Friday, September 2, 2016

—Game Review— Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

I'm a Final Fantasy fan and this was one I was really looking forward to. Other than the graphics, I think it lived up to my expectations. 

***Final Fantasy Type-0 HD***

Published and developed by Square Enix
Published 2015 | JRPG
For PS4, Xbox One, PC | Review: PS4
(Originally released for PSP in 2011)
*Rated M for Mature 17+*
Blood | Drug Reference
Suggestive Themes | Violence
(Click HERE to see the ESRB rating details.)

HGG rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 8/10

You are Class Zero. That's right, an entire class. Fourteen students (12 of whom are in the image below) who are the best of the best in a war torn world. You are given the tasks others don't want, blamed for things beyond your control, and expected to save the world. And you're just a bunch of kids....named after cards...
Class Zero (from left):
Trey, Nine, Queen, Jack, King, Ace, Cater, Cinque, Deuce, Eight, Sice, Seven

Ace (cutscene)
First impressions? 
Disappointment. Seriously, the graphics suck for a 2015 (PS4) game. I had much higher expectations. I mean, I'd already played through all three FFXIII games and their graphics are far superior to this. I couldn't figure out why until I discovered this game was originally made for a handheld gaming device whose graphics are equivalent to a PS2—or so my brother says. So then I was able to let the graphics issue go. Kinda.

Graphics and Voices? 
Seven (gameplay graphics)
The graphics aren't great, plain and simple. Cutscenes aren't too bad, but the in-game scenes are blocky and no one's mouths match their words. Facial expressions barely exist. Again, probably great for the device this game was originally made for, but when it comes to the PS4, not so much.

Nine (cutscene)
The voice acting isn't the worst, but sometimes it's laughable, at least in the North American release. I mean, seriously? The way they have Cinque and Nine talk makes me cringe every time, yo. Even Rem, whose voice is just fine, has this odd Yoda thing going on. Not really sure if that was intentional or not. I know, that's not really a voice acting thing, more of a writing/characterization thing, possibly a translation thing, but still. Annoying.

Turn-based without being technically turn-based. When running around the open world, you will randomly encounter enemies and be taken into an attack screen, just like a good old-fashioned JRPG. But there's no selecting your attacks and waiting your turn, no attack bar to fill up, you just lock on, attack, and keep attacking until all the bad guys are dead. In this particular game, you can switch the character you control with a simple button push. The two characters supporting you attack at will. It's not a difficult system to catch on to, but unless you're way over leveled, dodging is imperative to survival. I learned that the hard way.

You almost have to use every character. Sure, you could stick with your favorites and put the rest through secret training to level them up, but some missions require certain characters, and final missions require all of them, so sticking with just a few isn't a great idea. Easiest setting, yeah, you could probably get all the way through just fine.

Sice, Queen, and Nine (cutscene)

Here are the characters and a bit about each. Now, all these characters have things about them that are GREAT. But when you're the one controlling them, some of them just plain suck.

Machina uses twin rapiers and as a fighter, he's pretty tough. His magic is pretty good. I tend to give him a long-range spell since he's a melee fighter. He has moderate MP and high HP, so I give him accessories that boost his magic power and MP.

Rem is the best magic caster in the game. Even her health and defense is pretty high. I typically fit her with items to up her magic and defense simply because she doesn't need the help with HP or MP. She does use daggers as weapons and that somewhat limits her combat, but like I said, her magic is off the charts. She's a fabulous healer as well and you can fit her with a special ability wherein she casts reraise on her and her companions. That definitely comes in handy in certain situations.

Ace uses cards as a weapon. This is strange, but hey, it's Final Fantasy, right? Not the strongest fighter in either regular combat or magic, but he's one of my favorites. Getting killsight shots with him is easy and he has a few tricks that make him my go-to guy for certain bad guys. Since he's a ranged fighter, his defense is pretty low. I give him accessories that boost his defense and MP, and a spell like Lightning BOM that destroys anyone who gets close to him.

Deuce's weapon of choice is a flute. Honestly, this is ridiculous and stupid. Also annoying. However, I fit her with a Fire BOM spell and she totally kicks ass with that (see the video below). I do like having her on my team as a healer. She is freaking awesome as a healer. Not so much as a fighter. And her defense is total crap.

Trey is a decent fighter, though he uses a bow so his defense is pretty low. I typically fit him with a powerful short range spell so I can quickly take out enemies who get too close. He's a bit slow to dodge, though, and that makes him a bit difficult as a primary player.

Cater is an all-around decent fighter who uses a magicite pistol as her weapon of choice. Since she's a ranged fighter, I give her a powerful short-range magic spell such as Fire BOM to quickly wipe out enemies who get too close. She has a poison attack ability, too, that comes in handy at times.

Cinque is the slowest attacker in the whole group. Seriously slow. But she causes the most damage with her mace attacks and her defense is the highest of all the characters. Her MP is okay, so fitting her with a decent long-range spell is a good idea. She's pretty funny as a character, but frustrating as a fighter.

