Posts Tagged ‘Square Enix’

Final Fantasy XII

Rating:
EU Release Date: 11 July, 2017
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Total play time: 02:01:00 (Chapter One)

Final Fantasy XII is my favourite game of the series. I love the characters, the story, the soundtrack… Everything. The remastered version keeps everything I loved about the game with a few improvements.

The story of FFXII centres on the Kingdom of Dalmasca, invaded and taken over by the Archadian Empire two years ago. The game’s protagonist, a teenage boy named Vaan, is an orphan, his brother killed by the traitor and kingslayer Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg in the war.  Spurred on by dreams of becoming a sky pirate, Vaan steals from the royal treasury and crosses paths with real sky pirates – the dashing  Balthier and his moody partner Fran. Along the way, they team up with Vaan’s childhood friend Penelo, the traitor Basch himself and the rightful Princess of Dalmasca, Ashe. Together, they fight to see their kingdom freed from Archadia’s rule. There are plenty of twists in the story along the way and nothing is ever quite as it initially seems.

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Rating:
EU Release Date: Mar 10, 2017 (for PS4)
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Square Enix

Cover ArtDirector Yoko Taro once gave a talk titled ‘Making Weird Games for Weird People’. ‘Weird’ is definitely the word to describe Nier Automata.

Following loosely from 2010’s Nier, Automata takes place several thousand years in our future – somewhere around 12,000 AD. Mankind has retreated to the moon and sent an army of androids to reclaim the planet from the alien ‘machine lifeforms’. Or have they? Just like its predecessor, Automata keeps you guessing, ready to rip what you think you know from beneath you at any moment.

You play as YoRHa No. 2 Model B – 2B for short – a female combat android whose Lolita looks belie her ninja quick skills with support from 9S, a seemingly super-rare male reconnaissance android. Together, you run around a post-apocalyptic world smashing up machines and trying to work out what the hell is going on.

The gameplay itself comes out in a mash of styles. At its core, it’s a hack-and-slash RPG, but it doesn’t stay within the confines of the genre. As you run through the map, the camera will suddenly change, thrusting you into a top-down shooter-style battle and then pulling away again, leaving you with a side-scrolling platformer. And the combat isn’t limited to swords and spears; you also have access to a variety of ranged attacks via a device called a Pod and in some places, a flight unit for complete aerial battles. This constant switching between styles is one of Automata’s strengths – it keeps you on your toes, eager to see what’s coming next.

The game isn’t without its flaws, however. The camera movement isn’t always smooth. The voice acting is sometimes a little hammy. Some of the AI decisions are questionable. But then you wander into a dilapidated amusement park full where machines with painted smiles ride around on a tank spewing balloons or you see a new adaptation of Romeos and Juliets where the romance quickly descends into a murderous brawl with the last surviving Juliet blowing herself to pieces. Where else are you going to find that?

Would I recommend this game? Well, it’s certainly not going to be to everyone’s tastes, but that’s what I love about it. Maybe I’m just one of the weird people this game was made for.

Rating:
EU Release Date: Jan 30, 2015 (for Steam)
Total play time: 20:00:00 (approx)

Cover ArtLife is Strange is an episodic game from the makers of Final Fantasy. The story focuses on an eighteen-year-old called Max, an awkward photography student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. This ability is one of the game’s greatest features.

The effects of rewinding time start off quite small – say the right thing and get people to like you – but the further you go, the more dramatic the consequences until you’re the only one who can decide if another character lives or dies. And, to make things even more complicated, the actions that have positive consequences in the short term might have worse consequences later on. It’s like one of those choose-you-own-adventure books, but not quite so easy to just undo that bad choice you made ten pages back.

The game also tackles a lot of issues that few others dare. In a game that is essentially about teenagers trying to work out who they are and where they fit in, issues like sexuality, mental health and friendship are difficult to ignore. These are the issues that pre-occupy the teenage mind. Hell, these issues affect many of us well into adult life.

