Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is Fast, Furious, and Gorgeous

Final Fantasy Type-0 originally came out as PSP title back in 2011 and ever since then, fans of the series have been clamoring for a western release. It’s finally going to happen as Final Fantasy Type-0 will come back in full HD worldwide in 2015, but will it be worth the wait? We got a chance to play the game for about 45 minutes in a beefy demo provided by Square Enix at a Pre-Comic Con event and we didn’t leave disappointed.

Having not played the original PSP version, I ventured into Final Fantasy Type-0 HD with limitless intrigue. Being a fan of the Final Fantasy series, even the 13 Saga, I always loved the idea of a Final Fantasy game giving the player full control of a character similarly to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. One of the first things that jumped out at me when I picked up the Dualshock 4 was the presentation of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. It’s a gorgeous game with vibrant colors popping out of the screen all in a steady frame rate. It’s a late arrival to consoles but we can honestly say it’s fashionably late.  The game runs very smoothly especially in the heat of battle and I never encountered a slow-down or any kind of frame rate issues even when I was fighting a boss and multiple enemies surrounding me. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that I had 2 other characters fighting alongside me, each with their own characteristics and fighting moves and all of it just worked seamlessly in a visual feast not seen in a Final Fantasy game in quite some time.

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It was confirmed to me there that in the final game, players will get to choose 3 characters from a roster of 14. All 14 have their own specials and fighting styles but for the purpose of our demo, we were given a long-range character who used playing cards as projectiles and another who used some sort of grappling hook. The variety was on full display as you can actively switch between characters at any time by pressing the right d-pad. Switching between characters is vastly important because some enemies may not be reachable to your main character but if you switch to card-throwing guy, he easily gets them in a flurry of projectiles. The switching keeps the combat fresh and it forces you to learn each character’s strengths and weaknesses for every kind of situation.

The gameplay is fast and unforgiving. Enemy AI will dodge, hide for cover and some will coordinate with other AI to take you down. This was easily my favorite aspect of the game. Prepare to die quite a lot, they turned on God-mode for us but it was still a challenge to get through some of the mobs. You have to time your dodges and attacks frequently since spamming the regular attack is only going to cause the enemy to counter you and continuously dodge against you. I once found myself endlessly attacking an enemy only to find out I had barely laid a scratch on him and it was because my moves were so predictable that he was dodging them all the way through. Embarrassing yes, but it was totally fun too.

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The demo allowed us to activate summons which sacrifices a member of your team in favor of a huge fiery behemoth which can either be controlled by the player or by the computer. When playing as the huge beast, it was a joy just being able to wreck anything and everything in my path. Enemies would go flying as I pounded the ground and steamrolled them without mercy.  I loved that by switching to another character while playing as the summon, the monster continued bashing on as I was doing my own thing with the other character. From a visuals and gameplay perspective, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD looks to surprise and satisfy many Final Fantasy fans.

The same cannot be said about the camera. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD employs a lock-on that aggressively changes the camera depending on where the enemy you’re targeting is located; this makes for some headache-inducing and almost nauseating gameplay hurdles. The camera just goes absolutely nuts when there’s multiple enemies on screen and you’re trying to cycle through targets to get to a specific enemy. It got to a point where I just ran around the whole map just so that I could find the main target isolated and ready to lock-on without having a mob to cycle through. A representative of Square Enix told me that the camera was something that is still being worked on and it was comforting to see that Square Enix knows that the camera is troublesome and may hinder the game’s enjoyment for some.

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If you can look outside the horrendous camera issues, there’s a lot to like here. It’s a beautiful game that plays as good as it looks and it may finally put Final Fantasy on the relevant map.  The combat is fast and furious and I can already tell that this game won’t be a picnic to play through. Will it be enough to bring back the fans that jumped ship when the 13 Saga began? Not sure, but Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a step in the right direction. Oh, and the Final Fantasy 15 demo is included when you purchase Final Fantasy Type-0 HD which is a good enough reason to check it out. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is slated for worldwide release on March 17, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One.

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