Sice has an attitude and I'm not sure how they did it, but it seems to bleed over into her attack style. She uses a scythe and she's pretty wicked with it. However, her defense is only moderate and there's the slightest of delays in her attack. Still, once you get the hang of her style, she's a decent fighter. She has moderate MP and since she's a short-range fighter, I give her a long-range spell. Poison seems to be a common thing for her to use in some of her attacks as well.

Seven is a seriously cool fighter with her whipblade. Her attack is mid-range so short-range or long-range spells work well with her. I typically go with long-range, just because. Her defense and strength are moderate, as are her HP and MP, so accessories are pretty much whatever goes. I give her MP boosting and magic boosting ones.

Eight is very low in the MP department but a helluva strong melee fighter. He uses his fists and his strength and defense are pretty high right from the start. I like him but he can be difficult to work with since his attacks are really short-range. I fit him with a low-MP, long-range spell to balance things out. I also give him an Avoid spell and that helps him avoid (lol) many attacks automatically for very little MP; maxed out, Avoid only requires 4 MP to cast when playing the game at the easiest difficulty setting.

Nine is a powerful fighter with a fairly short-range weapon. His spear has quite a reach, but not quite mid-range. His MP is super low, so I tend to give him MP boosting accessories. (As in, he boasts two items in my current game that boost his MP by 40% each and he's still barely over 300 MP at level 35.) Then I give him a long-range, low-MP spell to augment his combat capabilities. He has high HP and pretty high defense.

Jack is annoying, in my opinion, both as a fighter and as a character. He is strong, but slow, and his defense is total crap for a melee fighter. He wields his katana as if it weighs 1000 pounds. When in battle mode, he moves as if it's all he can do to lug the heavy sword across the battlefield, which would make a lot more sense if he used a broadsword. Irritating. As far as I'm concerned, he's an almost useless character.

Queen is a decent sword fighter with decent defense, high MP and HP. She's an all-around good character. She is short-range, however, so I give her a long-range spell to augment her attack capabilities. She's a great one to have in a group for healing too, especially with her high MP. She also has a special ability, Divine Judgment, that damages the enemies while healing her and any comrades within range.

King's defense is super low. I mean, damn. He's a ranged fighter, though, with dual handguns, so he doesn't really need to get close. He has to pause to reload, which drives me freakin' crazy sometimes. His ice magic stats are pretty good, though, so I fit him with Blizzard BOM and freeze the hell outta baddies who get close enough to damage his precious little self. He has a special ability that I like called Endless Waltz wherein he fires the crap outta his guns and causes some serious damage. I've found a defense boosting accessory that includes some ballistic resistance to be quite helpful.

Odin, Seven, Ace, and Jack (cutscene)

This game doesn't allow you to upgrade your weapons, but reaching certain criteria (harvesting 700 phantoma or performing 200 killsights, for example) gives you the options of buying some pretty good weapons from the dealers in Academia. These are pricey, but so worth it.

Wow. This is not your typical FF game—or maybe it is. It's a gut-wrenching, horrifying, blood-soaked story that reaches in and squeezes your insides until you can't breathe. Again. Wow. I love it. There are certain twists I didn't see coming, and that's always good.

No chocobos were harmed in the making of this game.

As is typical of most JRPGs, at least the ones I've played, this game does have a certain amount of corny dialogue. Not as much as most, but still some. For the most part, it's only certain characters who really bring the corn.

I've only managed one playthrough at the time of this post, but I've heard the story isn't quite so sad after the second playthrough. I look forward to discovering this for myself. I'll update this review accordingly at that time.

The graphics. Was that not clear? In all honesty, the graphics do annoy the hell outta me, but Jack's inability to move with any kind of speed when he's armed annoys me more.

Cater and Trey (in-game cutscene)

I also hate that equipment and parties can only be changed at save crystals. It's frustrating and I really don't understand why the devs decided to do it that way.

This one made it into my top 12 with ease. It's a seriously good game once you overlook the fact that the graphics feel more retro than next gen and everyone's affectations get old around the third time you see them. It's cool to have fourteen different characters with different styles. They're all worth playing, at least a little, despite the annoyances. 

My rating? 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 8/10 life hearts.
The story grabbed me and tore me apart, which isn't a bad thing. I like a good tear-jerker. The second playthrough is [so far] just as good, if not better, than the first. The graphics and odd character quirks can be overlooked.

Additional notes?
My copy is the PS4 Collector's Edition. It came with the game in a golden steelbook case, a disc of music from the game, an art book, a manga comic, Ace's cards, and a download code for FFXV: Episode Duscae DEMO.

I've yet to finish reading the comic and I can't really say anything about it other than it's not really my thing. The art book is beautiful and my daughter loves to study it (she's the artsy one in the family). My boy likes to play with Ace's cards and they are gorgeous. I've yet to listen to the music disc, but I'm sure I'll like it. The demo of FFXV is a really in-depth demo. You can read my review of it HERE.

Where to buy?
*All screenshots, videos, cover art, and everything else Final Fantasy is ©Square Enix. Square Enix does not in any way endorse this fan / gaming / reviews blog. 

Until next time... 

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