Final Fantasy XIII Articles RSS Feed | Final Fantasy XIII RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Final Fantasy is Coming to Xbox Game Pass — Like, Almost All of Them, Kupo Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:33:31 -0500 Josh Broadwell

After what seems like an interminable wait, some of your favorite Final Fantasy games are coming to Xbox Game Pass.

We learned during Microsoft's X019 celebration that basically every series entry since Final Fantasy VII will be on Game Pass starting with Final Fantasy VII sometime in 2020. The rest will be added as the year goes on.

Not only that, but it appears the versions available will be the latest entries as well, such as Final Fantasy VIII Remastered and Final Fantasy XIIThe Zodiac Age. While some of these are already available on Xbox, subscribers are paying $5 per month for access to them all, as opposed to $20 or more for a single title.

Here's the full list of Final Fantasy games coming to Xbox Game Pass.

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Final Fantasy X
  • Final Fantasy X-2
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns
  • Final Fantasy XV

The conspicuous exclusions are the series' online offerings, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. While there are apparently no plans to bring XI to the Game Pass, Xbox head Phil Spencer said the goal is to get Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox sometime in the future

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Game Pass news and updates as they roll out.

Has the Evolution of the JRPG Come to a Grinding Halt? Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Bryant Pereira

The JRPG genre is one that is fueled by nostalgia, and most fondly regarded through older titles like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 7. Once remembered as the dominant, most progressive type of game, the genre has seen better days in terms of sales and popularity.

The past two home console generations have seen a much smaller number of AAA games in the JRPG genre than previous ones, as it has mostly shifted towards the handheld market.

Ask nearly any JRPG fan what their favorite game is, and you will almost always garner an answer from before 2006. The last generation saw a few successful hits like Final Fantasy XIII, Tales of Vesperia, and Xenoblade Chronicles, but other than that the PS3/360/Wii era saw very few JRPGs. While Final Fantasy XIII evolved the formula the most, it was met with backlash from the community and mixed reviews due to linearity. Tales of Vesperia received stellar reception but followed many of the standard JRPG tropes found in previous entries in the series.

While JRPGs were stumbling to make an impact on the home console scene, the handheld market was a thriving ecosystem for those types of games. Bravely Default mixed classic JRPG elements like job classes and random encounters with a brand new battle system and engrossing story. Etrian Odyssey 4 was the best-selling game in the series, despite playing very similarly to previous entries in the series. The 3DS and Vita show that interest in old-school JRPG titles is thriving, and the low-cost for developing on these systems makes it the best environment to do so.

Some console games, like I Am Setsuna and Tales of Berseria, exemplify JRPG gameplay are still in high demand, but that doesn't mean there's no room for advancement. Final Fantasy XV is the best example of a rooted franchise expanding past what it’s known for. A pioneer of JRPG gameplay, the Final Fantasy series continues to break the mold and redefine the genre. Just like Final Fantasy VII did in 1997 with its jump into 3D and introducing the Materia system, Final Fantasy XV changes the way JRPGs are meant to be played. The game mixes action RPG elements along with deep character progression through skills and experience. The game also pushes Square Enix’s reputation of bringing cutting edge graphics to the next level, with stunning character models and a vast detailed world.

Other than a few key titles here and there, the JRPG formula remains mostly untouched. Protagonists are still mysteriously being struck by amnesia, a huge world-ending twist is almost guaranteed in these games, and grinding continues to be hugely prominent. JRPG developers could take a lot of cues from western RPG games like The Witcher 3 and Mass Effect that are booming right now. These western RPG games generally have more open-ended stories, impactful decisions, and thriving living worlds.

Luckily, JRPG games are by no means doomed. The handheld market keeps the market alive, and with huge games like Persona 5, NieR: Automata and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 coming out, there are many opportunities to evolve the genre. The original Xenoblade Chronicles showed that JRPGs don’t have to follow a specific formula to be successful. The Wii game has no random battles, a completely unique combat system that mixes real-time with MMO-style commands, and a completely non-linear explorable world. The game was adored by JRPG fans along with people who don’t normally play those games.

Games like I Am Setsuna and the recently announced Octopath Traveler emphasize the demand for SNES-era JRPG games. Nostalgia has proven time and time again that it sells, and developers like Square Enix will continue to release remasters and remakes of games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy as long as they keep printing money. However, the JRPG genre is not completely trapped in the 90’s. As developers see success through games like Xenoblade Chronicles and Final Fantasy XV, they will continue to evolve to meet customer expectations. Money talks -- and as long as developers are profiting from ambitious titles like the upcoming NieR: Automata and Persona 5, the genre can prosper with new ideas and execution.

5 Weirdest Locations in the Final Fantasy Universe Fri, 16 Dec 2016 11:00:02 -0500 Pablo Seara

JRPGs tend to present weird plots involving time, space, dimensions, and more strange elements. Final Fantasy is not different; fans of the franchise are used to visit the most bizarre places. From craters to floating worlds, this series of games involve imaginative, original locations that surface from the collective imagination of the designers.

We wanted to present you, fans or not of the series, some of these places. That is why you can find here the five weirdest locations in the Final Fantasy universe.

Inside Sin - Final Fantasy X

You will notice that almost all of the locations shown here are final dungeons. This one belongs to Final Fantasy X. After debilitating Sin, the party goes inside the giant monster to defeat Yu Yevon and bring an end to Spyra's cycle of death.

There, Tidus and the others find different, weird areas, like a foggy corridor, an abstract maze or a strange building floating above a fake Zanarkand. There they meet Tidus' father, Jecht, who is also Braska's Final Aeon. The group has to fight him, as well as all the Aeons Yuna gathered throughout her journey, to force Yu Yevon to appear and eliminate him. 

So you are basically inside a giant, murderer shell that protects the summoner that started it all, who is now a weird bug, and to defeat your own father who is getting deprived from his humanity, who will in turn make you disappear because you are a dream. Yeah...

Memoria - Final Fantasy IX

This is the penultimate location the protagonists have to visit before the ultimate showdown in the Crystal World. Memoria is a mysterious place borned from the memories of Gaia in Final Fantasy IX. This linear dungeon allow the characters to experience fragments of their past and the History of the planet.

Garland guides Zidane through the collective memories of the whole planet, discovering the tragic truth about Kuja and Terra. The group also experiences the destruction of Alexandria, Gaia's birth and its earliest moments. All of these places lead them to the Crystal World, the beginning of all time.

The weirdness of this area extends to the gameplay, since the moogles are now replaced by a strange sphere, and there are now invisible save points as well. Final Fantasy can sometimes be extremely creative.

Orphan's Cradle - Final Fantasy XIII

Orphan's Cradle is another final dungeon, this time from Final Fantasy XIII. This place was created by the fal' Cie Eden and exists in an alternate dimension. It protects the Orphan, the fal' Cie that powers Cocoon and the being that the lu' Cie are destined to slay, before turning intro crystal or becoming Cie'th.

This bizarre, giant room reconfigures itself several times, changing the layout of the dungeon. This happens because the Cradle contains tesseracts, four-dimensional extensions of cubes, that rearrange at will.

There are also three female fal'Cie inside the Oprhan's Cradle, who create three dimensional gates to different places of the world: Vallis Media, Gran Pulse and the Narthex, where Orphan rests.

True Moon - Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

There are three different moons in the universe of Final Fantasy IV: the normal one, the Red Moon, where the Lunarians sleep, and the True Moon. Its arrival marks the beginning of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. It is the final location of the game and one of the largest dungeons in any RPG -- it has forty-three different floors!

This True Moon is actually an enormous spacecraft used by the Creator, the main antagonist, to travel across the universe to find Crystals that he uses to conduct experiments on the evolution of life. The Creator's race lived aboard an entire fleet and perished before they could find a new home.

The protagonists have to stop the descent of the True Moon, which is programmed to crash against the planet, before it is too late. Before that, the Creator gathers all the crystals of the world, which contain data on the human race's evolution. Even the classic Final Fantasies had weird scenarios.

Valhalla - Final Fantasy XIII-2

Valhalla is a location in Final Fantasy XIII-2 that Serah and Noel visit a couple of times. It is a city located in an alternate dimension, where time and life do not exist. Lightning is brought to this place by the goddess of death, Etro, to serve as her guardian against Caius and his forces.

This weird location is supposed to be the resting place of the souls of the dead, which eventually resurface from the crystal sea and are reborn in a new form. Lightning can see the entire span of time from Valhalla, but cannot leave it. That is why she calls Serah and ask her for help to solve the time paradoxes that are affecting the spacetime-continuum.

The fal' Cie from the first Final Fantasy XIII are looking for Etro's gate, a portal that leads to Valhalla. It was the main force that drives them to turn the group into lu' Cie and harvest human souls in Cocoon to open the gate.


As you can see, there are really weird and bizarre locations in Final Fantasy, but there are much, much more we could not include. The plots of the franchise are sometimes confusing, filled with time paradoxes, interdimensional spaces or even dreams.

What do you think of these locations? Can you think of any other that could not get on this list? Let me know in the comment section below!

10 Best Final Fantasy Hairdos of All Time Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:04:09 -0500 Pablo Seara

Noctis Lucis Caelum - Final Fantasy XV

Finally, we have the last protagonist of the franchise, the prince of Lucis, Noctis. This dark gentleman travels the world with his friends to save his fallen kingdom from the Niflfeim Empire. They are usually compared to a Japanese boy band, since they all were leather, black clothes in a similar style and have weird, over-the-top hairstyles.


Noctis is usually compared to Sasuke, one of the three protagonists of Naruto. Both of them are serious characters and have a very similar hairstyle. Noctis' color is black, and his hair is one of the darkest in the franchise. He has many different layers and combs them to the front and the sides, covering a big portion of his cheeks and his forehead. However, the back consists on several pieces of spiky hair that extend as long as possible. A fitting hairdo for a modern prince.


And that is it for the best hairstyles in Final Fantasy. There are many, many characters with awesome hairdos that we could not include in this article. Who would you have liked to see? Is there any character you do not agree with? Tell me in the comment section below!

Serah Farron - Final Fantasy XIII-2

Serah, the youngest of the Farron siblings, also earns a position on this list. She is a key character in Final Fantasy XIII and the protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Since she is Lightning's sister, she shares many traits with her, like the eyes, the color of her hair and certain facial details. Her hair is also similar, but Serah styles it in a completely different way.


This hairstyle is the same she had in the first game, just with a small change: the pin she uses to hold her side-ponytail is different, more suitable for combat. That mixes perfectly with the rest of her hair; shorter, straight and cut in layers, as usual in the franchise. She learned it from her old sister!

Vincent Valentine - Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus

Going back to Final Fantasy VII, concretely to a spin-off, we can find Vincent Valentine, an ex-member of The Turks and a key figure in the events that lead to the birth of Sephiroth. He is also one of the two secret characters from the original Final Fantasy VII, the other one being Yuffie. This guy has an awesome hairstyle.


