Square Enix will have tons of Final Fantasy on display at PAX East

Square Enix

Square Enix has confirmed their official plans for PAX East 2020.The upcoming video game conference is the biggest of its kind around this time of year. It’s a great platform for publishers and developers alike to showcase their upcoming games.

For Square Enix, that means a whole lot of Final Fantasy. Both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XIV Online will have dedicated playable booths for attendees. There are also plans in place for an Outriders developer panel featuring lead writer Joshua Rubin.

outriders

Square Enix at PAX East

For many fans the most exciting aspect will likely be Final Fantasy VII Remake’s confirmed playable demo. The original Final Fantasy VII is a timeless classic that can easily be considered one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. The trailer for the remake was announced way back in June 2019, but this is the first time the public will be able to actually play the game.

Otherwise, there’s going to be a signing session courtesy of Square Enix featuring some of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s most prevalent voice actors. This includes Britt Baron (Tifa Lockhart), John Bentley (Barret Wallance), and Briana White (Aerith Gainsborough). If that isn’t to your taste, you can instead get a picture with Cloud’s signature Hardy Daytona motorcycle.

final fantasy xiv online cinematic

It’s not just Final Fantasy VII fans getting represented. Square Enix has plenty of things to do for its avid Final Fantasy XIV Online players too. For example, you can take on the Ruby Weapon Battle Challenge to win yourself an exclusive t-shirt. Alternatively, there’s going to be a poster giveaway drawn by lead character concept artist Yusuke Mogi that all PAX attendees are eligible for.

PAX East kicks off February 27 and continues on until the following Sunday. Square Enix isn’t the only publisher attending by any means. In fact, you can expect pretty much every major AAA publisher and developer bar Sony to be there. If you’re in a position to travel down to Boston for the weekend then it’s well worth the trip.

Super Mario RPG: The Mario Game Nintendo Forgot

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG

When Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars came out in March of 1996, I was nine years old. Back then, I went to the video store with my parents and literally judged games by their cover. This game had Mario on the box. I was in.

I didn’t know this particular game was very different from the usual platforming, hop-and-bop gameplay you might expect. For one, it was an isometric game. Yet when I loaded up the save file of whoever played the video store cartridge last, the first thing I did was jump on a goomba. When the game screen wiped into a completely different area that had Mario on one side and the goomba on the other, I knew what kind of game this was.

It was like EarthBound.

Mario at Bowser's Castle
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7279025226/

It was another turn-based game with lots of text (even though Mario never spoke a word) and memorable characters. Developed by Squaresoft (before they merged with Enix and became Square-Enix), it had classic Final Fantasy gameplay with a Mario twist. The game had timed hits and timed blocks. Both Princess Toadstool and Bowser could join your team.

As a kid whose first video game ever was Donkey Kong, and first console game ever was the original Super Mario Bros., this game was insane. The graphics were amazing (for their time), and the world of Mario became so much more than just floating platforms and turtle dragons. There were towns. There were regular people, with regular jobs.

This was a Super Mario World I wanted to live in.

I fell in love with characters like Mallow the cloud prince, and Geno the battle-puppet. I still hum the game’s soundtrack to this day. And the timed hits system was so ahead of its time, when games like Legend of Dragoon came out, it was old hat to me.

So how come very few people seem to remember this game?

Mario RPG World
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/10594718535/

Easy answer? Squaresoft broke away from Nintendo to join the Sony squad. The PlayStation was simply the best console for Final Fantasy VII. So while Nintendo may own Mario and his friends, characters like Geno and Mallow belonged to Square.

In short, these characters would never come back in a Nintendo game. Even after Square-Enix patched things up with Nintendo and started doing the Crystal Chronicles thing, Mario RPG was old news. And we all know how much Nintendo hates their old beloved SNES RPGs.

While we might see it on virtual consoles for Nintendo systems, the franchise has effectively been replaced by Paper Mario and the Mario and Luigi Superstar games. Which, if you ask me, are vastly inferior.

I will not stop clamoring for Geno and Mallow to become Nintendo regulars. Why can’t I punch Mallow’s fluffy face in Smash Bros? Why can’t I blast tennis balls from Geno’s arm rockets? I want my beloved childhood back. In closing, life is unfair. And so is Nintendo.

