Didn't see a thread on this, so I thought I'd throw up some initial impressions after 5 hours. I'm quite surprised at how thoroughly I've enjoyed FFT0 so far. In fact, it's engaged me to the point where I haven't even fired up the FF XV demo that I was so excited for. It's not a perfect game by any means, but it has a lot going for it.The good
- The combat system is an absolute blast, one of the best in a FF game in a long time. It's both frantic and strategic, and is a ton of fun to play. You control one of 3 deployed characters, with the other two party members operating independently (which they seem to do pretty intelligently). You can switch between party members at any time, and should one fall, you can dip into the reserve pool of 14 playable characters and simply pull in another.
- The 14 playable characters all play completely differently. Some are quick melee fighters with fast swords, others wield massive weapons that are slow but do huge damage. Some are ranged fighters with bows or guns. Some are dedicated magic users. Etc., etc. Figuring out which characters are best for which situations/monsters is part of the fun, and being able to jump back and forth between them keeps things very fresh. I spent probably 3 hours just loading out different characters and parties to see how they worked together and what they could do. It was a blast.
- The music is fantastic and the overall style is very reminiscent of FF7: Crisis Core. Considering this is a port of a 5-year-old PSP game, I'd say they did a pretty admirable job with the graphics. Those expecting a full current-gen experience will be disappointed, but it looks quite good for what it is.
- Between the main missions, you can interact with classmates at Akademia (the academy where "Class Zero" is housed). These interactions open up unique dialog trees, provide items or XP bonuses and serve to flesh out the story. There is a set amount of time between missions and each interaction takes up 2 hours, so you have to pick and choose who to talk to or what to do. It's an interesting system that gives the game a Persona-ish feeling of managing social interactions. You can also take on side quests, fight in an arena, and even breed Chocobos to ride around the world map. There's lots to do, and the game intends on being played more than once in order to unlock everything.The bad
- The voice work. My God...the voice work. Some of the absolute worst I've ever heard in any game. Ever. Ridiculously bad.
- The story is alternately baffling and uninteresting. There's a whole setup about a multi-nation war, crystals, l'Cie, blah, blah, blah. I find that I don't care at all, which is unfortunate. The aforementioned voice work doesn't help much in keeping me engaged in the story.
- The game throws you into the deep end with very little explanation and expects you to figure it all out on your own. Getting to Akademia the first time can be completely overwhelming with so many things to do and so little explanation for any of it. Thankfully, most of it is pretty intuitive once you spend some time with it, but there are still a bunch of things that I can't figure out at all. I.E. Why are some characters highlighted in yellow during the mission selection screen? Why wouldn't I load out my entire squad of 14 for every mission...is there a benefit to leaving some members behind?
- With so many playable characters, upgrading can become quite a daunting prospect. You receive AP for certain events, which allow you to improve each character's skills. However, the AP pool seems very small and is shared between all 14 of them. I'm afraid that spending 4 of my 15 AP on an ability for one character is going to completely gimp someone else 20 hours from now.
- There doesn't seem to be any way to tell how difficult the side missions are. The first one I picked up had me go into a cave and grab a pelt off of some Coerl's. Thought it'd be easy, until I arrived and found out that the Coerls were all double my level and could one-shot most of my team members. Since the side missions are tied to the continually counting down clock, I feel like I completely wasted 6 hours because I didn't know how difficult it would be.
- The RTS segments on the world map aren't terribly interesting, but I'm not a fan of RTS in general. YMMV.
So far, the positives are far outweighing the negatives. I wish the story was more interesting and the VO work wasn't so cringe-worthy, but the combat is so much fun that it makes up for it. FFT0 won't knock anyone's socks off, but it's certainly a fun game that is worth checking out if you're a fan of the series.
EDIT: This tip sheet from Kotaku
is worth a quick read before you start playing