Vincent exemplifies most of Final Fantasy hairstyles: hair band, predominant color (red) and long, straight hair. However, if we compare him to other hairdos, we can see that there are not so many layers. It is very managable, just as Caius' or Rydia's case. Long hair on men rocks!

Hope Estheim - Final Fantasy XIII

Hope is not a very likeable character, but we can agree that his hairstyle is pretty cool, and not as complicated as the ones we have seen before. His clothes are also pretty normal, which could make him more relatable to us... Now, if only he had a good personality. Anyway, let's just concentrate on his style.


Hope looks like an average korean/japanese teen, since many teenagers in both countries have this kind of hairstyle. The layers in his hair are more defined and important than the previous characters, since they are precisely what gives it such a cool effect. His hairdo is also possible because Hope has lots of thick pieces of hair, which he combs in different directions. The result is a very achievable hairstyle many of us could get.

Caius Ballad - Final Fantasy XIII-2

The protagonists are not the only ones with cool hairstyles in Final Fantasy. Many villains like to display fashionable, complex hairdos as well. This is the case of Caius, the main enemy of Serah and Noel in Final Fantasy XIII-2. His creation was a direct response to the critics of Final Fantasy XIII regarding the lack of a good, likable rival.


As you have noticed during this article, there are many Final Fantasy characters with a color that represents them. In Caius' case, it is purple. He has long, thin hair, divided into layers. Just like Rikku, he has a hair band. Elements like the feathers and the pendants complete an extremely cool look that real men could mimic, if they had the patience to grow such a fabulous hair!

Rikku - Final Fantasy X-2

Rikku was Yuna's guardian during Final Fantasy X and member of the Gullwings in Final Fantasy X-2. During the two years in between the games' stories, Rikku changed her appearance. In FF X, she had shorter hair, diving googles and an outfit that allowed hair to swim freely. In FF X-2, she looks completely different -- especially her hair.


We chose Rikku's second hairstyle because we think it is simply better and cooler. She uses a big, blue hair band that holds her hair and pushes her bangs to the right side of her face. She also has several braids in weird patterns at the front, and two big ones at the laterals. Finally, a long mane emerges from the back of her head, completing a unique and complicated hairdo.

Lulu - Final Fantasy X

Lulu is the black mage of the group in Final Fantasy X, a serene and stoic woman that guards Yuna on her journey to Zanarkand. She has one of the most complex and original outfits of the franchise. She even uses a moogle doll as a weapon! This depth of style extends to her hair as well. 


Her hairdo consists on long bangs covering the left side of her face, a bun held by several exotic pins and very long pigtails at the back. All the little details add to an overall interesting and complex hairstyle. It also fits Lulu's personality in a perfect way, something designers should look for while creating their characters.

Rydia - Final Fantasy IV

Rydia is a powerful summoner from Final Fantasy IV and the only character from the classic Final Fantasies (FF I-VI) to appear on this list. The first installments of the franchise had a different approach in art style, which extends to the hair of the protagonists. Their hairstyles were simpler and less over-the-top, but beautiful nonetheless.


In this case, the predominant color is green, more so than any other character in the franchise. Rydia's clothes are almost all green, making her jewelry stand out from her outfit. Her hair is divided in multiple layer to look like it is more complex than it actually is. It is the most realistic hairstyle on the list, so you could try to mimic it!

Cloud Strife - Final Fantasy VII

Speaking of Cloud, we could not leave him out of this list. Final Fantasy VII is probably the first game to feature lots of outstanding and bizarre hairstyles in the franchise, starting with its main character.


Cloud's hair is his second most iconic element, after the gigantic buster sword he carries around. Similarly to Lightning's hair, Cloud has beams divided into several spikes that go into different directions, although his hair is blond instead of pink.


He has two different hairstyles: the one depicted above, from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and the other from the original FF VII. We prefer the second hairdo, since it is more stylized and less crazy than the original one.

Lightning Farron - Final Fantasy XIII

Lightning is the main protagonist of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. She was designed as a female version of Cloud, with whom she shares many traits. One of these is her awesome hairstyle -- no wonder why she is one of the most popular characters in Japan!


Lightning's hair is divided in two parts. The first one is the spiky bangs in her front and her right side. The second is the long piece of hair that falls from her left shoulder. Both mix perfectly in a unique style, where light-pink is the predominant color. It is the color that represents Lightning in the games, which makes it perfect for her hairdo.


If there is one thing that characterizes Final Fantasy characters, is their awesome hairstyle. Even people that have not played any of the games can recognize one of them by their cool-looking, mostly weird hairdos. Lots of us have dreamed of rocking one of those, but it is almost impossible in many cases.


For those of you who wanted to have one of those hairdos, we have chosen our ten favorite hairstyles in the franchise, from main characters to villains. You will find well-known characters in here, as well as some surprises you might not expect. You can then try to mimic one of them -- In that case, I recommend you use lots of hair gel!

10 Final Fantasy Weapons We Wish Were in Other RPGs Sat, 26 Nov 2016 12:00:02 -0500 Pablo Seara

Edgar's Chainsaw

Edgar is the King of Figaro's Castle and a member of the protagonist's group in Final Fantasy VI. He uses all sorts of tools as weapons during battle, and the most badass one is the chainsaw. This weapon is usually found in the horror genre, making it a surprising choice for an RPG -- especially Final Fantasy.


As always, FF manages to present new kinds of weapons or pre-existing tools in original and novel ways. We think we can all agree that we need more chainsaws in RPGs, or any kind of threatening machine for the matter.


And this is the last of the coolest Final Fantasy weapons we wish were in other RPGs. And as many modern role-playing titles got inspired by this fantastic series -- especially the earlier installments -- it's sad to see that the weapons of FF haven't had a bigger impact on RPGs as a whole.  


What do you think of these weapons? Did you miss one on the list? Tell me on your comments below!

Terra's Magitek Armor

The Magitek Armor is a mechanical weapon employed in Final Fantasy VI by the Gestahlian Empire, which uses magic as energy thanks to the Empire's Magitek technology. Terra, the game's female protagonist, has her own Magitek Armor, and uses it to help her move faster, advance in difficult terrain or fight.


Magitek Armor is basically a steampunk mecha that works with magic, a novel concept that could be used in other games as well. We are used to seeing ultra-badass mechas with modern, futuristic designs. It would be great if we could see other kinds of mechs and robots with more ancient-looking or  arcane design aesthetics.

Wakka's Blitzball

A blitzball is a ball used in the fictional sport of the same name. It is the main pastime of Spira, the world of Final Fantasy X. One of the game's main characters, Wakka, is a blitzball player, and uses the object as a weapon. It is essential for taking down flying enemies since they have more agility and they usually dodge attacks from other characters.


There are many weird weapons in RPGs, but a ball has to be one of the strangest ones. During the game, Wakka acquires multiple versions of the blitzball, with spikes, big spots, etc. It would be cool if other role-playing games had fun sports that served as minigames, and a character that uses an item related to this discipline to attack.

Quistis' Chain Whip

Final Fantasy VIII also has a couple of interesting weapons. In addition to the Gunblade, there is the chain whip used by Quistis Treppe. It has a handle, a sharp blade at the end and it is composed by chains, as the name states. It looks like it would be very fun to use, and painful too! It is a unique weapon in the franchise and not as extravagant as others, which is not bad at all.


As with many other kinds of weapons, whips can be found in many games. However, this type of design really looks like it could be a practical tool. Maybe characters in other titles could use the whip outside of battle as well, introducing new and fun mechanics. 

Vincent's Gun (Cerberus)

This dark gun belongs to Vincent, another one of the main characters in FFVII, and its name is Cerberus -- and it packs a bit like the mythical three-headed hell-hound.

It is basically a handgun that fires three bullets at once. Such is the importance of Cerberus that it is even part of the title of the spin-off Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. There, you can modify Cerberus to become lighter, more powerful or hold more ammunition, and even add Materia to cast spells from its barrels.


There are lots of original and badass guns in gaming, but we feel like there are not enough cool-looking, customizable and powerful handguns like Cerberus. We have great examples in hack n' slash titles like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, but there aren't too many in RPGs. More guns like Cerberus could really remedy that problem. 

Barret's Machine Gun

Losing a limb is a horrible experience, but there are some characters in gaming that manage to overcome this loss and make the most out of it. One of them is Barret, a key character in Final Fantasy VII, who attaches a machine gun to his arm after he loses it in a fight.


Like Samus Aran, Barret uses his left arm to help him aim as he fires with his right one. His machine gun is a weapon that is common in many games, but has not been used like this. It would be great if characters in other titles could implement guns in their bodies after loosing limbs (ummm, Metal Gear Solid?), an experience that has great potential to add more dramatism and depth to the story.

Serah's Bow-Sword

Another great fusion of weapons is this Bow-Sword, which belongs to Serah, Lightning's sister and one of the two main characters in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The weapon can change from a modern-looking bow to a thin saber and vice-versa with ease, which allows Serah to adapt to different combat situations on the fly.


Side Note: The Bow-Sword is actually a Moguri called Mog, which accompanies Serah and Noel, the other protagonist, throughout the game, which is pretty neat.


As you can see, the concept of this weapon is similar to the Gunblade. It is also a unique object, never seen before in any game we can think of. We are all in favor of merging weapons, resulting in cool designs and original concepts.

Squall's Gunblade (Lion Heart)

This is probably the coolest and most innovative weapon in Final Fantasy -- and perhaps in gaming history. Mixing a sword and a gun in the same weapon? The concept is simply amazing! Whether you prefer Squall's cowboy-ish Lion Heart or Lightning's futuristic saber, the Gunblade is an excellent and balanced sword, suitable for both close and distant combat.


The Gunblade would fit perfectly in many role-playing games, including many Western RPGs. Imagine having one in Deus Ex, Cyberpunk 2077, or even a Star Wars video game!

Cloud's Fusion Sword

The protagonist of Final Fantasy VII uses gigantic broadswords as his weapons of choice, the Buster Sword being the most iconic one. However, we think the Fusion Sword is a more original, unique and overall cooler blade design.


The Fusion Sword is actually a set of six different sabers, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not only can Cloud separate the swords and unite them as he pleases, adapting the blade to any situation, he can also use all of them in conjunction for his final signature move, Omnilash.


The concept of an enormous sword composed by several smaller ones is simply awesome. We would love to see different versions of this idea in other games (Nioh and Onimusha, anyone?), as we cannot recall any other title that has a similar weapon.

Sephiroth's Katana (Masamune)

Sephiroth is one of the most badass villains in gaming history, and one of the main reasons for this more-than-worthy title is his extremely large katana, Masamune. This emblematic weapon, which appears in other installments of the franchise brandishing different designs, is a 7-8 foot super-katana, at least as long as Sephiroth is tall.