The Smallest Co-op Feature Made These RPGs Amazing

Co-op RPGs

The Smallest Co-op Feature

There aren’t a lot of co-op RPGs out there. I’m not talking about hack-and-slash RPGs or (God forbid) MMOs. I’m talking about games like the old Final Fantasy series—character-driven, turn-based JRPG-style games. But there are two games that will forever spring to mind for me when the subject of co-op RPGs is brought up.

Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tadeuviniciusgames/5800392578/

You’ve likely heard of the latter, but Eternal Sonata flew under the radar. Probably for good reason. I mean, the whole thing took place in Chopin’s anime Lolita fantasy fever dream. Yes, that Chopin. And no, I’m not kidding.

For what it was worth, the battle system was intriguing. It was still turn-based, but during the player’s turn, they could control a character and run around the battlefield freely, attacking and casting spells in live action—for a couple seconds, and then it would be the enemy’s turn to run around and attack.

At first glance, Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX might look very different (you know, other than the big heads and insane character designs). But there was one tiny feature that connected them.

The ability to choose a controller for each character.

That one feature turned these typically single-player games into incredible co-op RPG experiences—at least for my friends and me.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG Battle
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unscripted360/968966575/

You could have a separate controller for each of a battle’s three player characters in Eternal Sonata. Yes, you’d still have one player controlling all the running around the world and buying items, but there was enough battle to make everyone sitting down for the whole game worthwhile. And given how batshit loco Eternal Sonata was, you pretty much have to be pulling a Mystery Science Theater on the cutscenes to be able to stomach it. And the best way to do that is through co-op play, so every player is invested in the characters they control.

I didn’t discover that Final Fantasy IX shared the same feature until later.  I already loved the game. But one summer, my roommate and I popped the FFIX PS1 disc into my backwards-compatible PS3. We split the characters between the two of us, and had an absolute blast playing through it.

Solitary experience

RPGs are usually a solitary experience. You absorb the story, fall in love with the characters, and feel a personal connection to the game world. They’re more like books than movies. But playing through Eternal Sonata and FFIX co-op, even if it was just the battles, was a gaming experience I’ll never forget.

FFIX Co-Oop
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alduinx/16558079596/

And it all had to do with one simple feature: allowing you to switch controller inputs for different characters.

Sure, if you wanted, you could pass the controller around. But it’s not the same, is it? It’s not co-op—it’s taking turns in the driver’s seat.

Turn-based RPGs make the feature easy to implement. After all, you’re not actively controlling multiple characters at a time. There is little difference to the game system to have the controller inputs switch for different characters. Especially when you can only control one character at a time anyway.

Indie developers and JRPG remaster…ers take note: adding that tiny feature to turn a single-player RPG into a co-op one makes a big difference to anyone who still enjoys a good couch co-op experience.

Working As Intended? Tabata’s Final Fantasy 15 Decision May Disappoint Fans Of The Game

Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy 15

I’ve covered a lot of Final Fantasy in the last few weeks much to my joy and dismay. At the risk of inundating the audience with more news, something came out today that could not be ignored. The news was regarding Final Fantasy 15 and the story decisions. If you have not read a review of the game it can be summed up rather quickly. Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements. The most glaring issues coming via Chapter 13 for reasons I won’t spoil here. The team behind the game have already planned to release DLC to address this. However, the way the story is presented may be working as intended and this decision may disappoint fans of the Final Fantasy 15.

Does Story Telling Really Matter?

Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements.

According to the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, the unexplained nature of the story was intentional. In an interview with Game Informer cited via Novacrystallis, Tabata states that “We didn’t want to create a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story in this game. Instead, we placed importance on the main characters and for the player and Noctis to share the same experience when we tell the story.” If that doesn’t sound like a retcon then I don’t know what does.

Elsewhere in the article he mentions the time and money constraints by the latter half of the game but that doesn’t matter. I’m a long time Final Fantasy fan and this statement alone is egregious. What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story. That could have been excusable if the story was or felt complete.

Player’s Don’t Get Exposition For… Reasons?

What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story.

The main issue with things happening off screen is that it doesn’t give the players context for the events happening in the actual game. There are moments where if one of the bros are saying something important it got stopped when a battle is engaged. Did that conversation start back up once the battle concluded? No. That meant the player may have missed an important part of exposition that they didn’t realize. That’s not experiencing the game through Noctis’s eyes, that is poor story telling period.

In Final Fantasy games its not unusual to find books or documents that expand on the lore and motivations of characters. It’s not okay that the ONLY way players discover why “X” thing happened is to look in the supplementary documents scattered across the world. The game doesn’t even have a story recap that would keep track of things that may have missed by players. Some of the lore can only be found in the ancillary projects like Brotherhood, Kingsglaive and items in the collector’s edition.

