E3 2018: New Square Enix Games Blaze a New, Exciting Trail Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, and Dragon Quest XI Steal the Show

E3 2018: New Square Enix Games Blaze a New, Exciting Trail

Square Enix’s E3 2018 press conference introduced new games, immersive stories, and epic upcoming gameplay. In just 30 minutes, they managed to set the stage for this year and many more to come. Here is the breakdown of the featured games!

Read moreE3 2018: New Square Enix Games Blaze a New, Exciting Trail Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, and Dragon Quest XI Steal the Show

Final Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki

Final Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki 4

It has been more than four years since the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and it still continues to top the MMORPG charts for number of players, ranking above World of Warcraft, according to various reports. And those numbers keep growing. According to a report from Square Enix, as of August 2017, a month after the release of their second full expansion, Stormblood, including two new playable characters, the Red Mage and the Samurai, and access to a free trial of the game that would allow players to enjoy all content up to level 35, the community of players peaked at over 10 million worldwide.

But what keeps the community of this game growing?

Read moreFinal Fantasy XIV Continues to Soar on Rival Wings: An Interview with Naoki Yoshida and Hikaru Tamaki

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4) Preview – Flaccid Fantasy

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4) Preview - Flaccid Fantasy

Dissidia Final Fantasy and its oddly-titled sequel, Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy, are among my absolute favourite games on the PlayStation Portable. Lightning-fast fighters with abundant fanservice, the pair leveraged Final Fantasy‘s rich history and extensive catalogue of characters in spectacular fashion. The series has always been known for its cutting-edge visuals, and Dissidia served as a showpiece, rendering many fan-favourite places and personages in three dimensions for the first time ever. Now, after skipping a console generation, Dissidia returns as Dissidia NT, a competitive team brawler for the PlayStation 4. Having spent about eight hours with its open beta test over the past week, I’ve gained a clearer idea of what the game is trying to be, but I’m not without my reservations.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4) Preview - Flaccid Fantasy 1
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT – gameplay image provided by Square Enix.

Given that Square Enix intends for Dissidia NT to be their first foray into the world of esports, the developer has substantially altered the series’ core structure to suit its new team-based format. Players’ primary mode of engagement is now through three-on-three battles. Forming teams of three in an online lobby, players can select from a huge roster of Final Fantasy characters to do battle with. Each has a unique playstyle and moveset, spread between in-your-face, hard-hitting Vanguards, lithe and deadly Assassins, magic-slinging Marksmen, and off-the-wall Specialists. Every character’s movements and personalities are faithfully replicated from their original games, making them instantly recognizable to longtime Final Fantasy fans.

What has not been replicated is the overall feel of the original Dissidia pair. Being completely honest, I don’t think the game’s core rule set works whatsoever. I’m not totally against the game adopting a team format, but the core conceit—the first team to suffer three deaths loses, even if it’s the same person all three times—is awful. I often felt like matches ended long before I had an opportunity to make an impact, particularly if one player (myself included) was a weak link. Dissidia NT is flashier than ever, but it also feels sluggish and floaty. The degree of control here has been significantly reduced, and when things aren’t going your team’s way, it can be borderline infuriating. It’s like desperately trying to grip a bar of soap that keeps slipping away.

This frustration is exacerbated by the absurdly convoluted process of connecting to a match in Dissidia NT. First, the player chooses a character, then an ability loadout, then has to wait (sometimes for two-to-five minutes) for a team to populate, then the whole team has to signal that they’re ready, then everyone has to vote for a summon, and then the match itself has to load. I cannot stress enough that the tedium of this process comes close to ruining the experience entirely. It absolutely must be streamlined if Dissidia NT is to succeed.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4) Preview - Flaccid Fantasy 2
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT – gameplay image provided by Square Enix.

To their credit, Square Enix listened to fan feedback during the game’s alpha test and improved the battle UI considerably. It’s still far too cluttered for my taste, but the game’s overall presentation has been improved, particularly throughout its many (emphasis on “many” here) out-of-battle menu screens. It’s clean and easy to parse, with that modern, crystalline edge that Final Fantasy is known for. Similarly, the soundtrack is full of beautifully arranged Final Fantasy melodies well-suited to battle.

Strangely enough, I had more fun running through a gauntlet of matches in Dissidia NT‘s offline mode than I ever did playing online. This leads me to believe that the netcode is at least partially to blame for the sluggishness I experienced online, but there’s no doubt that the game is substantially slower overall. As it stands, I’m still holding onto hope that the final retail version of Dissidia NT makes continued improvements to the experience. Check back for our final review after Dissidia NT launches on January 30th.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4) Preview - Flaccid Fantasy 3
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT – gameplay image provided by Square Enix.

