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Square Enix

Dragon Quest Heroes is a fast-paced, challenging spin-off

Sep 11 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]310289:60328:0[/embed] Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (PS4)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: October 13, 2015MSRP: $59:99 Set in the kingdom of Erusaze, humans and monsters live in relative harmony with one another, until one day, the capital city of Arba is attacked by an army of monsters led by an evil sorcerer. Taking up arms against them are two heroes from the king's guard who must band together a group of adventurers, warriors, and even monsters of their own from across the land to combat the legion of foes seeking to destroy civilization. Given the scope and detail of both the Dragon Quest series and the Musou titles, the story does well to fit itself nicely into the themes and styles of both. With the vivid and colorful setting of the DQ games, which channels Akira Toriyama's signature art style quite well along with the vast number of foes to battle, there's a undeniable richness to the world. Exploring it was quite a treat. In traditional Dragon Quest fashion, players can name their central character and then proceed on their epic quest. However, Dragon Quest Heroes presents players with the choice of two unique characters, Luceus and Aurora, both of whom are fully voiced, have their own personalities, and posses their unique play-styles. Selecting one will allow players to view the story from their perspective, with the other serving as another member of the party. Much like other titles in the Musou series, players will be able to choose multiple characters with their own unique move-sets and abilities. Many of the classic DQ archetypes and classes are recreated with new fleshed-out characters, and even some returning from past Dragon Quest titles will join your party to battle the evils that corrupt the land. Moving away from the random battles and turn-based combat, the developers incorporated many of RPG systems from the series into their brand of Dynasty Warriors-style combat and gameplay structure. Battles are entirely action-oriented, using quick and strong attacks, magic, and even the tried-and-true Tension abilities from recent Dragon Quest games to beat down the legions of monsters. Stages take place with in vast open areas with waves of monsters, while tasking players with completing objectives from active quests. You'll have to manage your MP for magic attacks, and keep your inventory of support items well-stocked for when you travel out into the field. The gameplay is very similar to titles like Dynasty Warriors, but it still has the DNA of Dragon Quest. I was happy with the marriage of different genres. Even though I felt more a twitch-focused approach to gameplay, I still felt a sense of progression as I grew in power along with my party. Keep in mind, the general structure of Dragon Quest Heroes is focused on the singular adventure with your party. Unlike the other Musou titles, which focus on a particular characters and their campaign, your party of heroes in DQH will be with you throughout your journey, and while you can switch between them during battle with ease, your chosen characters are still the main focus. Eventually, your band of heroes will gain access to a flying fortress made of stone, which will serve as your base of operations as you travel around the world taking on new challenges. With the airship, you'll essentially have a mobile town from which you can shop, interact with other characters, find new quests, and perform any other needs you may need. Battles are much faster and to the point compared to most other Musou titles, which is great for the focus on narrative and the RPG systems. With its October release approaching, this title will be up the alley for both fans of Dragon Quest and the Musou series. For the classic RPG series, this is largely new territory to be exploring. Action-RPG gameplay with its rich and finely-tuned systems would be challenging to do justice, but I was pleased with how Omega Force made the transition. To make things more enticing for the Western release, all the released DLC from the original launch in Japan will be available for free to all players. Even with its new gameplay, Dragon Quest Heroes still exudes the same sense of adventure and wonder found in the much-loved series.
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Includes all bonus DLC for free
I've got quite the soft spot for Omega Force's series of Musou titles. If you've heard of or played Dynasty Warriors, then you know exactly what they are. As the popularity of the studio's games grow with every release, it br...

Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

Dragon Quest Heroes' DLC will be on-disc and free in the US

No waiting needed
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
When Dragon Quest Heroes arrives in the west in October on PS4, it'll sport all of the DLC so far that has been released in Japan, by way of free patches in that region. The game followed a similar strategy to Hyrule War...
Graphics, baby! photo
Graphics, baby!

