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March 19, 2015

RE: Final Fantasy Type-0



WELP.

Confession time: I pretty much completely forgot about this game.  Not necessarily that it exists, but everything else related to it -- the release date chief among them.  I knew months ago that it had a slot in March, but I wasn’t exactly marking it on my calendar.  So I guess you could say I stopped caring -- an unfair assessment, but in some ways understandable.  I mean, really, just look at the facts.

Type-0 -- or Agito 13, if you remember the time before some aggressive backpedaling -- was announced back in 2006 for mobile devices.  I don’t think I need to tell you how well that went, but for perspective’s sake?  It saw release in 2011.  On the PSP.  In Japan only.  Anyone living even a foot further west would have to wait until this month in 2015 to play an English version.  Ignoring the nine year gap between announcement and sale, those who bought into the PSP version have…what to say, exactly?

I honestly don’t know.  I’ve heard plenty of conflicting opinions, both in the past and with the recent batch of reviews/opinions.  It’s the best.  No wait, it’s the worst.  It’s good.  No, actually it’s bad.  The gameplay’s great.  The gameplay’s a mess.  It’s a return to form.  It’s Squeenix scrambling for salvation.  Scores aside, it’s hard to know for sure if the game’s actually worthwhile.

And I guess you know what that means, right?


Metaphor.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends.  Now, whether you’ve been reading this blog or not (especially if you’ve been reading this blog, given previous…content), you’re probably saying that it’s not worth it.  Final Fantasy is dead, and nothing can bring it back.  Anyone who buys any game in the franchise at this point is pretty much enabling Squeenix -- and giving them full reign to deliver unto us another game with Lightning.  And in a lot of ways, that’s true. 

That really is the ultimate negative with arts and entertainment, isn’t it?  If you’re the negative sort, you could say (with borderline-irrefutable evidence) that Squeenix only cares up to a certain point.  As soon as Jimmy Gamer buys the latest FF game, it doesn’t matter if he enjoys or even plays the game.  They’ve already got what matters most straight from his pockets.  And sure, Jimmy might not be back for the next game, but Jacky Gamer will gladly pick up the slack.  Arguably, Squeenix’s past failures make an even stronger argument for people to pick up the slack; we’re out of the poisonous swamp that was The Lightning Saga.  Now that it’s safe to breathe again, why not see waiting for us?  With a bonus demo to boot?


I have mixed feelings.  I’ve unloaded metric tons of rage thanks to The Lightning Saga, and while playing through 13 and 13-2 was about as pleasant as swallowing a pizza cutter, I imagine that my written fury managed to entertain as well as inform.  I guess that’s understandable, but you know me, I hope; I would much rather talk about things that I enjoy -- and are good -- than go on a rant about how much something sucks.  That’s why I went all in with a post on Gundam Build Fighters; while I’m thankful that it’s taken a top-ranking spot on the blog, something tells me that a post where I went into rage mode on an easy target would garner some much bigger responses.  And by “something tells me”, I mean “there’s pretty much historical precedents on this blog that say as much”.  It’s an unfortunate reality of the internet, I think; sometimes it seems like people would rather see that rage and that assault on a target (easy or otherwise) than they would celebrate a story that earns top marks.  But I digress.

To be honest?  I hate that I (or anyone else) has every right to assume that any FF that comes out these days is terrible unless proven otherwise.  I hate that about modern-day games in general.  What does it say about the medium when we have to regularly prepare for disappointment and betrayal?  Not good things, I imagine.  So you know what?  Forget it.  Forget the baggage, the low expectations, and the hate.  I’m ready to believe in games that don’t have Nintendo’s logo on the box.  I want to see FF rise up and regain its honor. 

So I guess I want to play this game.  And inevitably, that means I’m going to end up talking about it.


You can consider this a formal declaration, but I’ll say right now that you shouldn’t expect a level of anger that I once put on display.  There is nothing Type-0 can do to be as bad as The Lightning Saga.  Nothing.  It’s a game that deserves a fair shake -- and while that means I won’t hold back on harsh judgments, that also means that it’s not exempt from praise.  I want to find the good in the franchise again, and highlight it for all of you to read.

There’s enough hatred, cynicism, and negativity out there -- on the internet or otherwise -- so that even if one guy doesn’t poo-poo all over the latest (asterisk) video game, people will be all right.  That’s my guess, but more importantly it’s my hope.  So let’s all be willing to get into Type-0 with cool heads and clear hearts.  For good or for ill, I want you guys to take this ride with me.

For our Final Fantasy.


See you guys soon.

