Final Fantasy Type-0 HD: Class is back in session

March 26, 2015


Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally a Japanese PSP release, and one of the very few two-UMD games. Fans waited impatiently for a US release, but the PSP was already dead in North America and the Vita wasn’t selling particularly well. In the end, what really saved this title’s localization hopes was the crazy speed at which Western audiences picked up the PS4 and Square Enix’s desire to jump on the opportunity. Type-0 HD is out on Xbox One as well, but PlayStation still drives any Final Fantasy decisions; the vast majority of people who buy Japanese games do so on Sony’s platforms.

One of the most difficult obstacles for any Final Fantasy dev team is fan reception. Even though the series is known for kicking over the proverbial apple cart and completely reworking mechanics from game to game, its fans tend to be very resistant to change. Final Fantasy XIII was a very polarizing game for fans, for example, as many disliked its pacing and linearity. Type-0 shows that you can do a fun linear JRPG, without having to bend over backwards for retro fans still wanting another VII.


The premise of Type-0 is far darker than most in the series. It’s the first game in the series to receive an M rating, and it seems that was intentional. While it isn’t the first to throw you into the middle of a battlefield, it makes a point of showing blood and death from the start. It’s gritty and dark, but I would hesitate to compare it with the likes of Dark Souls or the plethora of Western-developed war shooters that aim for this theme. It’s similar, but also very different in how it presents itself. Death tends to happen in Final Fantasy, but it’s not usually something to which you see characters react, even when it happens as a major story event. Type-0 manages to make this a big theme of the game, yet doesn’t fall into so many Western cliches about it.

Combat is really quick and fun. A big problem with recent games was how they tried to stay turn-based, but also pick up the pace. Type-0 accepts that it is an action-based system and really shines at it. While it may be less complex than a true action game, the system is very easy to pick up. Some of the timing is a bit awkward: hitting the enemy’s weak point can be tricky when it’s up briefly and you are using a weapon that takes time to strike. Planning and proper preparation can mitigate this issue, making the battle system feel rewarding. There’s also no mechanic to give characters outside of your party XP, so you’ll want to cycle them all in and out.


Completing the game and finishing every side quest feels like an insurmountable chore sitting on your couch. As the game was originally portable, it’s obvious that some aspects of the game were designed to be played in short bursts, not hours-long marathons as you might otherwise do on a home console. My advice: accept that you won’t hit every side quest on a single playthrough; New Game+ is waiting at the finish line.

The biggest issue with Type-0 HD is that you can tell it’s a remaster. You don’t get the sweeping vistas and immense areas to run around in, because the original game had to run on a PSP. You can tell every room is sized for the hardware. You can also pick out geometry and texturing that is obviously upscaled, details that would be smoothed out with fewer sharp edges were it a native PS4 or Xbox One title. It does feel a little rough to have full-release expectations for a game that is still in large part an upscaled PSP release.

One of Final Fantasy‘s greatest strengths is the tradition of having little name-drops and themes return for each game, even when they aren’t connected to each other. As an example, Type-0 features l’Cie, people granted powerful magic, but unlike in XIII, the crystals themselves grant them this power. Spell names, Chocobos, jobs: at the end of the day, when you win a battle and you hear that little fanfare, you know it’s Final Fantasy.


Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a solid, compelling release that never truly feels at home on its platform. It’s still the game so many yearned to play, and though it may not be a core numbered entry, it stands up well to the franchise’s marquee releases. Just know what you’re getting into.

Pros: Great music, fun combat, interesting atmosphere
Cons: Spaces feel a bit confined for PS4, textures stand out too much

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.