Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Preview – PAX East 2015

Let’s take one last look at Final Fantasy Type-0 HD before it releases in a couple of weeks.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is shaping up to be a worthwhile “remaster” game. Unlike many other HD remakes, the original was released years ago and never actually made it over to the United States. During that time period, the call for a port steadily grew louder with each passing year until Square Enix finally caved in and decided to not only bring the action-RPG stateside, but also ported it to current gen consoles. It did carry along a couple of nagging problems from the PSP era, but by and large, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD looks like it will be another great Final Fantasy spinoff title.

Visually, despite being a HD port, it’s obvious that Type-0 HD was once a PSP game from 2011. I’m not saying Type-0 HD isn’t nice to look at, but when you get up close to the environment and some of the enemies they definitely look at bit rough around the edges. Don’t go trying to compare Type-0 HD to its packed in demo of Final Fantasy XV; Type-0 HD can’t hold a candle to a proper current gen release.

What does look great though is the close up camera angle that occurs when you lock onto an enemy during battle. I was surprised just how impressive Type-0 HD’s battles looked from this perspective. In particular Eight, the hand-to-hand fighter, was probably the most fun to use. While locked in, I could easily land a series of punches while simultaneously weaving in and out of harms way.

Sometimes though, going hand-to-hand wasn’t the easiest or wisest way to approach an enemy. In Type-0 HD you can swap to different party members on the fly. The demo I played had the aforementioned Eight, the gun wielding Cater, and the card slinging Ace. Switching between the three mid-battle was fluid and stands only to improve with the retail version when you have a full roster of diverse characters to swap in.

type-0 HD

Note: Photo from TGS demo.

Like its cousin Final Fantasy XIII, you’ll need to take advantage of character swapping and make sure that you’re maximizing damage because the combat in Type-0 HD can be punishing if you try to mail it in. I died a lot throughout my roughly 40 minute hands-on experience at PAX East 2015. Luckily for the purposes of the demo, I was instantly raised every time my HP reached 0. I imagine that wouldn’t be the case for the real thing. Most of my deaths did come early on though when I was still mastering how to lock on, switch targets, swap characters, and roll out of the way of danger. All of those actions are very important if you like to beat games without dying over and over.

Even when I was locked into a specific enemy, and especially when I wasn’t, the camera would sometimes get janky. It’s not prominent enough to detract from combat, but it is a little distracting at times. It may take you a second or two to get your bearing or to find where an enemy went after preforming a combat roll. Even with the second analog stick, Type-0 HD may not have been able to shake off all of the issues of its single sticked predecessor.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a read on the story, but that’s not what I was worried about going into my demo for Type-0 HD. By now, Final Fantasy fans probably know what to expect when it comes to 2010’s era Square Enix story telling.  My main concern was that the combat was going to feel dated. Thankfully, it doesn’t. While it’s far from perfect, it’s still a very fun action-RPG that should whet your appetite leading up to the main course that is Final Fantasy XV.

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