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Author Topic: [PS4/XB1] Final Fantasy Type 0  (Read 424 times)
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Gratch
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« on: March 19, 2015, 01:08:27 PM »

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
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 01:15:03 PM by Gratch » Logged

Autistic Angel
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 06:31:26 PM »

Reactions to this game have been pretty polarized: Phil Kollar gave it a warm 8 / 10, while Matt Miller hit it with a 6 / 10.  You could kick Miller in the shin and get a 4 / 10 if your cleats had a deep enough backstory, so that second one stings.

How do you think Type 0 would fare for someone who really liked Final Fantasy XII, but hasn't played X, X-2, or the XIII trilogy?

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Gratch
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 08:28:50 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on March 19, 2015, 06:31:26 PM

How do you think Type 0 would fare for someone who really liked Final Fantasy XII, but hasn't played X, X-2, or the XIII trilogy?

Tough to say, as it really has nothing in common with any previous FF game.  It's pretty much the polar opposite of FF XII, with a very active and involved combat system instead of a "set it and manage" type of system (a la the gambit system).

I'd say it would depend on what you're looking for.  If you want a deep, engaging story with compelling characters, this is not the game you want.  In fact, this is the first FF where I've actually started skipping cutscenes entirely because the story just simply isn't interesting in the least.  However, if you're more in the mood for a more action-oriented RPG with a ton of customization and flexibility in how you approach battles and character development, I'd highly recommend it.  The combat is really, really fun.

I'm actually a little surprised it has resonated with me as much as it has, since story is typically more important than gameplay for me.  For whatever reason, it just seemed to click yesterday.  A few more hours will tell if it has legs or not.
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 04:12:55 AM »

Immediately switched from English to Japanese voice. %100 better for it
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 10:24:00 AM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 19, 2015, 01:08:27 PM

-  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.


In this video tour of the game systems, Phil Kollar shows off several of the playable characters and talks about how their different weapon styles makes them each distinct.  Do you have a favorite character so far, or are there any that you feel play really poorly?

It also looks like the summons are directly playable now, but you need to sacrifice one of your characters to get them.  Are the sacrificed characters gone for the remainder of the mission, or can you revive them after that specific combat encounter is over?

-Autistic Angel
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Gratch
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 01:26:36 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on March 20, 2015, 10:24:00 AM

In this video tour of the game systems, Phil Kollar shows off several of the playable characters and talks about how their different weapon styles makes them each distinct.  Do you have a favorite character so far, or are there any that you feel play really poorly?

I don't know any of their names, but I find that I tend to gravitate towards controlling the quick melee characters over the slow melee or ranged types.  It feels like characters with short blades are much easier to control and get in those critical "insta-kill" hits.  The only one I haven't been able to figure out is the girl who uses the flute.  Seems like she's exclusively a support type, but I can't quite get a handle on how she's supposed to play.

Quote
It also looks like the summons are directly playable now, but you need to sacrifice one of your characters to get them.  Are the sacrificed characters gone for the remainder of the mission, or can you revive them after that specific combat encounter is over?

I've only done one summon so far, and that was as a part of the first tutorial mission.  Not sure on those mechanics yet...will have to get back to you.

EDIT:  Just watched the linked video.  If you sacrifice a character, they'll be gone for the remainder of the mission.  Any downed or sacrificed characters will be immediately revived and healed once you transport back to Akademia (the home base).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 01:40:21 PM by Gratch » Logged

Dante Rising
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 10:52:40 PM »

Screw you, Gratch! I did my best on those voice overs! Do you think it's EASY for me to sound female? My crotch STILL hurts!



Ungrateful SoB......
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Gratch
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2015, 08:06:21 PM »

I need to make a minor correction from my initial post...one that actually makes a huge difference.  I had said:

Quote
-  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.

I was mistaken here, the AP pool is not shared between characters and each character has their own.  That (obviously) makes a rather significant difference.  Instead of thinking I had 24 upgrade points to share between 14 playable characters, I actually have 24 upgrade points to spend per character.  I hadn't done much upgrading because I thought I had to be extremely careful with the shared pool.  Once I figured out that each character had their own, I upgraded a ton of skills and abilities, and the game suddenly became so much easier.  I was wondering why missions were feeling so difficult!   icon_redface

I am a bit surprised that there's not even a rudimentary way to adjust the AI of the party members you aren't directly controlling.  Even simple commands such as "Conserve MP", "Full Out Attack", or "Focus on Healing" would be very helpful on some of the long, drawn-out missions.  Square has done this in many games before...seems like a big oversight here.

I'm about 10 hours in now, and am enjoying the game more and more the further I get.  The story has actually become somewhat interesting.  I find that I really look forward to the character interactions and side tasks between missions.  The missions are quite well done and most of them shift between multiple objectives as you progress.  Type 0 still gets a big  thumbsup from me so far.
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 03:56:26 AM »

Pro tip:  Whenever you're done playing FF Type 0 for the day, try and make sure to return to Akademia before logging out.  When you do, go to the training arena (to the left of the fountain in the main entrance) and talk to the guy on the right.  He allows the active leader to do a "secret training".  This immediately saves and exits your game, but gives that particular character extra XP and AP while you're not playing.  The amount of XP/AP increases the longer you're away, up to a max of 24 hours.   If you set up a secret training before logging out and are gone for a full day, that one character can often gain multiple levels while you're away from the game.  It's a great way (especially in the early going) to gain levels for some of the characters that might fall behind between missions, as it's pretty tough to keep an entire squad of 14 characters all at the same level.

