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Final Fantasy

Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Bloodstained, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and more


Zen-distilled stories
May 18
// Darren Nakamura
To fans of weird deadpan comedy poetry: I'd like to extend my humblest apologies for the hiatus. I'd like to say I was celebrating the 10th episode by taking some time off, but the reality is that I have just been super busy...

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on PS4 looks better than ever, but has major problems

May 14 // Brett Zeidler
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita, PS3, PS4 [tested])Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $49.99 In terms of the entire package, the PS4 version is the exact same compilation as the original remaster release. The international versions of both base games, Eternal Calm, Last Mission, and the super weird audio drama are all here. Nothing in terms of gameplay content was added or removed. However, there appears to be an alteration or a major bug affecting FFX's random number generation. People even more keen than myself on FFX have noticed the RNG system is completely broken in the PS4 version. Random encounters and events are supposed to be, well, random. However, this is no longer the case in this version. Encounters always occur when they are supposed to, they will always have the same enemies, and the battles will always play out exactly the same way. No matter how many times the game is reset, the occurrence and outcome of encounters or events that involve the RNG system are set in stone. This has a drastic affect in key aspects of the game. Say you're having trouble on a specific boss, and if you could just land that twenty-second hit it would change the tide of battle for you. Well, the bad news is on the PS4 version you're always going to miss that twenty-second hit as it stands. Additionally, this changes ribbon farming, blitzball, and likely everything else that involves RNG. I couldn't test every aspect of this, but I could easily predict down to the second when my first battle against two Chimera would occur during one of my saves in the Calm Lands. I could have tracked this up to as many subsequent "random" encounters as I wished. I checked the exact same save file on PS3, and encounters were always random. FFX-2 does not appear to have this problem. [embed]292113:58550:0[/embed] A major complaint of the PS3 and Vita release was the new rearranged soundtrack. It seemed a lot of people simply outright hated its existence, whereas others would have at least preferred the choice to switch to the original soundtrack. Thankfully, players now have that option at any point during their playthrough. I actually really enjoyed the remaster soundtrack, but on my current playthrough it's been nice to use the original. It sounds amazing. The Besaid Village theme in particular sounded the best even back in 2001. Unfortunately, the background music system also has a major bug in the PS4 release. Background music on the PS2, PS3, and Vita versions continued playing where the track left off once a battle occurred, but now this is no longer the case. For a game like FFX that has a ton of random encounters, you will likely only ever hear the first ten or twenty seconds of a track unless you stop and listen to the music. It appears to have to do with how the soundtrack switching system was implemented, affecting both FFX and FFX-2. The soundtracks sound amazing, which makes this bug so unfortunate. Hopefully it can easily be fixed in a future patch. Cross-Save was a great feature of the PS3 and Vita version, and it's been extended here for the PS4 version. Once a particular game is fired up, all old saves that were stored in the cloud previously can be accessed just as quickly and easily as before. It took me less than a few minutes to install the game, start up Final Fantasy X, load a save from awhile back, and instantly pick up right where I had left off at that point. That's pretty cool. The PS4 version of the remaster has even more enhanced visuals, which is pretty amazing considering how incredible and smooth the game looked on PS3. To check this, I started a fresh playthrough on both consoles on the same television and played them alongside each other. The PS4 does have a slight graphical enhancement overall, but I really only noticed it because I was looking for it. There's a sort of extra crispness to the PS4 version, and the occasional aliasing issues that were still on the PS3 version are gone here. It's not a major overhaul, but the improvements are there. Additionally, Square claims more NPCs and monsters received enhanced models. I didn't notice any of these in my current playthrough (it's really hard to just stumble upon these without knowing specifically which were enhanced), but seeing poor-looking character models in the same scenes with enhanced ones was a big complaint, so it's nice to know this was addressed in some fashion. However, some other major complaints were not addressed at all. Cutscenes, for whatever reason, are still not skippable and there's no option to toggle between the old character models and the remastered ones. These types of things don't detract from my experience, but they were definitely huge complaints upon release last year, and it's unfortunate they weren't taken care of here. Some of those cutscenes are really long, man. As is stands, the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is not the definitive version of the compilation. Even for super fans of Final Fantasy X, it's hard to recommend a version of their favorite game that has broken RNG, a background music bug, and still no skippable cutscenes no matter how beautiful the game looks or how incredibly fast it loads now. With an MSRP of $50 it's also a really hard sell to a brand-new player when the other two versions are currently so much cheaper, even more so if they already own one of those two versions (especially since they launched at $40). The PS3 version does lack the original soundtrack, but other than that it offers the truest experience of Final Fantasy X and X-2. If you must have it on PS4 or that's your only option, I'd honestly recommend waiting for the RNG and background music issues to hopefully be patched soon and the inevitable price drop. If those two major issues are ever fixed, the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster would easily be the definitive package.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 PS4 photo
Spira never felt so good
Barely over a year after its original release on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster makes its way to the PlayStation 4. A remaster of a remaster, if you will. However, the original releas...

Final FAntasy IV photo
Final FAntasy IV

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years out now on PC


Too bad it looks gross
May 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is now available on PC, and good lord does it look bad. The sequel to the 1991 classic picks up nearly two decades after the its predecessor ends, treading old ground with familiar chara...

