Ben Franchi ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Final Fantasy Type-0 is a powerful game. Like the varied playstyles of Class Zero, Type-0 is a lot to take in, but if you have a stomach for war, an intense and bloody world awaits you in the land of Orience.
Type-0 follows a group of superpowered child soldiers called Class Zero in their missions to halt the technologically savvy Milites Empire’s quest to conquer the continent of Orience. The class consists of fourteen oddballs named after playing cards, the main hero of which is the stoic-yet-soft Ace. Two other students by the names of Machina and Rem join the crew to add some flavor early on in the story, and from there on, the story hits tones of war, loss, and destiny (again) that manages to deviate from the norm while also keeping in line with familiar Final Fantasy titles. There are crystals, summons, and airships abound, with an insanely elaborate backstory that makes for interesting reading. Being part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series of games, there are also references to some stuff from FF XIII, such as Eilodons and the L’Cie, but these aspects blend into the background more than they take center stage. And this game is bloody—probably the most violent and bloody game in the Final Fantasy series so far, with brutal onscreen deaths and the repercussions of combat visible in every town you visit. It’s a forceful, somber, yet sometimes upbeat story with likable, if somewhat clichéd characters. A word of warning: play it in the original Japanese dub; the English version isn’t too great.
Type-0’s gameplay is a web of systems if there ever was one. It is an action RPG, with fast-paced twitch reaction decisions, a command system akin to Kingdom Hearts, a simple XP-based upgrade system, equipment, magic, breeding chocobos, a vast world to explore—everything you’ve seen before. However, Type-0 brings something new to the table in the military-style thematic gameplay that permeates every aspect of the game. You play with all sixteen members of Class Zero, but when one falls, they are done for the rest of the mission, and you need to decide which member to call in right in the middle of the battle. Each character brings something new to the fight; for example, Ace can be built any way you want in terms of combat. King is good at long-range, but he has an ammo supply to watch. Seven can whip towards enemies or bring them to her. Deuce can support allies and plant traps; Nine has high melee power, but is impossibly slow, etc. You can call in a summon if you’re in a pinch, but that kills the party member you are controlling. It’s a game of sacrifice and resource management that keeps your brain on its toes, and the action doesn’t stop with the pause screen.
The military theme also factors into some strategy gameplay elements as well. Often you will be given missions to complete that involve commanding battle forces against the Milites armies in territory struggles in the overworld. It’s very basic point-and-click stuff, but when you have your foes on the ropes and you head into town for some fast-paced combat, you feel like you’re actually in a war for your homeland. Even your downtime in local towns or your homebase/school Akademia has some strategy elements to it, as you are given limited hours to interact with people before being whisked away to your next mission. Do you spend six hours out doing a sidequest for someone? (You can only take one at a time, by the way, so choose wisely.) Do you spend two hours boosting your stats with a lecture? Or do you talk with friends and students to expand upon the story and learn more about the characters? All options are worth it, but it’s up to you to decide what path to take.
As a port of a PSP game released years ago, Type-0 has been given the high-definition treatment. While a few textures look a little rough, the game for the most part is gorgeous, especially the pre-rendered cutscenes. Akademia is gleaming and beautiful, with the Final Fantasy theme tingling in the background most of the time (when it isn’t an inspiring bombastic war piece). Battlefields are blood-soaked and dusty, plains are sunny and soft, and the forests are dark and murky. There is also an active weather system to help add some spice to your travels. It really feels like its own world, and it’s hard not to get immersed in the beauty it presents.
In conclusion, Type-0 is a great and noteworthy addition to the massive Final Fantasy library. The story sets a new tone in the franchise, the setting is interesting and beautiful, the combat is intense and varied, and the military theme is integrated well into the game. For fans who preordered ahead of time, it also came with a nifty demo of Final Fantasy XV. But that is for another review. Type-0 is worth the buy, so pick it up if you can and head into battle. Just watch out for war chocobos along the way.