E3 may be over but some of us can't stop talking about all the cool things we got to see and play at this year's show. There was just so much good stuff on display, both for current-gen and next-generation consoles.
RPG Site spoke with Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD producer Yoshinoro Kitase, who directed Final Fantasy X and other Square Enix staples, about the process behind remastering the well-loved title and the decision to include Final Fantasy X-2, which was apparently made "from day one," despite the recent revelation.
What I'm more interested in, however, is Kitase's response on remasters going forward: "We'll have to wait and see if these remasters are going to be successful, first," he explained. "If they do well, I think this will pave the way for more of the previous games to remade in an HD sort of quality. I mean, if we had to single out one of the vast number of Final Fantasy titles which we could make in HD, it would have to be Final Fantasy XII."
I've been banking on the success and completion of Final Fantasy X HD to yield a remaster of what is quite possibly my favorite game in the series, Final Fantasy XII, so I'm ecstatic to see it's first in line, in Kitase's mind. I'll do my part and buy five copies of Final Fantasy X HD. Is there a game in the franchise you'd (wrongly) rather see remastered first?
This review recap is brought to you by Daft Punk's Alive 2007, which fueled the incessant copying and pasting efforts needed to put one of these together. I don't feel like I've blinked since I started working on this, but it's worth it!
April was notable in that most of what we covered was smaller-scale and released through digital channels rather than at retail. We had Dead Island Riptide, sure, but there was also the likes of Don't Starveand Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Speaking of which, did you notice that video reviews are back? There's going to be plenty more of those on the way.
Which games released in April, if any, decimated your free time?
The Dragon's Crown "thing" shows no sign of stopping, with vehement and sometimes venomous opinions flying this way and that. To bring you up to speed, Vanillaware's upcoming brawler features a big-boobed Sorceress, the design of which is causing a ruckus.
Now an artist from a completely different studio is in the mix, Gearbox environmental artist Shaylyn Hamm. To say she's not impressed by George Kamitani's mammary magician is putting it lightly.
"I want to see more women getting interested in games and game development, but stuff like this only serves to further cement the idea that you're stepping into a male hobby rather than something that is more inclusive," she wrote on The Escapist's forums.
"Also, this is the first time I've seen that character and holy shit, ahahahahahaha. That's actually something that made its way into a basically finished video game, fucking lol! Some juvenile delinquent kid in my 5th grade class used to draw girls that looked like that (only without the creepy blank, featureless samefaces and wizard hats), and I think he was actually better at it. I also think he's in jail now. This is amazing."
PlayStation Vita owners know a lot about compromise. One has to wait an excruciatingly long time between remarkable, must-have releases, but when those releases come, many would agree the wait was worth it. It's fitting then, that the latest must-have is all about compromise.
Soul Sacrifice asks the player exactly how much they're willing to give up in exchange for raw power -- a question the PS Vita itself embodies so well. My own history with the Vita has indeed seen me surrender much of my patience and goodwill ... but the rewards, such as they are, make up for it.
True to itself, Soul Sacrifice is one such reward.
In popular Mexican culture, the luchador (masked wrestler) isn't just an athlete, he's a cultural icon. El Santo is probably the most power example of the luchador concept's hold on Mexico. Santo started professional wrestling back in the 1930's, but before his death in the 1980's, he had beaten the crap out of secret agents, vampires, and even devils. No longer just a star athlete, Santo had gone on to become a cultural icon for selflessness, bravery, and man's budding ability to conquer the unknown.
With Guacamelee!, the team at Drinkbox Studios snatched that idealized notion of the luchador and ran with it. You know how everyone in the Pokémon games is obsessed with Pokémon? That's how the people in Guacamelee! treat luchadors. Their glorification of masked machismo comes off as farce at first, but a few minutes in and it becomes clear that there is more too it that. Luchadors are merely a vessel for the real focus of glorification: 90's-style animation and gaming.
Like luchadors, the gaming and animation in the 90's were all about colorful iconography, straight-faced silliness, and dedication to clean, simple, gut-punching design ideals that still pack a wallop to this day. It's a perfect fit.
What a month! Now that March is well behind us (and we remembered to take a look back to ponder), I feel confident in saying that between BioShock Infiniteand Tomb Raider, and yet another Gears of War, we are well into this year of big-budget gaming.
Take a look at everything we reviewed in March -- there's a lot! What was your jam? What did you miss out on? I still need to grab copies of HarmoKnightand Luigi's Mansion for my 3DS. The poor guy has gotten dusty and now only I'm to blame for it.
Remember Conception? Yeah, that PSP dungeon crawler where the protagonist must save the world by having magical children with a dozen celestial maidens. Well, it's getting a sequel and publisher Spike Chunsoft seems keen on bringing the title west.
Conception 2 is coming to Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita this summer in Japan. There's no confirmation of a western release just yet, but Spike is gauging interest so at least it's a possibility. The premise sounds hilariously absurd and Lord knows Sony's portable is in dire need of software. Let's all start bugging Atlus, XSEED, and Aksys and make this thing happen.
Square Enix has announced today that it will be remastering not just Final Fantasy X, but its direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, and releasing them this year. The updated PlayStation 2 games will be coming to both PS3 and PS Vita.