Review: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

May 10 // Dale North
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita, PS3 [reviewed])Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased:  March 18, 2014MSRP: $39.99 The original Final Fantasy X was and still is a great game. It took the franchise to a new place with its fully voiced scenes, strong storytelling, and visual flair. Its story, which follows summoner Yuna on her journey across the world of Spira to fight Sin, is one of Square Enix's best. Likable characters with memorable outfits, a fantastic musical score, and a powerful ending made this game one of the best role-playing games of the PS2 era. All of these positive aspects hold their value even today in this remake, though some other parts of the game haven't aged as nicely. While it was fully engaging so many years ago, Final Fantasy X's turn-based battle system now seems a bit simplistic compared to more recent JRPGs. Its true turn-based nature leaves the player open for careful decision making, it pales a bit when put up against even other newer franchise games where action is the focus. That said, there are still some great battles to be had in Final Fantasy X, and those that favor strategy over action will certainly enjoy this flash from the past. While Square Enix has spent a fair bit of time on upgrading the visual side of Final Fantasy X, they weren't able to change how cameras used to work in older RPGs during exploration. Set backdrops have the camera jumping abruptly between two scenes, which can be disorienting during exploration, and sometimes downright confusing when navigating dungeons. We're spoiled by modern RPGs where the camera will automatically pan and follow the character. But, current-day RPGs could learn a thing or two from Final Fantasy X. I appreciate that it wastes no time getting the player into real battles, and that it isn't scared to put some early pressure on players. Players are given full access to the game's systems, with little in the way of training wheels or babying. Its directness is somewhat refreshing, and its lack of complicated systems makes it seem more like a pure role-playing experience. One of its systems, the Sphere Grid, is open from the beginning for the taking. Using earned AP from battles to move through a sort of game board to collect abilities and increase powers is fun. This remake adds an Advanced Sphere Grid (from the international version), which brings even deeper levels of exploration and customization. Its navigation is more open and free, which gives the player more freedom to shape characters' powers. Final Fantasy X was always a nice looking game, but Square Enix's overhaul has added so much more visual appeal. I'm pleased to say that this isn't some quick upscale job. They took the time to upgrade backdrops, textures, lighting, user interfaces, and more, and it definitely shows. Spira has never looked better. If you've played Final Fantasy X more than a few times, you'll appreciate how it seems like you're seeing the game's varied locales for the first time. Details pop out, and foreground set pieces have been shined to a polish. Hats off to Square Enix for completely overhauling the character models of the game's main characters. A critical eye will catch that the new Tidus, Yuna, Wakka, and others still have some corners cut in places, but these models still hold up nicely when compared to newer 3D Japanese role-playing games. I'd bet that there's not a series fan out there that won't appreciate their reworking. The cutscenes have been revamped for HD resolution and look great. Some seem like they've been cropped to fit, but the scenes don't really suffer for it. They look and sound great despite being over ten years old now. But there's a slight downside to the visual upgrades in that they sometimes serves to highlight the smaller bits that have not received the upgrade treatment. While the foreground elements of scenes sport shiny new textures, pieces in the background are still made of lower resolution ones, making them look blurry in comparison. The shortcuts stick out, too. In one early scene, crowds of townspeople were made up of a mix of polygonal models and pre-rendered animations. They didn't blend, making this background detail a distraction. For the character models, while your eyes are drawn to their faces in close-up scenes, looking at anything else kind of ruins the magic. Some of the lower parts of the models, like their clothing or legs, appeared to use less polygons than their upper halves. The higher quality main character models never looked right up against second tier characters and NPCs, as other characters did not receive similar visual upgrades. Scenes can jump between a main character and a NPC, showing a high quality face one minute, and then another that looked to use one flat texture for a face. You can't help but feel that all the rest of Spira was cheated. While the HD resolution upgrade works against the whole on occasion, the improvements are mostly excellent, and greatly appreciated. The music has also seen an overhauling, though the changes might be less agreeable to fans of the original score. For the most part, the quality of sound has improved greatly, though some of the choices for certain instruments seem odd. For example, some of the more brassy instruments stick out of the mix against other higher quality sounds. However, most songs sound great. Final Fantasy X still has one of the greatest role-playing game scores ever created, so a few odd patches aren't that big of a problem in the end. It has been quite awhile since I last played Final Fantasy X. I forgot how challenging some of the battles are, how great it felt to acquire and use a character's ultimate weapon, and how high the random encounter rate was. I also forgot how strange this game is in places (Blitzball, thongs, swimming with boots on, an so on) and how much I loved some of the cutscenes. I'm happy to have been able to play Final Fantasy X again; it was a nice upgraded trip down memory lane. I enjoyed Final Fantasy X so much that I was sad to see it end. So when spin-off/sequel Final Fantasy X-2 came along, I was more than ready to jump back into the world of Spira. When I was finally able to play it, I was surprised to find that it featured a different tone, brand new systems, and completely different gameplay. Despite all this, it still ended up being one of my favorite games of the PS2 era. The sphere-hunting antics of Yuna, Rikku and Paine are as entertaining as ever in the HD remaster of Final Fantasy X-2. The mission-based gameplay is a departure from its predecessor's mostly linear progression, but there's plenty of fun to be had in exploring Spira. The new visual upgrades and gameplay features easily make this the best Final Fantasy remaster yet. The battle system of Final Fantasy X-2 holds up well, though it is still too easy to create a powerful class combination to breeze through just about any battle. By my measure, the balance is off; smart players will be able to walk through this game after earning the right equipment. Still, even with the broken balance, X-2 manages to entertain. The Dressphere job system spin-off is still great after all these years, and the mid-battle magical transformations are just as funny as you remember, though they look much better now with their upgraded visuals. Some new dresspheres have been added to the mix; their transformation and attack animations are hilarious and worth seeking out. New Garment Grids have also been included. Final Fantasy X-2's remaster brings along with it the international release gameplay additions. The new Creature Creator is pretty good fun for fans of collecting. Enemies can be captured and trained to be used in battle, but I found that capturing NPCs was even more enjoyable. It's like a complete game within another game with the full ability to customize creatures with different skills. Properly collecting and leveling enemies and NPCs gives you more story bits and sometimes even character-specific endings. Last Mission is a separate game mode that has the heroines working through a tower crawl and a series of bosses to reveal new story elements as play rewards. This game ditches X-2's free customization and open exploration for straight-ahead gameplay that requires careful choices and smart strategy. Last Mission definitely speaks to me as a fan of rogue-likes, but it may not have as much appeal to fans of your typical Final Fantasy game. Compared to the Final Fantasy X remaster, X-2 HD seems more inconsistent. While the upgraded character models are even higher quality than those of Final Fantasy X, the NPCs look even worse alongside them. Close-ups of these NPCs are pretty rough in cutscenes. Background textures are also inconsistent; it doesn't take much sleuthing to realize it. But, when it looks good, it looks really good. The character models seem to sport even more polygons than they did in the remaster of Final Fantasy X. Faces are more filled out, eyes move more realistically, and mouth animations look spot-on. The girls appear to have more makeup on, too. The lighting and spell effects in particular are great, making X-2 look like a current-gen JRPG at times. Oh, and I forgot how great the X-2 opening cutscene was. This J-Pop video of laser beams and hot pants is one for the ages, so I'm really glad it got the remaster treatment. I still think that Final Fantasy X-2's soundtrack is delightfully dorky with its action themes and singers though. It holds up nicely today and fits the game's tone perfectly. Unlike Final Fantasy X, it doesn't sound like they changed much other than a bump for the sound quality. Overall, I think Final Fantasy X-2 looks and feels better than Final Fantasy X. But, unfortunately, it also does not let you pause or skip cutscenes, and there are times when voice and animation synchronization gets off track. The game's frame rate would dip in some dungeons, though never to a terrible number. Admittedly, X-2 is a bit of a hot mess, but I've always loved this game. This remaster has made it even more enjoyable with its new look and content additions. It's not as lovingly crafted as Final Fantasy X is overall, but it makes up for that in pure entertainment value. As far as videogame remasters go, Final Fantasy X and X-2 are at the top of the list as far as quality is concerned. It's clear that Square Enix put a lot of time into both of these beloved titles, and as a series fan I really appreciate that. They've made both of these great games even better with this remastering, and any fan of either should definitely check them out.
Final Fantasy X & X-2 photo
Praise be to Yevon!
Y, R, P -- in position. It's showtime, girls. 

