The thing that always made the Final Fantasy games stand out from the crowd was their capacity for storytelling. Even at a time where most videogame plots amounted to “Please kill all these small monsters so that you can get to the big monster and kill that”, Final Fantasy was aiming for something greater, telling epic storylines with a vast array of rich characters and outlandish hairstyles.
Honestly, rich storytelling was not what many people were expecting from Final Fantasy Type-0. The game began as a handheld game that the developers didn’t even see fit to release in the West, and so it was natural to expect the scope of the game to be somewhat curtailed by the capabilities of the platform. Yet people who managed to get hold of import versions or fan translations of the game are continually citing it as one of the most unsettling and dark tales in the franchise, with an epic story of violence, war, betrayal, and loss.
Now that the game is officially available for consoles here in the UK, we can see that far from being a trimmed down version of a full Final Fantasy game, it plays more like Game of Thrones, but again, it must be emphasised, with much, much better hair.
A Game of Game of Thrones
The story itself will need some serious keeping track of. Basically, Cid, an evil military commander (is there any other kind?) has decided to invade all the nations in the world. Yes, at once. The only thing that stands between the evil commander and total world domination are Class Zero, a squad of 14 military prodigies.
The meat of the stories is the missions this elite team of misfits is given to prevent the machinations of the evil Cid. These missions can be relatively straight forward tasks, such as capturing a base, or increasingly complex, such as shooting down some dragons and fighting monsters in the clouds.
One area where you can real feel the influence of the game’s handheld past is that these missions are far more compartmentalised than previous games, being designed for players to pick up and play on a morning commute than to sit down and play through in a 12 hour marathon.
But none of this distracts from the intricacy of the plot, which, as with Game of Thrones, will leave you having to keep a list of character names connected with pieces of string so that you know which characters have a grudge against, have betrayed or are currently fighting who.
More Challenging Missions
Whoever is murdering who, however, the main driving force for the action in the game is the missions themselves. This is where the game really shows its worth, with meaty challenges that offer a good dose of difficulty without ever falling into the trap of making you grind to artificially expand the playing time.
However what really puts the pressure on, and gives your actions a real sense of weight, is the permanence of the consequences when you screw up. On a typical mission you’ll use three of your 14 characters, with the others held in reserve in case one dies. But when one dies, they’re gone for the rest of the mission. This really ups the stakes, and makes Final Fantasy Type-0 feel more tense and dark than Final Fantasy games typically have before.
Content provided by GAME. Final Fantasy Type-0: HD is available to buy on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now.