Just FYI, there's also a way to exploit it for basically infinite XP (in spoilers):

Spoiler for Hiden:
1.  Set up the secret training and save the game
2.  Press the PS button and go to the Date & Time settings.
3.  Manually advance the date forward one day
4.  Load the save and the game thinks you have been away for 24 hours and gives your character the max XP/AP bonus.
5.  Rinse/repeat...it can be done an infinite number of times.  There's a save point right next to the trainer guy, which allows you to switch lead characters in about 10 seconds.

If you ever get bored of grinding and just want some instant levels, this exploit can be used.  Folks over on the gamefaqs.com board said it takes about 3 hours of doing this to take the entire party of 14 characters from level 1 to 99 (max).
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2015, 05:13:35 AM »

My girlfriend got this as a gift for me today. I absolutely loved the opening sequence, as it is much darker than anything seen in recent Japanese RPGs. But as soon as control was turned over to me, I quickly hated the game. Unfortunately, since this was a PSP game, almost every single room you enter has a brief loading screen. Every town also. The entire game is highly compartmentalized and to walk from one area to another that is in very close proximity can involve three or four transition screens.

After about an hour I was ready to trade the game in, despite the rather clever combat mechanics. I went out to dinner with my girlfriend, and decided to give the game one last chance as I settled in for the evening. And suddenly two hours had passed. Although hampered by its PSP roots, there is a surprising amount of depth to the game. Raising chocobos, upgrading magic, upgrading skills, very lite RTS army battles, etc. Plus, the combat can be surprisingly difficult if you wander into the wrong place at the wrong time. I also met an adventurer who rattled off about 15 different locations that seem to be side quest dungeons filled with all manner of high-leveled horrors.

The game limps along technologically, but it is much more adult, and possibly addictive, than the recent Final Fantasy offerings. We'll see how it holds up.
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Gratch
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2015, 11:58:38 AM »

I hit the 24 hour mark last night, with a full party around level 50.  This game has started to get pretty damn hard, and goes from being able to succeed through button mashing to "you better know how to accurately control at least half a dozen characters" very quickly.  The story has actually gotten significantly better (honestly, it couldn't have gotten much worse), and I'm actually very interested to see where it ends up.  The tasks and challenges it sends you on are unique and varied, and require you to be on your toes switching from magic to support to melee to ranged party members at the drop of a hat.  I did my first two Expert missions last night.  One successful, one...not so much. 

My only big gripes are:

1.  Each character ends up unlocking SO many skills and spells that it can be a bit overwhelming.  Especially since you can only equip two at any given time, and some of my characters literally have over 15 to choose from.   I doubt I've even bothered to use half to 2/3 of the skills I've unlocked.  Many of them are very poorly explained as well.
2.  Given the huge number of skills, I haven't seen much need for spells.  Seems to me that most (if not all) of the skills have some sort of elemental magic component to them, so just using a single spell by itself feels like a waste.
3.  Missions can be poorly explained.  I was working through one last night helping refugees escape a sacked town.  I was following all the instructions and taking orders from the CO, when he suddenly said "Looks like we've been overwhelmed, issue the order for full retreat." and the mission just...ended.  There was no indication of any sort of timer or other metric that showed I was falling behind, the thing just stopped.  That was annoying.
4.  The camera is a nightmare in tight corridors.  Bring your own Dramamine.

Overall, I'm still quite enjoying it and would probably put it in the 75/100 range.  I would have loved to see this as a new game rather than a PSP port (although the porting job they did was admirable), but there's still lots of fun to be had if you can get past it's many quirks.
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Gratch
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2015, 03:20:58 AM »

Wrapped up Type 0 tonight, took about 30 hours all told.

I have to admit that I'm rather conflicted on how I feel about the game.  The last three hours were one giant, massive, flaming ball of WTF surrounded by a thick layer of "huh?" and topped with an oversized "...the hell?".  Honestly, the only reason I kept playing was to see just how utterly ridiculous it could all get.  We're all used to Final Fantasy going a bit off the rails on occasion, but Type 0 takes it to a whole new level.  We're talking bizzaro to the absolute max, frustrating as hell, and entirely nonsensical.

Then it all finishes off with maybe the biggest gut punch of an ending in the entire history of Final Fantasy.  Without spoiling anything, I'll say it's emotional, brutal, and damn near had me in tears.  So while I was ready to roll my eyes and write the whole thing off, that hard-hitting ending kinda redeems everything.  It's been about 2 hours since the final credits rolled, and I still can't get one of the final scenes out of my head.

Overall, I'd probably give it a B- grade.  It's got it's thrilling moments and the combat and character development is a blast, but it can also be overly grindy, frustrating, and just...weird.  Don't think I can give it a full recommendation at $60, but it's absolutely worth a look when it hits the bargain bin in a few months.
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