I never thought I would play Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. This is a game which originally released first on a PlayStation handheld console – the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2011 to be precise – as a Japanese exclusive. In fact, I surprised myself when I bought and played it, considering that my history with the Final Fantasy series is skeptical at best. 

Having played only Final Fantasy XIII at this point (yes, I know) and having a great experience with it (yes, I’m serious), I was looking forward to the next big single player RPG that was similar, both in terms of scale and mythos. Final Fantasy XV was that game. In preparation for this, partly because the game included Episode Duscae which was a demo of FFXV, I purchased Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for my Xbox One shortly after it was released.

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It wasn’t just a game I bought to begin diving deep into the Final Fantasy games available (or soon to be available) on Xbox One, but it did share similar mythos to that of FFXIII and FFXV, and it was a shorter experience to those two games which helped convince me that this would be a good re-entry point. That, and because it was a remaster of a handheld game it was cheaper than most brand new retail releases.

While Type-0 contains similarities to that of FFXIII, it is a separate story with new protagonists, new villains and a new world to explore. When this was released back in 2015, there wasn’t an expansive library of games to explore such as there is now – this made the exploration of this world and the process of learning the lore and history of the game more interesting than it would be today. 

That being said, there is plenty to enjoy about Type-0 and I don’t regret the huge number of hours I spent with the game. Though I struggle to remember significant story beats and gameplay moments, I remember enjoying my time with the game, and being pleasantly surprised by its quality.

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Taking into account where the game originated and my understanding of Final Fantasy games thus far, I didn’t expect to fully enjoy my time considering the investment it would require to get the most enjoyment out of its real-time action combat and repetitive but enjoyable missions.

But there I was slowly but surely listening to the detailed lore about four houses at war with one another. Some fought to survive, some to dominate, and some for moral and ethically questionable reasons. The story begins dark, and provides some upbeat moments to keep the player optimistic, but Type-0 ends on a note which I was very surprised by, particularly in terms of how dark the ending is and how it concluded the stories of the members of Class Zero.

In Type-0 you have the entire Class at your disposal but switch between various characters, with three on the battlefield at one time. You control one of the characters whilst two others are controlled by the AI. It’s important to balance your character palette as some story missions will require you to play as specific characters. Some specialise with weapons such as spears and guns, and others specialise in magika. There is an overworld to explore and tactically fight enemies on, and plenty of RPG levelling to sink your teeth into. That is if you’re not too preoccupied by raising Chocobos. 

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There’s plenty of content I could talk about here regarding the story and lore contained in Type-0, but I would rather tell you about how I enjoyed playing the game, remembering my time with it. It was so enjoyable that I actually got every achievement possible – which maybe isn’t too rare as an OCD warrior – but it still resembles my fondness for the game. I ended up never playing FFXV but that isn’t a knock against FF Type-0. It’s a celebration that this game surprised me with its effective gameplay, combat mechanics and surprisingly dark yet poignant storytelling on war.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD did enough to satisfy my RPG tendencies and deliver a unique experience. To any looking to fill their back-catalogue with new FF tales, then do not shy away from this game on Xbox One. It deserves to be on the pedestal with other main Final Fantasy titles, if not amongst the spin-offs such as Crisis Core and FF XIII-2. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, and should you spend time with it I think that you will too.

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