So far I'm mixed on Final Fantasy Type-0, though admittedly I've barely scratched the surface of the game. The opening (super-long) cinematic was really dark. Like, I don't remember another Final Fantasy game that has had such gritty violence. I quite like the concept of this kind of young army, though. It seems like the idea is that there is a lot of customization depending on which characters you end up using. It being a Final Fantasy game, I'm not sure I really know what the story is about but it seems pretty cool anyway. I guess.
I don't know how I'll feel about the hub-world versus a more traditional overworld map. Who knows, maybe I'll grow to appreciate it. And in fairness, I've loved that approach in stuff like Phantasy Star Online. I haven't dabbled in the menus yet, so don't really know how leveling up skills or weapons work.
My main apprehension thus far is I'm not sure I'm too thrilled with the combat. I should divulge that - and this was my own misconception - for some reason I had thought going into Type-0 that the combat was turn based. It's totally not. So I guess that expectation getting dashed was a let down. It seems like the combat can be fairly complex, with switching between three characters and using various attacks/magic/skills. But eh, what seems like a reliance on having dodge attacks coupled with a rather lousy camera has so far made me think that the combat will be my least favorite part of the game.
I hope this doesn't sound overly negative, as it's just my initial thoughts for an hour (which with cutscenes, is not a lot of playtime). I'll be working on it more in the next couple days and hope to see it click a bit further since the reviews have all been quite positive.
I'm happy to report that I'm liking it more than my first impression. I think that getting the hang of dodging made all the difference. Once I got the timing right the battle system started to click more. Of course I will always prefer turn based combat in an RPG. That's just me. But this is fine.
The music has gotten even better. Honestly, so far the music might be my favorite thing about this game. It's such a good mix of like bombastic orchestral stuff, and sad Japanese folk music meshed with some of these old throwbacks. Hearing that old Final Fantasy I music kick in when I first got to Akademia felt so right. I don't care if that song is 'overused' in Final Fantasy games.
Now the story... my goodness, what a complete mess. There are so many characters. I'm honestly confused about who is a good guy and who is a bad guy and who is doing what and why. Sometimes you'll have this like ten minute cutscene that's really impressively animated, the next you have a still frame with voice over. Sometimes you have voices and other times you're reading text like in a visual novel. It's such a mish-mash of ideas and systems. In a way, it kind of feels like an endearing mess.
I mean even the concepts. You've got this grim war and then all the sudden you're running around Final Fantasy's equivalent of Hogwarts. So far I feel like this game is far from great, and yet I'm almost just really happy that it manages to exist. It's so chaotically weird that I kind of think it's awesome that it ever got made.
I think I officially like this game despite its oddities. I had a mission that was like a total RTS battle thing. It's as if the developers weren't even sure what kind of game they were making here so they tried to cram every idea they came up with into one game. So weird, but that makes me interested in seeing what comes next.
The story is still a huge mess though. I really don't know who anyone is or what's going on. And I don't care. At this point I'm happy to just sum it up as "some different kingdoms on this world map are at some kind of huge war." That's enough story for me here. In fact, I've started skipping a lot of the cutscenes because I don't care and because they're often just bad/baffling.
There's also some weird choices. I have to sit through a class to learn new stuff right? But it's the same ten second cut scene of a classroom. Why? I have to go to one room to initiate a mission, but then run back to the class to start that mission. There's two loading screens between these two rooms. So basically four loading screens to start every mission. Ugh.
The game as a game is quite fun, though. And messing around with various characters in the roster has been cool. Ace is generally my go to with his sweet bow and arrow. Though Cater is kind of a new favorite with her hard-hitting gun attack. Much like how I adore Final Fantasy Tactics, yet care not about the story, I think this is sort of in the same situation. Not that I love this exactly. But I like it way more as just a series of missions/battles sans story.
I'm actively enjoying the game now. I still feel like the story is a convoluted mess. But frankly, the game itself is pretty much a mess. It's as if the developers took every idea they had and figured they'd just see what sinks and what floats. And yet the stuff that floats is awesome. I've grown to really enjoy the battle system now. And having a cast of fourteen playable characters keeps things fun and varied.
I think this places me around the half-way mark, at least as far as the story goes. Maybe. I've been experimenting with odd combos of trios to get things done. I somehow managed to take down some mechs with a flutist. It... took a while. That said, the gameplay remains strong and the story remains... ouch. I try to watch the cutscenes as much as I can stand, but skipping them no longer makes me feel guilty. Okay, there's these different kingdoms feuding. Got it. I could give you a long list of things that I find wrong with this game, and yet it continues to be fun for me. There's a good chance I'll walk away from this wreckage an even stronger man.
I've completely given up on even attempting to follow or care about the story at all. However I'm still having a blast experimenting with the various fourteen characters. Given that you are using teams of three, building different configurations and figuring out how to level each up and tweak their skills is a lot of fun.
Top 3 Best things about Type-0:
3. Nothing Makes Sense
I'm not crazy about those RTS missions. They're a bit too simplified functionally, and you move way too slow on the overworld map. It's not bad, just a tad tedious. The wasted minutes required to go from Room A to B back to A to start every mission; the speed at which you move on the overworld and the rate at which random battles occur there. The cutscenes which are at least skippable. I'm a bit of a broken record here but I actually really really like this game but I could totally see why people would not.
Well apparently those mediocre RTS missions are now optional. I say "apparently" because I didn't realize this until after I had started the last one.
The game continues to amaze and befuddle me. It's constantly throwing in new stuff - one section of a mission suddenly turns into a sort of on-rails light gun style shooter thing. Such a weird Final Fantasy game. Anyway I was suddenly dropped to the extreme opposite end of the world map. I couldn't use a Teleport Stone or anything to get back quickly. It is 100% just the game being a jerk and making me kill some more time. Because as much as Type-0 wants to be all things to all fans, more than anything it's jerk.
But I made the long trek back - even saw one of those weird cactus dudes that shows up in many Final Fantasy games. And when I got back to Akademia I was introduced to the final mission... by Cid. Yes, Cid. Apparently the final mission is some long gauntlet thing where you control two teams of three and basically each room is a different challenge you have to pass.
The final 'dungeon' took me like two hours. Maybe a little more? As I said it makes you create two teams of three (out of a pool of twelve characters) and then the two teams have to fight through their own series of challenge rooms. So one room might be that you have to kill all the enemies without using magic; another might be you have to kill them all only using magic. Each room has some sort of time limit, and failing any of the rooms (presumably) sends you back to the start of the whole gauntlet. Luckily I never failed a room.
Fittingly, the final boss is pretty much just a stupid waste of time. First he kills your entire team. All twelve characters. You have to manually switch in each character just so he can kill each one of them. Then all twelve get resurrected and are now invincible and then you have to have each of them - all twelve - kill a piece of him. So again, now you have to manually swap in all twelve of them all over again. Like I said, they're all invincible now. So there's no way to lose this boss fight. It is just a big drawn out waste of time.
Not surprisingly the game ends with so much confusing dialogue and cutscenes. I do like that the story ends with its darker tones - a bloodied party of twelve sitting in a destroyed classroom literally talking about how they're scared of dying, trying to console each other's tears. It borders on tritely emo, but all the blood and destruction keep it tethered to borderline-disturbing. But then it becomes clear that like the rest of the game, the end-story just doesn't know when to quit. So even this scene is overly long... drawn out by long stretches of silence and awkward dialogue that honestly feels like it's being made up as it goes along. It's weird. But of course that was a big part of Type-0's charm.