Last week's Dengeki PlayStation magazine had a major feature on upcoming PSP title Final Fantasy Type-0. Many details about the game's magic system were given, as was some information on other gameplay aspects and the story as well.
The means of powering up a character's magic in Type-0 is called the "Alto Crystarium" system. It is similar in name and function to the Crystarium system in Final Fantasy XIII, except it concentrates mostly on a character's magic. Characters can unlock new spells, power up magic, and boost MP and HP through this system. To do so, characters have to absorb "Phantoma", a substance dropped by enemies. The type of magic that can be powered-up depends on the color of the Phantoma, and the parameter of magic that can be increased is determined by how many Phantomas have been collected. For instance, fire magic can be boosted in strength, MP usage, projectile speed and distance, and call time. Red Phantomas are used for fire magic, and six are required to increase fire magic's strength.
Aside from the Alto Crystarium system, Dengeki also detailed the usage of magic in battle. Each of the three familiar Final Fantasy elements, fire, ice, and thunder, come in five varieties that have differing call methods and attack patterns. The Shotgun (SHG) spreads at multiple height levels. It works best at short ranges. The Rifle type (RF) has a far range and shoots out in a straight line. The Bomb type (BOM) is effective in a character's immediate surroundings. The Missile type (MIS) homes in on enemies before releasing its magic. High level Missile spells will expand to affect multiple enemies. The final type, the Rocket Launcher (ROK), brings up a target when a character begins casting. The spell will fire in the direction the target is aiming at, and can damage multiple enemies.
The Type-0 feature also described the game's multiplayer mode in more detail. Rather than having extended periods of play with another person, friends can go into the player's game to assist them during battle. Players can either act as hosts and allow others to join in their game, or be guest players and jump into a host's game. In addition to extra experience points, guests obtain "special points" to unlock a certain feature, which will be explained in detail at a later date.
As for the story, there was more elaboration on the Concordia Kingdom. As previously reported, each of the four major nations in Final Fantasy Type-0 is home to one of the four crystals. Concordia possesses the Souryu crystal. All members of the government are female. The Concordians' military power lies in their ability to summon and control monsters, especially dragons. Two new characters (pictured below) have important roles in Concordia. The first, Princess Andoria, is the only person who has ties to the Queen Dragon, an incarnation of the Souryu crystal. The second, Hoshihime, is a part of the Akatoki knights, one of five groups that protect the Souryu's Peristylium, the place where the crystal is housed.
The feature also explained that Type-0's story is not told form a single perspective, and thus there is no one main character. Rather it is Class Zero as a whole, the class that the playable characters are members of, that is the focus of the story. While the characters Machina and Rem are special, they are not necessarily the main protagonists.
Final Fantasy Type-0 is part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis collective of games. It is set to be released on October 13 of this year in Japan and will span two UMDs. There has been no word on a release in North America or PAL territories. More screenshots can be seen here and artwork here.