Developer(s) – Square Enix 1st Production Department & HexaDrive
Publisher(s) – Square Enix
Director – Hajime Tabata
Producer – Hajime Tabata
PEGI – 16
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was a game originally released on the PlayStation Portable back in 2011, which much to my surprise, had garnished critical acclaim from several different gaming publications; Famitsu even giving it a near-perfect score of 39/40. I, however, was unable to look upon it so positively, since I found several frustrations to be had whilst playing, and found it largely impossible to recommend it to anyone else.
Graphics – 6.5/10
Conceptually, the visuals aren’t too bad. In lieu of the franchise’s tradition, the game is set in a world set apart from every other in the series, but with stable elements of it, or elements alluding to other entries, such as the Chocobo, Cid and the concept of earth, water, wind, and fire, which the first game revolved around. On a graphical level, however, it’s all over the place. I found several different textures inconsistent with one another, such as that of character clothing and buildings; some of them looked fairly well-rendered, and others made the game looked like it could match the graphical quality of the PlayStation 2. The game was reputed to be re-mastered, but Square Enix and HexaDrive clearly cut a lot of corners; particularly where cutscenes occur.
Gameplay – 2/10
The gameplay was even more woeful. Similar to Final Fantasy XII or Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, it relies on the ill-fated mixture of turn-based RPG combat and real-time combat; a gameplay formula that I have had several negative run-ins with over the last decade or so. The game has variety in its combat with the ability to switch characters at will and to use several different abilities, but all it did, in essence, was serve to remind me of how much of a flawed system it is. Most often when I play these kinds of games, I’m reminded of a very good point that YouTube personality Stan Burdman made in his own critique of the series; developers don’t improve on either style of combat when they put them together, but they make both of them worse.
Controls – 7/10
I half-expected that this would be the case when I learned of what play style Final Fantasy Type-0 HD employs but I never expected it to be anywhere near as bad as it is. The control scheme is also extremely frustrating to have to be able to get to grips with; especially when fighting with summoned creatures. In the first boss fight, in particular, the camera angles were extremely awkward. Oftentimes, I couldn’t see where I was attacking, or where the enemy was when I tried to attack. It was after this fight that I completely lost patience with the game altogether.
Lifespan – 7/10
For anyone who has the patience to look beyond this game’s plentiful flaws. There is at least a fairly long gaming experience, clocking in at about 20-25 hours. There are a couple of side quests in lieu of the franchise’s tradition, and the story mode is also quite long; even for what is, for the most part, an extremely linear game. Final Fantasy games are linear, to begin with anyway, but just not on the same level as this title. It plays out much more like a Dark Souls game than a Final Fantasy one.
Storyline – 7/10
The story of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD follows a group of students, alluding to Final Fantasy VIII, called Class Zero, who are fighting for the Vermilion Perystilium against an empire called the Militesi, who are attempting to take over the world by destroying the surrounding states of Orience; a land governed by powerful crystals representing different deities for the different states. The story is a lot darker and violent than most other entries in the series, with it starting out extremely morbidly, yet with a frighteningly realistic portrayal of what war is really like. It’s also the goriest Final Fantasy game I’ve seen by some distance. Final Fantasy VII had a fair bit of gore in parts, but this game goes above and beyond that level of violence.
Originality – 6/10
To confound what problems I found with this game, there was also hardly any uniqueness to experience with it either. To me, it just seemed the same as every other game of its ilk, and whilst it may have had a new story attached to it, it failed to stand out to me from a gameplay perspective. Although I find games like to be largely forgettable experiences anyway, this title had even less going for it than the likes of Final Fantasy XII or Dragon Age Origins.
Overall, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is by some distance one of the worst Final Fantasy games to have ever been released. The gameplay is much less than immersing, the controls are flawed, the graphics are inconsistent on a home console and to me, it epitomizes everything that has gone wrong with the series ever since Final Fantasy XI.