Side by side Dragon Quest VIII 3DS and PS2 comparison

Graphics, baby!
Sep 08
// Steven Hansen
With Dragon Quest VIII's recent 3DS release in Japan, YouTuber user "ninten2tv" has put together a side-by-side comparison of the intro for both games. The 3DS is brighter. Too bright? It definitely lacks some tertiary detail, but it looks alright. The only thing that bums me out is how much that gorgeous sky gets smudged smooth. The 3DS does get a new ending, though. via [Nintendo Everything]
Tokyo Game Show photo
Tokyo Game Show

Square schedules 'secret' Tokyo Game Show event

If you schedule it is it a secret?
Sep 08
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix will have a bunch of games at this year's Tokyo Game Show and most of them have "Final Fantasy" or "Dragon Quest" embedded in their confusing titles. The company also just released a teaser video for its show hig...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange is being dubbed in Japanese

Ma-chan and Kuro-chan
Sep 07
// Brett Makedonski
Folks in Japan will soon get to find out what it's like to be a teenage woman with time-manipulation powers. Square Enix is releasing Life is Strange with a Japanese voice dub. This trailer was recently uploaded to Squa...
Nier New Project photo
Nier New Project

A new glimpse of the upcoming Nier sequel

Just a little tease
Sep 05
// Kyle MacGregor
We still don't know all that much about the new Nier project. Even after speaking with creative leads Taro Yoko and Yosuke Saito at E3 this year, an experience I likened to pulling teeth, we were given only a vague idea of wh...
Final Fantasy patch photo
Final Fantasy patch

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster now 'truly random'

RNG and music bugs fixed
Sep 04
// Jordan Devore
A pair of nasty-sounding bugs have kept some fans from picking up Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PlayStation 4, but they're finally fixed as of an update this week. You're good to go. One of the issues involved random nu...
Backward compatibility photo
Backward compatibility

Deus Ex: Human Revolution likely sneaking to Xbox One's backward compatibility

But we might not like the process
Sep 02
// Brett Makedonski
Square Enix and Eidos Montreal are concentrated on the release of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided early next year, but that doesn't preclude it from turning its attention to games of the past. With Microsoft's E3 reveal of Xbox...
Mobile focus photo
Mobile focus

Final Fantasy XV heads Square Enix's Tokyo Game Show 2015 lineup

A lot of mobile
Sep 01
// Steven Hansen
Wow, just a few more weeks until I'm eating curry twice a day and peeing in sexy anime nurse urinals. Also, playing video games over at the Tokyo Game Show (September 17-20). Yes, I did reuse this intro from an hour ago, because I am writing another story about a company unveiling its TGS lineup and, like Japan, I am very efficient. Anyways, it's Square this time. No Call of Duty Black Ops III?
FFXV photo

Check out that new Final Fantasy XV driving footage in HD

Sep 01
// Chris Carter
New footage for Final Fantasy XV was released at PAX, and it deals entirely with the driving portion of the game. It's an overview of sorts, dealing with how the car works and what cruising around the world will look li...
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided photo
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided dated, with a whole mess of pre-order nonsense

'Augment your pre-order,' haha
Aug 31
// Chris Carter
Square Enix and Ubisoft sure know how to do a terrible mean Collector's Edition! Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will launch on February 23, 2016, and with it, multiple "tiers" of pre-order bonuses and a Collector's Edition tha...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV's 'Rising' event kicks off this week

Lasts until September 7
Aug 28
// Chris Carter
Starting this week and running until September 7, 2015, Final Fantasy XIV will run the "Rising" event, complete with rewards and a few "guest appearances." The items include two minions, and celebratory fireworks. The ev...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

This is the best Dragon Quest Heroes trailer I've seen yet

Healix looks awesome
Aug 27
// Chris Carter
CGI-filled trailers often do a great job of building hype, but this gameplay-filled Dragon Quest Heroes video just does it for me. It shows a ton of characters doing their thing, provides a quick look at the English cas...