Masamune is tuly unique and we would love to see it in other games. There are plenty of katanas in RPGs, but not nearly as long as Sephiroth's iconic weapon. We definitely need more disproportionate swords in gaming.


Some of the most iconic weapons in gaming history come from the Final Fantasy franchise. For FF veterans, this is not a surprise: we are used to seeing ridiculously long katanas, enormous swords, guns merging with blades, and much more. Its repertoire is immensely original, and one of the many reasons we love the Final Fantasy franchise.


However, there are many other role-playing games that do not get as creative with their weapons, and instead opt to include realistic, common weapons by default. They seem to forget that a truly unique weapon can make their games truly iconic -- if done right. In the following list, you will find the top 10 Final Fantasy weapons we wish were in other role-playing games.

Why Can't Developers Make Classic Franchises Great Forever? Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

Mega Man. Sonic the Hedgehog. Final Fantasy. Resident Evil. Silent Hill. These are just a small number of franchises that helped define my personal gaming history. And they're also franchises with fans who react to new titles with less "oh, great!" and more "ugh, not again."

This is kind of an inversion from the earlier days of gaming; I remember that there was once an unofficial rule that movie sequels were always terrible while game sequels were always good. In several of the above cases, the franchises even have provided some great games along the way, but they're also games that didn't connect with the long-time fans who would have been eagerly awaiting the next installment.

So why aren't older franchises evergreen? Why do the games you loved two decades ago not lead to more games in the same style now? The answer is that there are a lot of reasons why classic franchises aren't great forever, and it's helpful to understand why that's the case.

The people responsible have left...

When people start listing the great Silent Hill games, they always include the first three, usually including the fourth with a bit of a grudging nod, and pretty much never include the later games. Incidentally, the first four games were the only ones developed by Team Silent at Konami, with each subsequent installment developed by a completely different team.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. The creative team behind a game can really inform a lot of what goes into the actual game, and that goes beyond just saying that the original designers are always the best at designing a franchise. Teams that work together and develop multiple games can often produce games that feel very similar to one another in a positive way, but once people move on or new people come on board, the games they produce often feel very different even if they have the same core ideas. When Inafune left Capcom, that didn't stop the publisher from making more Mega Man games... but it also meant that the original creator wasn't there any longer, and that was after several staff and platform changes.

You can't just hand off tasks to an endless series of different people who don't necessarily understand the appeal of the original games. Watching a team really nail a franchise for multiple installments is a thing of beauty; witness the past few Persona titles, for example. But it's never permanent.

...and they might not have the spark left anyway

Here's a fun fact: Hideo Kojima wanted to leave the Metal Gear franchise after every single title. Why does Metal Gear Solid 2 end with such a bizarre, nonsensical cliffhanger? Because Kojima never intended to resolve it. He didn't want any lingering cliffhangers after the first Metal Gear Solid, he wanted to make that and be done with it. But he kept getting pulled back for another one, resulting in an ongoing contest of wills in which the franchise just would not die.

It's not just a matter of spite, though; playing through Mighty No. 9 repeatedly made me think that maybe Inafune needed to hang up his hat, that he just didn't have any more Mega Man in him. The reality of that, is that it's fine. Games are art like any other form, and it's fine to hand off the reins to someone new after a while. It just means that you are going to see a different sort of game, probably one that doesn't exactly resemble the originals.

The franchise has evolved past your memory

Final Fantasy was Hironobu Sakaguchi's last game ever. That was the plan. He made a game he never expected to sell as a wild experiment, so he could leave the field happy. Instead, it wound up becoming a huge success, resulting in a long-running series that has always brought on a wide variety of different developers and storytellers to make a series of games that are not meant as direct sequels to one another.

When people complain that, say, Final Fantasy XIII feels so different from classic Final Fantasy games, it stands out simply because most of those classic games also feel so different from one another. The franchise is built on doing something new with every single installment, and while some of the conceptual walks are further than others, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single pair of games that feel like the same game with a different set of wrappers.

The bright side is that it means that each new title is something fresh and different. The down side is that if you buy Final Fantasy XIII expecting Final Fantasy VI but new, you're going to be disappointed. The exchange for a franchise never getting stale is that it doesn't maintain the same shape indefinitely.

The environment has changed too much

You could not release Resident Evil today as a brand-new game without the weight of the franchise behind it. The game's awkward controls and pre-rendered backgrounds worked in no small part because of when it was released; if it was launched today it would be panned for bad acting, bad storytelling, weak gameplay, and poor graphics.

All that is fine. But there's an attached point that's easy to overlook: every new release in a franchise is the first release for someone. Yes, you've been playing Sonic the Hedgehog since the oddly stutter-stop motion of the first game in the series, but to someone out there, the most recent game starring a blue hedgehog is the first one they've ever played. And the fact of the matter is that these franchises need to evolve, simply to continue marketing themselves against legions of other games who have been inspired and influenced by these originals.

This is particularly true of older games that marketed themselves on punishing difficulty designed to artificially extend the game by eating up quarters. (Even if you didn't actually have quarters.) No one is willing to buy a new game for $60 that you can blow through in an hour but takes you time to beat because you just keep getting killed consistently. That means that designers need to bulk out the game in some way, and in the case of franchises that traditionally work on the basis of straightforward smashing sequences, it means that the core needs to change to account for the new gaming environment.

There's no longer a market

It barely needs to be said that the gaming market and environment is very different now compared to where it was in, say, 1990. And yes, some of that is as simple as the fact that video games are no longer exclusively sold in the back reaches of department stores who might put one or two on the shoe racks if they find the box, but it goes much further than that. The availability of gaming devices, the ways we engage with games, the budgets of big titles... everything is different.

This means that even old franchises need to adapt and change, as mentioned above, but it goes beyond bulking out games. Our patience for some features has evaporated, while our patience for others has increased. When Blizzard first launched StarCraft, online play was a novelty that was essentially just a bonus; when StarCraft II came out, it was a major component of the game.

Unfortunately, it does mean that some of the stuff you loved from back in the day just doesn't stick around. But on the bright side, it means that there's a neverending stream of new things. We live in a world with such a maddening surfeit of gaming options that even if your favorite franchise goes in a direction you no longer care for, there are still so many new games out there. You can almost certainly find something that appeals specifically to you.

Or you can just play Pokémon. I mean, let's be real, that gameplay isn't changing much until the heat-death of the universe.

The Best Thing About FFXV? Lightning Isn't in the Spotlight Anymore... Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:00:01 -0400 ThndrMge

Lightning, the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, is a mixed bag of opinions among fans of the Final Fantasy series. She was originally designed as an attempt to create a strong female lead that was adept at combat and less feminine than the typical Final Fantasy heroine. As time went on she became something more, Square Enix pushed her into the spotlight, and soon she was everywhere.

Lightning has appeared in no less than fifteen (coincidence?) separate Square Enix titles in the past six years, and even moonlights as a real world fashion model. Generally she is well-received, sporting a large number of fans among the community -- particularly in the Japanese market. Her creator, Motomu Toriyama, is even a self admitted fan of the character, possibly bordering on obsessed. However, excess may do you harm...and Lightning is a prime example of this.

Final Fantasy XIII did not release to stellar fanfare and celebration. It received lukewarm reviews and fan feedback, and is generally considered a mediocre or below average entry to the Final Fantasy series. Square Enix and Toriyama would not give up on Lightning however, pushing forward two sequels to Final Fantasy XIII. While they were both adequate improvements over the first installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, they were received with indifference, and many started believing that Final Fantasy was slowly dying.

Square Enix -- though they would not admit it -- realized they had a problem. Lightning was not selling, and neither was Final Fantasy XIII. Sister projects in the Fabula Nova Crystallis were rebranded. Final Fantasy Agito XIII was renamed to Final Fantasy Type-0 and eventually Final Fantasy Versus XIII became what we now know today as Final Fantasy XV.

Final Fantasy XV is the first entry in the series that does not feature Lightning in some way since her initial creation. 

Even the previous mainline entry in the series -- Final Fantasy XIV -- was incapable of escaping her. She appeared in a special event that lasted for nearly a month when Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy was released in Japan, then returned again when the title made its debut to the rest of the world.

It's a breath of fresh air not to see her familiar pink hair and signature gunblade. Noctis is not exactly a major departure from the stereotypical downcast sullen hero of a modern Final Fantasy game, but he is a welcome change. Fans of the series are eager to exit this era of Lightning and explore the future of Final Fantasy, whatever it may bring.

Hopefully Mr. Toriyama will settle down with his creation, and let Noctis enjoy his time in the spotlight. Additionally, lets hope Noctis does not overstay his welcome the way Lightning has.

The real-life Shinra Technologies has closed. It wasn't Cloud's fault this time. Thu, 07 Jan 2016 11:18:32 -0500 Jessi_Cat

Square Enix has sadly had to close Shinra Technologies. After reporting an extraordinary loss of 2 billion yen which converts to about $17 million USD.

Shinra Technologies was supposed to help usher in a new age of gaming technology. The company opened up in 2014 and was named after Shinra Electric Power Company from Final Fantasy VII. Their headquarters were located in New York City.

Soon after opening, they began beta testing their cloud gaming services in early 2015.

The cloud gaming services were meant to bring the PC versions of games to your iOS and Android devices. You could pay anywhere from 3 days to 365 days of service. The games they offered were Final Fantasy VII International, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, The Last Remnant, and The Cherry Blossom Murders. Each game had its own pricing for your subscription. Cherry Blossom Murders being the cheapest at 1,185 yen for 365 days and Final Fantasy XIII-2 being the most expensive at 2,200 yen.

If you want to be honest, this is basically just renting a game for your phone. Where owning the game would just be more logical and waiting to get home to play it would be cheaper.

Needless to say, the service most likely won’t be missed.

A look at the Final Fantasy series from best to worst Tue, 24 Nov 2015 06:42:03 -0500 Ty Arthur


Final Fantasy XV is now on the horizon, and the highly anticipated remake of FF7 is coming as well, so there's no shortage of major releases arriving soon for RPG lovers.


If the huge number of releases up till this point are any indication, we probably have many, many more spin-offs and numbered titles still on the horizon as Square Enix experiments with the formula and heads in new directions.


What did you think of our picks, and what order would you have placed the best to worst ranking of Final Fantasy games?


Worst: Final Fantasy 13


You know how everyone feels about Final Fantasy 12? That's how I feel about part 13. Seriously, this abomination needs to be nuked from orbit and then some men in black need to show up and wipe the disappointment of FF13 from our memories. This is the only game in the series I've actually put down in disgust and never had any desire to pick back up again. That's 10 hours I'll never get back.


The first entry for the PS3 / Xbox 360 era may have enhanced visuals, but absolutely everything else was a tragic misstep. The absolute bottom of the Final Fantasy barrel, XIII made the tragic mistake of losing composer Nobuo Uematsu and then gave the double whammy of actively annoying characters (Vanille is the worst thing to ever happen to gaming) and a truly uninteresting combat system.