Of course, every game also has downsides and this is no exception. Sometimes, the dialogue is a little hammy and the lip-sync is frequently really bad. Sometimes, the choices you make seem pointless. The graphics seem a little lack-lustre (perhaps a super-high-end graphics card would perk them up, but I doubt it).What’s more, the whole time-travelling thing is completely skimmed over in the story. It’s almost as if the only reason she can do it is that she is the main, playable character.

Despite its flaws, Life is Strange is an excellent, thought-provoking game. I would recommend it to anyone. And I dare you not to still be thinking about it days later.

Rating:
Worldwide Release Date: August 3, 2016 (for Android)

Screenshot EDIT (14.8.16): Seeing a lot of connectivity issues at the moment. An update had been released, but is it going to fix the problem for anyone? It didn’t work for me. (Review follows)

I’m not a big mobile gamer. This is probably something to do with my dislike of smartphones. But I’m a sucker for Final Fantasy games and so when I got the email about Mobius Final Fantasy, I had to return to my phone to give it a go.

The story seems somewhat similar to the first Final Fantasy game – at least what I remember of it. Your character is the Warrior of Light and it’s your job to save the world, called Palamecia in this game. Along the way, we meet some familiar characters – Princess Sara of Cornelia, who I suspect we’ll have to save at some point; Mog, the lovable moogle; a whole bunch of recognisable enemies and some shifty looking guy in armour called Garland… Now, why do I have a bad feeling about him?

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As I have mentioned, 2016 has so far been a rubbish year, but it is predicting bright things for the future. Not only was there an announcement of a new Nier game, but there are signs of a remastered Final Fantasy XII, in my eyes, the best game of that series so far.

This remastered version will introduce the Zodiac Job System, which the European and North American versions never had, a newly recorded soundtrack and a way better save system (my word, those save crystals were the bane of my life!). I’m expecting great things.

On a separate note, does anyone want to buy me a PS4? It looks like I am going to need one.

So I’ve been quiet this year, but then 2016 has been something of a wash-out for me at least, so I’m just keeping my head down and focusing on not going mad. But this is something that I can’t resist sharing, a little glimmer of light in this doom and gloom year.

It’s new footage from the upcoming game NieR Automata.

The distant future…

Invaders from another world attack without warning, unleashing a new type of threat: weapons known as “machine lifeforms.” In the face of this insurmountable threat, mankind is driven from Earth and takes refuge on the Moon.

You play as YoRHa, a series of androids designed to combat the alien invaders. The female is 2B (YoRHa No. 2 Model B) and the male is 9S.

If you’re interested, there is also a video of gameplay footage below, with commentary from some of the team behind the game. Although the enemies are not like the ones in the first game, I’m sure you’ll agree that there is something quite familiar about them… Horribly familiar…

I’m pretty sure this game is going to be just as heart-breaking as the first.

 

 

So, they’ve given what was formerly known as “Nier: New Project” a proper name. NieR: Automata.
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With many of the original NieR team returning and new members such as Akihiko Yoshida, responsible for character design in my other favourite game (FFXII) and the Platinum Games people, this looks set to be awesome. Check out the trailer:

Although penned as a sequel to 2010’s NieR, you don’t actually have to have played that game, nor any of the Drakengard series (from which NieR was a spin-off) for it to make sense. It’s a very weird game and that’s all you need to know.

The story of Automata is set on Earth, after mankind fled to the moon during an invasion by mechanical lifeforms with superior weaponry. Now, mankind are using their own androids to take back their planet. That’s the girl you see in that trailer. Its name is YoRHa 2 Model: B – 2B for short – and it is an android, not a woman.

The original NieR story is linked to this only by location. Although some of the characters from that game may be mentioned, they are unlikely to appear. The gameplay, however, will be more similar, with a range of different play styles to keep the audience on their toes. You can almost guarantee that it will have multiple endings, the story won’t be anything like what you were expecting and there are going to be some ridiculously oversized swords in play. Oh, and the game’s producer says it will have a happy ending… just like the first NieR…

Currently, the game is only set for release on PS4, but no date has been given.