Music photo
Music

Silky smooth Game Music Lullabies Volume II out now


Featuring Final Fantasy, Majora's Mask, and more
Apr 28
// Jordan Devore
[Disclosure: Jayson Napolitano, the producer of Game Music Lullabies Volume II, previously wrote for Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into this news post.] It seems like I was...

Final Fantasy XV getting demo update, mostly skipping E3

Apr 28 // Steven Hansen
The two also talked new features that will make it in Final Fantasy XV, including difficulty options. The more action-oriented style seems to have fans clamoring for an easier setting. Voice acting will be improved, too, as the demo's acting represents non-final dialogue (Noctis will sound less like Batman). The sexy mechanic Cid, however, will stay sexy. "She's actually not meant to be an erotic character," Tabata said, explaining that her cleavage represents her "energetic...cheerful, and active character." He was also perplexed by the "too sexy" complaints, which mostly came from Europe, combined with the desire for a female party member, again hitting up the "bro-trip, men can't be themselves around women" excuse that sort of flies in the face of series history. Other little changes are already promised or underway. A mini-map will be added with enemy radar now being considered additionally. You'll be able to evade and cancel out of most attacks. You were meant to be able to warp outside of battle, but the team hasn't been able to implement it without bugs (and might not be able to). So, if it wasn't obvious, Final Fantasy XV is still a work in progress. This is where we loop back to the headline and note that the game will have a short trailer at E3, but "the promotion for the main title will officially begin at Gamescom" in August, a month ahead of the Tokyo Game Show. Final Fantasy XV feedback live stream full report: Episode Duscae 2.0 coming mid-May [Gematsu]
Final Fantasy XV photo
Demo gets camera, combat and targeting tweaks, main game gets difficulty settings
Ok. Final Fantasy XV isn't skipping E3. It'll only pay lip service, though. The above Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report, which is helpfully subtitled in English, sees director Hajime Tabata and marketing manager Akio Ofuji...

Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Check out the new Final Fantasy XIV Direct X 11 benchmark here


Some in-game footage and Au Ra character creation
Apr 27
// Chris Carter
Today is the day -- Final Fantasy XIV gets its new benchmark program to show off some Direct X11 footage. This new tool, a small demo of sorts, lets you check out how the new Heavensward expansion will look on your...
Square Enix photo
Square Enix

Square Enix apes Street Fighter in 'Ultimate Fight Final Fantasy XIV'


Not real, sadly
Apr 25
// Chris Carter
Last night Square Enix hosted a Japanese live event for Final Fantasy XIV, and among a few announcements, it showed off a hilarious trailer for "Ultimate Fight Final Fantasy XIV." In a clear nod to the Street Fighter series,...

Final Fantasy IV & WWE 2K15: 31% off for this weekend

Apr 25 // Dealzon
Top Deals PC: WWE 2K15 (Steam) — $34.65  (list price $50) Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (Steam) — $11.09  (list price $16) Mortal Kombat X (Steam) — $30  (list price $60) <- yes, 50% off Battlefield: Hardline (Origin) — $35.99  (list price $60) Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (Steam) — $11.55  (list price $30) Console: PS4 + Last of Us + Sony Headset + $100 eGift Card — $399.99  (list price $490) <-sweet bundle deal Xbox One Halo Master Chief Collection Bundle + Extra Controller + Charging Station — $350.01  (list price $494) <- click "Customize" to add extras to cart for $0.01 each PS4 DualShock 4 Wireless Controller + $25 eGift Card — $49.99  (list price $60) PlayStation Vita Bundle + Borderlands 2 — $169.99  (list price $200) Xbox Live Gold 12 Month Gold Card — $35.99  (list price $60) Recent Releases 04/23: Crypt of the NecroDancer (Steam) — $11.24  (list price $15) 04/14: Grand Theft Auto V — $46.20  (list price $60) 04/14: Titan Souls (Steam) — $11.55  (list price $15) 04/01: DiRT 3 Complete Edition (Steam) — $21.89  (list price $30) 03/30: Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (Steam) — $27.72  (list price $40) Upcoming Releases 05/05: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Steam) — $15.40  (list price $20) <- yay more Wolfenstein 05/08: Project Cars (Steam) — $37.49  (list price $50) 05/19: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt — $53.99  (list price $60) <- up to 20% off PC Game Deals GameStop Spring Sale: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution (Steam) — $29.99  (list $50) <- dat title length Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth (Steam) — $24.99  (list price $50) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Steam) — $23.99  (list price $60) Mass Effect Trilogy (Origin) — $10.19  (list price $30) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Season Pass (Steam) — $9.89  (list price $30) The Orange Box (Steam) — $4.99  (list price $20) <- always a good buy GamersGate Spring Sale: Paradox Grand Strategy Pack (PC/Mac/Linux Download) — $20  (list price $100) The Walking Dead Pack (PC/Mac Download) — $12.50  (list price $50) GMG Deals: Trainz: A New Era (Steam) — $24.64  (list price $40) Cities: Skylines (Steam) — $21.89  (list price $30) Console Deals Guitar Hero Live (PS4, Xbox One) — $89.99  (list price $100) Battlefield: Hardline (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3) — $39.99  (list price $60) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4, X360, XOne, PS3) — $19.99  (list price $40) Toukiden: The Age of Demons (PS Vita) — $19.99  (list price $30) South Park: The Stick of Truth (PS3, Xbox 360) — $14.99  (list price $30) The Wolf Among Us (PS Vita) — $9.99  (list price $30) Hardware Deals Laptops: 15.6" Asus ROG. i7-4710HQ, 32GB, GTX 880M, Blu-ray — $1,599.99  (list $2,700) 15.6" HP Omen 15t, i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M, 256GB SSD — $1,099.99  (list $1,600) 15.6" Lenovo Y50, i7-4700HQ, 8GB, GTX 860M — $769.99  (list $1,200) HDTVs: 70" Vizio 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV (Refurb) — $1,079.99  (list price $1,495) 55" LG 2160p 4K Ultra HD LED TV — $999  (list price $2,199) 32" Insignia LED HDTV — $159.99  (list price $180) Components: Asus Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 Video Card — $269.99  (list price $390) <- not bad for a 290X Crucial MX200 Internal SSD 2.5" 500GB — $179.99  (list price $250) Samsung 850 EVO SSD 250GB + Toshiba 3TB 3.5" HDD — $149.99  (list $198) Game deals from Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers help support Destructoid.
Weekend deals photo
PC port bros
Believe it or not, WWE 2K15 and FFIV has a lot in common. They're both PC ports that are arriving in the near future... and they're both at 31% off while in pre-order status. WWE 2K15 heads to Steam on April 28th, while Final...