No matter how badly FF15 gets nerfed, I take solace in knowing it can't be as bad as this entry in the series.



Final Fantasy Mystic Quest


Mystic Quest is one of the very few Final Fantasy games to never get a remake or re-release, and unfortunately there's a reason for that. The combat system switched to a different view more along the lines of Phantasy Star, and the story and characters were incredibly weak, mostly existing as vehicles for a never-ending string of monotonous battles.


Trudging through the constant onslaught of repetition becomes a serious chore that makes Mystic Quest hard to play for extended periods. Despite all that, I have to admit I still I have a soft spot in my heart for this red-headed stepchild of the FF series, mostly because of the many hours I put into it as a young 'un. And on the plus side, it's not Final Fantasy 13.



Final Fantasy 2


Not many games open with your party getting utterly annihilated, so FF2 has that unique start going for it. Everywhere else it remains as difficult to get into as the first game in the series, but without the nostalgia factor since it didn't hit the U.S. until decades after its Japanese launch.


Final Fantasy 2 definitely has the most odd skill and leveling system for the series, improving your stats as you use them in battle or as you are hit by enemy attacks rather than as you gain experience points.


Even for its age, the game design wasn't the greatest, as you could literally walk into an area where you'd die immediately in every battle without any warning or prompting to stay away until reaching a higher level.



Final Fantasy 3


Playing the original NES/Famicon versions of the first three games in the Final Fantasy franchise, the visual style is incredibly similar with only minor graphical tweaks. The major differences were instead in the leveling and class systems.


Final Fantasy 3 is where many of the iconic elements of the series that appear in every game originated, but, unfortunately, they were only gestating here and not fully developed. Lacking the nostalgia of the original or the more polished style of the SNES games to come, FF3 exists mostly as a curiosity to be explored to see how far the series has come.


For those who can't handle the simple graphics and clunky controls, updated 3D versions with gameplay tweaks came to the Nintendo DS, the PSP, and the PC.



Final Fantasy 10


As a kid who grew up on the excellent storytelling and very different art style of the SNES and PS1 days, I never developed the same emotional connection to the PS2 games the next generation of RPG lovers has, so frankly I'm not a big fan of this entry.


Swapping out characters directly in battle was neat and some of the characters had their moments, but overall this is one of the weaker entries in Final Fantasy history on most other fronts.


Adding underwater football also really didn't do anything for me, as I found myself wondering why I was learning Blitzball plays instead of battling monsters or saving the world...



Final Fantasy 5


While graphically pleasing (for the early SNES days anyway) and fleshing out the class system that would become very famous later on, there's actually a lot wrong with this game.


Taking place in a variety of worlds that only had a few quests each meant that huge areas were pointless, and it's easy to get lost without figuring out just where you are supposed to go. The game also gets fairly repetitive after a few hours, and it's worth mentioning that in the North American version your main character's name is, oddly, “Butz.”


Nobody in North America played it (legitimately anyway) for a long time due to the lack of an official release until much later on, so FF5 really missed its window to shine. Of course, everybody in the know had downloaded an English translation ROM way before Squaresoft figured out people actually wanted to play this game and gave it a proper stateside release.



Final Fantasy 8


Although the graphics improved and many new elements were added in, the characters just weren't as likable nor the story as engaging as Final Fantasy 8's groundbreaking predecessor. Adding in a card game was an interesting twist for a time when kids were still trading Pokemon cards at recess, providing an extra level of depth for those who spent the time learning its mechanics.


Some of the changes were hit or miss, as the game didn't just completely change the magic system, it even changed the menu system. Letting you swap out which three abilities you wanted was cool in theory, but it was annoying to decide whether you wanted magic or items for the next few battles.


The characters were sometimes amusing and charming... and sometimes just flat out annoying. I'm still split on which side of that divide Laguna lands when he gets a leg cramp while trying to muster the courage to chat up a sexy singer and then somehow gets her back to his hotel room but doesn't make a move.



Final Fantasy


This is where it all started, and whoever would have guessed the absolutely massive industry it spawned? Going back and playing it today there's a huge D&D influence to the first game (especially in the magic system) that many probably missed back then.


Needless to say, this is a very bare bones game where the formula hadn't been refined yet. Some of the classes were completely pointless, and the combat system was in need of serious polish (you could actually attack an empty space if another attack took down an enemy), but there's a nostalgia to be had here, especially in that distinctly '80s fantasy box art.


The witch Matoya's backwards talking broomsticks are also a little gem of gaming history that have been referenced in all kinds of media since those heady early days of console role-playing games.



Final Fantasy 4


Released as Final Fantasy 2 originally in North America, this is another game in the franchise that's completely iconic and remembered fondly but actually has a ton of flaws.


While I probably played this game a couple of dozen times as a kid, returning to it as an adult will cause more than a few cringes. Despite the memorable characters and fun gameplay, much of the dialog and plotting is flat-out bad (who can forget such heart felt insults as “You spoony bard?”). But hey, you get to fly a space whale to the moon!


This was also one of the earlier games to feature major character deaths that really stuck with you, as well as villains that you won't soon forget. The music from that battle against the dancing calcobrena dolls thoroughly creeped me out as a kid, and I can still hum it to this day.


If you want to return to the kingdom of Baron and see what happened with Rose and Cecil's kids, there was a direct sequel for the Wii (in the exact same original art style) released in episodic format, with each segment revolving around a different character.



Final Fantasy 12


This one may be a bit controversial ranking above others, as plenty of Final Fantasy fans straight up despise this game and would like to see it stricken from the franchise's history. Those fans are also wrong.


I'll grant you Vaan is somewhere between annoying and forgettable, and all the characters do oddly look too similar, but that's about where the criticisms end.


Gameplay-wise, FF12 is very solid and offered a satisfying experience capping the PS2 era as the consoles were about to change over. The map-based skill system was interesting to learn and play around with, while the completely redesigned combat was a fun change of pace, and unlocking all the monster entries offered a reason to keep playing previous areas.



Final Fantasy 7


Age hasn't been kind to the most famous game in all Final Fantasy history, but it still remains a strong contender for the top spots, even if there's a whole lot of nostalgia influencing that positioning. Props also have to be given where they are due for introducing RPGs to a much wider western audience.


On the positive sides, who could forget cross dressing for a mob boss, chocobo racing, snowboarding at Gold Saucer, the absurdly long Knights Of The Round summon, or the excellent materia system?


On the downsides, the graphics are straight up ugly at this point, and the story was often bizarre and sometimes incomprehensible (it took me more than one playthrough as a kid to figure out just what the heck Cloud actually was and what his relationship to Zack was supposed to be).



Final Fantasy 9


Capping off the golden era of PS1 releases, FF9 returned to actual fantasy territory after two games that strongly blended sci-fi and modern day elements into the mix.


Although there was lots of comic relief (particularly with the knight character Steiner), there's some gut-punching stuff in this story. Vivi's storyline is both thought-provoking and heart-wrenching, even when it's filled with adorable little guys in overly large hats.


Final Fantasy 9 is also notable for working summoned monsters into the actual main storyline, rather than just being these beings of massive power you casually pull out for any given random battle and then send away a few minutes later.



Final Fantasy Tactics


The only game to truly compete with Final Fantasy 6, this turn-based strategy take on traditional Final Fantasy lore is another one where the music and sound effects are major highlights. For a game featuring a more serious and dark tone than the rest of the entries in the series, the music really ramps up the tension and perfectly matches the art direction.


While the job-based class system and grid combat system are excellent, it's the story and characters that shine most brightly. It's a complex story but one that's still easily accessible, and it was a little daring for the time it was released in (when games were still considered “for kids”) with its openly anti-religious themes.


That bleak ending is perfect for the story being told as Ramza – who saved the world – gets branded a traitor and forgotten by history, while Delita – who is actually the villain – becomes king.



Best: Final Fantasy 6


RPGs not only cut their teeth but really hit their stride on the SNES, with the cream of the crop on that beloved system easily Chrono Trigger... and Final Fantasy 6. Originally released as Final Fantasy 3 in North America, there's a whole era of kids who first experienced this legendary game under that title before RPGs were even close to mainstream. We may have been the nerd crowd, but we had something awesome no one else had caught onto yet.


Fast forward from 1994, and Final Fantasy 6 still stacks up today as a game worth playing that frankly beats out a lot of modern titles in terms of characters, story, music, and yes, even art style. To be honest, I don't think Squaresoft/Square Enix has ever released anything better on any of those fronts to this day. The quality of the soundtrack can't be overstated, as this is some of the best music Nobuo Uematsu has ever crafted.


That opera house scene is one of the best in gaming that still makes people tear up today, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The multi-part battle while defending Narshe, switching between three groups of characters separated across the continent, stealing mechs in the imperial camp, the ghost train, and the world getting completely and utterly destroyed half way through the game are all classic moments in gaming.


Every playable character had an interesting backstory as well as a unique combat ability that made them all play differently, but let's not discount the bad guys. Has there ever been an antagonist like Kefka? Turns out the insane clown was way more evil than the evil emperor he worked for, and he succeeded where every other villain failed in a quest to destroy the world and rule the ashes.



Without question, Final Fantasy is easily the most famous and prolific console RPG series of all time, introducing several generations of gamers to the concept of turn-based side by side battles as heroes attempt to overthrow kingdoms and protect magic crystals.


The coming next-gen remake of Final Fantasy 7 was one of the biggest pieces of news to land from E3 this year, but it's not all we have to look forward to, with the anticipated part 15 arriving next year and slated to shake up the formula quite a bit.


Ranking these games from best to worst is a monumental task, especially considering the sheer number of titles released since the first Final Fantasy way back 1987. To keep things manageable, here I'm focusing on base single player games in the main series, with two spin-offs included solely because of their iconic nature. The mobile phone games, spin-offs, sequels, MMORPGs, and Legend / Adventure titles on the Game Boy are all being left off this time around.


Even by culling all those extra games and whittling it down to the 14 titles included here, ranking them is harder than you'd think, as most of the Final Fantasy games have been re-released in alternate versions, some with major graphical and gameplay changes. The first game alone has come out in no less than 11 separate releases from the NES to the PlayStation to mobile phones and most recently for the 3DS.


For consistency's sake, these are all being ranked based on their original versions and not on the later re-creations.

Girls with Guns: Top 10 video game women with serious firepower Thu, 27 Aug 2015 09:38:22 -0400 David Fisher


That's all folks!


This is the end of my Top 10 Girls with Guns list. It's great to know that there's such a diverse set of women in video games that are able to stand among the guys in the big-leagues in terms of firepower, but I'm sure everyone can think of their own favorite gun-gals.


This is where I turn it to you! What other gun-totting girls in gaming can you come up with? Where would you place them on the list? Do you disagree with any of my claims or placements? Leave your opinions and ideas in the comments section below!


