“Final Fantasy Type-0 HD” (Xbox One/PS4; $59.99; Rated M) is nothing – and everything – like all the other “Final Fantasy” games you’ve played.
It is ridiculous, overwrought and self-serious in a way that “Final Fantasy” has all but perfected. Every “Final Fantasy” thinks that it is the first game ever to put teenagers in world-threatening peril. Every “Final Fantasy” has a way of explaining that peril in a way that’s as clear as a brick wall. And almost every “Final Fantasy” is so committed to its sense of world-altering importance that one cannot help but be absorbed into its story.
“Type-0 HD” is no exception.
“Type-0 HD” is also a classically styled role-playing game through and through, which means you’ll do a lot of traveling from town to town on wild goose chases, destroying local fauna with nary a thought for getting stronger, and having long, in-depth conversations with people you don’t care about. If these sorts of experiences are ones you have avoided in the past, you will find few reasons to give “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD” any more than a passing glance.
That said, if you are into these long, grueling experiences, “Type-0 HD” is awfully rewarding, especially for a game that is essentially a remake of a PSP game from nearly four years ago (though this is its first time in American stores).
A crowded party
Making things complicated right off the bat is the fact that you start the game with a party of 14(!) player-characters. Taking control of certain characters triggers various conditions in the world, and there are bits of the story that you can only get if you use certain characters at certain times. Meanwhile, every combat situation allows you to use any of these characters, and picking the perfect character for every situation can be maddening.
But the truth is, in many cases, it doesn’t matter who you pick. Any of your characters will be able to defeat the various soldiers, robots and creatures that come your way, largely thanks to an innovative combat system. Rather than pressing a single button over and over again to plow through the bad guys, there’s a dance that involves dodging attacks and waiting for a targeted enemy to reveal a weak spot – at which point you can often instantly kill that enemy.
The host of characters also allows for a level of customization rare in this genre, and especially in “Final Fantasy” games, which typically only give you control over a few characters at a time. The nature of the game is such that any character could be thrown into battle at any given time, and they should all be as ready as possible. How they get ready – whether through armor, new weapons or new spells – is up to the player. A balanced team is at least as integral to success as good timing in battle.
If spending your time in menus doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, maybe this game isn’t for you. Allow yourself the patience to push through, however, and you’ll end up playing a game that actually feels different from everything else out there now – even though on the surface it shares so much with the “Final Fantasy” series.
No “Final Fantasy” to date has dared to experiment as much as this one, and most of those experiments turn out to be exciting and successful. Even as a remake, “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD” is a fine beginning for the series in the current console generation.
New This Week: Baseball is back! Sony is releasing “MLB 15: The Show” (PS4), the latest edition of its excellent baseball franchise, and the first designed from the ground up for the PS4. If something a little more casual is what you’re looking for, the revival of the classic “R.B.I. Baseball” franchise continues with “R.B.I. Baseball 15” (Xbox One, PS4).