Final Fantasy IV photo
Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years getting a remake


Coming to Steam this May
Apr 23
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is on its way to Steam next month, Square Enix just announced. The episodic role-playing game takes place nearly two decades after the events of the original Final Fantasy IV. The story follo...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy bosses make an appearance in Puzzle & Dragons


Yay Cloud of Darkness
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
Puzzle & Dragons' crossover power cannot be stopped. In addition to Squall and Ace making their way into GungHo's puzzler, more Final Fantasy characters are invading the game -- specifically, a few final bosses. Clou...
FFXV photo
FFXV

FFXV's Noctis may appear in Dissidia Final Fantasy


But not until his game launches
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
Are you ready for Noctis to start showing up in more Final Fantasy games? It was kind of a given seeing how pretty much every series protagonist ends up in some smartphone or "all-stars" title at some point, but Final Fantasy...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Watch the London Symphony Orchestra do Final Fantasy... in 3D!


Just imagine the Chocobo racing theme
Apr 16
// Joe Parlock
We here at Destructoid sometimes get a bit distracted by the crasser things in life. When we’re not making sweet love with fictional wrestlers, we’re wanking off cars, but we’ve got to have a bit more class ...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

New details, full intro revealed for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward


New jobs will start at level 30
Apr 13
// Chris Carter
Square Enix recently had a blowout of information for Final Fantasy XIV's Heavensward expansion. For starters, the game will launch on June 23 (June 19 for early access), as we previously knew. But at some point later, ...
Dissidia Final Fantasy photo
Dissidia Final Fantasy

Team Ninja developing next Dissidia Final Fantasy


Arcade fighting game debuts in Japan this fall, maybe PS4 later on
Apr 10
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: Here's new trailer for the game, as spotted by community member FlanxLycanth.] Dragon Quest Heroes isn't the only project Square Enix and Koei Tecmo are collaborating on, as the companies just announced Team Ni...
Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Sexy Final Fantasy, amiibogeddon, Bloodborne trick, and more


Zen distilled stories
Apr 07
// Darren Nakamura
Nintendo took a big spot in last week's news, with the highs of the Nintendo Direct and the lows of the Wave 4 amiibo rollout. Does that give the company perfect balance, like a haiku? I'm not sure. In this series, we take a...
Final Fantasy costume photo
Final Fantasy costume

Fan complaints could bring back 'too sexy' Final Fantasy costume


They toned it down, but are willing to sex things back up
Apr 03
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix recently held a lengthy presentation (starts around 7:30) for its upcoming Mevius Final Fantasy. One of the things revealed during the presentation is a new design for lead character Wal that covers up quite a bi...
Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Bloodborne, Grand Theft Auto V, Evolve, and more


Zen distilled stories
Mar 30
// Darren Nakamura
This week I was tempted to do all Bloodborne all the time, because we had so many Bloodborne stories go up that got a ton of attention. Instead, I collected them all into one little Bloodball and turned the abundance in...