#1 Samus Aran - Metroid


Some of you might be unimpressed by the Metroid protagonist taking the #1 spot, but hear me out because Samus Aran just might be the most dangerous gun-girl on this list. In fact, her abilities not only rival, but surpass Bayonetta's in combat, and here's why.


Unlike Bayonetta, Samus's weaponry has no drawbacks. Should Bayonetta die, her soul is forfeit. While this doesn't matter too much, there is one thing that does: Samus's suit never tries to kill her. In Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta's own demon summoning tries to kill her. Had Jeanne not stepped in the way, Bayonetta would be having a nice date with the devil as her soul gets eaten by demons. Samus? No such problem.


Okay, so maybe that's not fair, but lets look at their weapons. Samus has Power Bombs and the Hyper Beam. Both weapons are capable of penetrating walls, armor, and killing just about everything except for Samus. Even if we take the Hyper Beam out of the equation, Samus's Ice-Plasma-Wave-Long Beam of doom is enough to take out Bayonetta's demons. How do we know this? Because both demons and angels in Bayonetta bleed, and if there's anything that Metroid fans know it's that if it bleeds, Samus can kill it.


If that's not enough of a hard sell for the toughest critics, consider this: Samus has a tendency to not destroy temples or cities. No... Samus destroys planets. Over her career Samus has completely destroyed several planets, namely: Zebes, SR-388, and Phaaze. She also technically destroys Dark Aether if you want to count that too.


Tack on Samus's numerous suit upgrades, energy tanks, and weapons and you have one of the most over-powered heroines in the history of gaming. With such a track record, Samus Aran gets the honor of the #1 spot on this list.


#2 Cereza/Bayonetta - Bayonetta


This sultry, sexy, and over-the-top gun-slinging babe is perhaps one of the most controversially discussed females in gaming. Why? Because even feminists can't seem to decide if she's a derogatory or empowering character.


While I'll leave that debate to someone else, I will say that Bayonetta certainly earns a #2 spot on this list. Having saved the world from apocalyptic destruction on more than one account, our little "Cherry" is one of the most lethal women in this list. With the powers of Hell at her disposal, Bayonetta has taken on - not one - but two gods, multiple archangels, several archdemons, and Rodin (basically Satan himself) in her short career.


Bayonetta's arsenal is nothing to scoff at either. If you thought dual-wielding guns was impressive, Bayonetta quad-wields a series of swords, pistols, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers. On top of that she has the ability to summon archdemons at will. While she is technically the hero of her series, she tends to be just as destructive as her opponents. Bayonetta has destroyed planes, airfields, skyscrapers, towns, cities, and more without much effort at all.


But there's always a bigger fish. That leaves us with the #1 gun-gal on our list...


#3 Commander Shepard - Mass Effect


Commander Shepard is perhaps one of the most powerful - and empowering - females on this list. Not only can she look as realistic, unrealistic, beautiful or... homely... as you want. She can also be as flirtatious or as dangerous as you want. But we're not here for her social life. Instead, we're here for the weapons of mass effect (get it?) that are at Shepard's disposal.


In example, Shepard is capable of using a number of weapons types ranging from space pistols, to shotguns, assault rifles, and snipers. However, it's Mass Effect 2 in particular that Shepard carries around the most heat. Weapons like the M-920 Cain nuclear launcher or the M-490 Blackstorm are literally weapons of mass destruction. This puts her above Nova Terra since she can pretty much launch a miniature nuclear bomb at any time.


While this is great and all, Shepard herself is not exclusively a woman, nor is she a character of her own. Since players have to decide what kind of woman (or man) Shepard is, she gets placed at #3 on this list.


But hey, for any fanboys or girls she certainly earns my #1 spot as the most fun at parties though, especially when Wrex and Grunt are around.



#4 November "Nova" Terra -Heroes of the Storm


Another member of the Blizzard's universes, November "Nova" Terra is among the most lethal. Imagine this: your job as a government assassin is not only to take out notorious criminals like the terrorist "Jim Raynor", but also to take out the unruly Protoss, and colossal enemies like the Zerg Ultralisk. Sounds like a difficult job, right? Not for Nova.


 As a Ghost operative, the Dominion Army is Nova's weapon. Her ability to call down nuclear missiles, Battlecruiser Yamato Cannons, and siege tank strikes puts her authority and destructive capabilities well beyond those of her predecessor, Sarah Kerrigan (when she was still a ghost that is). She also has the benefit of having a permanent cloaking generator, something that is only granted to the highest-ranking Ghost operatives.


That not enough to convince you? Well how about this: she is the only Terran Ghost known to mind control her opponents. That means no one is safe from her reign of terror.


With this stellar set of abilities, Nova Terra gets a well-deserved #4 slot on this list. Now if only she could get her own game...


#5 Sgt. Bama "the Hammer" - Heroes of the Storm


What do you do when you are pulled into an otherworldly arena, and forced to do battle against demons, angels, aliens, and magical creatures? If you're Sgt. Bama "the Hammer" Kowalski, blow them to hell with your Crucio-Class Siege Tank, that's what!


While Sgt. Hammer isn't exactly the most impressive gal on our list in terms of enemies killed, she does sport some impressive firepower and destructive capabilities. Just about everyone and everything that gets in the way of her siege tank is dead. This is without mentioning her arsenal including: spider mines, arclite siege cannons, her blunt force gun, and good ol' napalm strikes.


As a result, Sgt. Hammer climbs the ranks and demolishes the previous gun-girls with a #5 standing.


#6 Lara Croft - Tomb Raider


Lara Croft is by no means superhuman. In fact, Lara is just another explorer in search of treasure and other ancient goodies. However, she often finds herself in situations that are supernatural in nature. In the Tomb Raider series, Lara is known to face off with a number of of mythological creatures such as minotaurs, Japanese oni, Egyptian gods and more! Even when she's not fighting other-worldly creatures, Lara has a habit of running into one too many Tyrannosaurus Rex.


Since she also has a bad habit of destroying more tombs than she raids, Lara earns her spot at #6.


#7 Jill Valentine - Resident Evil


Jill Valentine is a force to be reckoned with. A survivor of the S.T.A.R.S. Mansion Incident, Jill has been known to tango with the dangerous T-Type Nemesis bio-organic weapon developed by Umbrella Corps. She has also been known to use just about any weapon from a lowly Beretta pistol to rocket launchers and flamethrowers depending on the situation. Her abilities in combat were only increased as a result of the P30 device attached to her chest in Resident Evil 5.


Jill is certainly one of the more dangerous ladies on our list - both as a life-saving ally, and a life-threatening enemy. However, she is not one of the most destructive. Her abilities for survival and combat earn Jill Valentine the #7 spot on our list.


#8 Alyx Vance - Half-Life 2


Alyx is perhaps the first crush of many young gamers. Appearing in Half-Life 2 (and the subsequent episodes), Alyx has fought against the alien Combine in an effort to save humanity. Mixing it up with a skill-set that includes: CQC, pistol and shotgun use, coming back from the dead, and causing dimensional tears alongside Gordon Freeman, Alyx is a force to be reckoned with.


Among Alyx's kill-count are a number of headcrab zombies, antlion guardians, and presumably larger Combine war machines. Paired up with her personal pet-project (I'm really sorry for the puns today, guys), she is the ultimate survivor in the Half-Life universe. Her intelligence, reputation, and general bad-assery earn Alyx Vance the spot of #8 on this list.


#9 Claire "Lightning" Farron - Final Fantasy XIII


While Lightning is known for taking down enemies that are larger than her on a daily basis, her skill-set is one of the least explosive in the Final Fantasy franchise. In fact, her exclusive skill - Army of One - is basically nothing more than her slashing and shooting an opponent multiple times despite it sounding like a much more impressive ability.


What's worse is that she is almost always accompanied by a team, and among those team members is Vanille, a spell caster whose basic abilities can at times be more destructive and visually impressive. However, for her ability to fight much larger enemies on a consistent basis (and her gunblade technically being a gun) Lightning earns the #9 spot on this list.


#10 Ellie - The Last of Us


Ellie is the female lead in the PlayStation exclusive title The Last of Us. In her battle for survival, Ellie has used a variety of weapons to defeat hordes of fungal-infected zombies. Among her arsenal is a pistol that never runs out of bullets (gameplay mechanic, I know), molotovs, hunting rifles, shotguns, and more. To top it all off? She's only 14 years old!


While this is impressive and all, Ellie only makes this list because she is able to fend off adult-sized humanoid enemies. Having never even fought the larger bloater zombies by herself, Ellie earns herself the spot of #10 on our list.


Honorable Mention: Chell - Portal


Portal's Chell is quite the intelligent little devil. Navigating through GladOS's puzzles, confronting GladOS with nothing more than the Portal Gun, and destroying Aperture Labs - only to do it all again in Portal 2! If that's not enough of a resume for this gun-toting lady in heels (excuse me... Long-Fall boots) then maybe the fact that she's got the guts to leave Aperture into the open world of the Post-Half-Life series will sell you on that. Remember, she did wake up hundreds - if not thousands - of years after the first game according to this timeline.


While Chell is by far one of the more interesting characters on this list, her Portal Gun barely qualifies under our "firearm" criteria. However, her clever use of GladOS's own rocket launcher and turrets to destroy the evil computer mastermind gives her just enough destructive tendencies to earn her an honorable mention on this list.


The realm of video games is perhaps one of the best places to find women of all shapes and sizes. One of those shapes and sizes just so happens to involve destroying just about everything that gets their way with serious firepower. There's just something about these gun-toting gals that draw in male and female audiences alike, whether it's the sex-appeal or in some cases a female power-fantasy (something that is severely lacking in the market).


Today we'll be looking at the 10 most powerful girls with guns in the video game universe. To fit the criteria the character must rely on these firearms for the greater portion of combat, and destroy at least one enemy that is twice their size.


With the criteria in check, let's take a look at the Top 10 Video Game Women with Serious Firepower!

7 badass video game ladies you probably had (or still have) a crush on Wed, 19 Aug 2015 09:41:12 -0400 shox_reboot


Bonus: Braum


This is Braum.


Look at those muscles. 


Those tattoos. 


And that glorious mustache. 


How can you not feel all warm and fuzzy inside?!


Alright, so this is a list of reasons why I'm single. I know I missed out on a lot of dames that are universally approved as 'waifu' material. Who's your personal video game crush? It'd make me feel less sad knowing I'm not the only one with a list like this. 


The Doll




The Doll from Bloodborne. 


She's the hunter's only light in the nightmare he or she suffers from, she makes you stronger, she tells you that she loves you, and last but not least...


She claps when you cheer. 


Why wouldn't I fall for her as so many other hunters have? 




I won't lie. Tharja from The Fire Emblem creeps me out sometimes.


