIII‘s world), and the player can control three characters at a time. Player switching is done by pressing the control pad, and while only one character is at play at any one time, the CPU controls the others, which helps when healing and range/melee attacks are needed to cover to defeat the enemies. Finding the right combination of characters for each situation is classic Final Fantasy.

Combat is in real time, and the DualShock 4 controller (this was played on the PS4) makes it easy to maneuver all of the commands issued, and the action feels tight. The right stick controls the camera, which is a godsend, though sometimes it feels a little too sensitive and will swing too far to the left or right. This is especially troublesome when fighting large bosses that have myriad attacks. Eidolons (summon spells) are available and are as cool as ever, and the story is rife with deceit, betrayal and the usual magic vs science trope that has defined Final Fantasy games since the incredible Final Fantasy VI (or FF III on the Super Nintendo).

The original PSP Type-0 in Japan had a multiplayer element, but the western HD release has removed it. I can see spots in the gameplay where ad-hoc multiplayer could be used to great effect, but I also enjoy having total control of my team. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD also includes four difficulty settings and unlockable weapons and costumes, compensating for the loss of multiplayer.

The music is classic Final Fantasy orchestration by Takeharu Ishimoto, who worked on Final Fantasy X, as well as the Legend of Mana, Kingdom Hearts, and The World Ends With You. That’s some serious musical gaming pedigree.

It would be easy to just dismiss Final Fantasy Type-0 HD as a cash-in port from a far inferior system, but Square-Enix has taken the time to really sharpen up the character models and on-screen visuals to take advantage of the powerful new-gen systems. While you can tell that the characters were not built from the ground up for the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s not that much of a distraction, as the gameplay is so good and the story so tight that visuals take a backseat to everything else. Make no mistake, this is a Final Fantasy game, and the fact that is was designed for a handheld system from two generations ago means nothing. This is a classic game that is finally available to gamers around the world, and the wait was definitely worth it.

It also begs to be mentioned that certain “day one” editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD come packed with a code that unlocks the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo. I’ve also gave the demo a spin and while I won’t get into many specifics, I am now salivating for the release of the next numbered Final Fantasy game. The combat and character control somewhat resembles Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, but the visuals are simply out of this world and the play mechanic is new and fresh and I cannot wait to play the full game when it is released — whenever it is released.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is an outstanding game that fits nicely in the Final Fantasy pantheon. While it is part of the FF XIII timeline — which could be a detractor for some — the game is decidedly closer to the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII than FF XIIIFinal Fantasy Type-0 HD is the kind of game that I want to sit down and immerse myself in, enjoying all of the little nuances that make these games so beloved in the first place. The play control and combat are both spot-on and the presentation, while lacking visually in some places, still helps to create a true Final Fantasy experience. And if you can still find “Day One” editions on the store shelves, the Final Fantasy XV demo is almost worth the price of admission by itself.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available now for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This review was based off the PS4 version, using a copy of the game provided by Square-Enix.

out of 5

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.