From the Hawk’s Eye: Final Fantasy Type-0

Spoilers: It’s not very good.

The time has come to talk about Final Fantasy Type-0. If you’ve been paying attention to my twitter, YouTube, or a couple of the early posts on this site you’ll know I’ve been slowly working my way through this series as a Let’s Play for a few months now. You’ll also know I haven’t been particularly enjoying it. There comes a point in every gamer’s life where they have to ask themselves, “Do I really want to keep playing this game?” I’ve already asked that to myself about FFT0 at least a dozen times. The answer, every time until this time, has always been a resounding, “I guess?”

I’m very much a completionist. There are very few video games I have ever purchased that I didn’t beat, even if I didn’t enjoy them much, because I wanted to see how the story ends. The problem with Final Fantasy Type-0 is that I am approximately halfway through the game and I still neither understand the stakes nor care about any of the heroes. You should recall from previous posts that I dictated that TV shows and movies have three mediums through which to engage their audience. This is true of video games with stories as well, though you’d swap out “visual story-telling” for “Gameplay and everything that entails.” That aspect is obviously even broader and deeper since it even includes the graphics/visuals and so it’s easier for a game to just rely on that aspect – no one plays Minesweeper for its mesmerizing story or its memorable characters, after all – but still can keep the overall idea relatively simple.

Final Fantasy Type-0 fails in all three categories even more than The Defenders did. Every character in the game is a two-dimensional prop or caricature. Unless they’re just there for exposition. No one seems to be making any decisions much less any rational ones. The story is given no context for its existence, the world is never defined, and therefore it’s impossible to understand the stakes. If I can’t understand the stakes I certainly can’t feel them. The graphics and animations are as terrible as you’d expect from a mobile game converted to a handheld game converted to a PS4 game except that Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded looked way better than this.

The world doesn’t even feel complete. I’ve barely met most of the major players and have no idea what anyone’s intentions are. It starts off with a few fairly unique concepts but doesn’t ever explain them or do anything interesting with them. For example: there are powerful demigods who can do certain things based on the kingdom/crystal/god they’re associated with known as l’Cie. There are apparently Primus l’Cie and Secundus l’Cie who have different kinds of powers. The Primus l’Cie are forces of nature and destruction while the Secundus l’Cie operate through other means to be far stronger than most other mortals but nothing like the scale of the Primus. They’re supposed to be powerful beings but the main cast defeats a Secundus l’Cie in the first hour of the game. There’s no indication, to this point halfway through the game, as to what the powers of a Secundus l’Cie are – the one you defeated may have made a robot stronger but maybe just piloted an already strong robot? Same thing for the Primus l’Cie – the only time we saw two in action there was a flash of light and then a crater. Did one or both of them die? Is that what would happen every time? What would one Primus do if they weren’t contested by another? Who knows and who cares, apparently.

If you’ve watched the videos I think I’ve barely ever stopped complaining about the gameplay for 5 minutes. There are 15 playable characters each with unique mechanics but the game pretty clearly would have benefited from being a bit more specialized. Only a couple of those characters feel natural to play and a lot of even the shared game mechanics are clunky, awkward, and frustrating. One of the key mechanics of the game is the collection of a special energy known as Phantoma from fallen enemies as you lay waste to the battle field. This allows you to harm remaining enemies, replenish your mana, and boost magic spells in between fights. However the control for this mechanic is the same as whatever your basic attack is mapped to. You can only collect the Phantoma if you remain locked on to the fallen enemy after you kill them – there’s supposed to be a mechanic to lock on specifically to the closest fallen enemy but I’ve never managed to make it work – and it slows your character from a run or jog to a walk and prevents them from performing any of their skills or dodges until you either break the lock on or harvest the Phantoma. Also you have to stop pressing your attack button for a second until the game realizes you’re targeting a fallen enemy and performs the switch. It all adds up to be frustrating from every conceivable angle and not remotely fun.

The other problem with having so many characters is that the script was written in order to give each of them occasional lines to remind you that they are there and what their personality quirk is. But because there is so little personal story-telling and dialog in the game that’s literally all you get. There is no advancement of character, no depth to them, and it’s impossible to form a connection to any of them. You see more dialog from the high up leaders of the Dominion of Rubrum – the name of the country the heroes hail from – but they all so clearly have hidden agendas which are neither revealed nor logical in the way they have been portrayed that it’s impossible to understand or care about them, either.

All those things add up to a game that doesn’t really deserve to be completed. Add to this the fact that setting up everything to record, edit, and post these videos requires planning and forethought that exacerbates any frustrations I’m currently feeling with the game and you get a scenario where I am no longer interested in bothering with it. The thing is, I am still a completionist. So I am going to attempt to finish the game. But I’m going to stop screwing around with side missions – I can always use the log-off leveling exploit if I need more experience – and just power through the story, though I’ll do all the conversations I can find because that’s the closest I’m going to get to enjoying this game.

Also because I’m a completionist I hate to just stop posting the videos. So I’m going to attempt to stream the game when I play it, anyone who really wants to see what happens next can follow along on my twitch. I’ll have my mic set up but I probably won’t talk much unless someone else is around to converse with because by this point I think I’ve said just about everything that needs to be said about the game. As far as my YouTube channel goes I’m not going to quit streaming entirely, this time. For starters Episode Ignis has come out and that’s the FFXV DLC I’ve most been looking forward to so you can expect the first episode of my playthrough of that, tomorrow. When I run out of that I have another, much shorter game I intend to do: The Order: 1886. I’ve heard good things about it’s story with the primary complaints being how short it is. Given my troubles with NieR: Automota – a game I ended up loving to death once I stopped trying so hard with it – and FFT0 a shorter game is probably exactly what I need to do, right now. After that I have picked out another longer JRPG adventure, but this time it’s going to be a game I have played before and enjoyed so hopefully it will be a much better experience for all of us involved. I will be playing the HD Remake of Dark Cloud. I don’t want to say too much more about it – I have to have something to talk about while I’m playing, after all – but this was definitely one of my favorite games growing up so I’m very excited to check it out in HD. I will, of course, continue to post Final Fantasy Record Keeper boss fight strategies and examples as I invent them, as well. I may even eventually go back and do some strategies for the Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance bosses I recorded footage for but never edited into videos.

So that’s it for this post. I know this ended up being as much of a post about updated plans as anything else but I needed to get that stuff off my chest in written form and, much like The DefendersFinal Fantasy Type-0 didn’t really earn the right to be finished and reviewed properly. It’s a very bad game and if I was even an iota less the completionist than I am I wouldn’t finish it at all. Honestly, if it doesn’t shape up a little when I start playing through it a faster pace, it still might not get done. Thanks for reading, watching and whatever else you like to do around here. Have a great day and I’ll see you next time!