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Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystalis
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Final Fantasy Type-0 (formerly Final Fantasy Agito XIII) opens on a graphically violent note. Final Fantasy has always been known for its beautiful, chill-inducing openings, and Type-0 does not disappoint in this regard. The beginning scenes display the horrors of war in bloody relief, utilizing the full power of the PlayStation 4. The series has never shied away from such a topic, and in fact, all of the games center around war/rebellion in some way, but Type-0 did not mince words or sight, and it was even more harrowing considering these were children slain with neither mercy nor impunity given for youth.
The “secondary” series is Fabula Nova Crystalis, the same as Final Fantasy XIII (which I’m planning to play this year). It translates into “new tales of the crystals” and also contains Final Fantasy XV. The “crystal” is a ubiquitous structure throughout the series, present in all iterations though arguably more hidden in some (e.g. Final Fantasies VI, VII, & VIII). Analogous in Type-0 with the “four lights of hope,” they’re represented by a specifically hued animal: White Tiger, Azure Dragon, Black Tortoise, and Red Phoenix. The White Tiger’s attack on another faction nullified their crystal, which is the catalyst for the events of the game.
I was pretty excited to play this when I bought it alongside Horizon: Zero Dawn (which I’ve yet to pick up), especially since I’d drawn some of the Type-0 units in Brave Exvius. The characters are Agito Cadets Class Zero (which I’m assuming is where the title of the game comes from), an elite unit named for the playing cards of a standard deck: Ace through King with the absence of a “ten” and the addition of Machina and Rem, two transfers into Class Zero. Created by Dr. Arecia Al-Rashia with a combination of magic and technology, this instantly piqued my interest since it was a clear reference to my first Final Fantasy, VI. Then there’s the school, Akademeia, which is reminiscent of FFVIII’s Gardens, and also like VIII, there’s a memory loss motif associated with magical powers. Finally Arecia herself is like a combination of Lucrecia and Hojo from my beloved Final Fantasy VII in that she was responsible for the “creation” of this elite class.
I didn’t play long enough to see if she received any comeuppance for, oh you know, experimenting on her own offspring, nor did the narrative paint her in a negative light for these actions. She is supposedly only genetically connected to Ace, but all of the Agito Cadets call her “Mother.”
I loved that there was the option for Japanese with English subtitles, and I hope they continue this trend with all of their games going forward especially the FFVII: Remake (o course). There’s no reason why they can’t have this option available with the technology available.
Unfortunately, there was a major thing I disliked and that was the active battle. I’ve been in numerous arguments with people who insist that turn based is no longer viable or stylish, but there a ton of new games that maintain it, so I’m unsure why Squeenix is insistent on going this route. There are plenty of players who not only like but prefer this method, but I don’t want to go into a rant here. Suffice it to say, I endured the battle system, and was very happy when Cheap Boss Attack gave me a link to a level up cheat. I leveled all of my characters to 99 in the course of two months…and then decided I was tired of playing it not even a week afterwards. I realized I wasn’t enjoying it, and I lost interest in the story after a few hours, since the threads of it between battles was thinner than a spider web.
There are 14 characters, which is the same number as Final Fantasy VI, but unlike VI you don’t really get any story on them. In the beginning you find out that Ace is the “best?” or something, which is what “Mother” says. It seems like a shallow attempt at replicating one of VII’s paradigms, but without VII’s heart. I finished the Elite Mission in Mi-go in North Togereth during Chapter 3, and I’m just not into it. I hate how you have to constantly adjust the camera, which is a pain in the ass during battle. I’m annoyed at myself for spending so much time leveling to give up so soon afterwards, but I was hoping I’d like the non-combat parts enough that it would be worth it.
I’m going to find an LP of it at some point (especially if Cryaotic has one) and either see if that’s satisfactory or if it spurs me to want to play once I see an example of how it’s done. It’s entirely possible that I missed some integral information about how best to experience the game, so I’m willing to give it that.