She's scary in her whole stalker-ish kinda way, but she grew on me. Hell, I found myself thinking her rather unhealthy obsession with the avatar (you) rather cute. 


Plus there's the added bonus she actually has a crush on you as well for a change. Hallelujah! 


Claire (Lightning) Farron


I never understood the hate for Final Fantasy XIII and it's sequel. Maybe it's because it was the first ever final fantasy game I ever played. 


But I digress. Lightning is yet another woman I've developed a small obsession with. Yeah, she doesn't have too much going on apart from being a generic super-cool badass of a character but isn't that enough?


Sylvanas Windrunner


So I tend to fall for the ones that would most likely end up killing me. Not so different from real life.


Alright, so I know there's a slight problem with her being....erm...kinda dead.


Her story is a tragic one. But hey, I sympathize with her. What other choice did she have for doing what she did and doing what she continues to do? Plus she's drop dead (ha!) gorgeous.


She's the reason I've sworn myself to the Horde (Undead Rogues ftw). If she ever abandons them and goes on to become a neutral party, I better have the option to go with her.  




Lara Croft


I loved the Tomb Raider reboot for one thing and one thing alone; Lara Croft's makeover. 


Playing through the game, it's inevitable you begin to watch out for her. She's just so darn innocent (and pretty, by gosh she's pretty) that you can't help but cringe whenever you mess up and see her die a horrible death. 


And there's that sense of satisfaction as you watch her slow transformation into the badass we know Lara Croft to be.




When Cortana sacrificed herself for Master Chief, that moment is high up there along with a few other games which managed to hit me right where it hurts.


Halo 4 felt more like a tragic love story than anything. Anyone who played the previous installments of this franchise knows that you as Master Chief and Cortana have a sort of friendship that seemed to only develop with each sequel.


Halo 4 was what really fleshed Cortana out as a character for me. Playing through this game eventually made me stop caring about the grand scheme of things in the Halo universe and more about just saving Cortana, exactly what Master Chief was/is doing. Even if she's just a 'synthetic intelligence'. 


Here's hoping Halo 5: Guardians sees her returning. I'm with ya all the way Chief, let's get Cortana back! 




Pretty much everyone has played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by now...unless you absolutely hate RPG's for some reason (you're weird).


It was a cool gimmick being able to marry certain NPCs in game but this vampiress refuses you no matter how many times you ask her, even getting annoyed with you for doing so!  


It's like Bethesda added this woman as a prank. She's probably the prettiest lady in this game (Aela coming in a close second), spouts off a bunch of unique lines, is actually useful as a companion, bonds with you (a lot) while doing her quest line (one whole expansion worth)...


And then cruelly denies you when you ask for her hand in marriage saying something about temples scaring her and whatnot. 


I only cried for two minutes before Fus-Ro-Dah'ing her off a cliff. 


PS - I know you can use mods to get her to marry you. But c'mon...that's like, cheating. 


Don't lie to yourself. We've all been there. 


Games are far more complicated than what they used to be. They've become something more than what we just do for entertainment. We're watching stories, interactive stories unfold with ourselves being the main character more often than not. 


So, it's not that uncommon that we just might become a bit more attached than normal with some of the badass, attractive characters we interact with in-game. 


Right, now that my excuses are established and out the way, let's get on with it!


There will be (very) minor spoilers regarding certain characters. I'll try to gloss over most, but you have been warned! 

Unmet expectations: games that failed to live up to the hype Tue, 18 Aug 2015 04:51:59 -0400 katlaborde

Every year, there are games we get so excited for we end up putting them on an impossibly high pedestal. Whether it's because the earlier titles in the franchise were stellar or the developers behind them could seemingly do no wrong, we are sometimes let down by ridiculous hype. These titles are not necessarily bad games, but due to overwhelming hype from the eager public, these games were put through the wringer and tarnished in the process. 

Final Fantasy XIII 

Before the release of Final Fantasy XIII, every addition to the franchise was always hyped to be the next big JRPG. However, with the let downs that came with the thirteenth entry, people's excitement for new Final Fantasy games have become more reserved.  The previous installment, Final Fantasy XII, was well-received with a sprawling world, making the linearity of Final Fantasy XIII disappointing in comparison .

From it's either bland or beyond irritating characters, I'm looking at you Vanille and Hope, and utterly confusing plot, people were lost in a spiral of nonsensical exposition. Not all was lost though. The game was beautiful and boasted a fast paced, in-depth battle system that could be exhilarating when you were taking down a boss. The thirteenth addition to the long-lived franchise may go down as one of the more forgotten iterations, failing to live up to more popular entries such as Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy X.

Assassin's Creed III

Sure, looking back now, the original Assassin's Creed was pretty lacking, but it's sequel, Assassin's Creed II was one of the best games from that year. With the follow ups Brotherhood and Revelations completing Ezio's story, the next numbered entry was finally revealed in Assassin's Creed III. With fans craving a shift from Ezio, the game showed a lot of promise and garnered lots of attention. Its setting during the American Revolution to its Native American protagonist, Connor, this title looked as if it was going to take everything the franchise had done so far and expand upon it.

Now, Assassin's Creed III is by no means a bad game, but what the public got was a brooding and uninteresting character with Connor that could hardly carry its ultimately uninteresting story. Although fans were sick of Ezio, Connor lacked any form of personality. Luckily though, all was fixed with the great follow-up, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  


Admittedly, I didn't play Destiny beyond its demo, but that's all I needed to see to turn me away from the ultimately underwhelming addition to Bungie's previously grand resume'. I wasn't too surprised when the scores hit the big game sites, scores like 6.5s and 7s, definitely not the amazing reviews everyone would have expected a few years before.

Destiny ultimately proved to be a hodgepodge of other games thrown into something that resembled a MMO. From Peter Dinklage's bland voice work to the "been there done that" gameplay, there really wasn't a reason to explore the post apocalyptic world, no matter how gorgeous it looked. The game felt way too limited and nowhere near as grand as it wanted you to believe. 

Watch Dogs

When Ubisoft showed off Watch Dogs at E3 2012, gamers were excited to explore the tech heavy sandbox of Chicago. The trailers showed off a free roaming, open world environment similar to Grand Theft Auto, but with a heavy emphasis on hacking the world around youAfter a six month delay, Watch Dogs was met with mediocore reception when finally released.

Gamers were expecting a unique gameplay experience, but were met with an unsatisfying Grand Theft Auto clone instead. Although the game had a variety of missions, the game's story and main character were underwhelming. The release of Grand Theft Auto V a few months earlier might have been why games were ultimately unimpressed with Watch Dogs. However, the franchise does have the potential to become a formidable opponent in the open world sandbox genre.

With more hyped games like Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Final Fantasy XV arriving later this year and next, let's hope that these titles can live up to the hefty expectations we've put on their shoulders and not crumble under the weight like some others.

Did I miss any overhyped games that you think should have been included on the list? If so, let your voice be heard in the comments below! 

Tempered Expectations: Why You Shouldn't Be Excited for the Final Fantasy VII Remake Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:15:00 -0400 The Soapbox Lord

This year’s E3 certainly delivered some surprises didn’t it? We received a release date for The Last Guardian, pulling the highly anticipated project out of the vaporware realm. Yu Suzuki announced a Kickstarter for Shenmue III, another highly anticipated and oft-discussed game, (Sony’s involvement and the issue of funding is a topic to broach another time.) But Square Enix brought down the house with their short trailer announcing the beloved Final Fantasy VII will finally be receiving the HD/ remaster treatment fans have been clamoring to see happen. The only way we could have been more surprised is If Valve had announced Half-Life 3.

It will never happen.

To say the gaming community is abuzz with the announcement of a FFVII remake is akin to saying Batman: Arkham Knight on PC is buggy: a complete understatement. Fans are eagerly devouring every new piece of information to trickle from Square Enix about this game. We have seen countless articles about the subject, debates, conjecture, and more following the announcement and will continue to see these on the way to the game’s release. However, now that the dust has settled from the initial announcement, there are some things we need to discuss regarding this release, and some reasons as to why you should temper your expectations for the final release.  

We Haven't Seen a Thing

Honestly, this applies to any game announcement, not just the Final Fantasy remake. Until you actually get to see the game in action, expectations should be kept in check. Nowadays publishers are throwing games out to be pre-ordered before we have seen trailers, screenshots, or anything else for that matter (Evolve anyone?). Even when we do get to see the game in action, the final product can end up drastically different than what we were shown (Watch Dogs). While this rule applies to every game announcement, I am stressing its importance here because…

Changes are Being Made

With most re-releases in HD, the game is simply a prettier version than the original with most of the gameplay and mechanics left untouched or improved for the better (like the Monkey Island remakes). However, Square Enix is not content with just cosmetic changes for this Final Fantasy VII remake. There will apparently be quite a few changes made to the game in several places.

When the director Tetsuya Nomura was asked about gameplay changes he stated, “I can’t share details, but we’re changing it to a more realistic system.” This could be any number of things so we will have to wait to see some gameplay to understand what “realistic” entails.  However it seems the team isn’t content with just releasing the game with improved graphics, which seemed to be the simple desire of many fans. The team, or at least Nomura, wants to exceed the original. In the same interview Nomura went on to say, “Final Fantasy VII is special, and we can’t ‘exceed’ the game by simply making the graphics nicer. That’s not a thing to be excited about. Precisely because it’s a full remake, I want to challenge what’s fun and what’s possible now.”

Players have longed for the idea of Final Fantasy VII playable in HD ever since games have been receiving the re-release treatment. However, most of the comments I have seen from players concerning a HD version of the game would simply be content with a graphically enhanced version of Final Fantasy VII. While some of the mechanics and design may be dated, they are part of the game’s identity; they are integral to the entire experience.

When Nintendo released Ocarina of Time HD and The Wind Waker HD, they didn’t make a major overhaul to the mechanics or the gameplay. If they had, the games would not be the same. They made some slight changes which most people seemed to agree benefitted the games, but at their core, the games were still the same. I’m not saying Final Fantasy VII should not have some updates to the mechanics and gameplay. I imagine there are some ways those could be improved without compromising the identity of the game, but the comments from Tetsuya Nomura are worrisome. Like all games from our younger years though, it is important to remember…

It Won’t Be the Same As You Remember

Any time we fondly remember a game from our past, we tend to don our rose-tinted shades and overlook the problems the game may have had. Granted, this re-release will have issues of its own it will be bringing to the table, but some issues will have been carried over from the original. Nostalgia is what allows us to blindly overlook many flaws from the things we enjoyed in our youth. Revisiting many of these things as an adult usually results in us saying, “I don’t remember this at all!” or “I thought this game was better than this.”