For PS3, both games will be included on a single disc. Square Enix says both games will be available on Vita, but hasn't suggested they will be bundled -- implying a situation similar to the separately obtainable HD versions of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3.
We already knew FFX was coming to the Vita, but the sequel is an interesting surprise. I wasn't too keen on the followup myself, but hey, nobody can fault some good options!
This next generation of gaming is looking to provide the biggest industry shake-up in decades, with dedicated console manufacturers facing ever-growing competition from tablet devices, smartphones, and an upcoming wave of budget consoles like the Ouya.
This is why I was so bewildered by Sony’s over-hyped PlayStation 4 reveal earlier this month, an event which seemed almost completely ignorant of this coming shift in the marketplace. I’d expected to bear witness to some sort of master plan from one of the leading console manufactures. Instead we were treated to the non-news of another Final Fantasy game and a two-year late Diablo III port, each new awkward PR robot that took the stage helping to reinforce the idea that Sony had no idea what they were doing.
Thing is, the more I’ve thought about Sony’s current market strategy, the more I’ve come to believe that they may not be as stupid as that mess of a press event would indicate. Though Sony’s newest announcements may have been lackluster, the company has already proven themselves to be the only console manufacturer aware of how shifting valuations of media are affecting the gaming industry, an understanding which could give them a leg up in the coming console war and keep them from making the same sort of epic pricing blunders which could take Nintendo out of the race before it’s even truly begun.
After the extremely sour-tasting Ninja Gaiden III that was, in my mind, a disaster in nearly every way possible, it's a bit hard to trust Team Ninja without Tomonobu Itagaki at the helm.
Nonetheless, Team Ninja is still extremely content with profiting off of his former works with the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Sigma 2 -- both in the form of remakes of the originals, andenhanced Vita ports of said remakes.
It's all a bit confusing, but at the end of the day, this maelstrom of porting somehow always manages to translate the pure quality of the originals into whatever version Tecmo Koei sees fit.
It's been a couple years since Zen Studios first took on the Marvel license and subsequently released expertly crafted tables centered around the biggest characters and story arcs in the comic book giant's vast library. Each table outdid the last, and it seemed like there was no way they could do any better with the next tables. Then they did.
After fifteen tables and no signs of slowing down, the studiohas done a brilliant job with the Marvel license, so what would the next logical step be for the masterminds at Zen? Well, Star Wars Pinball, of course.
PlayStation Network users have taken to Twitter, NeoGAF, and other places stating that they've received a $10 credit to their PlayStation Network account. Along with the cash comes this nice little message saying "Thank you for being a loyal customer and fan of the PlayStation Network. As a token of our appreciation, we've sent you $10.00 to spend on the PlayStation Store!"
It's not quite clear exactly why certain users got the free money, and why others haven't. It's not even clear why Sony has done this in the first place. It's definitely going to keep the Sony hype machine going until tonight's possible PlayStation 4 reveal in New York.
Whatever the case, some of you lucky folks have some cash to blow on a new PlayStation Network game! What are you going to buy? Oh, and you better act quick as as the $10 credit expires on March 5, 2013.
You want a first-person shooter on your Vita, right? Me too. Those dual analog sticks have been calling my name since the system's release, but we've got nothing to use them with. And no, that other game doesn't count.
Killzone: Mercenary swoops in to save the day with real, console-quality [I hate when people say that about portable games] FPS action. Those dual analog sticks? Put to great use with classic Killzone gameplay. Actually, everything in and on the Vita has been put to good use in this game, with everything from graphics hardware to the touchscreen working together to make what's shaping up to easily be the best shooter on the system.
Regular readers will know by now that I'm quite a big fan of the Killzone series. Its focus on dirty, hard science fiction and heavy controls makes for a shooter unlike its peers in the big-budget market, while its multiplayer is as close to my personally perfect vision of class-based combat as I may ever get.
One thing stands out to me above all else, however -- Killzone's villains. I've always had an affinity for the villains in any given story, but the Helghast immediately struck a chord with me. Visually, they make for remarkably imposing opponents, with their militant black attire and harsh, angular gas masks housing eerie, glowing red eyes. Their cultural history is fascinating, steeped as it is in betrayal, anger, and fierce racial pride. For my money, the Helghast are among the most richly detailed antagonists in videogames today.
Trouble is, Guerrilla possibly did too good a job with the Helghast, to the point where it may actually start proving a detriment to the series. A fantastic bad guy can make any story more memorable -- but it can be a real issue if it renders the "heroes" utterly forgettable.
Sony has made a lot of mistakes over the years, and I've cheerily called the publisher out on many of them. For all its hubris, however, and for all its missteps, the PlayStation brand owner is prone to having some really quite brilliant ideas now and then, proving itself surprisingly savvy and innovative when the need arises.
Among these ideas, PlayStation Plus is undoubtedly one of its best, though I was cynical towards the idea of a subscription-based PlayStation Network service at first. Early propositions made it sound quite undesirable, and given Sony's other attempts at aping rival Microsoft -- Trophies spring to mind -- I expected something pointless and poorly implemented.
That's not what we got. Instead, PlayStation Plus is one of the most consumer-friendly, convenient, and worthwhile ideas to hit the PlayStation 3. More importantly, in an industry where publishers are trying to take more money than ever for less content, Sony's the guiding light in how to draw a steady payday from users in a way that makes everybody happy.