Well, the PS4 is getting into a good swing of things now, with plenty of releases and multiplats heading its way. So how exactly does an HD upscale of a 4 year old PSP game stack up against the hottest new games of the season? The answer is probably better than you might have imagined.
Firstly, I’m sure a sizeable portion of the population bought this game primarily because the Day One Edition comes with the first playable demo for Final Fantasy XV. It’s a great demo, and succeeds in making me very excited about that release in the future, but I think I owe it to Type-Zero to give it its own space to shine, because it is quite a fun little game, despite showing its age a little by now.
Type-Zero is set in a world called Orience, which has some mythological links to the world of Final Fantasy XIII. It’s not particularly necessary to have played that title, because you’re still going to be plenty confused about what’s going on at the endgame even if you have. The world is divided between 4 major nations, each worshipping its own Crystal. These are based on the heavenly points in Japanese mythology, and are represented by the Black Turtle, the Vermillion Bird, the White Tiger, and the Azure Dragon. As the game begins, your characters are military cadets in the magic-based society of Rubrum, which worships the Vermillion Bird Crystal. You take command of Class Zero, a group of 14 teenagers, each with their own fighting style and weaponry, as you attempt to fend off an invasion by the White Tiger army of Milites.
The whole feel of the game is very anime-esque, in not particularly a bad way. 12 members of Class Zero are named after numbers in cards, from Ace at the beginning, all the way up to Jack, Queen and King, for instance. The final two are new additions to the team, and come with their own more fleshed out viewpoints. Each character can more or less be summed up by a stereotype (e.g. the smart one, the ditzy one, the caring one. etc) but these stereotypes aren’t necessarily bad, and every character gets a chance to shine and interact with the others in a humorous or important way, and you will end up having your favourites.
On the field, you will have a party of up to three characters, which can be switched between on the fly. If one falls, you can fill that slot with one of the 11 others left, and you only game over if you run out of all characters. Despite some tricky moments, Type Zero is overall not a particularly hard game, but requires a large level of micromanaging and control over all your 14 characters if you want to be effective. Battles work on a level similar to Kingdom Hearts style games, with active fluid conflict based off of basic combos and a couple of special or magic moves. I liked that every character felt different, and I enjoyed mixing up team combos to see what works best. The age of the title shows a bit however, as most areas are basically corridors linked in various ways.
Outside of battles and main missions, side missions of various kinds can be done for the other inhabitants of your military capital, as well as the towns you liberate, so there’s an enormous amount of things to do, requiring multiple playthroughs, even if not all the missions are very interesting. One of the major deviations from basic gameplay are the town capture missions, where you control a pseudo-RTS style map for one area, and must move armies around to capture certain points. These were quite enjoyable and made a nice break from normal fights.
Towards the last third of the game, what had been a quite straightforward story up until then at that point became nearly incomprehensible, and then seemed to abruptly end. I was quite confused until I was told online that I needed to play through the game again on that savefile and I would be given an expanded story to work with that filled in the gaps. The new game plus system in this title works well, and rarely feels like busywork, but I did find it very confusing and did not work out for myself how this was meant to function. The game loves to be obtuse about many minor issues that might be frustrating for some players.
Type-Zero definitely does show its age technically, but still looks and plays a lot better than I would have thought. Battles are usually very frantic and fun, and the characters all play quite pleasingly in different ways. Theres a lot of micromanagement and busywork, so if you like that in your RPGs, feel free, but if not, you probably won’t like Type Zero. For what it’s worth, I got a solid 20 hours out of it, which is pretty good. Plus there’s that demo I mentioned for FFXV that’s worth another 3-5 hours gameplay just sweetening the deal. Make sure you pick up a brand new day one copy if you want to download that though.