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Derek Heemsbergen’s  reviews, such as  Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth and his second look at Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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Final Fantasy XV’s Prince Noctis Joins Tekken 7 In Spring 2018

Final Fantasy XV Preview: I Question My Allegiance 5

In keeping with the latest trend of fighting games featuring characters from other popular franchises, Bandai Namco has announced their latest partnership with Square Enix in order to bring Final Fantasy XV protagonist Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum to Tekken 7.

Noctis will be joining the likes of legendary fighters such as Yoshimitsu, Devin Jin, Jack 7 and other renowned Tekken warriors.

Prince Noctis will bring with him his iconic Engine Blade, giving him the ability to dish out heavy, hard-hitting blows. In addition to Noctis, it looks like a stage inspired by the Coernix Gas Station from Final Fantasy XV will be making an appearance as a playable stage.

No definitive release date has been announced for the Final Fantasy cross-over DLC—however, Bandai Namco said it should arrive sometime in Spring of 2018.

Tekken 7 initially released back in 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Arcades. The game was generally well received from both fans of the series and the press alike.

 


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out  Elias Blondeau’s review of Tekken 7 and see how the series holds up on mobile

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, Super Mario Odyssey, and Cuphead!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Square Enix Actively Trying To Bring Final Fantasy XV To Nintendo Switch

Square Enix Actively Trying To Bring Final Fantasy XV To Nintendo Switch

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is Square Enix’s take on bringing the console experience of Final Fantasy XV  to mobile players. Some fans of the series are now speculating that the mobile edition of Final Fantasy XV is most likely the version of the game that will come to the Nintendo Switch. However, game director Hajime Tabata has come out and said that Square Enix has experimented with trying to get the full console version of Final Fantasy XV running on the Nintendo Switch.

In a statement to Eurogamer, Tabata said:

“Honestly, when we did the technical test to see if we could use the same native engine we used on other console versions on the Switch, we tried to run it there, the results weren’t satisfactory, It wasn’t what you’d want from a final game. It doesn’t mean that’s the end of that – we’re looking at the options, like the customisation of the engine.”

He went on to state that Square Enix will continue to investigate the possibility of getting Final Fantasy XV on Nintendo’s latest console. Square Enix is no stranger to the Nintendo Switch, with games like Dragon Quest Builders, Lost Sphere, Octopath Traveler all slated for release onto the Nintendo Switch.  Fans wanting a Final Fantasy experience on the Switch might just have to wait a little while longer.

Final Fantasy XV first released onto the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in late 2016.  The title went through a long and arduous development process which started all the way back in 2006 with a reveal trailer for the game.  Before it was a numbered entry into the series, the title was called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The “Versus XIII” in the title alluded to the game taking place in the world of the then, yet to be released Final Fantasy XIII.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Elias Blondeau’s review of Final Fantasy XV Review  and our coverage of the Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition Announcement

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15 – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Square Enix Unveils Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Square Enix Unveils Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Square Enix doesn’t seem to be shying away from the Final Fantasy XV property. The renowned Japanese company has just announced Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition.

The aptly named Pocket Edition of Final Fantasy XV aims to deliver the full Final Fantasy XV narrative in mobile form. Due to obvious hardware limitations and artistic liberties, the game will boast a unique and all new aesthetic.

Graphically, the upcoming mobile experience looks like a cross between the popular Final Fantasy Theatrhythm games on the 3DS and the Nintendo DS iterations of Final Fantasy III and IV.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition seems to also feature some voiced dialogue—ripped straight out of the original console version. It is unclear whether the forthcoming mobile game will let players choose between different languages.

The announcement comes shortly after Nvidia announced Final Fantasy XV would be coming to Windows sometime in 2018.

A copy of the official press release for the just announced mobile title can be read below:

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 22, 2017) – Players will soon have even more ways to experience the FINAL FANTASY® XV Universe as SQUARE ENIX® today unveiled the FINAL FANTASY XV POCKET EDITION, FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION and a November 21 release date for MONSTER OF THE DEEP: FINAL FANTASY XV.

The FINAL FANTASY XV POCKET EDITION for iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices, to be released later this year, is an all-new adventure that retells the beloved story of FINAL FANTASY XV, giving fans and newcomers alike the freedom to journey through Eos whenever and from wherever they want. The mobile game features the main characters and story of the console version and newly-announced FINAL FANTASY XV WINDOWS EDITION, with an adorable art style and casual touch controls optimized for mobile devices. The main story is told across ten thrilling episodes, with all ten episodes available at launch and the first episode downloadable for free.

