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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...
PS3 photo
PS3

Hey Eurotoid, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is out now!


It's looking at me, Ray!
Mar 14
// Stephen Turner
As a Brit, I do miss the weirdness that defined the PS2. Play novels, especially, had to make do with the DS. And yes, several years later, I'm still upset about Cing. But fret not, my niche loving console chums! NIS America ...

Review: Fantasy Life

Oct 24 // Brittany Vincent
Fantasy Life (3DS)Developer:  Level-5, 1-UP StudioPublisher: NintendoMSRP: $39.99Released: October 24, 2014  Fantasy Life is the child of Level-5 and Brownie Brown, having begun its own story back in 2009 and finding a Japan-only release in December 2012. With notable names like Yoshitaka Amano and Nobuo Uematsu attached to the project, it's no secret that it was well-received, a project that stole the attention of role-playing fans, particularly those of Brownie Brown, which would eventually change its name to 1-UP Studio. It comes from trusted names, but most of all, it's absolutely adorable; a warm and welcoming sight that will feel simultaneously familiar to RPG lovers and anyone who appreciates Western fantasy alike.  Getting started in Fantasy Life is exceedingly simple, as you choose a gender, body type, face, expression, and more for your character. You can customize him or her right down to the spacing of their eyes, voice, and hairstyle. There are a surprising amount of options for customizing your hero, but then it makes sense that there should be -- this is your "fantasy," after all. [embed]282964:56074:0[/embed] Unfortunately, the beginning of the game is riddled with JRPG narrative tropes, especially as you wake up in the morning in a tiny house and rush out to choose your own Life, which is essentially the job a person chooses for themselves in the game world. There are multiple Lives for various proficiencies, though if you choose one and wish to swap over to another halfway through your training, that's perfectly fine as well. You're never constrained to one job, just like in real life. The scope of jobs is interesting as well, ranging from the familiar Paladin or Blacksmith to the less flashy Tailor or Cook. Just as there are jobs that find you on the front line of battle, there are also more mundane professions where you'll be completing tasks for townsfolk  rather than lifesaving operations. Depending on which Life you choose, you might find yourself slaying a dragon or mining ore to forge weapons. All the jobs are interconnected, so even the smallest role plays a part. Though it would have been simple to offer 12 different jobs and give them the same questlines, playing each Life ends up feeling unique. With engaging writing and interesting interactions between characters, even if you choose to play as an Angler or a Cook, there's still plenty to see and do. And if and when you get bored with their minigames, you can just switch to a different profession at the drop of the hat to begin earning stars for another job. You'll retain many of your skills and recipes when switching, except for Special Skills that are tied to the Life you're currently developing. It's up to you to select which classes are important to spend time on in order to ensure your character has access to a wealth of different abilities and proficiencies that complement each other. But don't mistake versatility for a game that requires you to learn all of these jobs to train a machine who can slay monsters and knit a mean sweater. You're never forced to pursue specific skills and there's no dark cloud hanging around the world of Reveria nudging you to pursue different skills in order to complete a quest. You can play at your own pace, and if that means diverging from the main quest to focus on learning how to craft potions or forge weapons, that's your prerogative. That's where all the fun lies -- spending time trying new things and figuring out what it is you like to do within the game. It's a lot like real life in that regard, without any of the risks attached to uprooting and learning a completely new trade when the mood strikes. There's no hurry to complete anything, and that's what makes the game work so well. Everything is done at a leisurely yet satisfying pace, even combat, which finds skills assigned to single buttons that works quite well with the real-time hack-and-slash system. You may need a bit to get used to timing your strikes, but it's simple to master and complements the rest of the game well. The minigames surrounding item production are easy to learn as well, though if you happen to botch a crafting session while at a workbench, you can simply start over. Aside from earning XP and levels, however, there's an additional system in play that's important to focus on. It's called Bliss, and you receive Bliss points when you explore Reveria and complete tasks for others. As you decorate your home, buy a new residence, or interact with the game in ways beyond combat and training, you'll earn Bliss points that can be used to upgrade your bag, allow for home expansion, and more. It's an interesting system that encourages players to focus on aspects of the game beyond combat and grinding, and acts as a reward system for completing tasks you were going to have to do anyway. There's simply no shortage of things to complete in Fantasy Life. Beyond single-player's vast amount of things to do, you can also invite other players locally or online in groups of three to tackle tasks together. You can't complete the game while working with friends, but you playing together via Link mode does allow for some MMORPG-styled fun that ensures each player's individual strengths are pooled together in a manner that's beneficial for everyone. Of course, Fantasy Life's relaxed nature may not be for everyone. The lengthy tutorials and even the fact that there's no true urgency for the main storyline to be completed will grate on some players' nerves. There's also the caveat that playing multiplayer with friends doesn't allow for "true" progress. They're minor nitpicks, but issues nevertheless, especially for a game where multiplayer is such an enticing proposition. But there's so much to love about Fantasy Life, from its whimsical and colorful illustrations and lighthearted tone to its varied soundtrack. It's truly a role-playing game that allows you to forge your own path, and a breath of fresh air that feels at home on the 3DS. If you're looking for something to scratch that Animal Crossing or Tomodachi Life itch with a little more substance, Fantasy Life is the game for you.
Fantasy Life review photo
Trip the life fantastic
One of the biggest gripes I hear from friends interested in but hesitant to play Japanese role-playing games is that they're too "complicated." It's a sentiment I've never understood; several take great pains to be accessible...


