After spending the past few months gawking at the footage of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD released during PAX Prime and TGS 2014, I finally got the chance to go hands-on with the title during Square Enix’s New York Comic-Con event. The 30-minute demo left a strong impression on me, but not everything is perfect in the world of Rubrum.
Type-0 focuses on the magic-wielding students of Peristylium. When their homeland is attacked by the forces of the Militesi Empire, the students are called into action in order to lend their assistance. While the demo doesn’t go fully into the lore of the game, the plot seems to be much darker than anything else Square Enix has done recently, and the at times over-the-top gore only helps further cement that thought in my mind.
Taking place about mid-way through the title’s campaign, the demo gave me the opportunity to test out three of the fourteen playable characters. The three-person team consisted of Ace, a long-range specialist who wields cards, Rem, who is more adept at close-quarters combat with her daggers, and Seven, who uses a whip-like sword in order to ensnare enemies close and far away. Switching between the three needs to be mastered if you want to make it out of the game alive.
Unlike its fellow titles in the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is not a traditional RPG. Instead, the real-time combat engine has more in common with fellow Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts. Each character has different strikes and magic attacks mapped to the face buttons of the controller. For instance, Rem can blast enemies with fire and lighting, in addition to her dagger strikes. The use of potions, as well as the ability to dodge, is mapped to the “X” button, which worked surprisingly well, despite both actions using the same button.
Being able to move quickly is critical to survival, as the game’s difficulty is sure to please those looking for a challenge. Often times, my group would be surrounded by upwards of ten enemies at once. After getting mauled several times during the demo, which was helpfully mitigated by the fact that I had unlimited lives, I got the hang of the combat engine. Switching between the three characters was crucial, as was figuring out the perfect time to hit an enemy. At times a red circle will pop up on enemies, which indicates that if you hit them during that exact moment, they will instantly be killed.