Those who are lost are also forgotten.
I’ll be blunt. I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan. Final Fantasy VII, whether you believe it is a masterpiece, was, in my childhood, an incredibly defining moment. Final Fantasy VII was an experience I did not know existed. It opened my eyes to what video gaming and storytelling on such an interactive level could be – and it set my life in motion. I am an English teacher, and I do this because of the passion I have for literature and writing – both of which were ignited by Final Fantasy VII.
I’m also a believer of sorts in the adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Is there always room for improvement? Of course. No piece of literature – fiction or non-fiction – is perfect; in fact, nothing in our world is perfect. William Wordsworth once stated in Lyrical Ballads that poetry should be “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” In other words, good poetry is written spontaneously – quickly – with a lot of emotion… but looked back upon and edited.
Alas, I digress.
Final Fantasy is a staple in the RPG industry. For Final Fantasy, plot was king, followed by solid gameplay that became familiar with its rabid fan base. Over the years, the turn-based combat adapted, until Final Fantasy XII integrated a whole new style. Final Fantasy XIII returned somewhat to its roots, but still settled with a fairly active combat.
Enter Type-0. Put aside your opinions on whether Square should have released it as a Vita or PS4 game. Would it have worked on the Vita? Absolutely. Would I have purchased it for the Vita? Of course! But I’m also thrilled it released for the PS4, as it is where I spend most of my gaming time.
With this said, Type-0 is developed around an intense and enjoyable active battle system. It is similar to Dragon Age in where you map your attacks to your four buttons and then mash away. Combat is generally kept to small arenas or mission levels, meaning you don’t have an enormous amount of real estate to battle in. What combat there is, however, I found particularly enjoyable. I put aside all of my other games to plow Final Fantasy Type-0, and, generally, the main purpose was because of the battle system. In between the numerous missions and side quests that involved countless battles, Type-0 included various strategic battles. For these, the player controls one character and runs about the map, directing forces to assault cities and forts in an attempt to commandeer them. You can battle forces on the field and enter the cities or forts once their defenses have fallen to hunt the commanding officer. Overall, they serve as nifty breaks from the overall system in a fairly successful attempt at keeping it fresh.
The plot stands up under scrutiny, too. I enjoy the realism found within Type-0. It’s a mature Final Fantasy, and you can feel the grit in the story. Type-0 captures the brutality of war that even Whitman would find appropriate. You take control of class Zero (plus Machina and Rem, characters ‘enlisted’ into class Zero). You are the elite students of Akademia, sent on the most difficult of missions with an inability to die. And, by the way, if someone does, in fact, bite the bullet (metaphorically and literally), everyone else forgets they existed – the will of the crystals. Characters wear dog tags, so if they do fall in combat, they can at least have a name.
This brings up a common theme within Type-0 – the inhumanity of war. To the crystals, soldiers are simply pawns – pieces to throw at each other until one side emerges victorious. To create more effective soldiers, memories of the fallen are erased – so no one spends time mourning when they could be fighting.
The cinematics and story presentation of Type-0 feel like something off of the History Channel, something you watch on a Friday in your social studies class. It is presented in a matter-of-fact manner, unbiased – a recitation of history. To this effect, I think Type-0 captures what it is trying to accomplish. It’s a believable world.
But Final Fantasy Type-0 isn’t all unicorns and lollipops. As much as I enjoyed my time with Type-0, the voice acting was simply atrocious. Sure, Matthew Mercer, Bryce Papenbrook, Cristina Vee, and Steve Blum lend their talent – mostly enjoyable – to the game… but, boy… Nine? I’m calling you out. Nine was a walking cliche’ fixated on the American ‘bruh’ or brosef – and a dragoon. The dialogue in the game is campy at best, and it caused more flinching and shuddering than actual importance.
Second, as much as I enjoyed the combat, it wasn’t always sound. It’s an excellent system, in my opinion, and one that could be expanded on with Type Next. That said, the camera sensitivity was incredibly jumpy, causing moments of frustration in combat.
For 60$, Type-0 may seem costly. Earning a platinum takes only about 40 hours – max. On a personal level, I’m about to play a second play through on my Xbox One (I’ll perhaps write up a comparison on the two if I find any noticeable differences).
In a quick conclusion, Final Fantasy Type-0 is a solid entry into the heralded series. With a stark realism bleeding through its above average story, Final Fantasy Type-0’s new combat system shows its age but promises a bright future.