Published and developed by Square Enix, Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally released back in 2011 for PSP. Square Enix have done an amazing job updating the graphics for the game, although you can still tell it’s old, the game looks good and plays really well. The only issue being the camera which has a mind of it’s own and sometimes goes crazy, which took a while to get used to.
As with all Final Fantasy games, the cutscenes are long and action packed. The game starts off with war set within Orience and a world which is divided between four Crystal States. With each nation controlling a Crystal based on the four Symbols. The Dominion of Rubrum, where Class Zero are based have the Vermillion Bird Crystal which controls Magic. Their enemy the Militesi Empire control the White Tiger Crystal, the power of science and weapons. With the Kingdom of Concordia controlling The Azure Dragon Crystal which harnesses the power of Dragons and finally the Lorican Alliance has the Black Tortoise Crystal with the power of shielding.
Each state must protect their Crystal. The beginning cutscene shows all out war, with the Militesi invading Rubrum with a new weapon called the Crystal Jammer. They want Rubrum to surrender their Crystal or they will slaughter everyone. This is where Class Zero come in. A group of fourteen cadets unaffected by the Jammer. They help Rubrum in their attempt to defend themselves against the oncoming threat and try to push the Militesi forces back.
The story has many twists and turns, and Square Enix definitely know how to tug at your heart strings. Some moments will have you gasping, some you may have expected but like many Final Fantasy games before and after this one, the story is captivating and the characters memorable.
Class Zero is made up of Ace, Trey, Sice, Cater, Deuce, Cinque, Seven, Eight, Nine, Jack, Queen and King. Rem and Machina join the class later, but the original cadets are told by Doctor Arecia (whom they refer to as Mother and follow her orders) not to disclose the secrets behind Phantoma, a source of energy taken from fallen enemies, only Class Zero has the ability to harvest it and it is used in game to upgrade your spells to make them stronger.
At first having so many characters to focus on seems daunting, all require leveling and equipping. It’s through the game their personalities start to unravel and you’ll soon find yourself favouring a few. Class Zero is based in Akademia, the academy in Rubrum. Each state has one to research and protect their Crystal. At the beginning you’ll find yourself more lost than Harry Potter on his first day at Hogwarts. Between special missions, you will have time to interact with other cadets in the school.
This is a feature I loved, in the main building there is a teleport that leads to multiple rooms, Sorcery, Armory, Lounge, Terrace, Ready Room and my personal favourite, the Chocobo Ranch! You can breed Chocobos there and when you enter little chicks run up to you and circle you. You can also practice riding a Chocobo around when you’re not too busy getting them to mate. Before each mission you’ll have a set time before your next. This time depletes when you talk to the various cadets around the school and once it’s up, you have to continue on with the story so it’s wise to use your time well. If you find yourself under leveled you can replay missions from the main menu that level you up without progressing any time in the main game. This can be handy for leveling up your many characters and learning what combat style you like best as each cadet has different weapons and abilities.
You can also use the combat simulator arena to level up or choose to go on “special training” which is basically saving at that point and while you’re gone from your console your character is training so when you load up the game, depending on the time you have gone, you will have gained a few extra levels without having to do anything. During missions you can choose to allow Special Orders, such as getting a kill strike or killing enemies in a certain amount of time. Failure of this can result in instant death of your active leader unless you avoid portals that appear, so choosing which ones to accept is based off how high you think your ability to complete it is.
The combat system is real time. With the ability to dodge, a defensive ability (Cure, protect, wall) and magic slot and a basic ability slow. In time you can build your characters to have two spells equipped at once, depending on your playstyle. What’s interesting about this game, is that even though you have fourteen characters to choose from, during missions you can choose the option to allow back-up. This brings in special SPP Units that help, and replaces one of your three chosen cadets for a short time. They vary from level and ability and earn you points which can be used to purchase special weapons and accessories.
If during combat, one of your cadets die you can simply press up on the D-pad and bring in another one, meaning if you play bad enough, you can bring in all fourteen of them during one mission. You also go on special defensive missions where you’ll try to take over different zones and control where your soldiers go until you can invade and take over the region for Rubrums forces.
All the classic Final Fantasy elements are recurrent throughout the game. Fans will love the enemies, Behemoths, Cactuars and flans among many others. It’s actually pretty amazing because the elements are basic and if you’ve played the other Final Fantasy games you’ll know how these staple Final Fantasy features have evolved. Capturing Chocobos outside of Akademia, in the Overworld is as simple as hopping on one of your previously bred Chocobos or even just running after them and pressing A. In the most recent games, capturing Chocobos is a lot more fun and requires combat.
Running around the Overworld without a Chocobo leaves you open to combat but you can’t see it coming! It just happens as you’re running although some enemies like level 99 Behemoths roam a lot of the maps and are visible to the player, so they are definitely best avoided otherwise you’ll find yourself very dead very fast.
If you decide to level up and continue your game on new game+ new missions will be available for you to select during your story, making it very fun to go back through, the difficulty of the enemies increases though.
Overall Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is an amazing port. Everything Final Fantasy fans know and love is there plus a few different features which make for an all round gaming experience. Cactuars, Chocobos, Tonberry’s, Moogles and an intense story means the hours will literally fly by as you battle your way through the games eight chapters and the downtime exploring the academy and the Overworld is a good break from all the action even if it does lead you to a lot of danger. My only issue with the game being the camera, which on occasion gave me a slight headache with the way it jolted. A second playthrough is recommended due to your party being too weak to take on a few bosses as you go but everything you know and love about the Final Fantasy series is there to enjoy.