Final Fantasy Type-0 - Underrated, yet one of the saddest JRPG Stories

Final Fantasy Type-0. Why is it that I've never really talked about this game on the blog? Why haven't I REVIEWED the game either? What is wrong with me!? I'll be blunt. This game is easily one of my favorites. It has it's issues, but ultimately I really, REALLY, loved this game. Heck, I even went out and bought the collector's edition guide book! So why is it I'm just now bringing it up? I... Really don't know... But I'd like to correct that! I'm not going to do a review of it today, but instead I wanted to talk about the game's story. Something that makes it unique, and really stand out among other JRPGs.

So, that being said. Spoiler warning now, as I plan on getting into nearly everything from this point onward. I'll keep some details limited (as not to ruin the whole experience), but I did want to get into the main points. Reasons I loved the story, and feel others should check it out for themselves as well.

Type-0's world and the way it works is the key part to what makes this game so unique. This is a world where crystals are the source of power, but said crystals also control the world. Passing their power onto special individuals, they can turn said person into what is known as a L'cie. L'cie's are given a purpose in life they must fulfill, but in exchange they are also given great power to do so. (Yes, similar to what we saw in Final Fantasy XIII -- which has to do with this game's history, but we're putting that aside for now.) On the flip side, crystals also control the memories of the world, and those who die and return to said crystals are completely forgotten. THIS is what sets things apart from other stories.

When someone dies, everything about them dies with them. No one will have memories that they even existed, and people cannot completely comprehend what it means to lose someone because of this. Right from the get go a main character loses his good friend (in a very bloody scene, especially for Final Fantasy), and said character's brother has to be told that he once had a brother. Neither friend nor brother can really understand what was taken from them, but that empty feeling is constantly there reminding them that something has been taken. It's something they know they should remember, but cannot because of the rules of the world.

Now, despite having the memories of them erased, the information they passed on during life will remain. Stories they've shared, things they've taught people, etc, none of that knowledge is taken away. The person forgets who/what told them about such things, but that part of the person is never lost. While this may seem like a story mechanic, it's also a gameplay one as well.

The game itself is set in a military academy, and follows an entire class as the main characters. Each day you get to walk around the school, talk to your students, read books in the library, and go to classes to increase your skills. When it comes to talking to students -- every single NPC in the world has changing dialogue based on the chapter you're in. It was one of the limitations of the PSP that caused this design choice, but a lot of the world events are described or taught to you through said NPCs. Often events are only talked about and not shown, and usually these NPCs aren't people you'll personally remember. So when they get killed between missions, you find yourself in the same boat. You don't remember who told you such things, but you remember it being said. This becomes the standard gameplay loop, but it doesn't take long before things get complicated.

Spoilers Begin Here


While the game is a war story -- it lures you into a false sense of security with your daily life. Wake up, talk to your classmates, go to class, do some side stuff, go on missions, repeat. You get used to this, and it's what you expect going from chapter to chapter. But then one day you're sent out on a mission, and things go just a little... Um... Insane.

Girl gets shot in the head, and you quickly realize your class has been abandoned in enemy territory. What used to be the story of daily school life, is now one of survival as the main party tries to make their way back to their homeland all on their own. The story quickly escalates from there on out, and it becomes nothing but tragedy after tragedy! 

At one point the teacher all the main characters look up to, has no choice but to go on a suicide mission with no hope of survival. It is decided that a summon is to be used, and that requires giving up your own said life to do it. Dealing with this loss puts the main characters in a strange situation, because, once again, they no longer remember him. All their affection and respect is simply stripped away, and we as players are forced to watch the party simply forget all about a character we have grown attached to as well. Especially if you've ever had anyone in your life with real life diseases such as alzheimer's, then seeing something like this in a game might hit you right where it counts.

Moving on (because that's all you can do), things only get worse. The story continues to get crazier, and the end of the world is just right around the corner. Once friends are now enemies, and the main cast quickly finds themselves on their own once again. After returning to the school they find nearly every single person they have ever met dead, with bodies thrown everywhere. It's at this point that they set out to take on the big bad, and finally put an end to the war.

The Ending:

The ending of Type-0 is easily one of the biggest sucker punches in the entire game. After losing nearly everyone, the group sets out on their own suicide mission. They hold on to what little hope they still have left, and tackle the end of the world (which has been foreseen and passed down in legends). During the fights, it takes everything to get through it. While previous parts of the game can be completed using 3 of the characters -- the final fights take the entire class. It puts you through the wringer, and the final boss is no joke. The party flat out decides to give up their lives if it comes down to it, and the point of no return is just that... There's no going back... Or is there?

The final scene was completely unexpected.

After the battle, the class manages to make it back to the (now rebuilt as it was destroyed) school, and they are back to their same old routine. Everything somehow managed to work out, and our heroes are ready to face their new future. Despite all the odds -- they did it. Everything is as it should be. But then... Their teacher walks in.

Waking up back to reality, one of the main characters (Ace) comes to realize it was all just a dream. He and his friends are back in the school, but it's no different than how they left it. The school is in ruins, and he and all his friends can only lay around as they cry in pain. It's the end of the line, and taking out the big bad didn't change their situation.

The final scene has our young heroes coming to grips with what has happened, and sees them focusing on the future. Their "what's next." Despite how grim things look, they do what they can to plan out what needs to be done. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and they're young... The war left them without anything, so now they have to create something from nothing to move on. The credits roll at the end of this scene, and (thankfully) it's subtitled so we English speakers can understand the lyrics. The song is PERFECT for the ending theme. It's basically a song of hope, and I'm not going to lie -- it gave me chills the first time I heard it thinking about the context. It's simply amazing. Such a great ending to such a grim game -- except, it's not the end.

The true final scene sees two people walking into the classroom, and finding the harsh reality. The class didn't make it. They have no "next." With their dying breaths, they gather their scarfs from their uniforms, recreate their class flag, and die holding hands beneath it. This group of friends gave up everything to save their country, and thanks to the rules of the world... No one will ever know. They die alone, yet together, and pave the way for a new future. That's the ending of Type-0. 

Of course, I left out a lot of details in this. I didn't want to fully spoil the game, and just wanted to talk about some of the key moments. It's really a story you should experience for yourself, and easily one of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post