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Dissidia Final Fantasy photo
Dissidia Final Fantasy

12 minutes of the Final Fantasy fighter Dissidia


Currently in arcades
May 26
// Steven Hansen
The currently Japan-only, arcade-only (a PS4 release down the line is likely) Final Fantasy fighter (spun off from the PSP series) has some new footage fresh from arcade cabinet location testing. The 3-on-3 fighter looks deep. Right now the breakdown of the six confirmed characters is Heavy (Cloud, Warrior of Light), Speed (Lightning, Onion Knight), and Ranged (Terra, Y’shtola).

Final Fantasy was almost called Fighting Fantasy: Creator explains actual reason behind the name

May 26 // Steven Hansen
Sakaguchi recently gave a keynote address at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University on, "the globalization of Japanese-produced games," according to RocketNews' translation of a Famitsu article. According to Sakaguchi, the team wanted a title that had a simple abbreviation in the Roman alphabet (FF) and a four-syllable abbreviated Japanese pronunciation ("efu efu"). Because of the setting and style, "fantasy" was an easy choice. "Final" wasn't the first choice of adjective, however. The initial proposed name was "Fighting Fantasy," but it was already taken by a tabletop game. And so it is, Final Fantasy. "To be sure, we had our backs to the wall when we were developing Final Fantasy," Sakaguchi said, "but really, anything that started with an F would have been fine for the title." Of course, Sakaguchi's explanation doesn't discount the fact that "final" could've carried some import, even if it was a secondary choice shoehorned into an earlier-made decision. Famed series composed Nobuo Uematsu was thought to have clarified the origin behind the name six years ago in a Wired interview. Uematsu confirmed Sakaguchi's often repeated explanation that he would have had to quit and go back to university had the game not been successful, but at that time Uematsu agreed that the ultimate reason for the name was that Square was going belly-up and the folks working on it figured it was their last production. At the least, Sakaguchi's explanation adds a new wrinkle to what has always been an inalienable piece of gaming history. Final Fantasy creator reveals the real reason behind the “Final” part of the hit series’ title [RocketNews24]FF』はどのように世界に広がっていったのか? 坂口博信氏と浜村弘一ファミ通グループ代表が“国際日本ゲーム研究カンファレンス”にて語る [Famitsu]
Fighting Fantasy?! photo
Disputes long taken for granted origin
Why's it called FINAL fantasy if there's a load of 'em, an internet commenter snickers before calling American football "hand egg" and ordering three more bacon meme t-shirts from Epic Threadz. The trodden joke has an equally...

FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Nobuo Uematsu unveils his beautiful new Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward theme


Also, have some expansion footage
May 22
// Chris Carter
One of the best parts of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the music. Most people don't consider it a "real" Final Fantasy because of the MMO tag, but let me tell you -- it's probably my favorite main entry sinc...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Chocobos are using Twitter to race in Final Fantasy XIV


It's funny because birds tweet
May 21
// Joe Parlock
Final Fantasy XIV confused the shit out of me. I played it for about a month, and I’ll probably go back to it, but god damn I had no idea what I was doing. But now there is an anchor in that game, something I know and ...
Japan sales photo
Japan sales

Re-re-release: Final Fantasy X/X-2 PS4 tops Japan sales


PlayStation 4 tops hardware charts
May 20
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix's somewhat screwy PS4 release of the previously release Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster topped Japanese sales chartsfor the week ending on May 17 (it was released in Japan May 14), according to Gematsu's report of...
FFXV photo
FFXV

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae 2.0 is coming next month


Early June
May 18
// Chris Carter
Some time ago Square Enix released the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo out into the wild for PS4 and Xbox One. I really enjoyed it, despite the blemishes. It's also a work in progress, and the publisher seems keen o...
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...
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...






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