Experience Points .09: Final Fantasy IX

Mar 28 // Ben Davis
The little Black Mage that could It's impossible to talk about the best parts of Final Fantasy IX without mentioning Vivi. I mean, are there actually people out there who don't like Vivi? Is that possible? Vivi is a quiet little Black Mage who stumbles into Zidane's group almost by accident. At first, it takes a lot of encouragement to get Vivi to fight alongside them (which, surprisingly, he gets the most of from Steiner, who is generally rude to everyone who is not the princess). Turns out Vivi is quite the powerful Black Mage, able to learn all sorts of useful magic attacks, from lighting fires to calling down comets and meteors from the sky. What makes Vivi so great, though, is his personality. He may seem shy and insecure at first, but he is always incredibly humble and kind to everyone he meets, and he ends up being by far the most mature character in the game. The little guy goes through quite a huge transformation; it's really great to watch his character grow. You see, Vivi knows nothing about his past at the beginning of the game. Eventually, the team runs into more Black Mages like Vivi, but it turns out they're being produced in a factory. Not a great way to learn the truth behind your existence... The other Black Mages can't really communicate; they behave more like puppets, produced for the sole purpose of killing others. They're essentially pawns in a war. Understandably, this causes great distress for Vivi, and also raises a lot of questions, like why does he have a consciousness while the others apparently do not? Well, later on in their journey, the team comes across a hidden village of Black Mages who had suddenly "awoken" to a consciousness of their own and escaped from Queen Brahne's army to live by themselves, cut off from the rest of the world. Vivi also discovers that some of them have been mysteriously "stopping," or in other words dying, a year after they were built. All of this information weighs heavily on Vivi's thoughts, but he comes out way stronger for it than anyone could have imagined. He becomes a leader of sorts, trying to help save the Black Mages and others like them, and begins offering sound advice on life and death to the other characters, lifting everyone's spirits and encouraging them to continue fighting for what they believe in. Vivi is an extremely admirable character. I think the reason he resonated so well with me was because from the beginning of the game, I felt like I could relate to him. I've always been rather quiet and reserved, and tended to have more faith in other people than in myself. Seeing Vivi grow and become someone that people could look up to and rely on really gave me hope that I could do the same someday. Thank you for being so amazing, Vivi! A Thorn (and a Zorn) in my side Zorn and Thorn are a mischievous pair of antagonistic jesters. Their alliance shifts periodically during the game, first being controlled by Queen Brahne, then almost falling under Garnet's supervision when she becomes queen, before finally being scooped up by Kuja for use in his grand scheme. But where did they even come from, exactly? Their identities largely remain a mystery, but it's hinted that they're just pawns, much like the Black Mages, so maybe they were created in a similar manner.  The two of them are rather bizarre characters. They're over-dramatic, constantly bickering with each other and running around mindlessly, yet always managing to cause trouble for Zidane and friends. They have a very peculiar speech pattern, where Thorn basically repeats everything Zorn says but switches the words around (Thorn kind of sounds like Yoda). They're really weird, but for some reason I can't help but find them endearing. There's just something about silly, bumbling villains that always makes me smile. My favorite Zorn and Thorn moment is their first battle sequence. Whenever they're ready to attack, they bounce up and down like weird toys and give each other spells to use like Meteorite and Light Flare. It's similar to the Twincast ability used by Palom and Porom in Final Fantasy IV, although it works a little differently. It's a very easy battle once you figure out what to do, but it just makes me happy to watch them bounce around like fools. Oh Zorn and Thorn... you guys are special. Tinkling in the starlight There's one scene in Final Fantasy IX that I'm never really quite sure what to make of, but it's so random that it has always stuck in my mind as one of the most memorable moments. When the team arrives at the remote summoner's village of Madain Sari, Vivi's anxiety about his origins is at an all-time high. He goes off by himself, consumed with existential thoughts about life and death, staring off into the distance and unable to sleep. Zidane tries to comfort him, and offers to show him a trick to take his mind off of things. "This is an age-old ritual between male friends," he says, as the camera pans away and he urges Vivi to join him by the side of the canyon to "let [himself] go under the stars." Then all you see are the words, "Tinkle. Tinkle tinkle. Tinkle tinkle tinkle tinkle." Meanwhile, Eiko has been off to the side eavesdropping on them this whole time and clearly doesn't know what to think about what's currently happening, so she just runs away. Poor Eiko... I still don't know what's up with this scene, but I think I like it. It's apparently about pissing off the side of a cliff under the stars with a buddy, which is really weird to think about in a Final Fantasy game. But, you know, it honestly does sound pretty relaxing. Friend or foe? The enemies in Final Fantasy IX were top-notch. The series has always had really neat enemy designs, some based on mythology, and others like Cactuar and Tonberry created specifically for the Final Fantasy universe. The enemies in IX perfectly encapsulate the diverse roster of enemies found in the series while adding quirky new foes like Armstrong and Grimlock. Final Fantasy IX also introduced friendly monsters. Occasionally while traveling across the world map, a random encounter would occur, but instead of the typical battle theme, the player would hear a much different, much happier tune. Sometimes this would be an enemy called the Ragtime Mouse, presenting yes-or-no quiz questions to answer. Other times, friendly monsters would appear, asking the player for ore or other items rather than engaging in combat. Finding all of the friendly monsters can be very beneficial. For starters, they grant tons of ability points, meaning characters can easily learn abilities without having to grind much. Finding all nine friendly monsters also makes the powerful hidden boss, Ozma, much easier to fight. Just be on the lookout for the Gimme Cat, a false friendly monster. This ungrateful jerk will ask for diamonds, but gives nothing in return. If attacked, it freaks out and counterattacks with Comet, which can easily destroy the team. Stay away from my diamonds, you mangy cat! A trip down memory lane The final dungeon, Memoria, has some of the coolest level design I've seen in a Final Fantasy game. The location is essentially comprised of the memories of Zidane, his friends, and all of their ancestors. The memories are given physical form so that they can actually walk through them. It's presented in a surreal, dreamlike way, with architecture that twists and transforms and doesn't really make much sense. Each room is completely different visually from the last. One room is filled with eerie floating furniture, one is submerged underwater, one is a beautiful sunset, one is out in space, one is a stairway leading up to a creepy, red eyeball... it's truly a joy to explore and take in the sights. I never knew what I was going to see next. Players will also find several references to past Final Fantasy games in Memoria. Zidane and friends will have to fight four bosses: Maliris, Tiamat, Kraken, and Lich, otherwise known as the Four Fiends from the original Final Fantasy. There's also an optional boss fight against Hades, who appeared as a summon in Final Fantasy VII. These fights were a neat way to pay tribute to the game's roots, and they also happened to fit nicely with the theme of memories that the area fosters. [embed]289609:57943:0[/embed] You're not alone One of my favorite scenes in Final Fantasy IX occurs in the alien dungeon of Pandemonium, when Zidane has an abrupt and jarring change in personality. Some people seem to feel that this particular moment is out of place, completely out of character for Zidane, and unnecessarily angsty, almost like the writers were trying to have Zidane emulate the pessimism of Cloud Strife or Squall Leonhart for no apparent reason at all. However, I can't help but feel that these people are missing a very key element to this scene. Immediately before this sequence, Zidane is speaking with Garland, his creator, who is very unhappy that he refuses to cooperate and take over for Kuja in his attempt to assimilate the souls of Gaia. Garland regretfully decides to discard Zidane, banishing him to Pandemonium and taking away his very soul so that he would become a mindless Genome, as he has no use for him anymore. This is the reason why Zidane suddenly has a complete change of character; he is essentially no longer Zidane. What follows is a particularly touching scene in which all of Zidane's friends try to get him to snap out of his unusually gloomy, antagonistic mood. They manage to interrupt the soul-stealing process and he awakens in an angry, zombie-like state. All of his friends are fighting to protect him, but he keeps pushing them away, saying he doesn't need them anymore. Everyone is shocked at his behavior, but they keep trying to get through to him anyway, reminding him of all the ways that he helped them to be true to themselves in the past and how much his friendship means to them. Meanwhile, he keeps shutting them out and leaving them behind. Finally, Garnet, the love of his life, is able to bring him around and he returns to his normal, optimistic self. Even though the scene is mainly about Zidane, all of the other characters really shine here. It's a showcase of how much each character has grown, and how Zidane has affected each of their lives. It's all about the power of friendship, which may sound incredibly sappy, but gosh darnit it makes me smile. And of course, the best part of this entire scene is the music. "You're Not Alone" is by far my favorite song from Final Fantasy IX. It's moody, but with a tinge of hopefulness. It's a perfect fit for such a beautiful scene. Past Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.02: Shadow of the Colossus.03: EarthBound.04: Catherine.05: Demon's Souls.06: No More Heroes.07: Paper Mario.08: Persona 4
Final Fantasy IX photo
I'm sharpening my knife, kupo
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is out today, and it kicks the crap out of All the Bravest

