Square Enix Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Square Enix RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Final Fantasy 7 Remake Preview: Delivering on Its Promises https://www.gameskinny.com/dzslr/final-fantasy-7-remake-preview-delivering-on-its-promises https://www.gameskinny.com/dzslr/final-fantasy-7-remake-preview-delivering-on-its-promises Mon, 02 Mar 2020 04:00:01 -0500 David Jagneaux

When I previewed the Final Fantasy 7 Remake at E3 2019, it was based on an extremely-limited slice of the game. We were allowed to fight a handful of throwaway enemies before getting shoved into the mechanical scorpion boss fight near the beginning of the game. That was pretty much it. 

This latest demo I tried in San Francisco, CA, ahead of PAX East was a much meatier representation of the game. My playthrough this time started from the very beginning of the game  intro cinematic and all  and took me all the way through the first two chapters before skipping ahead to Chapter 7, including the Air Buster boss fight.

Last year, I had a few concerns about the game but was largely optimistic Square-Enix could probably pull things off. After spending more than two additional hours with a highly-polished version of the game in this latest demo, I'm confident Remake will exceed expectations.

The Remake Treatment

Remaking anything, much less a beloved video game, movie, or piece of music, is rife with complications. Not only must studios contend with nostalgia, but they must also juggle updating (potentially) outdated designs and ideas for modern audiences while still remaining true to original fans. It's a difficult, and often impossible, balance to strike.

To be clear, Final Fantasy 7 is not my favorite JRPG  nor is it even my favorite Final Fantasy game — but I absolutely recognize its place in history. Even though the original clearly has not aged well  at least visually  the story is more poignant than ever.

One interesting thing I noticed during my latest demo is that key characters like Cloud are less impressive to see fully realized in Remake. That's in large part due to the fact that they've previously been upgraded in spin-offs like Dissidia and have shown up in other games like Smash Bros. That makes Cloud's 4K, HD update a bit less impressive than, say, Barrett's or Aerith's, characters who haven't gotten as much love and attention over the years.

Midgar itself, though, is fantastic. There is an overwhelming sense of panic in the streets after you successfully blow up the first Mako Reactor and the voice acting really sells the government's crooked propaganda throughout the story. In a lot of ways, seeing the game anew with updated production values further underscores just how far ahead of its time FF7 was.

Combat Depth

The first 10 mainline Final Fantasy games use relatively similar turn-based combat systems that feature some variation of players and enemies taking turns until one side is defeated. Since then, the franchise has gotten extremely experimental with how it interprets and reapplies that system.

Final Fantasy 13 mixed real-time and turn-based mechanics and, most recently, FF15 is (basically) a strict real-time system with some active menu management. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake is very similar to this. 

However, the main difference is how it handles non-basic attacks. When you're mashing your main attack buttons, everything flows quickly in real-time, but when you open up the menu to use an item, queue up a special ability using your ATB gauge, summon something, or issue commands to NPCs, everything slows to a crawl for an impressive, flashy, and incredibly cinematic slow-mo period. There is no limit to this, so you can hold things in slow-mo as long as you want.

When I tried it last year, the majority of my demo was a single boss fight, so I never really got my footing before being thrust into a big battle. It led to everything feeling a bit off. Now, by the time I fought the scorpion, I'd already been playing for around an hour and everything clicked much more naturally.

Having to switch characters, queue up abilities, and  more with slow-mo interruptions seemed a little jilted at first, but it's a lot like the real-time with pause mechanics from games like Dragon Age and Baldur's Gate. It's a lot flashier here.

By the time my demo was over, I was really enjoying the way combat flowed. I made a comment to a Square Enix representative that in the original, you always looked forward to the big special attacks and summons because of how cinematic they were. Now, every combat encounter feels like a cinematic moment because of how grandiose combat looks at all times. It still remains to be seen whether that will get old over time or not.

Tifa is Terrific

The most exciting moment for me in the new demo was getting to take Tifa for a spin. As a stark contrast to Cloud's massive Buster Sword and Barrett's arm-mounted gatling gun, Tifa uses her fists — and it's extremely satisfying. Despite the lack of an external weapon, her attacks somehow manage to be even flashier and more impressive than her allies'. 

Cloud can switch to a more aggressive stance that dishes out heavier damage but leaves him vulnerable. Barrett can charge up a special shot for his heavy attack, and Tifa has a nasty uppercut  but if she uses a buff ability beforehand, that uppercut turns into an even deadlier attack to finish off combos. Once I switched to the second half of my demo and got to use her, I immediately switched to her in every single fight.

The way she bounces on her feet, ready to strike is extremely well-animated, too, and she brings a lot of airiness to conversations, which cuts through Cloud and Barrett's constant headbutting. 

Even though the demo event I attended included a battle that let you try out Aerith, I wasn't able to give her a spin. I was late to the demo because of a scheduling conflict. I did catch a glimpse of her on the screen next to me during my demo, and she seems like a blast.

The way she almost dances while casting spells is mesmerizing and based on trailers, I already knew her voice acting felt spot-on. During my demo, I ran into her very briefly, but that was it. For my money, Tifa is the best girl in Final Fantasy 7 anyway, so I was content with not trying out Aerith.

I did get to summon Shiva though, which was about as epic and visually satisfying as you'd expect.

The wait is almost over for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which seems surreal to write. You'll finally be able to re-experience Cloud's epic journey on April 10, exclusively for PlayStation 4.

[Note: This preview is based on a hands-on demo for a pre-release build played during an event in San Francisco, CA, hosted by Square Enix.]

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FFXIV Getting a Live-Action Television Adaptation https://www.gameskinny.com/loctq/ffxiv-getting-a-live-action-television-adaptation https://www.gameskinny.com/loctq/ffxiv-getting-a-live-action-television-adaptation Thu, 27 Jun 2019 13:15:28 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony Pictures Television, Square Enix, and Hivemind, the production company behind Netflix's upcoming version of The Witcher, recently announced a collaboration for a live-action television series in the Final Fantasy XIV universe.

The series' narrative will be an original story based in Eorzea, but will still focus on the game's central themes of the struggle between magic and technology.

Of course, that means plenty of Magitek, chocobos, airships, fighting, fancy costumes, and series-staple Cid, who will be making his live-action debut in the forthcoming show. In addition to recognizable characters, though, the FFXIV TV show will also likely introduce several new faces.

The news comes a short while after both FFXIV's Shadowbringers expansion was shown off at E3 and after Sony announced the birth of PlayStation productions, a new studio tackling the challenge of creating quality video game movies and potentially TV shows as well.

The FFXIV TV adaptation isn't coming from PlayStation Productions, but it certainly seems as though it's following the general philosophy behind the latter, which is to create complementary material that both furthers the game's own narrative while filling the gap between content releases.

Chris Parnell, Sony Pictures Television's Co-President, mentioned something to that end as well, saying:

FINAL FANTASY XIV and Eorzea are the perfect gateway into FINAL FANTASY for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

This show is about embracing and embodying all of the elements that have made the mythos such an endlessly captivating phenomenon...