Nostalgia has already changed many players’ memories about the game. It is undoubtedly a classic, but is it truly as good as you remember? The game holds a special place for many because it was the first entry of the series in the 3D realm and because for many players, it was the first game to kill a major, notable character (I guess people hadn't read Game of Thrones back then). This overwhelming sense of nostalgia is what has prompted a remake of this title over the many other Final Fantasy titles. Time will tell if the game is truly as good as you remember. However, there is one final reason why you should temper your expectations or just not be excited at all, and it is undoubtedly the most significant reasons out of all of these listed.

Square Enix is NOT Square

When Final Fantasy VII was released back in 1997, it was developed by Square. Square is a completely different entity than the entity now known as Square Enix. Squenix has seen it shares of success and great releases. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Odin Sphere, and The World Ends with You are all titles we have had the privilege of playing thanks to Square Enix. However, the company has made some major missteps in the past five years alone. So let’s look at some of these mistakes.

This is the same company who released Final Fantasy XIV: a game that was met with such a negative reaction upon release; it was hastily announced a new development team would take over the game in an attempt to fix all of the issues with the title. While the new team has done a terrific job in restoring a dreadful game, one has to wonder why the game was launched in such a poor state with so many issues.

Let’s also not forget Square Enix is responsible for the entire Final Fantasy XIII legacy. FFXIII was extremely linear compared to past games with the game’s initial twenty or so hours being a tutorial. I have so issues with a linear title, but to constrain players with a tutorial that takes almost an entire day of play to complete?

While the game was largely well-received as whole, Squenix went on to release two direct sequels to the title that no one seemed to want. On top of diminishing returns for each sequel, Lighting Returns has yet to crack one million sales worldwide, the sequels also added gratuitous amounts of DLC , going so far as to have story content locked behind a DLC pay wall for Final Fantasy XIII-2

At the same time, both Hitman: Absolution sold 3.6 million copies and Sleeping Dogs sold 1.75 million copies back in 2013 and were considered “failures.” The Tomb Raider reboot was also considered an initial failure but has since gone on to sell at least 8.5 million copies and is now considered profitable. Final Fantasy XIII-2 has shipped around 3.1 million copies, but it is not considered a failure? It took Lightning Returns failing to sell even one million copies for Square Enix to finally get the message and move on to other games.

Remember, this is what failure looks like. 

Let’s also not forget Final Fantasy All the Bravest. This is a game that received unanimously negative feedback for its ridiculous amount of microtransactions and the way it treats players and the Final Fantasy legacy. While we are on the topic of mobile blunders, let’s take a look at the Final Fantasy VI release for mobile devices.

Instead of simply porting the excellent version the Gameboy Advance received some time ago, Squenix thought it appropriate to replace all of the wonder sprites and redo the visuals in the style of a horrible Flash game. Seriously, this thing is more hideous than the possessed Regan MacNeil.

The original.

Just no...

If Square Enix can’t respect Final Fantasy VI, regarded by many to be the pinnacle of the series, why on earth do we think they will respect Final Fantasy VII?

At the end of the day, we can only wait to see what Square Enix is doing with their Final Fantasy VII remake. While I am far from the only one who is dubious as to what they will release, I do hope more people will temper their expectations of what is to come. Final Fantasy VII is a legendary game, and it deserves the best treatment available. However with Square Enix’s behavior and decisions, I wonder it the game will get the treatment it deserves.

Now prepare for Save Aerith DLC. 


Three Changes That Could Be Good For The Final Fantasy VII Remake Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:07:15 -0400 OrganisedDinosaur

With confirmation that the Final Fantasy VII remake will not be a like for like re-release but rather a fully blown remake coming from the mouth of project director Tetsuya Nomura, the speculation floodgates can be cast wide open. Here are three changes that could really help make the Final Fantasy VII better than ever.

Plot Tweaks

Even though there are no additional characters as far as we can tell, the actual plot itself, or at least elements of it have been implied by Nomura as being fair game. Now, despite the classic status of the original and the fact that it owes much of that to its much beloved story, let's be objective for a minute. While the plot was gripping and quite good, what really sold it was the marvellous characters and phenomenal world, as well as some tear-wrenching moments.

...the creative team has a real opportunity to plug up some of those holes, flesh out some sub-plots...


Let's be honest, the plot was actually pretty poor in some major ways. There were plenty of plot holes and bizarre coincidences that were only a little bit above deus ex machina. The characters, the world and the basic plot are fantastic and with the gift of hindsight and objectivity, the creative team has a real opportunity to plug up some of those holes, flesh out some sub-plots and really make the Final Fantasy VII story an unarguably classic tale.

Perhaps in the remake, Sephiroth will get burned here
Modern Combat System

Even though the turn-based combat system from the Final Fantasy games is iconic and very much liked by fans of the series, there have been innovations in game design that would make keeping the exact same combat system as the original feel lazy. 

Final Fantasy VII with its magic and summons is one of the best known of these systems, but all the games in the series tweaked and modified the basic concept in some way. Final Fantasy VIII had you choose a limited number of available actions for each character, and Final Fantasy XIII used a paradigm system to give deceptively simple mechanics real depth. As well as that, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core on the PSP utilised real-time combat while very much keeping the feel and strategy of its turn based cousin. 

Final Fantasy VII needs to keep magic, summons and limit breaks, but the possibilities for modernising the system with real-time combat or paradigms or any of the other wonderful innovations over the years are enormous. Give us a brand new system rooted in the classic original.

Do modern gamers even have the patience for this?
Voice Acting

Of all the possible changes this is the one that seems the most likely. The most recent Final Fantasy games have ditched the text-based exposition and dialogue in favour of voice acting and Nomura has actually mentioned the challenges with remaking a game that uses text boxes today.

Even without any changes to the plot, changing the way in which the same story is told will have a huge impact on how the player receives it. It is comparable to your favourite novel getting a movie adaption. The voices, personalities and behaviours of these characters were at least partially created by you - the player in the text-based game. With voices, we will be presented characters exactly as the developers want us to see them.

Much like when a director casts that actor you hate as your favourite character, this could fundamentally change how we perceive certain characters or events. 

 Some good casting can really make a character

Change can definitely be a good thing, and the idea of getting a full remake of Final Fantasy VII is something that we should embrace. The original is not sacred, it's just old. Nothing can take the original Final Fantasy VII away from us, so let's see that plot improved, let's get some talented voice actors and let's make the combat more gripping and exciting than ever before. Do all that, and Final Fantasy VII could be the game to define a second whole generation of gamers.

Final Fantasy XV Changes and the Ugly Side of Perfection Fri, 05 Jun 2015 02:30:02 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

In case you haven't seen or heard, Final Fantasy XV Director Hajime Tabata announced a few alterations to the game's narrative in the latest episode of Square Enix's Active Time Report.  Chief among them perhaps is that the character, Stella, a very prominent figure in the early trailers when the game was still known as Versus XIII, will no longer be in the game. The game has already caught a lot of flack from internet goers everywhere for having an all male cast, and Stella's omission will only add fuel to that fire.

However, focusing solely on that would mean completely missing the point, especially if you haven't been monitoring the game's prolonged and clearly troubled development.  This year's E3 will mark nine years since the game was unveiled at Sony's Press Conference in 2006 alongside the other games of the old Fabula Nova Crystallis series, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 (known as Agito at the time).

It's a minor miracle that we even got our hands on a playable segment of the game this year in Episode Duscae.

Between its frequent MIA's from various E3's and Tokyo Game Show's over the years and the numerous rumors of cancellations, it's a minor miracle that we even got our hands on a playable segment of the game this year in Episode Duscae.  This isn't even counting the fact that Legendary Final Fantasy director, Tetsuya Nomura left the project to allegedly focus on Kingdom Hearts III.  With news of these new changes, plus the ones that have come to light since the game officially became Final Fantasy XV two years ago, it begs the question, just how bad was the situation?

Well for one thing, nine years is a long time to make anything, never mind a video game.  That's a lot of company time and money with zero payoff right there.  As convenient as it might be to adopt the idea of "they should take as much time as they can to make sure everything is perfect", that simply isn't anything more than a naive ideal.  Employee salaries, health benefits, utility bills, software licensing, etc all factor into the equation and not being able to meet those demands is the reason that a lot of people lose their jobs.

Tetsuya Nomura is infamous for his ability to go above and beyond in terms of quality and has done so for many years  

Secondly, the idea of achieving perfection, is little more than that.  An idea. Unfortunately, creative perfectionists often have a hard time coming to terms with that and as a result, spend a lot of time creating and iterating their ideas.  While this can and has produced great results, it can take time.  A lot of time.  Tetsuya Nomura is infamous for his ability to go above and beyond in terms of quality and has done so for many years and Versus XIII looked like it was on its way to fulfilling the Final Fantasy legacy.  

Unfortunately, it seems that there was not an effective system in place to keep development moving as Square Enix placed all their faith in their legendary designer.  While it sounds nice to do something like that, and in all fairness, his brilliance and years of service did earn him the right to have that chance, but if there isn't a system that keeps the perfectionists in line, the foundations of entire studios can be rocked (see Ken Levine and Irrational Games).  Square Enix finally decided enough was enough and now Tabata is on to help clean up and streamline the ideas that Nomura laid down.  

Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy Coming to Steam Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:53:10 -0400 Brian Spaen

Been one of the people that's been holding out to play the entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy on PC? Well, those wishes have come true as Square Enix confirmed that they're all headed to Steam.

Currently, Final Fantasy XIII is available on Steam for pre-order. The original price is $15.99, but it can be purchased with a 10 percent discount at $14.39. The offer will end on October 9th, when the game is unlocked in the Steam store.

There is no exact date for the other two games -- Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII -- but it's been confirmed that they will be released by Spring 2015. These games will also be available for download on Square Enix's online game store.

A push for Final Fantasy games to Steam?

This (hopefully) will not be the only newer Final Fantasy game that hits Steam. Final Fantasy IV made a surprise release on Wednesday, a port of the Nintendo 3DS edition released in 2008. But those are the older games that have rereleased on so many different consoles. But from Final Fantasy IX on, we haven't seen those titles being tossed out to the public over and over again.

Perhaps those HD re-releases of Final Fantasy X and X-2 are just some of the games that PC gamers can enjoy in the Final Fantasy suite in the near future.

Image credit: Giant Bomb

13 Days Of FF13: Additional Faces - Allies Sun, 09 Feb 2014 08:42:33 -0500 GabrielKross

There aren't many allies outside of the main cast. It's to be expected with such a large group of main characters though.



Snow's vigilante group that help with the resistance during the Bodhum purge.You don't see them again after you leave the hanging gardens until FFXIII-2. In FFXIII-2 they play a bigger role leading the village of New Bodhum for Snow.

Gadot, Yuj, Maqui, Lebreau.


Gadot is Snow's second in command, and of the four members he's the only one that you'd expect to be in the group.


Yuj is the group's "pretty boy." Not someone you'd expect to find in a group of monster exterminators or resistance fighters.


Maqui is the tech savvy person of the group. He doesn't really seem to be experienced in a fight.