Next: The descent begins >>

18 comments:

  1. As much as I enjoy swallowing pizza cutters, I've passed on all three of the Thirteen titles. Final Fantasy is just one of those series that come around every few years, and I say to myself "Self.. maybe this is the one! Maybe this is *the* Final Fantasy game to remind you why you fell in love with the series (totally ignoring the fact that Bravely Default has already done that)."


    So yeah, part of me really wants to check it out, and part of me thinks it'll be a waste of money. One day I know I'll grab it, just like I have all three of those easily avoidable FF13 games on my shelf that have yet to enter my console of choice for more than 2 or 3 hours, tops.


    Can't wait to read your thoughts once you decide to take the plunge head first!

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  2. If it makes you feel any better, I can tell you right now that Type-0 is light-years ahead of 13/13-2 -- but that's been accomplished just by virtue of Type-0 not imploding within the first thirty minutes. I'm still WAY too early in the game to say anything substantial about it, but there is promise. There are things to like. On the other hand, there are some things that are...troublesome. No telling what'll happen in the future, but I'll say this: if some of the problems at the start of the game persist, then Type-0's set to have some MAJOR flaws.


    ...Even so, it lets you play as a guy who punches mechs as early as the second mission. Really, that's all I could ever ask for.


    That all said, now I'm starting to worry about 15. I haven't played the demo, but my brother did, and said -- in his words -- "I'm starting to worry about the future of Final Fantasy." I don't know what, exactly, soured the experience for him, but he said that there were framerate issues at the very least. Hopefully that's just a problem with the demo, because the game's been in the oven for a good ten years. It's time to serve.


    As for the other issues? Well, I'll have to see for myself at some point. I seriously don't want to have to worry about two FF games at once.

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  3. This shit needs to be on Steam. PC gets no love. -.-

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  4. True enough. Then again, I've heard that Japanese devs don't exactly bring about the best PC ports -- and I'd bet that Squeenix is focusing more on making FF15 ready for the PS4. That's not much of an excuse, I know (and it doesn't really explain why they'd hold out on Type-0), but at this stage? They just need to put out something.


    Actually, scratch that. They need to put out something GOOD. And based on the demo of 15? I dunno. It's too early to say, but that game's feeling rouuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. Release day's still somewhere in the future, so there's time to fix things, but there's a lot of proving that needs to be done.

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  5. The reason why the demo is so rough is that it runs on an outdated engine and had a very troubled production because they wanted to get it out with Type-0. He said the actual game will run on an updated engine and (hopefully) gets enough time to be fully optimized :>

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  6. I actually thought XV looked pretty interesting based on the vids and streams I've seen of it. But S-E has royally fooled me before. But, if it's not going to be on a platform I have, I guess it's no biggie, cause I'll never play it, lol

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  7. Well, who knows? Maybe we'll see a miracle yet. If the PS4 can see a port of a friggin' PSP game in Type-0, it's not that much of a stretch to imagine Squeenix taking a PS4 game and putting it on just one more platform.


    There may be a lot of PS4s in rotation right now (dat marketing), but maybe the house of FF can chase after a little more money.

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  8. Ah, I see. Interesting. That puts my mind at ease...is what I want to say, but as it stands, I think my issues with 15 (demo or otherwise) go beyond just performance issues. I don't know. I haven't decided yet. Plus there's still time between this demo and the full release, so maybe things will see some heavy tweaks in the meantime.


    That said, though? I should start checking to see how others are reacting to the demo. Not everyone might know about the troubled production (or have helpful comments to inform them), so I wonder if that's factored into any opinions. It did for my brother at least -- and it seriously doesn't send a good message for a game we've been expecting for practically a decade.

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  9. I ended up caving and picking it up on Xbox One, and it definitely has a nice feel to it. I really, really enjoyed Crisis Core on PSP for whatever reason, so it's been a pretty smooth transition.


    Aside from the faster-than-light-speed camera panning, and the ridiculous amounts of motion blur that come with it, my only issue up to where I'm at now (somewhere in chapter two) is that I'm just not a fan of those Sortie missions. The camera makes combat a little wonky when I'm trying to fumble around the slightly wonky targetting system; even moreso when playing as one of the melee characters. So far so good though.

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  10. Yeah, the game's PSP roots really tend to show -- in the sortie missions (which seem tailor-made for the handheld space) and beyond. I'm not one to care about DEM GRAFFECS, but cripes. You can FEEL the PSP moments bleeding into the experience.

    That said, I've got no problems admitting that I enjoy the game. I can't say much about the story, but the combat's pretty enjoyable for the most part. Adding in multiple, unique playable characters was a good move, because it turns the game from an RPG to a pseudo-fighter, and I want to explore as many characters as I can in-depth. I'm a huge fan of Eight right now, but I blew a huge amount of time just messing around in the arena to see what the other characters could do. That's pretty awesome, if you ask me.