In other words, it's set to do what transmedia does best: introducing new audiences to the franchise's main medium and spinoffs, while still providing a compelling narrative and overall experience for established fans.

Jason Brown, Hivemind's Co-Founder, said television is the best choice for a production like this since it allows for greater depth and theme development. He also made an interesting comment that could suggest the FFXIV series gets a new or revamped art style, stating the production team is gathering artists from around the world to honor the franchise and its legacy.

To what extent a quest-based MMO can be translated into a full series wasn't addressed, nor did the press release offer a timeline for when we can expect the finished product or more updates.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Hands-On Preview: Breaking Limits All Over Again https://www.gameskinny.com/l7b9i/final-fantasy-7-remake-hands-on-preview-breaking-limits-all-over-again https://www.gameskinny.com/l7b9i/final-fantasy-7-remake-hands-on-preview-breaking-limits-all-over-again Fri, 14 Jun 2019 08:51:41 -0400 David Jagneaux

My very first E3 was all the way back in 2015. At that event, Sony's press conference had a new trailer for The Last Guardian, announced Shenmue 3, and finally confirmed the existent of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Now, four years later at my fifth E3, I actually got to play it.

And despite all that, I'm still not 100% sure I believe it's real.

Long Time Coming

Final Fantasy 7 is often regarded as the best Final Fantasy game and even the best RPG of all-time. I'd take Final Fantasy 4 over FF7 any day, but I know I'm in the minority with that opinion.

That being said, I can understand the excitement. It's rare that a game with such a storied history and massive following gets the chance at a revival. If you go back and play most PlayStation 1 games, such as Final Fantasy VII, they just don't hold up well at all. This remake is a chance for Square Enix to make it look like we remember it looking with our rose colored nostalgia glasses.

My demo for Final Fantasy 7 was split into two parts inside the massive Square Enix booth in the South Hall at E3 2019. The first half took place in a waiting room, a bit like the kind you find for rides at Disneyland. We all gathered on benches and watched a video of Jessie explaining our mission and the game's controls. It's got a very different flow from the original's turn-based combat.

Gameplay in Final Fantasy 7 Remake has a lot more in common with Kingdom Hearts than it does the first 10 mainline, turn-based Final Fantasy games. You freely move around the environment and can clearly see enemies in the world outside of combat. When combat starts, it seamlessly shifts to display prompts on-screen as your characters automatically face enemies. You're also free to move around the battle wherever you want.

Pressing "square" uses normal attacks, which build up the ATB gauge, and you can press "X" to enter a slow-motion mode where you can select either an Ability, Spell, or Item to use that will spend some of your built-up ATB gauges. Cloud was all about up-close melee with his massive buster sword, obviously, while Barret could do sustained ranged damage with his gun arm. Switching between characters and issuing commands to keep their gauges full was a crucial part of every battle.

The Flow Of Combat

The E3 2019 demo was heavily focused on combat. It featured an early section of the game in which Cloud and Barret are dispatched to place a bomb inside a Shinra facility. I ran around on some metal platforms, opened up treasure chests by hitting "triangle" just like Sora would, and made my way down into the heart of the facility. 

Since you need to pause the action to issue any command other than dodge rolling or doing a normal attack, the fluidity of combat is interrupted a lot. It's a bit jarring since you're encouraged to use abilities often those ATB gauges don't carry over between battles. It would be nice if there was a way to map a go-to ability for quick access or something like that instead of needing to pause battles every single time. 

I also found it a bit annoying that the camera didn't automatically lock onto enemies, unless I was missing a control option. I found that Cloud and Barret would target enemies with attacks no problem, but the camera didn't always face enemies and there was no option to automatically re-center it other than just using the right stick. Trying to move with the left stick, attack and dodge with the face buttons, and move the camera all at the same time was a bit cumbersome. 

Scorpion Boss Fight

This brief Final Fantasy 7 Remake demo ended with the iconic Shinra scorpion boss right. I (thankfully) didn't have much trouble here, but the battle took much longer than any of the non-boss encounters from before. Not only did I need to ensure I kept dealing damage to build up my ATB gauges, but I also needed to build up the boss' stagger meter as well, similar to in Final Fantasy 13.

Switching between characters was quick and easy, just tapping up or down on the d-pad. The boss was a straightforward fight consisting of just brute force until it raised a shield, then targeting the shield, and dodging its big attacks. Nothing too complicated, but certainly some extra layers as compared to the original turn-based version of the game.

It should be interesting to see how different more advanced enemies, such as Sephiroth, will be on the battlefield when they're not forced to take turns while attacking.

Once I staggered a boss I could do even more damage, which was always a great time to use powerful abilities. And as you take damage in combat you'll build up your Limit meter, which lets you use an extremely powerful Limit Break attack once full. Finishing off the boss with a massive blast from Barret's arm canon was the highlight of the demo for me.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

I had a blast playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake at E3 2019. Visually, it's a staggering technical achievement and despite my initial concerns, the gameplay translates to a more action-focused format extremely well.

During its E3 2019 press conference, Square Enix announced that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will hit PlayStation 4 on March 3, 2020. This release is expected to only contain the first part of the Remake since it will be an episodic series this time.

For more E3 coverage, check the links below: 

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Square Enix Wants to Create a Digital Library of All Its Classic Titles https://www.gameskinny.com/9dei7/square-enix-wants-to-create-a-digital-library-of-all-its-classic-titles https://www.gameskinny.com/9dei7/square-enix-wants-to-create-a-digital-library-of-all-its-classic-titles Thu, 13 Jun 2019 11:04:34 -0400 Josh Broadwell

In an interview with Game Informer, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda said the company is exploring various options for making all of its classic titles available digitally.

In fact, SE is already working on a dedicated internal project to port many classic titles to a variety of platforms. Beyond that, Matsuda mentioned SE is considering a subscription or download-exclusive service that would give players access to the entire library of classic Square Enix games, saying "I think everyone is going in that direction, so we do want to be proactive in considering those options."

However,  NES games are Square Enix's particular focus right now, since, as Matsuda says, many other titles are currently still available in some form or another.

Which NES titles is another matter. Squaresoft's major NES titles, e.g. Final Fantasy I, II, and III, are available in multiple formats already, and the same goes for Enix's Dragon Quest games. It may be mobile availability is being excluded from these considerations, then.

There's also the challenge of dealing with code for older games — challenges such as the code being lost.

Rumors had been floating around for a long time about SE losing some of its original source codes, especially when it initially seemed like Final Fantasy VIII was the only PSX-era FF game not getting the modern port treatment.

Matsuda basically confirmed that scenario is true for many of its older games, saying that at the time, the dev teams never really thought about preserving code for future sales:

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in some cases, we don't know where the code is anymore. It's very hard to find them sometimes, because back in the day you just made them and put them out there and you were done you didn't think of how you were going to sell them down the road.

Still, there may be ways around that particular problem. Despite some believing the Junction and Draw systems should never see the light of day again, Final Fantasy VIII is finally getting the HD remaster treatment this fall.

In some cases, Matsuda said the team is actually able to recover lost code by pure serendipity, noting one instance where a developer who had left the company years previously had the code for a game still stored on his PC.

