"There's an instant re-raise in this demo when you die, but that won't be in the regular game."

The nice representative running the Final Fantasy Type-0 HD demo hands me the controller and headphones while sharing this tidbit of information with me. Puzzled, I glance at the screen before pressing start then ask her, "Okay, but will I even see it?"


I start my demo and a three-person team appears on the screen. One fights with a whip, another with dual daggers, and a third with some kind of magic deck of cards. I can choose between the three at will, which is cool, so I settle on daggers and set forth toward a giant castle under attack. Enemies immediately come out to greet us and the battle is on. I'm fighting wolves, soldiers, and other enemies and holding my own, but before I know it I've fallen in battle. The demo-exclusive re-raise kicks in, I reappear right where I died, and I can continue.

Square Enix

Attacking is reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts with one button primarily doing all of the attacking and another unleashing a special attack. That makes for a lot of monotonous hack-and-slash action, but the enemy's ability to get under an attack and hit me was uncanny... and downright frustrating. Even after landing a successful three-hit combo for 57 damage, the enemy unleashes a flurry of attacks and lands a six-hit combo on me for 80 damage. No stun time after my combo, no time for me to recover from my attack, we're merely trading blows and the enemy is coming out ahead. I die, I re-raise, and I continue. Each of the castle's many areas presents multiple ways to battle enemies, sometimes placing them in out-of-reach areas and forcing me to figure out how to damage them.

In one particular area my trio was being decimated by snipers up on a parapet, surrounding us and inflicting damage with every shot. The girl with the daggers couldn't throw them so she was out, and the whip wielder couldn't quite get her whip to reach them, so I had to rely on the boy with the magic cards to take out every one of those snipers. I'd lock onto one of the soldiers with R1, then launch my cards up to the enemies, siphoning their health little by little. Of course they lined the raised wall in high numbers, and I had to take my licks as well. I'd die, I'd re-raise, and I'd continue dropping those bothersome soldiers.

Square Enix

I then continue to an area with men riding machines, and my elemental powers come into play. The standard Final Fantasy magic classes appear in Type-0, and like previous games some enemies are more susceptible to certain magic, so my Thunder spells made quick work of these metallic malcontents. The game must have realized my good fortune, however, and immediately summoned a giant golem protecting a glowing gate. My task was to destroy the gate, but this ultra-strong enemy stood in the way. I expected to be re-raising quite often, but even I didn't expect just how many times that giant jerk would put me down. I tried all three characters in my trio and none of them could really put up a fight against this behemoth. I eventually opened the gate before running out of demo time, but not before repeating the same sequence as earlier: I'd die, I'd re-raise, and I'd continue.

Final Fantasy Type-0 is a complete departure than what I was expecting from a Final Fantasy game. I'd liken it more to a Kingdom Hearts fused with a Dark Souls, leaning heavily on action and difficulty instead of a complicated narrative and lengthy cutscene. I place special emphasis on difficulty as I probably died 15 times in my 20 minutes with the game and I wasn't the only one to keep meeting the Reaper. The lack of re-raise is going to be a culture shock once the game officially launches, but I am interested to see what all of the Type-0 fuss is about.

Final Fantasy Type-0 launches March 17, 2015 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.