    But yeah, that camera. And the motion blur is aggressive. And Type-0 still borrows lore from FF13, including some key concepts. My reaction was...less than graceful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_-tXjgYPlc

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  11. Graphics are never a major concern with me in an RPG, but here you can definitely tell they ramped up the models for the important characters and NPCs, while others are just the old PSP versions. It breaks the immersion at times when Important Captain With New Model #1 calls in Rando Subordinate who just jumped out of Crisis Core.


    I really do enjoy the bigger roster, since it offers so many unique playing styles. I like the ranged fighters quite a bit, and tend to roll with King as my main, with Queen to handling healing duties (and her high-as-hell attack stat when nothing else is going on) and Cinque, mainly because she pulls wedgies whenever she kills someone with that giant mace of hers. I hate the way Sice and Rem play with a passion.. they're too floaty and just launch themselves all over the place. It kind of makes dodging impossible.


    The roster is big in that Dynasty Warriors way though, as 10 hours in to the game I know little to nothing about any of them.

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  12. I 100% agree with you on Sice and Rem. Trust me, I plan on getting to them one of these days, because it implies that Squeenix still hasn't learned a damn thing when it comes to animating characters -- which is kind of a problem in a game like this. Also, Sice is one of the most cringe-inducing characters I've seen in a while; she's like something pulled straight out of the darkest corners of DeviantArt.


    And yes, I feel the same way about the roster size. I appreciate that we get to mess around with tons of new characters at the get-go and find someone who suits us, but it's a double-edged sword. If it did the usual RPG thing and just introduced a couple of characters at a time, maybe we'd get a better understanding of them, AND get an anchor to the game's world. But nope, we're not getting that with Type-0!


    I'm sincerely hoping that the game pulls through with the characters by story's end, because nothing would make me happier than being able to pal around with Eight. As it stands? My hopes are dwindling.

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  13. I can't bring myself to enjoy either one, so I'll use the Arena exploit to get them to max level in 30 minutes at the end of the game. It just feels so unnatural to lock-on to a target with either one and just flail around them spastically, only to miss 90% of the attacks.


    I'm sincerely hoping we get some in-depth story for everyone, and it won't just be a roll-credits ordeal with nothing answered. I'm on Chapter 3 and so far there's been nothing.

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  14. I've partially been playing the game like Persona, and working under the impression that if I want to flesh out the characters, I'll have to find them in the academy. I've been lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of events, but when your competition is...well, PERSONA, it'll take a lot more at this stage.


    Then again, I'm convinced that Squeenix develops most of its games in a vacuum, so the devs have no idea that the medium has evolved. I'd say "baby steps", but we've just barely gotten over the miserable Lightning Saga, soooooooooooooo...yeah, take that as you will.

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  15. I never thought I'd ever say this, but the Lightning Saga seems to have a bit more depth to its story than ol' Type-0 here. Convoluted or not, at least characters talked to each other and it wasn't just a shitload of names and events that never amount to much.


    I'm hoping the game is backloaded with story, but right now in the middle of chapter 4, nothing seems to be going on at all. Machina is the typical anime hero who is way too overprotective of Rem, but never amounts to more than saying "...Rem." at the end of every conversation. Rem is cryptic and boring. When Nine talks, I want to throw my controller through the TV, etc.


    At least it's fun to play for the most part..

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  16. Nine's a little better for me because his speech reminds me of Beat from The World Ends With You. Granted it doesn't make him...you know, good...but hearing him say "hey" and "yo" all the time takes me back. Before I'm reminded of how friggin' stupid it sounds, especially in a game like Type-0.

    Whatever the case, I'm hoping that there's a decent number of chapters. I'm pretty sure you've eclipsed me by this point, but it's my sincere hope that the game is meaty enough to offer up something story-wise. I really am. That said, I kind of have mixed feelings on that point because I'm digging the combat WAY more than I have any right to. Is it enough to make me overlook the story? Maybe so; if I think of Type-0 as a fighting game instead of an RPG, then it comes out looking a little better. Such is life.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9pePpxU58M

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  17. Since I put a pretty hefty amount of time in to Type-0, I whipped up a starter guide over at What's Your Tag?. I know you're playing around with it too, so if you get a few extra minutes, feel free to hop over and take a look. I'd love to hear about some other starter tips to add if you think I missed anything.

    http://whatsyourtagblog.com/2015/03/25/10-helpful-tips-to-get-you-started-in-final-fantasy-type-0-hd/

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  18. Cool. I'll give it a look.

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