This news isn't altogether surprising, either. A few years ago, Matsuda told investors SE would be leveraging its classic IPs extensively in the future, and the company even made almost every FF soundtrack available for streaming recently as well. It certainly seems Square Enix is following through on its promises.

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Ranking the Kingdom Hearts Games From Worst to Best https://www.gameskinny.com/jh0wl/ranking-the-kingdom-hearts-games-from-worst-to-best https://www.gameskinny.com/jh0wl/ranking-the-kingdom-hearts-games-from-worst-to-best Fri, 25 Jan 2019 00:03:46 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

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1. Kingdom Hearts

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The game that started it all has to be the game to make it to the top of the list. Sure, the combat isn't as refined as its sequels, and the platforming wasn't that responsive, but it's remarkable that this 2002 title still holds up in 2019.

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The combat is simple, but it's still a blast to fight against the hoard of Heartless. Meanwhile, the worlds of Alice in Wonderland, Tarzan, Aladdin, and the rest are beautifully recreated in 3D that still looks good.

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The writing manages to perfectly capture each of the various films' spirits, and the simple yet effective story of Sora's search for his friends still manages to hit home. It's the closest that the series gets to feeling like an interactive Disney film.

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It is easy to see why Kingdom Hearts captured the heats of millions, and it just goes to show that great game design and storytelling never gets old. Here's hoping there's more of the Kingdom Hearts universe after its third home console installment.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-3d132.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-3d132.jpg","type":"slide","id":"193649","description":"

2. Kingdom Hearts II

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After 4 years of waiting, fans finally got a proper follow up to Kingdom Hearts in Kingdom Hearts II. Sora, Donald, and Goofy's adventure to find Riku and King Mickey expands upon the original, introducing new combat abilities, like drive forms and limit attacks, as well as improved level design and Gummi Ship sections.

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There are more Disney worlds to explore, including Mulan, The Lion King, Tron, and Pirates of the Caribbean, with none feeling out of place.

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Kingdom Hearts II has a few stumbles, like having one of the worst tutorials of all time and a lack of difficulty, but it's still a sequel that's almost as good as the original. 

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3. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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First teased in the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts II, this prequel moved away from the story of Sora, Riku, and Kairi (somewhat), and instead focused on a new trio of angsty teens: Ventus, Terra and Aqua.

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Taking place 10 years before the events of the original, Birth by Sleep sees the three on their own adventures that sadly ends in tragedy, as they become manipulated by Master Xehanort's plan to obtain Kingdom Hearts. 

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Playing as three characters, each with a unique personality, helps mix things up, as it allows us to get to know each of the characters before their unfortunate fates.

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While the game has shown a bit of its age, with each world feeling much more confined than past entries and the characters playing extremely similarly to one another, being able to craft new abilities does help alleviate some of the issues that plagued past handheld titles.

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Furthermore, the handful of Disney worlds that were chosen to be in Birth by Sleep, including Lilo and Stitch, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, still manage to retain some of the charm of the films that inspired them. 

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Also, how can you say no to a game that features two of the biggest sci-fi actor's of all-time in Mark Hamill, as Master Eraqus, and Leonard Nimoy, as the villainous Master Xehanort? You just can't.

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4. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

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Dream Drop Distance may have been another handheld game, but it does enough in setting up the events of Kingdom Hearts III to justify its existence.

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The worlds are decent at making you feel like you're in your favorite Disney films, and they contain much larger environments than some of the games in the series. Meanwhile, the combat is expanded with the new Flowmotion system, allowing you to pull off various attacks by using your surroundings.

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It's not perfect, as the Pokemon-like Dream Eaters feels needless, and the plot does start to become convoluted near the end, but it's worth checking out on either the 3DS or PS4.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/h/r/khrecom-wallpaper3-std-785fa.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/h/r/khrecom-wallpaper3-std-785fa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"193594","description":"

5. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

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While it was the first sequel to Kingdom Hearts, many saw Chain of Memories as just a watered downed repeat of the original put out on the Game Boy Advance. It didn't help that it featured a card-based battle system rather than the typical one that many were used too.

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While it is an impressive title for the GBA, featuring a card system that requires some strategy and solid looking 2D sprites, its port from handheld to console robbed it of some of its charm.

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That is, the 3D worlds of the GBA release feel much smaller and more confined when put side by side with Kingdom Hearts. This was acceptable on a handheld console like the GBA, but not so much with the PS2 version, as expectations are much higher for a home console.

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Furthermore, the reused and cramped worlds mean that combat can become a chore to play through, especially since there is nearly 30 hours of gameplay in Chain of Memories. Other games in the series at least try to mix things up with different gameplay types.

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Featuring nothing but combat, this game quickly becomes monotonous, and it makes it hard to see the plot through to its conclusion, despite the story holding up adequately.

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Also, that Vexen Boss fight can go straight to the darkest realm of the Darkness.

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6. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

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After Kingdom Hearts II, fans were aching for the next installment of the beloved series. What they got was... something.

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Taking place between Kingdom Hearts I and II, 358/2 Days is sort of the origin story of Roxas, focusing on his days with Organization XIII. Throughout, we see Roxas learning about his true nature and hanging out with his friend Axel and newcomer Xion. What follows is an adventure that... exists.

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The best way to describe 358/2 Days is that it is a game of its era. It is impressive to see a game like it on the DS, but it just doesn't really hold up that well.

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Its mission structure limits how much you can explore in each of the worlds, compared to previous games, and the writing for these worlds is lacking the spark that the films that they are based on had. Moreover, the main plot moves at a snail's pace.

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Top all of this off with a lackluster combat system, repetitive levels, and a story that's only for diehard fans, and you'll see why this and Re:Coded were relegated to animated films in the various HD collections.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdomheartsrecoded-image1600w-2b76c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdomheartsrecoded-image1600w-2b76c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179785","description":"

7. Kingdom Hearts: Re:Coded

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Kingdom Hearts: Re:Coded originally started its life as an episodic cellphone game in Japan, beginning in 2008 and ending in 2010, before being released on the Nintendo DS. This version came late in the DS's lifespan, and many would agree that it's easily the worst game in the series.

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Re-Coded is more of a filler game than anything else, with only small details that progress the over-arching story of Kingdom Hearts. It's such a pointless installment that many were relieved to hear that it was just remade into a movie when it was released in Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix.

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The game reuses every world from the original Kingdom Hearts and attempts to shake things up by adding different bits of gameplay to each of the various worlds. However, it suffers from being a jack off all trades, master of none.

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No element feels interesting or fun, as the various mechanics are not fleshed out, and none of the joy or wonder from past games is present, with the re-used environments feeling like pale imitations of their PS2 counterparts.

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I can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty sure that no fan will say this game is their favorite. 

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It has been over 12 years since the release of Kingdom Hearts II, and fans have been patiently waiting for Kingdom Hearts III ever since. Now, this new entry is finally coming out in less than a week, and I think it's easy to say that, with new worlds and tons of amazing gameplay footage already revealed, many are excited to get their hands on the game.

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With that said, there have been a plethora of games in the series released after Kingdom Hearts II, and it's about time to see where they rank from worst to best. To make it on this list, the only requirement is that it has to have been released on an actual game console, so don't expect to see the likes of Union X here.