Mar 26 // Chris Carter
Unlike Bravest's soulless narrative, Record Keeper's setup is actually kind of cute. Individuals in a mysterious realm are charged with protecting the records of countless lands, literally framed within various paintings. After an evil darkness descends upon the world the records have been seemingly lost, leaving it to you, a titular record keeper, to bring them back. Under normal circumstances, only a master would be allowed to tinker with said records, but a top Mog in the order grants you permission to save the day. Like I said, cute. So let's get right to it -- the game is free-to-play, but follows a much different strategy than the aforementioned disaster of a game. There is an energy system (stamina), and items can be purchased by way of microtransactions (IAP), but you can completely enjoy the game without having to resort to buying anything. The core of Record Keeper's success is that stamina refills at a pretty respectable rate, which keeps you playing more often than most titles with the same mechanic. Additionally, the premium currency can be earned in-game through normal play by doing well, and the story doesn't feel gated to goad you into paying to win. The experience itself is fanservice at its finest. You'll dive into various classic Final Fantasy titles, reliving key moments like the bombing of the Mako Reactor, leveling up, and acquiring new party members (like Cloud) and equipment. Keeper's active-time-based combat isn't just a swipe fest, as you can use magic and abilities, as well as defend and use limit breaks of sorts called Soul Breaks. Although it doesn't get as involved as the core series there's a bit of strategic depth to it with mechanics such as elemental weaknesses, and the tap-based controls are precise. [embed]289548:57917:0[/embed] The best part about the combat system is that it doesn't really feel unfair, to the point where if you play smart, you should be able to overcome most of the tasks placed in front of you. Square Enix could have easily sleazed this bit to get you to cough up some cash, but at least with this collaboration with DeNA (yep, that DeNA), it seems to have learned from its mistakes. The reward loop is generous for a free game, which should encourage players to want to spend money. It may not make as much cash as All the Bravest as a result, but it feels a lot less criminal. You can find Final Fantasy: Record Keeper on iOS and Android today if you want to give it a shot.
FF: Record Keeper photo
Great in short bursts
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was a travesty. It played itself, it was pretty abrasive in its pandering, and the microtransactions were so pushy that it was hard to enjoy it without feeling like you were constantly being sold something. Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is another free-to-play game in the same vein, but it's a much better effort that doesn't feel straight-up insulting to fans.

Final Fantasy XV is a Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus

Mar 24 // Chris Carter
Kyle already talked at length about the core mechanics of the Final Fantasy XV during a PAX East showing, but after about 20 hours of playing it, I've discovered quite a bit of depth to Episode Duscae. For starters, the action combat system has more layers than an ogre. After discovering all of the hidden tech items scattered about the map combat opened up quite a bit, offering new abilities and nuances that allowed me to enjoy myself more than the tutorial let on. My favorite thing to do is to use the warp strike to charge in and retreat, teleporting around the battlefield at will. Tempest is probably my favorite ability, functioning as an area-of-effect spin attack that can open up enemy defenses. Using Warp Strike in tandem with all of Noctis' powers is seamless, and after learning how to truly go on the offensive I didn't have to rely on the dodge ability that often. Magic will be in the final version, but even without the classic addition of spells I can see myself slicing and dicing for 80 hours without tiring of it. And can we talk about the summon system? Seeing it in action on a video is one thing, but summoning Ramuh in-game has real weight to it, and since it all happens around you regardless of your surroundings, it feels personal. My jaw actually dropped, which doesn't happen often. Evidently there was an option to either focus on summons or other mechanics for the demo, and the team chose to show Ramuh in all his glory. I think they made the right call. [embed]289182:57838:0[/embed] Something else I noticed more as time went on were the authentic personal interactions that took place throughout the demo. Subtle little things like your party members lounging around the chocobo farm are nice touches, and I adored the conversation between the cheerful couple who decided to eat bird feed. I can easily get on board with a bro-fest royal road trip storyline, as it's a stark departure from the rest of the series while still maintaining that "crystal troupe" feel. I also got a Dragon Age vibe from the banter, even if the script could use a lot more variation in the final cut But the best news of all -- I actually remembered everyone's names after finishing the demo, and didn't find anyone nearly as grating as Hope was in XIII. Seeing the group work together to take down the Behemoth, though scripted, felt like a genuine spot of teamwork. It'll be interesting to see how this dynamic is handled at the end of the road, but for now the retinue's connection to the prince feels both professional and personal. Nothing is perfect though, and I'm seeing some problems early on that may or may not be related to the demo. The framerate is rather sluggish even if it's supposed to be addressed in the full release, and the stasis staggering system really takes you out of the action in a bad way. Though the full version will have magic (as previously stated), a full equipment system and a higher resolution, I hope Square can really polish it by the time it goes gold. Then again they've already made some changes to XV based on fan-feedback, and truly seem to be taking the criticisms from XIII to heart. Beyond those small issues, if the full version is even close to the build shown in the demo, I'll be happy. The future is bright for Final Fantasy, and I can see a true return to form for a proper "numbered' title that isn't an MMO on the horizon.
FFXV hot damn photo
And I'm not just talking about the boy band cast
Hidden away in the intro to my Final Fantasy Type-0 HD review, I recently talked about how Final Fantasy was never dead despite some rough patches, and based on recent efforts, it actually has a bright future a...

