‘Final Fantasy’ like that song you love

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 29, 2015

There’s a warm feeling you get whenever you hear a certain song, or read a passage from a book you love. It’s a comforting feeling, like how the smell of homemade cookies reminds you of the times you “helped” your parents or grandparents make treats in the kitchen.

That nostalgic feeling is what many gamers found about a week and a half ago when “Final Fantasy Type-0” was finally released in North America, several years after it came out in Japan.

It’s funny to hear the reactions from people who are playing this latest iteration of “Final Fantasy.” “Final Fantasy Type-0” is a pretty good game. It’s got some compelling combat, a ridiculously over-the-top plot with a bit of a darker twist than normal “Final Fantasy” games, and just enough of that “Final Fantasy” magic combined with an intriguing subquest side-game to offer a lot of action for such a little game.

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Of course, I’m going to tell you to play this game, in part because I’m a fan of the series and I enjoyed this call-back. It’s fun. It’s not quite a full “Final Fantasy” game, but it’s still a good RPG to pore through this spring, especially since there’s a lot of replay value for those seeking to get even better equipment, summons and understanding of the plot.

Yet the magic of a game like this is its nostalgic draw. There’s a certain intangible quality to a game like “Final Fantasy Type-0,” which by necessity looks nothing like the kind of “Final Fantasy” games I remember playing as a kid.

You’ve got spells, and summons (called Eidolons in this game, a call back to “Final Fantasy IX”) and the classic weapons and enemies people come to expect from a Square Enix game.

But the combat is wildly different, far more action-oriented than the turn-based “Final Fantasy VI” I played when I was 5 years old. The cutscenes are far more intense, far more breathtaking than the scenes I remember watching from “Final Fantasy VII.”

“Final Fantasy Type-0” is a good game not only on its own merits, but because it manages to draw from the series’ vaunted nostalgia so well compared to recent “Final Fantasy” titles, and RPGs at large. It’s that combination of bold gameplay decisions within the “Final Fantasy” universe that has produced amazing titles like “Final Fantasy Tactics” and “Vagrant Story,” two other games with a darker story which exceeded expectations.

When Square Enix finds a way to balance good gameplay with its wealth of history, the developer and publisher makes great games. There’s no better recent example of this than “Final Fantasy Type-0.”