Review: Lara Croft GO

Aug 27 // Zack Furniss
Lara Croft GO (iOS [reviewed on iPad Air], Android, Windows Phones)Developer: Square Enix MontréalPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: August 27, 2015MSRP: $4.99 Lara Croft GO immediately establishes itself as a contemplative foray into a forgotten world. Meditative music gently ebbs and flows as Lara slowly walks up to a well-preserved ruin in one of the game's few brief cutscenes. The environments are vibrantly rendered in a simplistic yet gorgeous manner while gentle camerawork plays with the foreground, asserting a sense of depth. Lara's expedition takes you deeper into this ancient land, and before long a gargantuan serpent begins pursuing this new trespasser.  Similar to Hitman GO, you can only move along pre-carved lines on the ground and scalable walls, darting from spot to spot. Here, however, Ms. Croft is fluidly animated, doing somersaults and even her famous hand-stand ledge climb on occasion. It's initially jarring to see her do stilted little jumps between spots (there's no way to hold down a run button, as that would quickly end in death), but I stopped noticing it just a few levels in. Enemies and obstacles can only move whenever you do, so movement needs to be precise and measured. Unlike early Tomb Raider games, you'll never die due to stepping a tad too far or misjudging a jump.  Puzzles start as simplistic fare involving levers and floor panels that can only be safely crossed one time, but add elements every few levels (of which there are 40) to stave off repetition. Snakes, lizards, and giant spiders will do their best to prevent you from reaching your desired MacGuffin and each provide their own set of challenges. You'll eventually find single-use tools to combat them, such as a javelin and a torch. Then there are boulders, sawblades, and other traps that will make you doubt every step you take. Since the checkpoints are very forgiving and most levels will only take you a few minutes to complete, dying isn't discouraging. Death, more than anything, is your most reliable tool when it comes to deciphering the machinations of the deathtraps hindering your progress. You'll step on plenty of floor panels only to launch arrows into your soon-to-be lifeless body, but it's never a frustrating affair. While this is appreciated, the one and only quibble I have with Lara Croft GO is that it never quite feels like it fully ramps up to a satisfying difficulty. Despite a couple of "A-ha!" moments, the slow addition of complications and intensifying music build to a climax that doesn't deliver. It's always appreciated when a mobile game can be played in short sessions, but I wouldn't have balked at being stumped a few times. Perhaps it's my love towards past installments and the enjoyment of being utterly stonewalled by a puzzle, having to think about it even when I'm not playing. On the off-chance that you every get completely stuck, you can use microtransactions for hints (this feature was not online when I was playing for review). If you miss the older games in the series, you'll find cute references that aren't cloyingly nostalgic. The main menu is radial like it was in the olden days of yore, and that satisfyingly reverbed BRRINNGG sound effect denoting the discovery of a hidden treasure has returned. Find enough of those treasures and you'll even find costumes from the old games, like the wetsuit from Tomb Raider II. This affords Lara Croft GO some replayability (since you'll be able to finish it in around three hours depending on your skill level), but they aren't exactly well-hidden until the back half of the adventure. Though other games featuring Lara Croft have elicited a gamut of reactions such as horror and anxiety, I never expected to find spelunking so calming. The dreamlike soundscapes bring to mind a massage parlor and slowly slipping into sleep as someone caresses your tired feet. This is an easy game to fall asleep to, and I'm almost positive you'll have good dreams. I don't think Square Enix is claiming that one solely because of the lawsuits that will occur when players start rolling over and crushing their iPads. Lara Croft GO is clearly the product of a love for what the Tomb Raider series used to mean. Your pistols are more of a tool than a weapon, and you certainly won't be killing an island's worth of men. A lovely visual style and a zen-inspiring score provide backdrops to my favorite Croft adventure in some time. I'm now grateful for the delineation between the action-filled Tomb Raider and puzzle-focused Lara Croft games. Even though I enjoyed 2013's hectic reboot, sometimes you just want to stop and breathe it all in, tomb dust and all.
Lara Croft GO photo
Spa Raider
Last year, Square Enix Montréal surprised us by distilling the Hitman series into a minimalistic mobile game with a tabletop aesthetic. It was a risky move, but Hitman GO ended up a critical success that show...

Final Fantasy VII photo
Bring a controller
Final Fantasy VII hit iOS last week with a $15.99 price tag, which left a number of people skeptical as to how much work was put into it. After playing it however, I have to say that most of my fears were put to rest. By...