Dissidia arcades photo
Dissidia arcades

More Dissidia Final Fantasy arcade details coming April 10


Cabinet and first demonstration debuting at fan event
Mar 23
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix's Final Fantasy-filled PSP fighter is continuing not on Sony's subsequent handheld or, as fans have always wanted, on consoles. Rather, the next iteration is a three-on-three arcade fighter, the cabinet for which...
Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Battlefield Hardline, Banjo-Kazooie, Final Fantasy XV, and more


Zen distilled stories
Mar 23
// Darren Nakamura
Last week we took a break from the usual poetic news recaps to highlight our favorite games from PAX East, but now we are back in the swing of things. You can check out all of the past episodes on the Game News Haikus YouTub...

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward & Dead or Alive 5 leads pack of weekend deals

Mar 21 // Dealzon
Noteworthy Deals Login required (updated 3/24): Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward — $29.99  (list price $40) Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward - Collectors Edition — $44.99  (list $60) Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (Steam) — $26.99  (list price $40) No code: The Order: 1886 (PS4) — $39.99  (list price $60) <- yep came out last month Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2.5" 500GB — $179.99  <- once you go SSD, you can't go back Recent Releases 03/17: Battlefield: Hardline (Origin, PC Download) — $49.99  (list price $60) 03/10: Cities: Skylines (Steam) — $21.89  (list price $30) 03/10: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Steam) — $11.87  (list price $15) 02/25: Resident Evil Revelations 2: Complete Season (Steam) — $16.33  (list $25) Upcoming Releases 03/26: Pillars of Eternity Hero Edition (Steam) — $33.74  <- Kickstarter funded 04/14: Mortal Kombat X Premium Edition (Steam) — $64.80  (list price $90) <- yep. 04/14: Grand Theft Auto V — $46.79  (list price $60) 04/28: State of Decay: yr. 1 Survival + $10 Gift Card (XOne) — $29.99 05/05: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Steam) — $15.59  (list price $20) <- noice PC Game Deals Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Steam) — $28.49  (list price $60) Blackguards 2 (Steam) — $22.40  (list price $35) <- always surprised that there's a sequel Metro Redux (Steam) — $19.99  (list price $50) <- good GameStop digital deal Rise of Flight: Channel Battle Edition (PC DVD) — $19.99  (list price $50) NBA 2K15 (Steam) — $19.79  (list price $60) Rockstar Bundle (Steam) — $16.31  (list price $120) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Season Pass (Steam) — $14.24  (list price $30) Need for Speed Rivals (Origin) — $13.99  (list price $20) Borderlands 2 Complete Edition Bundle (Steam) — $12.50  (list price $50) Planetary Annihilation (Steam) — $8.16  (list price $30) Grand Theft Auto Complete Package (Steam) — $8  (list price $50) <- "complete" Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut (Steam) — $7.50  (list price $15) BioShock Infinite (Steam) — $7.12  (list price $30) The Darkness 2 (Steam) — $5.99  (list price $30) Spec Ops: The Line (Steam) — $5.99  (list price $30) L.A. Noire Complete Edition (Steam) — $4.80  (list price $30) The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinavs (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (Steam) — $3.99  (list price $20) <- much flop, such mediocre Console Game Deals WWE 2K15 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360) — $39.99  (list price $60) Metro Redux (PS4, Xbox One) — $14.99  (list price $50) Xbox Xbox One + Halo Master Chief Collection + Controller — $349  (list price $470) Need for Speed Rivals (Xbox One) — $14.99  (list price $30) Xbox 360 250GB Console (Pre-owned) — $79.99  (list price $250) Xbox One Black Wireless Controller — $29.99  (list price $60) PS3 PS3 Super Slim 500GB Console (Pre-owned) — $99.99  (list price $250) Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster (PS3) — $13.99  (list price $20) Lenovo Gaming Laptop Deals 17" Lenovo Y70, i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M, 8GB — $1,029  (list $1,400) 15" Lenovo Y50, i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M 4GB, 1080p, Blu-ray — $949  (list $1,499) 14" Lenovo Y40-80, i7-5500U Broadwell, Radeon R9, 512GB SSD — $779  (list $1,500) <- yep its a 512GB SSD laptop for under $800 HDTV Deals 65" Toshiba 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV — $1,499.99  (list price $4,000) 65" Samsung 120Hz LED Smart HDTV — $1,049.99  (list price $2,800) 55" Sony 1080p 120Hz Smart LED HDTV — $799.99  (list price $1,000) 60" Panasonic 120Hz Smart LED HDTV — $749.99  (list price $1,200) 55" RCA 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV — $429.99  (list price $650) 48" Westinghouse 1080p LED HDTV — $299.99  (list price $400) 29" Insignia LED HDTV — $139.99  (list price $200) Accessories & Hardware Deals Samsung 850 Pro Series 2.5" SSD 1TB — $499.99  (list price $600) Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2.5" 500GB — $179.99  (list price $270) OCZ Vertex 460A SSD 2.5" 240GB — $79.99  (list price $130) Kingston HyperX Fury SSD 2.5" 120GB — $57.99  (list price $80) WD Elements 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive — $49.99  (list price $80) WD Blue 3.5" SATA 64MB 7200RPM 1TB Hard Drive — $44.99  (list price $80) PNY Optima SSD 2.5" 120GB — $43.99  (list price $90) Toshiba Canvio Basics 500GB External Hard Drive — $27.99  (list price $79)            
Weekend Deals photo
Flying mount time
Earlier this week Square Enix began taking pre-orders for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward - the upcoming first expansion to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Releasing later this summer on June 23rd, the game retails for...

Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

London Final Symphony II concert announced


Tickets on sale now
Mar 20
// Laura Kate Dale
Final Fantasy -- that has some pretty great music in it, right? You know what would probably make it sound really good? Being played by the London Symphony Orchestra at London's Barbican Centre on September 12. Just as a rand...
Final Fantasy XI photo
Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI shutting down on PS2 and Xbox 360, mobile version and spinoff coming


Final Fantasy Grandmasters and Final Fantasy XI Mobile
Mar 19
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XI is 13 years old. As is the case with 13-year-olds, Square Enix is getting a bit sick of dealing with it.  The PS2 and Xbox 360 versions of the MMO will shut down in March of 2016. Final Fantasy XI's main...
FFXV summon video photo
FFXV summon video

Oh, hey, Final Fantasy XV has summons and HOLY SHIT


Death from above
Mar 17
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XIII's summons were ok, but in using the correct party of Fang/Lightning/Vanille, you only get to see a handful (Bahamut, thankfully). And the whole techno Transformers look, while thematically consistent, led ...