Lebreau is the motherly character taking care of the others. Handy in a fight, Lebreau seems to fit in a lot better than Yuj or Maqui.


Dajh is the son of Sazh. Although he is a Cocoon L'Cie, he's unaware of the ramifications of this. He complete's his focus by finding Sazh and VAnille in Nautilus.

The Calvary:

Initially led by Cid Raines, but after Cid challenges the main characters, his second in command Rygdea takes over. The Calvary is opposed to a Fal"Cie led Cocoon. The first time the Calvary actively helps out the group is in Palumpolum.

Their big role was in the overthrow at the end of the story. Taking out Cid Raines who was now just a Fal'Cie's puppet they decide to take on Orphan to free Cocoon. In the end the Calvary are all turned into Cie'th.


Other than NORA in New Bodhum there are only a few additional allies in FFXIII-2.


You meet Alyssa in Bresha Ruins 05 AF. She tips you off on all of the details of the area and the Paradox situation with Atlas. After solving this Paradox, Alyssa get's promoted to Hope's assistant. She travels through time with Hope as his second in command. Both are very helpful throughout the game.


There are many different Yeuls, all are different, but all can be considered allies. Only one ever actively says anything in opposition to Serah and Noel. She does so in hopes of saving Serah, not in an attempt to oppose the two. Even the Yeuls seen with Caius have no desire to oppose the pair.

Lightning Returns:


It's unknown whether Lumina is an ally or an enemy. Even the official description of Lumina on the Lightning Returns website leaves it open to question.

This wraps up the list of additional allies. Be sure to check out my FF13 content in my 13 Days of FF13 overview.

13 Days Of FF13: Fang Fri, 07 Feb 2014 08:08:50 -0500 GabrielKross

Today I'm wrapping up playable FFXIII characters with Fang. Although she hadn't been with the team from the start, she is a powerhouse.


Playing As Fang:

Fang starts out with Commando, Sentinel, and Saboteur. As the only character with a higher efficiency in Commando than Lightning, Fang is the best in the game. Fang is remarkably high-efficiency in every role, in comparison to how some others only excel in their primary three.

Due to Fang's all around great efficiency levels, there is no wrong way to build her as long as you keep her primaries up-to-date. I'd definitely make sure you build her around her Commando and Sentinel roles though as they are by far her best. She scales well late game as a Saboteur, however she lacks the Death skill that Vanille gets.

Depending on how you build her, I'd recommend the Dragoon Lance or Taming Pole weapon trees. Dragoon Lance is the best if you don't mind sacrificing the ability to use magic. However, Taming Pole is only 41 max Strength lower than the other and has equal magic. Coupled with the Stagger Lock effect, the Taming Pole  a really good hybrid weapon.

Fang's Eidolon:

With all the Dragoon references tied into Fang's character, it's only natural that Bahamut is her Eidolon. Bahamut is a power house just like every other Final Fantasy that he appears in. His Megaflare is one of the easiest ways to get the Limit Breaker achievement. I'd definitely practice building him up to a tier 3 Gestault so you can get that achievement.

Fang's Story:

Fang and Vanille came from the village of Oerba long before the events of the story take place. They entered crystal stasis even though they failed their focus the first time around. As Pulse L'Cie they were given the focus of destroying Orphan by becoming Ragnarok. The reason that they failed is due to Vanille holding Fang back.

When they wake from crystal stasis, Fang doesn't remember anything of their focus, or what had happened. Her brand has also been scorched to the point where it is no longer progressing. Vanille pretends to have the same memory issues as Fang so that they wouldn't continue to try to complete their focus.

After the events of Euride Gorge, Fang and Vanille become separated. Somehow Fang ends up with the Calvary, who agree to help Fang. When the others leave Snow behind, he is picked up by Fang and the Calvary. The next time you see them is Palumpolum, when Hope and Lightning arrive.

After the escape from Cocoon, Fang confronts Vanille about hiding their focus from her. After beating Orphan Fang and Vanille become the Crystal pillar that prevents Cocoon from falling.


Fang doesn't really have a role in FFXIII-2. She and Vanille help Serah out of her dreamworld when Serah denies the dream, but that's about the extent of their involvement. It's hard to have an active role when you're solid crystal.

Lightning Returns:

It's been revealed that Fang leads a group of bandits, but her role in the story is unknown.

This is the end of the FFXIII characters; tomorrow I'll cover Noel as the last playable character in the series. For more FFXIII content leading up to Lightning Returns, check out my 13 Days Of FF13 overview.

13 Days Of FF13: Vanille Thu, 06 Feb 2014 03:35:53 -0500 GabrielKross

Vanille is the mysterious one of the group. She never really talks about herself and kind of gets swept up in the moment during the Purge.


Playing as Vanille:

Vanille is a Ravager, Saboteur, and Medic at the start. She is the best Saboteur in the game, getting Death in that Crystarium branch. Vanille is most useful as a Ravager early game, but is beneficial in all three roles. When playing as Vanille, you'll want to level her mage roles. Only work on Sentinel and Commando once the other four are level 5. Definitely consider the Belladonna Wand tree, this will boost Vanille's debuffing.

While Vanille's Magic stat is not as high as Hope's, she rivals him as a Medic due to her higher survivability, having more HP. Vanille is another character that scales really well with gear, so consider what you're aiming for when you look at gear upgrades.


Vanille's Eidolon Hecatoncheir is an exclusive to the FFXIII series summon. Hecatoncheir is the last summon you get in the game, putting Vanille at an ATB disadvantage for a while. To make up for Vanille's lack of damage, Hecatoncheir hits hard. This Eidolon also ignores physical and magic defense.

Vanille's Story:

Vanille is half of a Pulse L'Cie duo that tried to destroy Cocoon long before the events of the story take place. Her and Fang are the original cause of everything taking place. When Vanille and Fang woke up, the Pulse Vestige opened. This prompts Serah to explore inside and gets branded by Anima.

Not long after waking up Vanille and Fang head to the Euride Gorge energy plant. Here they plan to attack the Fal'Cie, but end up with a surprise. Dajh interrupts them, and the Fal'Cie turns Dajh into a Cocoon L'Cie.

The Sanctum military appears and Fang holds them off so that Vanille can escape. Vanille finds her way to Bodhum, running into Serah. Serah being the person she is ends up cheering up Vanille unaware that Vanille was responsible for her fate.

Vanille joins the Purge under the impression it would lead her back to Gran Pulse, which is not exactly what happens. During the chaos in the Hanging Edge, Vanille tags along with Hope urging him on. The two end up joining the fight against Anima.

Vanille is already a L'Cie before the encounter with Anima, but uses that as a cover. Nothing is actually revealed about Vanille until the incident at Nautilus with her and Sazh.

After the final battle, Vanille and Fang become the crystal pillar that stops the fall of Cocoon.


Vanille plays a very minor role in FFXIII-2, being entombed in crystal makes being active hard. Vanille's part in the story happens when Serah is trapped in the Dream-world. Due to Serah's choice to deny the dream the consciousness of Vanille and Fang are able to reach her. The two help Serah get out of her dream to go save Noel from his.

Lightning Returns:

Her role in the story has yet to be revealed. We do know she is no longer crystal, and that she can speak with the dead. Beyond this there is nothing public about Vanille.

For more FFXIII content check out my 13 Days of FF13 overview. Tomorrow I'll cover Fang, wrapping up the primary characters of FFXIII. I'll follow that up with a look at Noel.

13 Days Of FF13: Sazh Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:27:09 -0500 GabrielKross

Sazh is the "old man" of the FFXIII series. He often comments on, "...being too old for this." Whenever Sazh takes a wrong step or says the wrong thing, the baby chocobo is there to put him in his place.



Sazh has only one role he really excels at, Synergist. Haste makes his Synergist the most worthwhile at lower levels. He is also able to enhance his Eidolon's attacks which is a definite bonus.

Sazh's Commando and Ravager are his other primaries. Although he doesn't really excel at these, he needs them for when the team splits up temporarily.


Brynhildr, a completely new summon to the Final Fantasy series, is Sazh's Eidolon. Brynhildr fills a role similar to that of the Ravager. Sazh can effect which element Brynhildr uses through his en-spells. Damage wise, Brynhildr isn't the best Eidolon, but he does chain really fast.

Sazh's Story:

Due to Fang and Vanille's actions in the Euride Gorge energy plant, Dajh was turned into a Cocoon L'Cie. Sazh, knowing the fate of L'Cie, was frantically searching for a clue to Dajh's focus. When Dajh randomly wanted to go to Bodhum, Sazh thought it might hold an answer.

With the Sanctum's permission Sazh and Dajh went to Bodhum accompanied by Nabaat a high-ranking Sanctum military official. After arriving, the area of Bodhum was locked down due to the discovery of the Pulse Vestige.

It is unclear to me how Sazh ended up in the Purge lines when he was with Dajh and Nabaat.

While in line to join the Purge, Sazh meets Lightning and decides to stick close to her. Following Lightning Sazh ends up participating in the battle against Anima with her and the others. Thus Sazh becomes a Pulse L'Cie.

After the team splits, Vanille and Sazh head to Nautilus. In Nautilus, Vanille tries to tell Sazh she is responsible for Dajh becoming a Pulse L'Crie. She's interrupted by a Sanctum attack, Sazh and Vanille run until they are backed into a corner. Dajh appears and "finds" Sazh and Dajh turns in to crystal. Afterwards, Nabaat reveals that Vanille and Fang were responsible for Dajh's fate.

Playing as Sazh:

Sazh is one of the two best Synergists in the game. Make sure you take advantage of his early acquisition of Haste as he gets it before anyone else. I'd recommend alternating between Synergist and Ravager when leveling Sazh up. Make Commando the last option of the three.

An important thing to note about Sazh, in the later game Sazh is a great character to Stagger with. Using his ultimate skill and Stagger Maintenance weapons make him one of the best for staggering enemies.

Sazh starts out really weak but has the second highest HP pool in the game. He also benefits the most from gear he's wearing, more specifically his guns. Sazh is really dependable in the late-game so make sure you keep his Crystarium up to date.


Role in The Story:

Sazh has a very short role in the main story. All he does is take you to the last battle in Academia 500 AF. In Yaschas Massif, Hope comments on Sazh disappearing and nobody knowing where he went. It never explains within the story line where he went or how he ends up in Academia 500 AF.

Heads Or Tails DLC:

Sazh is unlockable for the Paradigm pack by playing the Heads or Tails DLC. This DLC has you play as Sazh in Serendipity to gamble. What you're gambling for is to get Dajh who vanished after they went through the Paradox.

Lightning Returns:

A teaser of Sazh shows him interacting with Lightning and the baby chocobo in the Lightning Returns trailers. To prevent spoilers that is all I'll say about Sazh in Lightning Returns.

For more FFXIII content check out my 13 Days of FF13 overview. Tomorrow I'll cover Vanille's role in the FFXIII series.