Will This Be The New Direction For Final Fantasy?

I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete.

I have long grown weary of game developers not giving players a complete game and regulating it to DLC. JRPGs should have been safe from this phenomenon because the basis of the genre is story telling. I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete. If this is the trend that SquareEnix wants to start then I want no parts of the “new” Final Fantasy.

What do you think about this news about Final Fantasy 15? Does this news impact your enjoyment of the game? Do you think this direction of story telling is effective? Could this writer be overreacting? All points are valid in this conversation so let us know in the comments below.

Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
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Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
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Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
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So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
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Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
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The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

The Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake Is Coming This Summer

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake

Platform: PS4

Release Date: July 11th, 2017

FF12 Ashe
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

Full disclosure, I did not finish Final Fantasy 12 (FF12). I can admit as a fan of the series, after Final Fantasy 10 (FF10) I was looking for a certain experience and this game did not do it. It was evident that the battle system and the over world were practice for their Final Fantasy 11 (FF11) MMORPG and I wasn’t trying to be a part of it. I got a healthy way into the story and while it was full of political intrigue something about it didn’t grab me.

This isn’t going to be a bash piece on FF12 but rather an invitation to players who may have missed this game during the PS2 era. Or if you were like me and didn’t give the game the chance it may have deserved and want to give it another try. Square Enix had their Fiinal Fantasy 30th Anniversary event that outlined the different games coming out this year including the release date of FF12. With that out of the way here is some information about the Final Fantasy 12 HD remake that is coming this summer.

Final Fantasy 12 Is An HD Remaster

Vaan and Penelo
Image Credit:https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/404023/final-fantasy-xii-the-zodiac-age-ps4

This is a remaster not a remake and that means that the game itself is relatively intact. There are no huge overhauls to the major systems in the game but they did decide to give it a lovely gloss of paint. If this doesn’t impress you check out the trailer they released that can show how the already beautiful game was made even more lovely. This update is also extended to the audio sounds to add more depth to the character’s performances. Some of the lines have been re-recorded to complete the package.

The Bad Ass Judges Are Still Here

FF12 Judges
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There has not been any major changes to the story but here is a brief synopsis. FF12 takes place in the world of Ivalice, (yes that one). The city of Dalmasca was recently occupied by the Archadian Empire leaving it in ruin. Princess Ashe, the heir to the throne who had her wedding crashed, has devoted her life since this take over to liberate her country. On the flip side of that players meet Vaan and Penelo, two street urchins with dreams of becoming sky pirates. Political intrigue complete with Judges ensue as players join these rag tag companions to free their homeland.

The Licensing System Is Getting An Upgrade

final fantasy 12 remake, Zodiac Job system

It’s not a serious upgrade as the gambits and license board are still present. However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break. In the original game all of the license boards were identical while in the remaster each character’s board is different. They have even made it so that every character cannot obtain each Esper which is more traditional for the series.

However, they have added the Zodiac Job system which has made the game more like FF10 and possibly harder to break.

The other big change has to do with the characters limit breaks or Quickening in this game. The characters can only learn 3 of their Quickening licenses with the fourth one disappearing from other boards when achieved. This is something that I will need to explore but this is a different step for the game that could impact the game play in a major way.

There Are Quality Of Life Additions

final fantasy 12 remake, trial mode

The point about the licensing board is major but they have also added some quality of life changes that players will appreciate. They have added a “speed mode” which will quicken movement on the map. The new Trial Mode allows players to take saved characters into 100 battles that test their strategic prowess. This adds an extra element of challenge for players that take a break from the main story or when the adventure is complete. Finally they have added PlayStation trophies, auto saving and shortened load times for more fluidity. It’s apparent that PS2 limitations stopped these changes from happening so it’s good to see it added here.

Are you excited for Final Fantasy 12 HD Remake? Do you plan on picking up the remaster? Will the time that has passed make the game be received better? Let us know in the comments below.

Until Next Time Guys!

5 RPGs That We All Forgot But Are Still Awesome

Final Fantasy XII

RPGs

2016 has been a great year for Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and just to name a few, we have XCOM 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Final Fantasy XV. Also, a tormenting torture device called Dark Souls III came out last 2016. While these games have their own share of glory and fame, some wonderful RPGs were forgotten in the box down in our basements. To give you a drop of that nostalgia potion, here are 5 RPGs that we all forgot but are still awesome.