Final Fantasy VII remake photo
Final Fantasy VII remake

Final Fantasy VII remake team toying with battle system overhaul

'Command battle system might not work'
Aug 26
// Chris Carter
The Final Fantasy VII remake is kind of a big deal. It absolutely blew up E3 -- heck, it blew up the entire day before it was even announced, as it was leaked hours before Sony's conference. But Square Enix ha...
Just Cause 3 photo
Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3 is giving away a goddamn island, and you probably want no part of it

No bueno
Aug 25
// Brett Makedonski
We like to discourage pre-ordering video games. Sometimes games are broken. Sometimes games suck. No one needs to fork over money before they know the final verdict. However, sometimes video games use their pre-order siren s...
Bad breath photo
Bad breath

Have you seen Final Fantasy XV's malboro? Terrifying

Bad breath
Aug 25
// Steven Hansen
Ah, the days when the sight of a drooling malboro brought with it dread. This encounter is looking as if Final Fantasy XV will recapture that worry. With the push towards realism and the large scope of the world, it needs be...
FFXIV photo

Final Fantasy XIV getting a 24-man airship raid, Pokemon-like minion battles

And a whole lot more
Aug 25
// Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV is already a rather large game thanks to the Heavensward expansion, but it's about to get bigger come patch 3.1. It was announced that in addition to new story quests, a new beast tribe questline is coming, ...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV tops 5 million registered users

That's a lot of Chocobos
Aug 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Final Fantasy XIV has amassed more than 5 million registered accounts across the globe since Square Enix released the popular MMO two years ago, the publisher announced this week. That figure doesn't quite rival market leader...
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara doesn't need to murder everyone in Rise of the Tomb Raider

Just some people
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
The Rise of the Tomb Raider section of Microsoft's gamescom press conference was filled with knives to the back and arrows to the head. Given the large stage, it's obvious why Crystal Dynamics showed a violent slice of ...
Triple Triad iOS photo
Triple Triad iOS

Square Enix's Triple Triad iOS app is an embarassment

How is it possible to ruin Triple Triad
Aug 21
// Chris Carter
For those of you who aren't aware, Triple Triad is an iconic card game that originally debuted in Final Fantasy VIII. It was so iconic that Square decided to use it in multiple series entries over the years, most recentl...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts will have a special event at D23 Japan

Coming in November
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
If you're going to be in Japan on November 3, you may want to catch the D23 Expo event. Following up the recent event in Anaheim California, this D23 will have a special "Kingdom Hearts Premium Theater Event," which will...
Hitman Review photo
Hitman Review

Check out Flixist's review of Hitman: Agent 47

Hit or miss?
Aug 19
// Matthew Razak
Hi! Nick Valdez over at Flixist has just reviewed Hitman: Agent 47, a film starring Rupert Friend as a silent but deadly super agent in the silent but deadly rebootquel to the silent but not deadly at all 2007 film. Here's a ...
Final Fantasy VII photo
Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII hits iOS tonight

At midnight
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
When the clock strikes midnight in your country, Final Fantasy VII will be available on iOS. This version evidently offers up multiple controller options, including analog or digital movement. It also comes with some of...
Dragon Quest photo
Dragon Quest

Tokyo shop to hold collaboration event with Dragon Quest this month

Starting on August 22
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
If you're near Chiyoda, Tokyo next week, you may want to check out the 3 Chome-1-10 Sotokanda Lawson shop, which is being re-decorated, Dragon Quest style, starting August 22 for a limited time. The store ...
Wingsuit photo

Just Cause 3 has Super Monkey Ball style challenge mode

Also wonton destruction, natch
Aug 18
// Steven Hansen
Curious: does anyone pronounce Just Cause like Just 'Cuz? Just wondering. Why? Just 'cause. Hah. But seriously. I know some of you must've started with that pronunciation and it stuck, right? I mean, it works, too. That was ...
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD photo
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD hits PC with extra HD, system requirements

Scalable motion blur?!?
Aug 18
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy Typo [Not a Type-0 -Ed.] has come to Steam and it's even more HD than when it released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and certainly more HD still than when it released on PSP. It's $30 and features: Upgraded gr...
Kingdom Hearts III photo
Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III has world based on Big Hero 6

Aug 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Today at Disney's D23 Expo, Square Enix just announced Kingdom Hearts III will include a world based on Walt Disney Animation Studio's 2014 computer-animated film Big Hero 6. 
Dive In, dead photo
Dive In, dead

Square shuts down streaming service less than a year after launch

Dive In no more
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
Dive In, dead? Dive In is dead. Late last year Square Enix launched Dive In in Japan, a service that streams games (like Final Fantasy XIII's 1-3, Murdered: Soul Suspect) to Android and Apple mobile devices. There were all so...

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