Review: Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

Mar 16 // Chris Carter
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Square Enix 1st Production Department, HexaDrivePublisher: Square EnixReleased: March 17, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Type-0 HD takes place in the world of Orience, with four nations dubbed "Crystal States" constantly vying for power. The narrative focuses on a particular academy in the Vermillion Peristylium region, specifically on a group called "Class Zero" -- an elite unit, consisting of the cream of the crop. Unlike some other Final Fantasy games the narrative is incredibly easy to follow, as it is essentially framed as a warring states type deal with magic infused in it -- think Harry Potter on a grander scale. The order of operations in terms of gameplay is pretty straightforward. Players will spend a lot of time at the academy, which function as a hub-like city where you can buy and sell equipment, upgrade spells, take lectures to learn more about in-game lore, or advance the story and go on missions. There's a world map complete with optional chocobo travel, where characters can engage in random encounters, tame roaming chocobos, or find roaming monsters or warring factions. Most of your time however will be spent in combat, by way of battlefield encounters that resemble those in Kingdom Hearts (which I'll get to in a moment) and small RTS-like segments that play out on the world map. With the latter sequences you can invade towns, order troops between different vantage points, and try to sway the tide of combat with your own magic abilities. [embed]288500:57590:0[/embed] The real draw here though is the action-oriented combat, which features all of the staples you've come to love over the years -- lock-on, dodging, magic, physical attacks, and synergy between party members. It's crazy to see how much detail was put into each individual action, as every character has his or her own nuanced movements. For example, Ace has a teleport-style dodge, and can put up a magical defensive barrier to protect himself from attacks. Another character might have a faster melee skillset and focus on rushdown attacks, preferring a rough and tough block over the barrier. The more one plays the deeper combat becomes, as you start to get into tactics like standing still to heal, holding ability buttons to charge them up beyond their limits, and absorbing souls from fallen enemies, Onimusha style. For the most part you'll control three characters at once, with the ability to switch freely between them with the d-pad to adjust your tactics accordingly. By sacrificing your leader one can bring out a temporary playable Eidolon summon like Ifrit (which is subsequently limited by a timer), or rely on reserve troops if your party starts to die out and dwindle.Type-0's big message is that every party member needs to be used, and everyone is viable. From what I've played, this is absolutely true. Out of all 14 students, every single one of them has a unique skillset, from scythes to Magicite pistols to good old fashioned fisticuffs. The game gives you pretty much everything up front, and to really succeed, you'll need to have a balanced party to prevent a top-heavy situation from happening. While some may find it an excuse to pad the length, I personally love it, as there is real incentive to try out everyone. Since they're all fun to play in their own right (even Deuce, who wields a flute), I have no problem with it. It helps that you'll keep your experience even if you fail a mission, and Square Enix actually hints that it's perfectly okay to fail. I've had instances where I was down to my very last member in the final boss fight of a mission, and it was an absolute blast to figure out how I got there and how to prevent my party from getting eviscerated further. It must be said, Type-0 HD is a difficult game, and mastering every element is required to really succeed consistently. For those of you who want a more casual experience, Square added a "cadet" setting that should help less skilled players get to the end. Aesthetically, I love the focus on red and gold. Just like any Final Fantasy game you'll have your favorite characters, and the seasoned dub cast led by talents like Matthew Mercer really do a great job here. If one is so inclined Japanese audio is also in without having to download a patch (as Square has been known to offer). The incredible soundtrack also deserves its own mention, and I'm keen to listen to tracks outside of the game, which doesn't happen all that often. I also felt a connection to the world of Type-0, which helped me along as I took on each mission. There's lots of blood, perhaps more than any other Final Fantasy title to date, and the first time I saw a chocobo brutally executed in front of me while a young cadet begged for his life, my jaw was wide open. There are a lot of great action scenes afoot in Type-0, and because of the down-to-earth school setting the rivalries between classes and classmates are a little more relatable than some other back stories. Of course, not all is good when it comes to the visuals. The style is great on paper, but it really feels scaled down for an HD release. You can take the outdated visuals out of the PSP, but you can't take the PSP influences out of this remake. There are some jarring transitions to deal with, low-detailed environments, and re-used maps in a lot of city-states. The world map also feels bland compared to pretty much every other JRPG out right now. These things are easier to overlook when the game is constantly fun and rewarding, but it's something to be aware of. JRPG fans looking for a meaty experience will be pleased to know that Type-0 HD has at minimum roughly 40 hours of story content, and if you do everything, it'll take you more than double that. There are extra missions to enjoy, plenty of sidequests and world map activities to find, and there's an expansive "history" section on the main menu that opens up the more you play. There are also four difficulty levels, two of which will push your skills to the absolute limit. While it did not factor into this review, first-run physical discs and digital copies will include a demo for Final Fantasy XV. That's quite a hefty list of extras, but there's a certain degree of disappointment when one takes into account that the HD remake didn't really add anything significant content-wise for people who have already played it -- in fact the multiplayer component was actually taken out of the game for fear of taking another year to develop. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is a pleasant surprise, and after playing it, I can see why so many people were clamoring for a western release. Although it doesn't necessarily justify the HD treatment at every turn, the core game is worth playing whether you're a fan of the franchise, or just enjoy challenging tactical action. If Square keeps highlighting and pushing quality experiences like this, it will prove to more people it hasn't lost its touch. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD photo
More capes, darling!
For years now, some people have been saying that Final Fantasy is dead. While XIII was considered a misstep by some, XIII-2 was a marked improvement and Lighting Returns was one of my favorite games of las...

Final Fantasy Type-0 photo
Final Fantasy Type-0

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD features school girls Vs. dragons on ice


Off-screen fun for the whole family
Mar 15
// Jonathan Holmes
Our full review of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is coming up tomorrow, but in the meantime, here is some off-screen footage of the game to get you thinking. As a lapsed fan of the series (the last main series Final Fantasy game I...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Record Keeper headed to a smartphone near you this spring


It was somewhat inevitable
Mar 13
// Brittany Vincent
This year, Square Enix is makin' it rain Final Fantasy spinoffs on us. I mean, we've got Final Fantasy Type-0 HD coming in hot just next week, and DeNA and Square Enix just revealed the launch of Final Fantasy: Record Keeper ...

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