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Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft composers join up for a concert


Coming to Naka-Kon in Overland Park, Kansas
Oct 16
// Dale North
Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and World of Warcraft composer Jason Hayes are teaming up with their respective bands, The Earthbound Papas and Critical Hit, to perform live at Naka-Kon in Overland Park, Kansas this Nove...
Fantasy Life photo
Fantasy Life

Europe gets Level-5 RPG Fantasy Life next month


Good for them
Aug 18
// Jordan Devore
Level-5's 3DS role-playing game Fantasy Life is releasing in Europe on September 26, 2014, Nintendo has announced. As a reminder, we're getting it here in the States on October 24. This overview trailer is perfect if, like m...
Fairy Fencer F photo
Fairy Fencer F

Fairy Fencer F is headed for Europe this September as well


Amano and Uematsu, oh my!
Jun 27
// Brittany Vincent
NIS America keeps bringing the thunder, and I keep waving my wallet around like a madwoman. We knew Fairy Fencer F would be available as a digital and physical download for PlayStation 3 in North America on September 23, but ...
Defender's Quest photo
Defender's Quest

Composer Nobuo Uematsu joins Defender's Quest II


That's even cooler than the turtle-tank
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
There's really nothing more that needs to be said about Defender's Quest II: Mist of Ruin for me to be interested in it -- that's how much I liked the last game, which remains one of my favorite tower-defense titles. Today's ...
Granbule Fantasy photo
Granbule Fantasy

'Blockbuster' RPG from Final Fantasy dev, Nobuo Uematsu


OH MY GOD! Why do you do this to me?
Nov 08
// Steven Hansen
Japanese developer and publisher Cygames has announced its new project, Granbule Fantasy. The site is really neat. Final Fantasy veteran Hideo Minaba is serving as character designer, while famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo...
Uematsu signing photo
Uematsu signing

Meet Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu at UCLA


And the rest of the Earthbound Papas!
Oct 24
// Steven Hansen
Live in or around southern California? Or have money for a plane ticket or a private jet or maybe a personal flying yacht? Like Final Fantasy music? Well, do I have an idea for you -- let me have your jet. Please? Fine. Well,...
Project Phoenix photo
Project Phoenix

Project Phoenix Kickstarter flies past $1M


I'm really interested in seeing how this turns out
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
The Kickstarter for the intriguing Project Phoenix is done, and it's soared past the one million dollar mark. With talent like the legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu and artist Kiyoshi Arai attached, it's no wonder this project...

Project Phoenix is an indie JRPG from Final Fantasy vets

Aug 09 // Steven Hansen
Now, big names are fine and dandy, but I'm sure some people want to know what the game is about. Players will follow the story of the amnesiac angel, Ruffles, who has landed in the world of Azuregard and encounters the troubled Templar, Marcus Stern. Together with the elven princess Sylrianah, who is reserved but curious to see the world beyond the forest, and Zarum the Lost, a battlemage with his own internal conflicts , they form an unlikely bond. These four heroes must discover their place in a world brought to war by misunderstanding and ignorance, and perhaps ultimately even save it from itself.Project Phoenix is a sprawling adventure where you will travel and battle enemies across Azuregard. The game departs from traditional RPG conventions through its use of RTS elements, yielding a combat system that is fast-paced and dynamic. Furthermore, players can have their characters interact with environmental terrain features, be it rope bridges or boulders, to create tactical advantages. I almost wanted to sigh at the amnesiac protagonist, but "Ruffles?" Ruffles. That is probably the cutest possible name -- and that art is adorable. The plot seems appropriately trope-filled, but that doesn't mean it won't be done well. More exciting is that the gameplay is trying to do more than cut and paste basic JRPG mechanics. The RTS fusion seems like it could yield good things. Project Phoenix is aiming for a mid 2015 release on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Yes, mobile. I'll wait to see if the Kickstarter yields a more definite look at the game before getting a bit worried that this won't be the grandiose adventure I'm yearning for because it's also coming to mobile platforms. It seems the company is also almost finished with talks to release the game on PlayStation 4 and Vita. They're "90% sure it will happen." I am so, so excited. Make sure to look at the full resolution city concept art in the gallery. It is amazing. PS4 Project Phoenix JRPG reveal from major talent, including Final Fantasy, Diablo III and Starcraft II developers [PSU]
Project Phoenix  photo
Get down with Project Phoenix
There's a lot to digest here. Project Phoenix is an indie JRPG with real-time strategy elements. Its Kickstarter campaign will launch in a few days and it's asking for $100,000. Heading the project is Hiroaki Yura. Kiyoshi Ar...

Nobuo Uematsu postcards photo
Plus more details on the Final Fantasy composer's new e-book
[Update: Contest over! Winners are CharlieWhistle, Scary Hair Studios, and kingsharkboi!] Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu is an amazing man. In addition to his musical prowess, he's also just released his first e-book, t...

Nobuo Uematsu photo
Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy composer talks to us about upcoming e-book


Three pieces of music and a touching story
Jul 19
// Jayson Napolitano
We mentioned a few days ago that Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu was preparing an e-book titled Blik-0 with accompanying music. I was immediately curious to learn more, and fortunately Uematsu was on hand at San Diego Co...
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Final Fantasy composer's first e-book coming soon


Nobuo Uematsu branches out
Jul 15
// Dale North
Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu is an amazing man. He's one of my personal musical heroes and I've had the pleasure of chatting with him a few times. Aside from being a talented composer, he also makes his own bee...

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