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Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland SP Announced for Smartphones in Japan https://www.gameskinny.com/9ks7c/dragon-quest-monsters-terrys-wonderland-sp-announced-for-smartphones-in-japan https://www.gameskinny.com/9ks7c/dragon-quest-monsters-terrys-wonderland-sp-announced-for-smartphones-in-japan Tue, 06 Nov 2018 12:29:16 -0500 Erroll Maas

During the Dragon Quest Monsters 20th anniversary live stream, Square Enix announced an enhanced port of Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D titled Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland SP.

This new version of the game will introduce fresh features that revolve around easier play on smartphones, including auto-battle and effortless adventure. Other additions include over 650 monsters to recruit, new skills, and a new area called "El Dorado."

While this version will not have real-time battles, it will include an asynchronous battle feature that has not yet been clarified.

Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D is a 2012 Nintendo 3DS remake of the 1998 Game Boy Color game, Dragon Quest Monsters (known as Dragon Warrior Monsters outside of Japan). Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland SP will launch on Android and iOS in Japan on November 7 and will be discounted for 1,600 yen until November 13. Afterward, it will then have a regular price of 2,400 yen.

It is currently unknown if the game will see release outside of Japan.

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Dragon Quest Monsters 20th Anniversary "Coming of Age Ceremony" Live Stream to Air November 6 https://www.gameskinny.com/tfbp8/dragon-quest-monsters-20th-anniversary-coming-of-age-ceremony-live-stream-to-air-november-6 https://www.gameskinny.com/tfbp8/dragon-quest-monsters-20th-anniversary-coming-of-age-ceremony-live-stream-to-air-november-6 Wed, 31 Oct 2018 11:31:01 -0400 Erroll Maas

Square Enix has announced that it will host a Dragon Quest Monsters "Coming-of-Age Ceremony” on November 6 at 7:00 a.m. EDT on Niconico, a Japanese video sharing service. 

The live stream will consists of two parts, with the first looking back at the past 20 years of the Dragon Quest Monsters spin off series. The second portion will look toward the future of the series.

The live stream will also include a handful of guests, including Series Creator Yuji Horii, Dragon Quest Monsters Series Producer Taichi Inuzuka, Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light producer Takamasa Shiba, Dragon Quest: Dokodemo Monster Parade Producer Yuuta Ashimine, Dragon Quest XI 3DS Version Producer Kento Yokota, Dragon Quest XI Director Takeshi Uchikawa, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker Battle Director Jin Fujisawa, and V-Jump Deputy Editor Saito-V. Ayana Tsubaki will host as emcee.

Dragon Quest Monsters is a monster taming RPG spin off of the main Dragon Quest franchise, which expands on monster recruiting elements first introduced in Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. The first title in the series, Dragon Quest Monsters (known as Dragon Warrior Monsters outside of Japan) first released for the Game Boy Color in Japan on September 25, 1998, in North America on January 25, 2000, and in Europe on January 28, 2000.

After the positive reception of the first game, the series continued with a two-version sequel on Game Boy Color, a remake of the Game Boy Color games on PlayStation. There was also a single Game Boy Advance title, the first two games in the Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker series on Nintendo DS, a few mobile games, including Dragon Quest Monsters: Super Light, and more remakes of the Game Boy Color games as well as Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 on Nintendo 3DS.

The last Dragon Quest Monsters title to be released outside of Japan was Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 on Nintendo DS in 2011.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for updates from the live stream.

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Meditations on Octopath Traveler: A Buddhist Approach to Annoyance https://www.gameskinny.com/twgnq/meditations-on-octopath-traveler-a-buddhist-approach-to-annoyance https://www.gameskinny.com/twgnq/meditations-on-octopath-traveler-a-buddhist-approach-to-annoyance Fri, 12 Oct 2018 16:19:27 -0400 William R. Parks

Before I began Octopath Traveler, I told myself I liked it. 

Since completing Super Mario Odyssey at the end of 2017, I had been desperately waiting for something to play on my Nintendo Switch, and I was certain that a lengthy JRPG was exactly what I needed.

I was thrilled by the prospect of playing a full-fledged Square Enix title in handheld mode. It never crossed my mind that it would disappoint, and I was initially charmed by Traveler's simple stories, updated graphics, and reworked mechanics. 

However, after 30 hours and nearly half the game complete, I wonder if the Buddha himself could have maintained harmony with Traveler for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Still, I play on, though I now do so exclusively in the intermediary moments of my life -- the time before dinner or leaving the house for an errand.

Why?

As a meditator, I spend considerable time trying to understand my emotions. Often, this is an attempt to clarify why I am feeling agitated. And like many people I suspect, I find myself agitated frequently.

Renowned meditation instructor Jack Kornfield teaches an exercise that I find helpful for understanding anger and frustration:

"Imagine that everyone in the world is enlightened but you."

Now, when I encounter someone (or something) that I find irritating, I try to ask questions, such as:

Why did that Bodhisattva on the subway push past me so violently? Why will this small Bhikkhuni living in my house not pick up her stuffed animals? And why does every moment in Octopath Traveler feel like an eternity?

The best approach? Assume that they are trying to teach you a lesson.

I first started Traveler with the aforementioned three-year-old Bhikkhuni: my daughter.

We were asked to select one of eight classes: Apothecary, Cleric, Dancer, Hunter, Merchant, Scholar, Thief, or Warrior. My daughter selected Dancer, and Primrose’s story began.

Twenty-five hours later (and 24 and 3/4 hours after the little one had lost interest), I was checking how much used copies of Traveler were fetching on eBay. The full ramifications of our selection had sunk-in: Primrose and I were bound.

You see, while I now had access to all eight classes (to be used in an interchangeable party of four), no amount of insisting would ever convince Primrose to sit on the bench, and I had discovered that her in- and out-of-combat abilities left something to be desired.

We were entwined, and her shortcomings both exacerbated and emphasized the tedium that is Traveler.

Beginning with combat, each class can equip one or two of six weapon types, and each has its own set of combat skills -- things like elemental magic, potent weapon strikes, and healing.

In battle, each foe is weak to certain weapon and element types, and a specific number of hits from those types will "break" the enemy’s defenses. A "break" will cause the enemy to lose their next turn in combat, and all hits against them will do critical damage.

It is thus advantageous to be very aggressive in combat (or be able to heal the party). A bit of strategy is invoked to keep enemy defenses broken and damage maximized on the rounds when they are down. Additionally, you are rewarded for having a party that can deliver damage of as many types as possible.

Unfortunately, poor Primrose can only equip a dagger and deal Dark elemental damage. Her skills are primarily focused on temporarily increasing the stats of other party members, and these buffs always feel worse than if they were just damage-dealing skills.

On top of that, Primrose has the ability to "Allure" the non-player-characters you encounter, which allows you to summon the NPC in battle. These NPCs have their own damage type, which effectively gives Primrose a third option for breaking an enemy’s defenses.

However, you have no control over the NPC’s actions (the specific attack they will use or who they will target), and while they can be quite powerful, they are not useful when trying to employ a specific attack strategy.