Vagrant Story (also known as “The Phantom Pain”)

RPGs Gem: Vagrant Story
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Once upon a time, in the year 2000, the developers of Final Fantasy (Square Co., Ltd. which is now known as Square Enix after merging with Enix) decided to make a game with a lot of puzzles, a unique battle system, and a weapon and crafting system that is comparable to a lot of modern games like Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls Series. That game was Vagrant Story. Also known as “The Phantom Pain”, Vagrant story is an action role-playing game that has elements of a dungeon crawler game, a hack and slash game, and a rhythm game.

The game received high ratings from various video game critics. Knowing Final Fantasy developers, they sure hid a lot of gems in the game for you to discover. Go add Vagrant Story in your list of “to-play” games and enjoy the world of Valendia.

Valkyrie Profile Series

RPGs Gem: Valkyrie Profile
http://www.zerochan.net/295361

Valkyrie Profile is a series of RPGs based on the Norse mythology and follows the story of three Goddesses of Fate namely – Silmeria, Lenneth, and Hrist – as they (well, mostly Lenneth) venture into the world of mortals, in the realm of Midgard, in order to gather brave human souls to serve as ‘einherjar’ or warriors for the coming Ragnarok, the final battle which decides the fate of all creation.

The game has a unique battle mechanics wherein, you link or assign the characters to the buttons on the controller and when pressed, the respective character linked to that button performs an action. It’s a mechanic worth experiencing and the story is fine, especially it covers human behavior and honor. If you want to play this forgotten gem, it’s available on the PlayStation Portable. Enjoy and defeat those enemies, Nibelung Valesti!

Final Fantasy Tactics (Original and the “War of the Lions” version)

RPGs Gem: Final Fantasy Tactics
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Who doesn’t love Final Fantasy Tactics? Well, that is probably because you haven’t played it yet, young squire. This entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was made last 1997 and was re-released for the PSP in 2007 as “Final Fantasy Tactics: The war of the Lions”. Which added new movies, scenarios, jobs, and a lot of words that made me grab a dictionary. You can’t miss a single point in the wonderful story of greed, revenge, corruption, friendship, and betrayal that gave life to the world of Ivalice.

Oh and, various characters from the ‘main’ Final Fantasy franchise also appeared in FFT. Having trouble where to get it? Well, worry no more. The game was made available on the smartphone last 2011. Go on and visit your app store and grab a copy of this critically acclaimed entry in the Final Fantasy universe.

Breath of Fire III

RPGs Gem: Breath of Fire
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First off, I’ve also played Breath of Fire IV but I never finished it…and I apologize for that, my dear BOF IV fans out there. That being said, I chose Breath of Fire III, the first three-dimensional entry in the series. It offers a lot of mechanics that will make you play for hours and hours. Collecting all of Ryu’s Dragon Genes, fishing, and learning all the skills, are just some of the things that will make you come back and play some more. Battles occur quite similarly to another RPG – ehem, Final Fantasy – which is random. I won’t spoil the story, because there are a lot of plot twists in this game accompanied by a very gorgeous soundtrack. Plus, the diverse characters that will make you properly plan the composition of your party in order to defeat the myriad of enemies that will cross your path.

The game was re-released for the PlayStation Portable for you, guys, to pick up and enjoy.

Xenogears

RPGs Gem: The Xenogears Title Screen
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Have you ever heard of that game that has a long-haired main character? The one that fights with his fists and has a giant Gundam-like robot? Well, that is Fei Fong Wong. He is the protagonist of the gem that I think is lost in the back of the minds of most people, Xenogears. This game tackles a lot of social issues that makes it more appealing to more matured audiences. Issues include slavery, war, prejudice, and corruption. A lot of critics hailed Xenogears for its somewhat controversial take on religion, humanism, and psychology.

The gameplay involves the use of Action Points or AP in order to execute combos. The Triangle, Square, and X buttons on the controller are used to perform those combos. Then, there are gears. These are combat robots, fighting machines that bear a similar fighting style as the owner or pilot. For example, one character in the game, Bart, uses a whip when outside his whip-wielding Gear. Xenogears has anime-style cutscenes which are backed by gorgeous soundtracks composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the composer for Chrono Trigger, Xenosaga, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and a lot more.

You can get it from the PlayStation Network and enjoy the brain-teasing world of Xenogears.