 

Five Video Game Series we Want Animated

Five Video Game Series we Want Animated 5

Castlevania’s animated series released on Netflix recently and the show has a lot of people talking. A second season with extended episodes was announced the day that the series became available and there’s already talk of an Assassin’s Creed animated series also in the works. All the excitement has the staff here at CGMagazine thinking about other video game franchises that would work well on the small screen. Here are five game series that we think would make great animated TV shows.

Read moreFive Video Game Series we Want Animated

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Second Opinion – A Puissant Pantheon

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Second Opinion - A Puissant Pantheon 1

Not every story can speak to every person at every stage of their lives. The beauty of diversity in media is such that where one person sees a reflection of themselves, another might see a window into a world altogether alien, and both parties emerge richer from the experience.

I was working a midnight launch at GameStop in sunny Tucson, Arizona when Final Fantasy XII first released back in 2006. It was the night before Halloween, an occasion during which I availed to besmirch the good name of Final Fantasy VIII with an embarrassing attempt at cosplay. Dressed as Zell, I was joined by a meagre crowd including two friends (portraying Squall and, breaking with consistency for whatever reason, Final Fantasy VII‘s Yuffie) and no more than a handful of customers. Despite the small turnout, the air was abuzz with enthusiasm as we all waited for the clock to strike midnight, each of us anxious to discover what bold new direction Final Fantasy would move in next.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Second Opinion - A Puissant Pantheon 2
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (via Square Enix)

In the following weeks of marathon play, my attitude towards Final Fantasy XII shifted from optimism to outright bewilderment, settling somewhere around righteous indignance. Between a completely unrecognizable battle system, a cast of characters who were mechanically identical, and a drastic shift in tone, it didn’t feel like Final Fantasy to me. Not at first. Yet as the months and years passed, I found myself drawn back to Ivalice time and again by the sheer exoticism of its design. There was something special at its core, to be sure. I simply wasn’t ready for it in 2006.

As pretentious as it may sound, I find that Final Fantasy XII demands a different sort of mindset to fully appreciate—one that is difficult to achieve using previous Final Fantasy experience alone. Final Fantasy XII is anything but traditional, so why approach it as if it were? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my hang-ups with the game had more to do with mismanaged expectations than anything else.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Second Opinion - A Puissant Pantheon 3
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (via Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XII was never without its issues, particularly with regard to its truncated narrative arc and character homogeneity, but I started finding avenues to work around these shortcomings. I made elaborate charts to map out my characters’ License Boards, giving each unique and complementary roles in battle. I started listening—really, truly listening—to NPCs throughout Ivalice, coming to sudden revelations about people and places I only heard mentioned in passing throughout the main story. I ran my fingers over the texture of its world, savouring the quiet poetry of its prose, drinking up its rich atmosphere. I had to train my mind to think differently about Final Fantasy XII than any Final Fantasy before it, and once I did, I discovered a world teeming with vitality.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a shortcut to developing that mindset, complete with quality of life adjustments that draw out every bit of its abundant potential. As both an audiovisual remaster and a reinvention of the game’s core progression system, The Zodiac Age brings Final Fantasy XII into the modern era without altering its indelible essence. For one, the addition of a fast-forward feature all but eliminates the tedium inherent to travel and combat. Final Fantasy XII demands a macro-level approach to strategy; it’s about building a synergistic team that the player can make fine adjustments to in order to overcome a given encounter. The replacement of the original License Board with twelve distinct character classes (first featured in the Japan-exclusive Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System in 2007) adds a much-needed sense of structure to character growth.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Second Opinion - A Puissant Pantheon 4
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (via Square Enix)

These tweaks, however small they seem, make The Zodiac Age exponentially more playable than the base game was eleven years ago. It’s a far more focused experience, one that rarely wastes the player’s time and provides ample recompense for daring to venture off the beaten path. Sometimes that reward is simply a beautiful vista or a morsel of fascinating lore. Other times, it’s a battle against one of the game’s many hidden Espers, a pantheon of fearsome beasts with some of the most interesting designs this side of Shin Megami Tensei. There is a wealth of content buried beneath the surface of Final Fantasy XII, and The Zodiac Age makes it easier to access than ever.

I still cannot begrudge those who remain unfond of Final Fantasy XII. It’s wildly different from every other game in the series, and takes a fair amount of mental investment to truly enjoy at its highest capacity. For my part, I eventually came to see it as a flawed masterpiece. The additions made to The Zodiac Age do not make it utterly flawless, but I’ll not budge on my assertion that it is assuredly flawed less.