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How Is Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Different from the Original, Exactly?

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Square Enix are making a big deal out of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One remaster of Final Fantasy Type-0. There’s been a fairly consistent stream of news about the title throughout the year, as a look at our archives will show. The game is even being propped up with Final Fantasy XV‘s Episode Duscae and a special model of the PS4 based on the title.

They definitely want us on the hype train for this one. But should we be hyped?

Rendering differences

Director Hajime Tabata has made a point of boasting about the game’s graphics. Indeed, people regularly comment that it’s difficult to believe that it originally hails from the PSP.

Compare the two new images from the HD remaster below, one a screenshot of a cutscene, and the other of gameplay.

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You’ll notice that there’s a pretty big difference between cutscenes and gameplay.

The game’s increased resolution is obvious. However, due to the project’s minimal budget, the development team have focused their efforts on improving a few key aspects of the game otherwise. Evidently, the ambit of the remaster extends mostly to the models and textures of the cutscenes. Improving the gameplay’s graphical fidelity would have required a much bigger investment.

Too, there are reports that the game’s animations are more stiff and unnatural than one would expect, a relic of its PSP origins.

That said, there are three significant improvements that have been propagated throughout the game. The first is a broader color palette, which was introduced in order to bring it more in line with the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. The second is a new and improved lighting system, courtesy of DirectX 11. The last is the changes that have been made to the camera.

Camera improvements

The camera in Type-0 HD was initially criticised as unresponsive and claustrophobic, and would collide with the scenery. Those criticisms have been addressed now, as we can see from the below video demonstration put together by Tabata.

The camera has been pulled out farther, which lets players see more of their surroundings, and the issues with environmental geometry have been resolved.

Altered sound

Due to the higher aural fidelity possible with television, the game’s sound effects have been tweaked, too. More bass has been included in the game’s sounds than the PSP handheld could handle.

In addition to that, the original composer for the game, Takeharu Ishimoto, has returned to remaster his work. The original Type-0 soundtrack was recorded and mixed with the help of Sydney Opera House staff. Ishimoto has done the bulk of the remastering for the score on his own, this time around; hopefully this will give it a more intimate feel.

The new version of the soundtrack also includes a new track by Ishimoto, and an English version of “Colorful Falling in Love”, which he says sounds more “grown-up” than the original, “girlish” one, thanks to the translation by SAWA, the Japanese techno-pop singer who is known for her work on The World Ends With You.

Other changes

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD has no multiplayer, and its associated elements have either been removed or incorporated into the single-player experience. The game will be coming with four difficulty settings, including a new “Super Hard”, whereas the original had three.

Type-0 HD isn’t a true remastering but it is quite an improvement on the original, aesthetically, and this new, localized version will also let Westerners experience the game with either English or Japanese voice-overs. (It will have French and Spanish subtitles.)

Adjust your expectations, and you probably won’t be disappointed.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is due to launch in North America on March 17, 2015; in Japan and Australia on March 19th; and in Europe on March 20th.

[Editor’s note: the article was edited to clarify that the game comes with dual audio.]

Dimi Gronnings

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With over ten years' experience as an editor, Dimi is Niche Gamer's Managing Editor. He has indefinitely put a legal career on hold in favor of a life of video games: priorities.