In the land of Orience, there exists four nations each holding a crystal that empowers them but also steals the memories of those who have died. The game begins with a ruthless attack from the western nation of Militesi on the nation of Rubrum, laying siege to Rubrum’s capital and neutralizing their signature magic with a magitek anti-magic field. However, a class of students from Rubrum’s premier academy brandishing red capes emerge to fight back and able to use magic even within the nullification barrier. They are Class Zero, a special group raised from a young age to be Agito – a messiah said to rise from the ranks of mankind. Rubrum, realizing Militesi seeks to wage all out war, plans to utilize Class Zero to bring a decisive victory to their lands.
From there the story follows the military campaign of Class Zero. From the destruction of the Lorican Alliance in the north using an Ultima Bomb so Militese can seize their crystal, to the treaties, betrayals and assassinations between Rubrum, Militesi and the eastern kingdom of Concordia. Class Zero witnesses first hand the repeated clashes between the Crystals’ chosen warriors – the l’Cie – who gain superhuman capabilities to battle for supremacy. Finally, one by one the defenses and cities fall as Rubrum pushes back to conquer both Concordia and Militese and unite all four crystals under a single nation. Then with a booming voice that echoes across the land comes “WE HAVE ARRIVED.” as nine and nine meets nine and Tempus Finis – the end times – begin.
Faced with the apocalypse at hand, Class Zero faces trial after trial established by the gods to test the Agito until they face off with the Arbiter himself and slay the god-like monster by ripping his soul apart bit by bit. They return home only to face death for the first time in their young lives. Their sacrifice is not in vain however, triggering events unbeknownst to them that break a endless cycle of death and rebirth that has cursed the land of Orience for millions of years.
Type-0 is probably one of the stranger entries in the Final Fantasy series. At least until XV comes out, it’s probably the most ‘action orientated’ of any of the games. It spends its time split between Dynasty Warriors style combat areas, simplistic RTS-ish missions, and running around the school engaging in side quests. It’s also the only Final Fantasy I know of that REQUIRES you to complete it more than once for the whole experience. The main story is only completed on a second playthrough that shows you several alternate missions that explain other things that were going on during the events of the first playthrough. It also has more side missions that can be completed in a single playthrough simply because of the limited ‘time til mission’ system that gives you a stock of hours to spend on side missions, interactions, and wandering outside the school.
That said, the whole game really takes some getting used to if you are a Final Fantasy die hard. The combat is fast and merciless, the magic system is a nigh incomprehensible number balancing minigame, and the relative lack of guidance when it comes to side missions leaves a lot of trial and error. For instance, certain side missions will only be available after so many hours have passed and only for certain characters. Since you have 14 characters available to you at nearly all the time, you can imagine that without some manner of guide you can get lost easily.
The story is really cool and also really hard to figure out. Part of this is apparently do to development issues. The story goes is that they got about 90% of the story and gameplay finished before someone reminded them that this game was supposed to be tied into the Fabula Nova Crstyalis mythology – something they forgot entirely. So it’s inclusion was kind of shoved in there. Because of that, a lot of the ending is really confusing with reading all the extra materials, a second playthrough and even then you may need some wiki-ing to get the whole picture. Of course, yours truly also did a write up that explains the ending *coughplugcough*. But once I understood it, the whole concept seemed REALLY cool. An endless time loop brought upon by two god-like figures attempting to break into the world of the dead? One of which is trying to breed a superwarrior that can penetrate the gate, the other trying to break it by flooding it with souls all at once. It’s kind of a cool idea that I just wish came across cleaner than reaching the final chapter of the game and then OMGWTFENDTIMEZ.
It should be noted that this game also marks the first time Final Fantasy ventured into a ‘M’ Rating from the ESRB and oh it earns that. The very first thing we see is a high school student die in a bloody heap along with his dying and bloody chocobo on the way to deliver a message to Ace of Class Zero. From there on, you will see a honest and bloody depiction of the war that these child soldiers are being put through. I mean, it’s not Mortal Kombat levels of blood and gore, but it doesn’t shy away from the utter brutality of war either. People die. A lot of people die. Important characters die. Nameless soldiers die. Heck, just summoning an eidolan requires three or more people to die. And because of that, I won’t lie, this game can get REALLY depressing at times. Especially since when someone dies that everyone loses their memory of that person. The best that anyone can hope for is that their ID is recovered so that there’s a record of the person who died’s name. A cruel kindness bestowed by the Crystals to hide the fact of the time loop.
Still, I feel that Type-0 deserves a better shake than it got. I mean, it was a PSP game that not saw international release, and the PS4/Xbox One version was pretty much sold entirely under the guise of getting access to the Episode Duscae demo of Final Fantasy XV. I know this because if you look at the percentage of players who got the completed the intro trophy of Type-0 and the percentage for literally any other trophy, it drops immensely. People bought it, played the prologue, dropped it. I kinda get it, it’s a very different Final Fantasy. But I think it merits more love than it got.
Next time, we near the end of Final Fantasy Month here at the Land of Odd as we look at the most recent addition to the Final Fantasy legacy. Till then, May the light of the Crystals guide your way!
Do you have any great memories from these classic Final Fantasy games? Feel free to share in the comments!