I hope you enjoyed my list of some of the top RPGs of the previous generations that seem to have been forgotten. If you are looking for games to play while waiting for that next-level role-playing game coming out in just a few months, you can try the games above. You will not regret it.

How about you? If you know any role-playing games, that made you feel like you live in another world, that seem to have been forgotten now? Let us know in the comments down below and happy gaming!

Big Additions Arrive in Final Fantasy 14 Patch 3.5

Patch 3.5

For anyone unaware, Square Enix has made another Final Fantasy MMORPG called Final Fantasy 14 (FF14). The game had a horrible start but has redeemed itself in the eyes of the community with the release of A Realm Reborn. FF14 is on the verge of it’s next expansion StormBlood which will be released on June 20th, 2017. While we are waiting for the end of the current expansion, Heavensward, players have Patch 3.5 The Far Edge of Fate to hold us over.

Quality of Life Changes Rule the Patch

Cross Server Party Finder Changes the Game

Cross Party Finder Interface
image retrieved from FF14Lodestone. Cross Server Party Finder Interface

I was going to start with the new raids that were introduced but that would be doing a disservice to the HUGE quality of life (QOL) changes we got this patch. The first, and biggest game changer was the implementation of the Cross Server Party Finder. Most of the instanced dungeons help players find companions across the data centers via Duty Finder (DF) to complete content. A few patches ago they added the Raid Finder (RF) for the 8 man raids, Alexander, and extreme Primal/Eikon fights, Sophia, Zurvan, Niddhog, etc. That was a great addition but it was not stopping the frequent server migration that started in Patch 3.1 of players looking for more people to “play” with.

The main reason why this is important is because the old school Party Finder (PF) allowed for players to form groups to enter content. If a player was on a smaller server the likelihood of finding other like minded players was very slim. Even my mid to smallish server of Brynhildr on Primal Data Center had 5 to 8 PF groups up nightly during peak times. Since the patch, released Tuesday, the PF groups have jumped up to 30 or 50 because it reaches across the whole data center. There are some other elements that go with it so you can read up on that in the linked patch notes.

GPose Filter
image retrieved from FF14Lodestone Filters Galore

Group Pose Gets Some Upgrades

For the photographers in game, they added and expanded the group pose camera options. Players can now changed the lighting, add effects, filters etc to their photos. Players can also take close up shots and get their favorite NPCs in on the picture. I don’t take many in game shots but it was cool to see added.

Egi Glamours Are Finally Released

Egi Glamours
image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone Carbuncle Pet introducing Ruby Color

One of the last things I will highlight is the implementation of Egi-Glamours for the Summoner Job. Egi’s are the FF14 version of pets. The players have been requesting this since the beginning of Heavensward so now the pets can return to their Carbuncle forms.

What Playable Content Was Added?

New Main Story Quests

Yda
Image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone Scion Yda in her Pugilist/Monk Glory

The end of the Heavensward conflict occurred in patch 3.4 so the game is moving us into the new expansion scenario. The main story quest (MSQ) will be told in two parts and players get to experience the first this patch. The campaign lasts for about an hour if players don’t skip the cut scenes and speak to all the NPCs around each quest marker, which I encourage. A lot of things were revealed but it does end on a satisfying cliffhanger.

Conclusion of 24 Man Raid, Dun Scaith

Diabolos
image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone Diabolos the Main Antagonist of the 24 Main Raid

Players will also get the conclusion of the 24 man dungeon scenario with Dun Scaith. The dungeon can be a bit challenging to players learning the mechanics but once you figure it out its only a matter of execution. The biggest hurdle is getting the other 23 players to cooperate and follow directions. The dungeon is stylish and has a Alice in Wonderland vibe that I’m sure everyone will appreciate. The reward for the dungeon is new armor and the i270 upgrade token for Scripture Tome gear. As a quick fan service bit, head to the Gold Saucer once you finish the dungeon and you might see some familiar faces.

New Dungeons Baelsar’s Wall and Sohm Al Hard Mode

Baelsar's Wall
Image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone Baelsar’s Wall
Sohm Al HM
Image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone Sohm Al Hard Mode

The next pieces of content were the two new dungeons, Sohm Al hard mode and Baelsar’s Wall. The latter is a part of the MSQ so players have to complete it before it is unlocked. The former can be found via Moogle NPC in Idyllshire hub. Both of these dungeons were great to trek through and the monsters within hit hard. My favorite would have to be Baelsar’s Wall because of the lore attached to it and the final boss.

