Final Fantasy Type-0: Is Square Enix’s most famous property back on the right road?

For a long time, fans have been clamouring for the Final Fantasy series to ‘go back to its roots’ for the flagship Japanese RPG series to re-embrace the turn-based combat that made the series synonymous with the role-playing game.

Fans want classes again, they want wide open worlds where you can go and defeat insane optional sub-bosses and grind away for the best weapons whilst escorting some dandy-haired protagonist into a battle with God, or something.

Final Fantasy Type-0 doesn’t feature any of that, and we think it’s for the better. Instead, the game is far more action centred than anything the series has seen so far (well, at least in the main canon). Instead, we’d compare it to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII , or Final Fantasy Crisis Core the main battle mechanic decks each of your primary characters out with a selection of moves recognisable from the game’s parent series, and maps each attack to a corresponding face button, with one reserved for dodging.

We mention dodging specifically because you’ll die without it. Just because the game doesn’t operate on a turn-based ‘wait’ battle system doesn’t mean its not punishing. Class Zero is made up of twelve students each taking their name from the different values of cards, from Ace through to King (with an additional two fighters named Machina and Rem also playable). Each of these characters has a different weapon, and a different selection of attacks, and to progress through the game, you’ll have to tactically compose teams of three fighters at a time to take down a level’s enemies. The monsters and humans you’ll encounter are baying for your blood, and in true Final Fantasy style, the bestiary is as impressive as it is broad we played through the first three hours and encountered everything from mechs to monsters to suspiciously PSICOM-looking enemies, the likes of which you’d find in Final Fantasy XIII.

Enemies are subdivided by rank: there are bosses, sub-bosses and grunts. Sub-bosses tend to wall off certain areas, and killing them will make all the grunts in the area ‘surrender’ if you catch them before they run off, they’ll drop rare loot. Decidingwhether toitemhunt or exterminate all enemies for more and more experience is just one way you’ll have to balance progression.
The voice of our Western fans was instrumental in the development of Final Fantasy Type-0
Rather than the traditional Final Fantasy weaknesses andimmunities, Type-0 attributes critical hits and the like to ‘breaks’ in the opponents animations: time your attacks just right and you can deal up to ten times more damage than you usually would, or even insta-kill weaker enemies. Between your eclectic cast of students, you’ll need to learn how each individual attack and ability works to deal the highest possible damage-per-second to enemies. We’ve seen comments that Type-0 is a ‘lazy game’ somehow that its battle system is unrefined. We couldn’t disagree more.

The way you level up has been altered, too. Since each member of Class Zero has been genetically recreated from a mysterious magical element known as ‘phantoma’, you’ll need to harvest this magical juice from enemies in order to buff their abilities and recover MP. You’re effectively playing as a group of college undergrads that have been made to fight a war they don’t understand, whose primary powers are a mix of vampirism and summoning. It’s as Final Fantasy as you’d expect, just without the turn-based battling.

Type-0 is, if nothing else, a precursor for what we can expect Final Fantasy XV tooffer.After all, Hajime Tabata the director of Type-0 is also heading up production on XV, alongside composer Takeharu Ishimoto, who is also attached to both projects. The blend of action and RPG game elements isn’t incidental between the games, neither is the inclusion of XV’s Episode Duscae in the Type-0 release. Both exist within the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, and Square Enix is keen to make sure we realise that these games, in some way, are the foundation which modern Final Fantasy is going to build itself upon.

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