This lack of defense-breaking options means that when Primrose is in your party, an already slow combat system feels even slower. And she was always going to be in my party.

To be certain, the tactical combat system is one of Traveler’s primary appeals, but its speed is one of the main reasons sustained play is challenging.

Nearly every combat encounter in the game requires some level of planning, and, as is customary in many JRPGs, I find myself wishing I could just press a button repeatedly until my weaker opponents fall down dead.

Even a general reduction in the number of hits required to break defenses would go a long way to making Traveler feel like less of a slog.

Around the game’s mid-point, Traveler does offer a solution to expedite combat: secondary jobs become available, which allow you to give each class the weapon types and skills of another class. Primrose now had the skills of the Apothecary to compliment her’s as a Dancer, and the combat became a bit less of a grind. However, this did not address Primrose’s non-combat capabilities.

As mentioned earlier, Primrose can "Allure" NPCs and summon them in battle. The Cleric has this ability too (though her’s is called "Guide"), and I have never found either particularly reliable combat abilities.

These abilities also have implications outside of battle. From what I have seen, they are exclusively used for the completion of side quests, and the idea that anyone could muster the energy and interest to complete anything aside from Traveler's main story is incomprehensible to me.

The other classes, in contrast, have useful out-of-combat skills primarily focused around helping you obtain items. It is preferable to have all possible interaction options available so that you can be certain to collect all of these items. However, with a character locked into your party, you have to constantly change party composition. Different parties need to be assembled for interacting with NPCs, pursuing the main story, or simply battling in the wild.

The problem is that you need to visit a town’s tavern to change your party.

Please let me change my party from the menu screen. Or give character’s equipped with a secondary job the out-of-combat abilities of that class. Or, better, both.

Other tediums persist as well.

The stories Traveler tells are actually quite likable, however, the delivery is as tiresome as needing to add the Merchant to my party every time I want to see an NPC’s wares or having the Thief to open certain chests, etc. 

These are small and familiar tales. Their simplicity is the appeal, and they are often quite sweet. But they come with seemingly endless exposition.

Traveler has a Teen rating, and there is no need to so methodically unfold such straightforward dramas to that demographic.

Now, with my grievances aired, what lesson is Traveler trying to teach me? Does it illuminate my inability to let go even when I know it is best? I told myself that I was going to like this game, and I am darn well going to!

Or is it a test in patience? Maybe I should embrace Traveler, Primrose, and my palpable boredom and see the game through to the end.

Or am I to learn that sometimes perfection is not necessary? Life may go on even if I do not interact with absolutely every NPC.

I. I. I.

My. My. My.

Mine. Mine. Mine. 

Perhaps a lifetime from now, I will emerge from a year in silent contemplation and complete Traveler in a single sitting. Tranquil. At peace. With no ill-will toward my daughter for selecting Primrose.

For now, it is probably best to let go so that Traveler can finally find its place at the end of its path to Nirvana.

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Here's Your First Look At "Big Hero 6" In Kingdom Hearts III https://www.gameskinny.com/jjsgl/heres-your-first-look-at-big-hero-6-in-kingdom-hearts-iii https://www.gameskinny.com/jjsgl/heres-your-first-look-at-big-hero-6-in-kingdom-hearts-iii Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:02:48 -0400 QuintLyn

As the launch of Kingdom Hearts III draws closer, Disney and Square Enix are busy showing off some of the new worlds fans will be visiting. The game's Tokyo Game Show trailer features the heroes of Big Hero 6 and the city they protect, San Fansokyo. Sora, Donald, and Goofy team up with the Big Hero 6 super team to fight the bad guys and share friendship along the way.

Of course, the trailer isn't completely set in San Fransokyo. It also shows new content from some of the other previously revealed worlds including Frozen, Tangled, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

During the Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix also revealed the official Kingdom Hearts III box art, featuring artwork from the series director, Tetsuya Nomura. Check it out below.

Fans looking forward to Kingdom Hearts III can unlock the Starlight Keyblade early by playing Kingdom Heats Union χ[Cross] now.

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Classic Final Fantasy Titles to Hit Modern Consoles by Next Year https://www.gameskinny.com/wnes1/classic-final-fantasy-titles-to-hit-modern-consoles-by-next-year https://www.gameskinny.com/wnes1/classic-final-fantasy-titles-to-hit-modern-consoles-by-next-year Mon, 17 Sep 2018 11:21:54 -0400 Allison M Reilly

Square Enix announced earlier this week that several Final Fantasy titles are coming to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD is out now, while other titles will be released later.

World of Final Fantasy Maxima is coming to all three consoles and PC on November 6, while Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! will be released on Switch and PS4 later in Winter 2018. All the other titles are coming to consoles in 2019. Below is the full list of Final Fantasy games and their respective consoles:

Nintendo Switch
Xbox One
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
  • Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
  • Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima
PlayStation 4
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition
  • Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY!
  • Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima
PC
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima
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Kingdom Hearts 3 to Launch in January https://www.gameskinny.com/5pof2/kingdom-hearts-3-to-launch-in-january https://www.gameskinny.com/5pof2/kingdom-hearts-3-to-launch-in-january Sun, 10 Jun 2018 10:49:56 -0400 Erroll Maas

At the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World Tour - in Los Angeles, it was announced that Kingdom Hearts 3 will now launch on January 29, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a delay from the original 2018 launch window.

Game Director Tetsuya Nomura apologized for the slight delay and said to look forward to several trailers during E3 2018.

Square Enix will have their own E3 2018 video presentation on Monday June 11 at 10 AM PST, and Kingdom Hearts 3 will be playable on the E3 show floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 12 through June 14.

Kingdom Hearts 3 will launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 29, 2019.

Kingdom Hearts 3 was first announced to be in development during the E3 2013 Sony Press Conference and has had a number of different trailers throughout the last five years. Although Kingdom Hearts 3 is meant to be the last game in the 'Xehanort Saga', we should expect to see the series continue in the future.

Keep an eye on GameSkinny for more E3 2018 news as it happens.

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FFXIV Patch 4.3 "Under the Moonlight" Bringing New Content and Companion App https://www.gameskinny.com/t93pn/ffxiv-patch-43-under-the-moonlight-bringing-new-content-and-companion-app https://www.gameskinny.com/t93pn/ffxiv-patch-43-under-the-moonlight-bringing-new-content-and-companion-app Mon, 16 Apr 2018 15:47:23 -0400 Zach Hunt

Square Enix has announced that Final Fantasy XIV's next update, Patch 4.3, titled "Under the Moonlight," will release late this May. With this next chapter in the Ivalice universe, FFXIV Online players will enjoy a myriad of new content, including the following as outlined in the Square Enix press release:

  • New Main Scenario Quests
  •  New Alliance Raid -- The Ridorana Lighthouse
  • New Trial
  • New Dungeon -- The Swallow’s Compass
  • New Beast Tribe Quests -- The Namazu
  • New Sidequests -- The Four Lords, Doman Reconstruction and Further Hildibrand Adventures
  • New Deep Dungeon -- 100-Floor Heaven-on-High
  • The Forbidden Land, Eureka Expansion -- Pagos Expedition
  • New Ultimate Difficulty Raid -- Ultima Weapon
  • Updates to jobs, PvP, glamour system, housing, performance actions, more powerful gear, and more.