Face The Demon, Zurvan of the Warring Triad

Zurvan the Demon
image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone. Zurvan the Demon

Players will also get the conclusion of the Warring Triad storyline by facing Zurvan the Demon. Zurvan is the final Eikon of the Triad after Sephirot and Sophia. Players will find out where the mysterious boy came from and the identity of his master. I must say I wasn’t expecting the story to end quite the way it did but it was an awesome adventure along the way. The story battle itself was a bit challenging but nothing players can’t tackle with some practice. Once the story is complete, players will be able to challenge the extreme version of Zurvan.

PVP Event Based on Japanese Show, GARO

PVP Gear
Image retrieved from FF14 Lodestone. PVP GARO gear.

The last piece of content is the new Player versus Player (PVP) event based on a Japanese show called Garo. Think Power Rangers and you will be on the right track.  The event allows for players to receive unique titles, class/job specific gear and mounts. FF14 is a more Player versus Enemy (PVE) styled game so PVP participation was low at best. This event has given PVP some life to help with the cue times. Another QOL that helped with this event is the ability to cue without worrying about your Grand Company (GC) Affiliation. Players chose their GC at the beginning of the game and PVP was locked behind it until now which made cues long and unbearable.

Get Ready to Jump In

All in all, this patch is a great time for returning and new players to jump in. There are so many more things I could have highlighted so read over the patch notes if you’re interested. There is more content to hold us over until the next patch and enough incentive for players to catch up to end game. I was very satisfied with how everything turned out and I am craving more which is always good.

Have you played FF14? Have you player other MMOs? Does this patch sound like the game is progressing positively? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Dragon Quest XI Releasing on NX

Nintendo’s mysterious new system, still only known as Codename: NX, is slowly taking shape as more and more games are announced for it.  The latest title joining its line-up is the next game in the popular Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time.

The newest RPG in the long-running franchise was originally announced for the Playstation 4 and Nintendo 3DS, but an interview in Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream revealed that it will also be coming to the NX with an English translation provided by Gematsu.

The Dragon Quest series has always been a major seller in its native Japan, which bodes well for Nintendo’s new system even if the game won’t be exclusive.  This announcement also reveals that the NX will be compatible with Unreal Engine 4 as that is what Dragon Quest XI is built from.

Dragon Quest XI is the fifth game officially announced for NX.  The remaining titles are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2017, Sega’s currently unnamed sequel to Sonic Generations, and Dragon Quest XI‘s predecessor, Dragon Quest X: Awakening of the Five Race Online.  Dragon Quest X is actually an MMO as apposed to the single-player RPGs that the series usually provides, including Dragon Quest XI.  That shows that the NX will have serious online support.  It’s strange to think that the NX is set to release in March and these last two paragraphs summarize everything we know for certain about the system.

Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time is set to release in 2016 around the time of the series’ 30th anniversary in late May.  It will have a simultaneous release on Playstation 4 and 3DS and, while it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the wording in the interview suggests that it also release on NX the same day.  It is currently only set for release Japan and it is unknown if it will receive an international release.  Let us know what you think of Dragon Quest XI and the NX in the comments below.

Legacy of Kain Shooter Nosgoth Closes Next Month

Nosgoth, the competitive first-person shooter set in the Legacy of Kain universe and developed by Rocket League creators Psyonix, will be shutting its servers down by the end of May.  Community Manager Oghamsmith announced on the Square Enix forums that the game would come to an end on May 31st without ever exiting its beta period.  The game will be available to play as normal until that date, but will cease to exist afterward.  Players will no longer be able to make in-game purchases and any purchases made from March 1st this year onward will automatically be refunded.

Nosgoth offered a unique, asymmetric style of play with one team playing as humans and the other as vampires, each with their own distinct arsenals and abilities at their disposal.  It garnered mostly positive reviews on Steam, but has also been a source of controversy.  Many fans of the Legacy of Kain series were immediately turned off by seeing a traditionally action-adventure series that had been on hiatus since 2003 being reworked into a competitive FPS.  Similar events had previously happened with the Shadowrun, Syndicate, and X-COM  franchises and the practice was already fatigued.  The official statement from Square Enix blames the closure on a lack of audience growth to support the title, but users in the forum have mostly pointed the finger towards a lack of developer response to community concerns and a mismanagement of finances on extravagant prize pools for tournaments.

What are your thoughts on Nosgoth shutting down?  Are you sad to see it go?  What are your thoughts on the Legacy of Kain series as a whole?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.