Getting Up to Speed with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

The first Xbox One Final Fantasy title, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, is nearly here. Role-playing game fans have been waiting a long time for Type-0, which began life as a handheld game back in 2011. It represents something of an appetite-whetter for the epic-looking Final Fantasy XV, a demo of which will be available for a limited time to those who purchase the Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Digital Day One Edition (for more details, check the game’s official page). To get folks up to speed on what to expect from Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, we figured some narrative housekeeping would be in order.

Type-0 begins on a rather somber note. Its dark opening sequence sets the tone for the entire game, which effectively evolves into a brutal war drama. The game’s plot follows in the trail of Final Fantasy VIII: Teenagers are hired out as mercenaries to aid in the war between the world’s four major powers. In the world of Oriense, the four most powerful nations were at peace, with each guarding their own crystal of power. We have the Milites Empire, the Lorican Alliance, the Kingdom of Concordia, and Suzaku Fiefdom of Rubrum, all of which remained at peace under a treaty known as the Pax Codex.

But this peace was broken when Cid Aulstune of Milites uses the power of his empire’s Byakko Crystal, annihilating both Lorica and Concordia in the process. With Byakko’s newly developed weapon (rather oddly named the Crystal Jammer), the Suzaku crystal shattered, leaving the nation vulnerable to attack and forcing them to surrender. Still possessing the magical powers the crystals gave them, however, the students of Class Zero refused to surrender – which is where you come in.

As mentioned, the character of Cid returns in this installment of the Final Fantasy saga, and for the first time in the series represents the main villain (in past installments, the character of Cid has tended to be pretty benevolent). His motivations are pretty straightforward: He wants to obtain the four crystals of Oriense, and take over the world… you know, typical supervillain stuff. And yet, despite his megalomaniacal intentions, expect to actually feel something for the old guy. There’s more than just stock villainy at work here, and we can certainly expect a few of the series’ trademark plot twists.

Though Type-0 HD features an absolutely immense cast of characters, the dynamics between such protagonists as Machina, Ace, and the rest of Class Zero are handled very well, with specific character motivations coming through loud and clear. While it perhaps lacks the over-the-top production values and theatrics of some of the main-numbered Final Fantasy games, Type-0 HD spins itself quite an enjoyable yarn, and should make plenty of RPG fans happy now that it’s available for Xbox One.