Final Fantasy XIV Online Companion Mobile App

Along with the new patch, details were revealed surrounding the Final Fantasy XIV Online Companion app for mobile devices. The app will offer chat options and a scheduler system/calendar, as well as the abilities to organize inventory and armory chests, sell and purchase items, and register an additional favored destination Aetheryte.

A Premium Plan (which requires a monthly fee) will also be available that allows app users to organize Saddlebags and Retainer Inventories, double their Saddlebag capacity, and employ an additional Retainer. Additional information on the app will be coming as its late-May release nears.

Towering structure from FFXIV Stormblood patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight

Stick with GameSkinny for more information on FFXIV Patch 4.3, "Under the Moonlight," and be sure to check out our extensive collection of Final Fantasy XIV guides, tips, and more.

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Dragon Quest XI PAX East 2018 Preview: Square Enix Goes the Extra Mile with Western Release https://www.gameskinny.com/cmedg/dragon-quest-xi-pax-east-2018-preview-square-enix-goes-the-extra-mile-with-western-release https://www.gameskinny.com/cmedg/dragon-quest-xi-pax-east-2018-preview-square-enix-goes-the-extra-mile-with-western-release Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:55:29 -0400 Felicia Miranda

At PAX East 2018, we learned a lot about some of the changes and new features coming to the Western release of Dragon Quest XI. It’ll be the first mainline game to get an international console release in over 10 years, which is a pretty big deal. Although the Dragon Quest series usually gets a Western PlayStation or Nintendo console release, that was unfortunately not the case for Dragon Quest X. But it appears that Square Enix is returning to business as usual in a big way.

Dragon Quest XI will include complete English voice-overs, a feature that wasn’t even part of its Japanese release. It’s perfect for people who aren’t all that excited about reading pages and pages of dialogue in a game, but for those who enjoy a more traditional JRPG experience, such as myself, there is the option to skip past the narration or turn it off. There’s also a revised Draconian Quest mode where players can customize the level of difficulty in their game experience by turning certain useful game features on and off.

The art style of Dragon Quest XI is a stunning blend of cell shading and photorealism. Both the menus and UI got a complete overhaul, possessing a style similar to that of Dragon Quest XIII. It will be the first-ever game in the series to get a PC port. As with many of the features Square Enix has added for its Western release, the PC version of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age won’t be a copy and paste job. It will offer native 4K support along with other features and settings that won’t be available on console.

We did get to see some gameplay from Dragon Quest XI at PAX East 2018, so proceed with caution since there are mild spoilers ahead.

In the demo, the game begins in the town of Cobblestone, where you’ll discover that you are a hero reborn, or a Luminary, from a legend long past. When you come of age, you must leave the safe confines of your home to pay a visit to the king and tell him who you are.

Prior to leaving town, you are gifted a horse, and then you head into the overworld. The overworld is an explorable area on the map that connects you to the various locations in Dragon Quest XI. The addition of a horse makes long-distance travel less burdensome, with most actions, such as jumping into combat and interacting with items, easily executed from on top of your horse.

In the overworld, there are monsters scattered throughout. Combat is still traditional turn-based (YAY!), but there are no longer random battles, only encounters. Monsters chase or run away from you depending on your level. Battles can be completely avoided by pressing dash on your horse and booping enemies out of the way. There’s no experience gained from doing this, but it’s convenient and pretty fun.

A hero attacking monsters in Dragon Quest XI

There is a new battle mode to explore called Free-Form Fighting. This lets players run around the battle area and attack from whichever angle they’d like. This doesn’t have an impact on damage dealt or anything, but it’s still a pretty cool feature to explore.

During long trips, you and your party can rest at campsites. It’s worth mentioning that there is a day and night cycle in Dragon Quest XI that can change the behavior of some NPCs and monsters on the map. While resting at camp, you can talk to party members and buy/sell items at the shop. There’s also an option to equip gear in the shop, which is a very thoughtful add-on that reduces menu toggling.

It’s clear that exploring in the overworld (and anywhere else, for that matter) is highly recommended. The best part about it is that players need not worry about venturing too far since you can no longer explore areas outside of your level range. We did see that there are small, ghostly figures hidden throughout called the Spirits of Lost Time, but after inquiring further, we were told that we’ll have to wait to find out more about them.

a warrior holds a charged sword and a shield in Dragon Quest XI screen shot

Similar in style to the Final Fantasy games, Dragon Quest XI is a standalone experience, so anyone can play it without being familiar with the story of any previous installments. There are, however, throwbacks sprinkled throughout that will be recognizable to fans of the series. The game is about 95 hours long with all 3 endings, not including any of the side quests. It’s due to release as a complete experience, meaning there will be no DLC, on September 4, 2018, on PS4 and Steam.

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Chrono Trigger's PC Port Receives Graphics-Overhauling Patch https://www.gameskinny.com/fuvu1/chrono-triggers-pc-port-receives-graphics-overhauling-patch https://www.gameskinny.com/fuvu1/chrono-triggers-pc-port-receives-graphics-overhauling-patch Tue, 10 Apr 2018 15:31:57 -0400 Zach Hunt

After releasing what many consider to be a muddy-looking PC port of beloved RPG Chrono Trigger, Square Enix announced today the first in a series of planned patches aimed at rekindling the good will of disheartened Chrono fans in the PC community.

Featuring a number of graphical overhauls intended to realign the game's visual presentation with its classic look, the new patch offers the option to play with "original graphics" (even setting this as the default mode) as well as updated fonts and dialogue windows. The opening animated scenes have also been reordered so as to more closely match the original Chrono Trigger experience.

Square Enix promises additional changes to the PC port in the near future "to enhance the PC play experience," but aside from some UI updates, it's not yet clear what all is in store.

What are your thoughts on this patch? Did Square Enix go too far with the original graphical overhaul of Chrono Trigger on PC? Are you more willing to check out the PC version now that its faults are being addressed? Let us know all about it in the comments below, and be sure to stick with GameSkinny for all things Chrono Trigger.

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Final Fantasy 15 Has Four More Episodes Incoming https://www.gameskinny.com/ngkac/final-fantasy-15-has-four-more-episodes-incoming https://www.gameskinny.com/ngkac/final-fantasy-15-has-four-more-episodes-incoming Mon, 09 Apr 2018 11:12:17 -0400 Lewis Parsons

Final Fantasy 15 is nowhere near final according to a Square Enix panel held at PAX East on Friday, April 6, 2018.

While discussing the Windows version of the well-received JRPG, Square announced multiple further pieces of content for FFXV. This includes two expansions to the game's "Comrades" multiplayer mode as well as four, yes four, additional episodes of character- and story-based content to be released in 2019. These are:

  • Episode: Ardyn -- “The Conflict of the Sage”
    Possibly the most demanded piece of content, this story puts you in the shoes of antagonist Ardyn. Experience his seething resentment towards the house of Lucis and his battles with the Astrals.
  • Episode: Aranea -- “The Beginning of the End”
    A side story about the Starscourge depicted from the Niflheim’s perspective. See the final day of the Empire from the enigmatic Aranea's perspective. 
  • Episode: Lunafreya -- “The Choice of Freedom”
    Another anticipated piece of story content, play as Luna as she battles to save the one she loves and change fate.
  • Episode: Noctis -- “The Final Strike”
    Offering an "alternative grand finale" to the game, embark on Noctis' final battle for the future of his people.

