Square Enix has been pulling out all the stops lately, announcing sequels and remakes and reboots of beloved franchises, pushing long-delayed projects into the development spotlight, and of course, porting many of their games to the PC platform. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was itself a response to scores of fans’ hankering to play the PSP original in English, and the latest Steam release of that game seems aimed at giving players what they want. While it is something of a flubbed execution, it does represent a pretty substantial improvement over the anemic state Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 were delivered in.
Unlike XIII and its sequel, many of the options PC players would expect out of a quality console porting are here. The issue is, they’re hard to find, buried in layers of menus, or often referred to by a term unfamiliar to those aware of PC gaming standards. My initial impressions of this port were not positive; at first it seemed as though this was a perfunctory rush job. On-screen button prompts wouldn’t shift to controller buttons, performance was bizarrely lacking, only two resolution options, and keyboard/mouse controls were essentially useless, with an archaic mapping that only offered one alternative.
However, after a quick reading of Peter Thoman’s excellent assessment of the port, I was able to rectify several of those issues. In particular, button prompts are unable to be changed on-the-fly while in-game and must be switched in the launcher, and despite resolution being listed separately from anti-aliasing, higher settings in the latter actually do run the game in up to 4k resolutions, which creates some big performance spikes. After some tweaking, the game seemed to be running great and worked well with a controller, making it smoother, prettier, and less motion-blurry than its console counterpart. Keyboard/mouse controls are sadly still lacking, but if you’re willing to and able to play with a controller, this is certainly the way to play the game.
This is a tough port to evaluate. It’s an improvement over the company’s previous releases, and I can certainly recommend it to players who prefer to game on PC. The inclusion of Steam Cloud saving and a number of PC-specific options shows that this clearly wasn’t a slapdash effort, but the obtuse way some of those options are implemented and the weak mouse/keyboard control choices make it a case of “better, but still not perfect.” Whether Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for PC is worth the buy for you depends on whether you’ve played the original on console and if you’re willing to spend some time muddling through the options to get things running smoothly. Still, I can give Square Enix a silver star for improvement on this one.