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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
FFXIV

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
Wingsuit

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


Baymax!
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...
Final Fantasy Record photo
Final Fantasy Record

Because Lightning is in everything, she is invading Final Fantasy Record Keeper


I'm surprised she doesn't have an anime
Aug 13
// Chris Carter
You know what, Final Fantasy Record Keeper is actually pretty neat. It manages to be a decent homage to the series without going overboard like All the Bravest. Now, it's getting "everyone's favorite" (TM) character, Lig...
Dragon Quest XI photo
Dragon Quest XI

Dragon Quest XI's first screenshots look amazing


No matter which version you choose
Aug 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Square Enix unveiled Dragon Quest XI for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS late last month at an event in Tokyo, where the publisher gave attendees a nice long look at the game. Today, the company has shared the first ...
FF XV photo
FF XV

Final Fantasy XV will get a simultaneous worldwide release


The boys arrive in every town at once
Aug 12
// Laura Kate Dale
Rejoice Western Final Fantasy fans tired of seeing your favorite JRPG series released months before you can understand it; Final Fantasy XV will be the first ever Final Fantasy mainline game to see a simultaneous worldwi...
PSN sale photo
PSN sale

PSN has Square Enix and Devil May Cry games for cheap


Devil May Cry 4 SE for $18.99
Aug 11
// Jordan Devore
I had hoped someone else on staff would cover this week's PlayStation Network discounts on Square Enix and Devil May Cry games so I could more easily resist temptation. I've been on too much of a spending spree and, besides, I'll be wrapped up in The Phantom Pain soon enough. But uh, you go ahead and take a look.
FFXV photo
FFXV

Final Fantasy XV gets new screens, city of Lestallum looks gorgeous


I dug the demo, I'll probably dig this
Aug 10
// Chris Carter
While everyone is talking about how bad that last Final Fantasy XV trailer was, I'm working on my third playthrough of the Duscae demo. I really dig this game, and so far, these new screenshots are instilling more f...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV airships might not make launch, Just Cause 3 dev helping


Aiming for seamless, 'full-scale' ships
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
At the start of this year, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata called airships "a huge technical challenge" and "to be determined," but they make sense for the game's big, organically connected world. At gamescom last we...
FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Final Fantasy XIV could still come to Xbox One, possibly NX


Jury is out
Aug 10
// Chris Carter
The ability to play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on the PC, PS3, and PS4 platforms, and have them all coexist together on the same servers, is wonderful -- and conversely, a sorely missed feature in Elder ...
Rise of Mana photo
Rise of Mana

Rise of Mana hosts Final Fantasy Tactics' Ramza, Agrias, and Orlandu


I'm okay with this
Aug 10
// Chris Carter
Ah, Rise of Mana -- the project that sounds really cool, until you realize that it's a free-to-play mobile game from Square Enix. While the game is no stranger to crossovers, the newest one is pretty damn awesome. The g...
Dragon Quest VIII photo
Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII on 3DS has a new dungeon, ending


'Surprise developments'
Aug 07
// Chris Carter
Dragon Quest VIII was released all the way back in 2004 on PS2, but its legacy has withstood the test of time. It's still regarded as one of the best entries in the series, and later this year in Japan, it will hit the 3DS. N...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Square Enix is fixing the RNG and music bugs in FF X/X-2 HD Remaster


Oh, good
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
The PS4 version of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was and still is held back by a few issues with the RNG (random number generator) and background music. But fixes are on the way. "We are aware of the audio and RNG bugs in F...
gamescom photo
gamescom

Final Fantasy XV confirmed for 2016 release


Director confirms internal date set
Aug 06
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XV's lengthy development time has been long documented. Square Enix's promised strong showing for the next mainline entry this gamescom amounted to a fairly boring trailer, doing nothing to reassure anyone that ...

Hitman studio just wants to 'get back to Hitman'

Aug 05 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]294082:59060:0[/embed] From what we saw, creativity should be a pillar of gameplay this time around. There's so much happening at any given time, leading to seemingly endless possibilities. Seifert pointed out how almost everything could be used as either a distraction or an instrument of death. Chandeliers can be cut loose, gas lamps can be tampered with, weapons could be smuggled inside electrical equipment, liquor could be poisoned, et cetera ad nauseam.  Our approach was a bit more customized. We planted an explosive device behind a guard and then threw a coin to alert him. Proficient in his line of work, he noticed the mine, disarmed it, and picked it up so no one would get hurt. He took it to the guard center inside which was past security. All we had to do was retrieve it later. Sucker. People who know and love Hitman might pick up on this style immediately, but newcomers won't necessarily know how the game's systemic nuances work. Seifert's solution to bridging this gap is an "opportunity alert" that doesn't quite guide the player, but informs them that something can be done. He noted that it's very important that the feature be able to be disabled. "Hardcore players will turn it off right away," Seifert said. "They want to discover things on their own." There's a lot to do in Hitman, and all these unique methods stem from the density of the levels. The stage we saw was set at the iconic Parisian Fashion Week (not my first time virtually touring the French capital). Seifert said that this was one of the smaller settings, yet it's still six times larger than anything in Absolution. Likewise, Absolution had around 30 NPCs with their own routines and lifecycles per level; Hitman will have around 300. Everything's bigger in Hitman, but it's not just for the sake of being bigger. It all leads to more options, which is exactly what players want from a Hitman game. There's no trick to being more efficient implementing this, either. It simply just takes more time. Seifert says that it has taken IO Interactive around a year to complete any given level. They take a while to create, but those levels will likely get a lot of use over time. One of the major planned features is an assassination mission that rotates out every two days or so. The catch is that players are only given a single try. If they botch it, the target gets away and they have a black mark on their permanent record. Success will be rewarded with unique items to carry into the campaign and leaderboard glory. This is indicative of Seifert's beliefs on post-launch content. He doesn't think that developers should spend four years creating a game, put it out, and then get working on another four-year cycle. Instead, he wants to offer players new things with regularity. That mindset isn't too unique, but Seifert is interestingly against paid DLC. That's why Hitman will have none. He said it's a model that he lobbied for, and admitted that it was a "tough sell." Everyone likes their money, after all. Still, somehow he won. The price of the base game is all people will have to pay to fully experience his game. Really, when you boil it down, Seifert's adamant attitude toward constant content is just another angle for all that Hitman wants to accomplish -- it's another way to give players options. The appealing idea here is that everyone will have a personal experience with the game -- their own stories to tell about an assassination gone right or awry. That, as Seifert would put it, is how they're getting back to Hitman.
Hitman preview photo
And the response to Absolution
"Hitman is 15 years old," IO Interactive head Hannes Seifert said. "That's a long time. Tastes change. It's time to get back to Hitman." That was Seifert's explanation for why the next game in the series has forgone a su...


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