Square Enix still sees value in FFXV, so if you were thinking of playing a complete run through, you might want to wait to see what these episodes have in store. They started off a bit rough but have been building in quality, and hopefully this trend will continue. Stick with GameSkinny for more Final Fantasy 15 news and information as it develops.

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Octopath Traveler Keeps Name, Launches July 13 https://www.gameskinny.com/8bkcc/octopath-traveler-keeps-name-launches-july-13 https://www.gameskinny.com/8bkcc/octopath-traveler-keeps-name-launches-july-13 Fri, 09 Mar 2018 11:12:23 -0500 Erroll Maas

During yesterday's Nintendo Direct, upcoming Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler was shown, and it will launch on July 13, 2018, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Two new characters in the game were also introduced: Tressa the merchant and Alfyn the apothecary. Tressa has the special ability to purchase items from various NPCs, while Alfyn can question NPCs and gain information from them that other characters can't. Every character in the game has a main class as their job but can be given an extra job as well to create different combinations.

Additionally, a  special collector's edition of the game was revealed. This special edition will include a soundtrack, a pop-up book featuring all eight main characters, and a special coin.

Octopath Traveler will release exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on July 13, 2018. A demo version of the game is available for download on the Nintendo Switch eShop but may not be indicative of the final product, as various changes and improvements have been made since.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information on Octopath Traveler as it develops.

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What's New in Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition? https://www.gameskinny.com/n53dh/whats-new-in-final-fantasy-xv-royal-edition https://www.gameskinny.com/n53dh/whats-new-in-final-fantasy-xv-royal-edition Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:41:57 -0500 Andrew Krajewski

Final Fantasy XV keeps getting new content! After a shaky launch, FFXV felt ... underwhelming. But after many updates and content that addressed early criticisms, the game today is much more fulfilling than when it first came out. Royal Edition, which comes out today, March 6th, offers the complete experience for anyone who hasn't given the game a shot yet. Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition, for both Xbox One and PS4, includes the complete game, episodes "Gladiolus," "Prompto," and "Ignis," and the Multiplayer: Comrades DLC. 

The Royal Edition also includes a bunch of new content for players, which can also be bought as the Royal Pack DLC if you already own the base game. The new content highlights include:

  • New trophies and achievements for all the achievement hunters out there
  • A first-person mode and a whole new fighting mode called Armiger Unleashed 
  • A new map called the Insignia City Ruins, which leads players to the end of the game (so it might be best to play through the game once before giving this area a go)
  • New skins, weapons, and quests for the characters
  • The ability to navigate the Royal Cruiser

Will you be picking up Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition? Let us know in the comments below. As always, stick with GameSkinny for more Final Fantasy news as it develops.

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Fear Effect Sedna Review: A Stumble Down Memory Lane https://www.gameskinny.com/j6vvf/fear-effect-sedna-review-a-stumble-down-memory-lane https://www.gameskinny.com/j6vvf/fear-effect-sedna-review-a-stumble-down-memory-lane Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:04:11 -0500 Shawn Farner

There's a scene in Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix that perfectly sums up the game's approach to storytelling. Hana and Rain -- the game's female protagonists -- enter into an elevator and embrace. They're looking for attention, and as guards race to gather around a security monitor and watch, the most cliched possible adult film music plays in the background, and the camera cuts to the ladies in various states of undress.

Before things can get too steamy, though, Hana acknowledges her audience on the other side of the lens.

"Sorry boys -- this is private."

A jacket covers the lens, and the feed goes black.

The above story beat was, of course, a ruse; a means to block video surveillance so Hana could gain access to the elevator shaft and Rain could continue to a different area of the building. But it was done using all the hallmarks of the Fear Effect franchise: cheesy dialogue, a bit of innuendo, and the desire to at least tell a decent story.

Most of which seem to be missing from Fear Effect Sedna, a reboot of the franchise from developer Sushee and publisher Square Enix.

Storytelling Woes

Fear Effect Sedna is billed as a "perfect starting point for newcomers," which should mean characters are fleshed out to the point where those unfamiliar with the franchise can develop an affinity for them. But we don't get much to work with in terms of character development. Hana and Rain are quickly introduced without much of a nod toward their history together, and when characters from past games (Zeke, Glas) are brought into the fold, you don't get the sense that they're all old friends who've been through literal Hell together, but rather, random folks thrown together to complete a mission.

And that's just for the newbies. If you're someone who's been waiting for a new Fear Effect game ever since the cancellation of Inferno, the stars of Sedna may still feel like strangers to you. This entry into the series goes its own way on many fronts, but the most jolting change in direction may be in its tone, which now feels more mature. Hana is a shell of her former innuendo-fueled self. Rain lacks the underdog girl-with-the-brains personality that made her endearing. Zeke is a bit much, and not in a good way. And Glas isn't sure whether he wants to be clever or emotionally distant.

Oh, and there's a new character -- a Frenchman named Axel who is added to your team early in the game and is stale to the point that I almost forgot to include him.

As far as dialogue goes, previous Fear Effect titles weren't known for being standouts in that category. But if it was bad, it was bad in a campy way -- the way that might cause you to roll your eyes, like when a friend tells a lame joke. In Fear Effect Sedna, the dialogue -- and the way it's delivered by the game's voice actors -- is bad to where it takes you out of the experience entirely. The personality isn't there like it was in the older games, and the narrative suffers as a result.

And the narrative! The overarching story in Fear Effect Sedna, the thing that should keep you playing through the game. It's fast moving, but in such a way that is nearly nonsensical. Hana and Rain start out on a routine mission together, but a new job soon lands them in Tokyo, and before you fully grasp what's happening, you've added three more people to your squad and are in Nuuk, Greenland battling monsters. The story centers around a missing ancient artifact and a shadowy group intent on using it for evil, but because the characters are so underdeveloped, it's tough to care about what motivates everyone's actions.

All the above will likely come as a disappointment to those who've eagerly waited for Fear Effect's return. And unfortunately, I haven't even touched on the gameplay yet.

A Lack of Control

Bringing an older intellectual property into the modern day usually means some changes have to be made. After all, we aren't playing first-person shooters with GoldenEye-style controls anymore, and thank goodness. When innovations and new best practices come along, all games can move forward as a result.

The new isometric view in Fear Effect Sedna is a departure from the previous Fear Effect games

Fear Effect Sedna ditches the tank control scheme it shared with the older Resident Evil titles, which is great news. But instead of sticking to the close-view action shooting style it was known for, Sedna instead decides to put a whole new spin on the franchise: stealth action with real-time-strategy elements, paired with a new isometric view. It's Metal Gear Solid-style sneaking around guards mixed with pause-able gameplay that allows you to move your characters around and instruct them on their next actions.

Sometimes, it works. Most of the time, it doesn't.

The stealth elements aren't entirely friendly to start. Many guards are moving and have intersecting paths, which limits those "feel good" moments of sneaking up on someone and taking them out. What often starts as a move to dispatch someone quietly often turns into loud gun battles, which you'll often lose.

Which leads to my next gripe: enemies are a bit too tough, and friendly AI is a bit too stupid. Yes, difficulty is something the Fear Effect franchise is known for. But my bullets seem to hurt a bit less than the ones I'm being hit with, and no matter how much I try to babysit the other members of my squad, they're intent on leaving cover and being shot to bits.

And finally, character abilities are largely ineffective. Each of the characters under your control is blessed with a few special abilities; Rain has a taser, for example, and Glas can set up a turret. But it's difficult to find areas of the game where these weapons make much of an impact -- if they work at all. Axel, for example, has a crossbow that I've not managed to hit anyone with. And Hana has a ricocheting bullet that seems like more trouble to use than it's worth.

You'll probably just stick to sneaking where you can and shooting your default weapons. And, despite your attempts at assembling a strategy, you'll probably find yourself in all-out war more often than you'd hoped, with teammates who don't do you any favors. For Fear Effect to make such a large change and not pull it off -- well, it's disappointing.

Our Worst Fears

All these issues combined make the game, quite simply, not fun to play. There's no satisfying loop pulling me back in. There's no carrot on the end of the stick enticing me forward. Puzzles, a saving grace for Sedna, are few and far between. Instead, I load up each level knowing I'm probably going to die a lot, and when that happens, I'm treated to the longer-than-necessary process of exiting a "Game Over" screen and loading my checkpoint to try again. And because I'm not hooked by the game's story, and I'm not invested in the characters (as much as I'd love to be), doing so feels even more like a chore than it should.

Perhaps those "Game Over" moments will allow you time to ponder in between goes. You can ask yourself, "Is it worth continuing?" as I did while playing through for the review. In the end, I determined it wasn't.

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Chrono Trigger's Recent PC Port Has Fans Very Upset https://www.gameskinny.com/co6k6/chrono-triggers-recent-pc-port-has-fans-very-upset https://www.gameskinny.com/co6k6/chrono-triggers-recent-pc-port-has-fans-very-upset Sat, 03 Mar 2018 12:24:12 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

Just a few days ago, out of absolutely nowhere, the classic JRPG from the "golden age" of Squaresoft, Chrono Trigger, was released on Steam by Square Enix. This seems like a logical step to make at the moment, seeing as how the HD remake of Secret of Mana was released recently, and Chrono Trigger comes form the same era of SNES RPG's that defined a great time for Square. While many people were excited to see the beloved RPG staple make its way to PC, that enthusiasm didn't last for most people for very long, as after starting the game up, they began to realize what sort of port this was.

The recent Steam release of Chrono Trigger is actually a near 1-to-1 port of the mobile version of the game that released a few years ago for iOS and Android, with very little changed. The basic-looking interface, lesser framerate, and poor sprite filtering were all complaints directed at the original mobile port of the game, and unfortunately these issues -- among others related to the presentation of the game -- are still present in the PC port.

Additionally, there are no graphics options aside from resolution, and compared to the original, the sprites are much less defined, and the colors in many places look dimmed or washed out. It unfortunately seems as though this port of Chrono Trigger isn't as worth people's time as others. Perhaps if word spreads enough, Square Enix could port a more direct version of the game to PC instead of this version that fewer people favor.

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Secret of Mana Combat Tips & Tricks Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/51j6q/secret-of-mana-combat-tips-tricks-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/51j6q/secret-of-mana-combat-tips-tricks-guide Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:12:17 -0500 Ty Arthur

Along with genre legends like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, the incredibly iconic Secret Of Mana absolutely dominated on the Super NES.

After all the FF games managed to get upgrades and ports, it was only a matter of time before Square Enix returned to the Mana series. Besides the switch from sprites to polygons, this new version is an incredibly faithful adaptation.

Most of the classic gameplay elements of this hallowed SNES entry remain the same, but there are some changes to the Secret Of Mana combat and menu systems you need to know about before playing.

Secret Of Mana Remake Combat Changes

As with the 1993 version, different weapons let you break through different obstacles in the game world, like using the sword to get through foliage or the axe to break through rocks.

Temporarily knocking back and stunning enemies to give you breathing room in combat continues to be a main focus, with each weapon having a different attack style for pushing enemies backwards or forcing them onto the ground for a few seconds.

Since your weapon's attack power drops after each swing, attack spamming isn't helpful at all. Backing off and allowing the attack gauge at the bottom of the screen to go back up to 100% -- or charging above that in later parts of the game to get in solid hits against bosses -- is much more effective.

Randi and Primm are just learning combat and how to use magic in Secret of mana Randi and Primm squaring off against some easy monsters

Besides those basics of combat, the switch from flat, 2D sprites that could essentially only attack in the four cardinal directions over to 3D polygons that can attack from any angle has created big changes in how you approach combat.

Most notably, ranged combatants are now significantly more deadly. While you could move slightly up or down to get out of the way of a hail of arrows in the original SNES version, or position the camera so archers were stuck behind an object, now ranged attacks can come from any angle and will cause serious problems. Taking out missile-hurling enemies should be done first whenever possible.

The angle of a strike is also tweaked somewhat and will need to be relearned if you are familiar with the original game, particularly with weapons like the spear that have a broader stroke. There are times where it will seem like you should be connecting but won't actually hit if the angle isn't perfect.

It's also worth noting that the combat wheel doesn't save whatever spell or weapon you last selected anymore. You now start at the beginning and have to go through each sub-menu to get back to the same spell if you intend to cast it multiple times in a row, for instance.

Keep a close eye on that wheel whenever you bring it up, as it is now harder to distinguish which character's wheel you have accessed. That won't matter if you are playing co-op, but in single player, if you are switching between the three characters often, it can get confusing, and you may accidentally swap out a weapon on the wrong character.

Be careful if you want to switch characters in Secret of Mana, as you might swap out the wrong weapon Only a slight color difference distinguishes each character's item ring (thanks to Xcagegame for the screnshot)

Secret Of Mana Attack Gauge

Besides some changes in battle structure, the combat AI for the secondary characters has changed. You can now select how far you want a character to charge up their attack. This setting only matters after you increase the skill level for a weapon and are able to charge it up above 100%.

You can set either "unused" to ignore all charge attacks and only use base strikes, or instead choose a number between 1-8 (depending on the weapon's skill level).

You can vary your play style here either by having the AI spend more time charging attacks or by instead focusing on quick, less damaging strikes. Keep in mind that while those charged attacks can do a lot more damage, it becomes very easy to get knocked back and lose all that charge time if an AI character gets hit!

If an AI character gets hit, you'll lose that sweet Secret of Mana charge attack Ready to jump back into some classic fights in 3D form?

Those are all the major changes you need to know about combat in the Secret Of Mana remake! Have you come across any other tweaks to the gameplay that change how you approach monsters or boss fights? Let us know all about it in the comments!

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