Tag Archives: video game

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The reunion at hand may bring joy, it may bring fear, but let us embrace whatever it brings. For they are coming back…

Almost 20 years ago, Final Fantasy VII was unleashed on the original PlayStation and burned itself into the hearts and minds of many people. It is still a highly regarded RPG and looked back upon fondly by the millions that played it. Whether it was the 3D graphics, the impressive (at the time) FMV sequences, the sensational soundtrack, the atmospheric and intriguing world, the lovable and iconic characters, the strategic turn-based battle system, the emotional and quirky narrative or just a combination of all of those things and more, few games have the immense reputation as Final Fantasy VII. Now it is going to be remade anew!   

PS4-FF7-Debut-PSX15-Init 

Final Fantasy VII is my favourite game of all time and for years I often wondered what a remake would be like, honestly it brought equal parts excitement and fear. Final Fantasy VII is very much a product of its time, for both good and bad, but it’s what makes it what it is. By updating the game to modern standards it would no doubt look amazing… but, would voice acting destroy the beauty of the soundtrack? Would the battle gameplay be changed and the material system diluted? Would the narrative lose some of it’s more unique and bizarre moments? And would the lack of original creators like Hironobu Sakaguchi, Nobuo Uematsu and Masato Kato that no longer work at Square be sorely missed? These… these were the questions that I could never answer.

Final-Fantasy-VII-Remake-Screenshot-1

Despite these reservations, I cannot deny my excitement for this remake. To revisit this world again and see it in a completely new light. The moody and sombre Midgar, the mysterious and eerie City of the Ancients, the wild and wacky Gold Saucer, the intimidating Junon, there are so many fantastic locations in Final Fantasy VII to explore. The details were exceptional on the pre-rendered backgrounds and they were really highlighted by the cinematic camera angles. The remake has a great opportunity to really breathe new life into this world and amaze the player with its scope and diversity.

FFVII-battle

I also can’t wait to see how they adapt the story, both the truly emotional and heartfelt moments, but of course the funny and weird ones just as much. Final Fantasy VII deals with some harsh and realistic themes. Aeris’ death scene, Dyne’s mass murder at the Battle Square and emotional exchange with Barret before his suicide, Zacks original brutal and stoic death, Shinra dropping the Sector 7 plate and killing thousands, juxtaposed over the heroes blowing up the Mako reactors and killing innocent civilians themselves and of course Sephiroth losing his mind and setting Nibelheim ablaze and walking through the flames.

Image543-585x300

In contrast it also has plenty of funny moments that really give it an identity all of its own. I hope we get to see scenes like Cloud dressing up as a girl to infiltrate Don Corneo’s Mansion, Tifa slapping Scarlet on top of the Junon Cannon, Red XIII disguised as a sailor walking on two legs (and Barret dressed as a marshmallow), Aeris and Cloud participating in the Play on their Gold Saucer date (or Tifa, Yuffie or… Barret), Cloud trying to get into the Shinra Parade unnoticed and especially Cid telling everyone to sit down and drink their God damn Tea!

FF7R-Not-Completely-Action

Sure, changes will be made. The battle system will be changed to something more modern and adopt a turn-based, real time hybrid, some story segments will be altered, voice acting will be present and some of the mini-games may be cut. But based on the latest trailer Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura look to be staying as faithful as possible and aiming to recapture the vibe and soul of the original game. We will always still have the original Final Fantasy VII that we can go back and play anytime, but I am happy to embrace this reimagining of Cloud’s journey and be excited to discover everything all over again…
Besides, there ain’t  no getting off this train we’re on, so… Let mosey!

ff7_remake

6 Comments

Filed under Editorial, Final Fantasy Series

Review: Why You Should Play Child of Light

Child of Light is a downloadable turn-based RPG released across various PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox consoles that features a beautifully unique art design and an engaging combat system wrapped up in a fairy tale narrative.

Child of Light Aurora

The first thing that will strike you about Child of Light is the magnificent art direction and animation. It really looks like a watercolour painting come to life. If you ever dreamed of a fairy tale adventure as a kid, it would probably look a lot like this. The dialogue is also unique as it is delivered in poetic verse, keeping the conversations between the characters interesting and fun.

Child of Light Backgroud

The story follows Aurora, a young girl on a journey through the magical land of Lemuria to defeat the Dark Queen Umbra and return light to the world. The narrative seems ripped straight out of a fairy tale book, but there are a few twists and turns along the way. Aurora is a strong willed protagonist and she is joined by a colourful cast of characters along her quest.
Child of Light Thorns
The gameplay of Child of Light consists of some light side-scrolling platforming reminiscent of Valkyrie Profile and a battle system with ideas taken from Grandia. The turn-based battle system shows you a timeline of when actions with be performed, allowing you to time your attacks to interrupt the enemies onslaught. Each character has a skill tree that lets them learn new skills and abilities as they level up and you can also equip them with various element gemstones to add further bonuses to their stats.
Child of Light Combat
The music is equally effective as the visuals in taking you away to the fantasy land of Lemuria, from dark caverns to deserted villages. Most of the tunes are gentle and melancholy, but gain intensity when required in big battles. The beautiful piano driven “Pilgrims on a Long Journey” is a highlight that echoes the themes of Aurora’s adventure.
Child of Light Gate
Child of Light is a work of art, both in design and presentation. If you wish to play an artistic and whimsical RPG then you should play Child of Light.

6 Comments

Filed under Child of Light, Reviews

The History of Dragon Quest

Before there was Final Fantasy… There was Dragon Quest. Taking inspiration from western developed RPGs such as Wizardry and Ultima, designer Yuji Horii’s original Dragon Quest game established many foundations of the console RPG genre. Collaborating with manga artist Akira Toriyama and composer Koichi Sugiyama, Dragon Quest has stayed fiercely loyal to it’s traditions resulting in 10 mainline games and a plethora of spin-off titles. Dragon Quest is so popular in Japan that most titles are released on a weekend or public holiday so not to effect school children and people going to work!

Dragon Quest Artwork

Published by Enix the first four Dragon Quest games were released on the original Nintendo Entertainment System and localised in North American under the name Dragon Warrior due to copyright. The Dragon Warrior name was kept all the way up to Dragon Quest VII outside of Japan. The NES instalments featured a fully explorable overworld, dungeons, a simple yet satisfying narrative and a turn-based battle system. Different to Square’s Final Fantasy series, Dragon Quest utilises a first-person view for combat which allowed focus on the detailed enemy designs. Dragon Quest I-IV were initially developed in collaboration with Chunsoft. Yuji Horii’s own studio Armor Project co-develops all the mainline instalments.

Dragon Quest Battle

Moving onto the Super Nintendo, Enix released Dragon Quest V and VI in Japan only. Both titles wouldn’t make their appearance in English speaking countries until years later in remakes for the Nintendo DS. Again Chunsoft developed Dragon Quest V, but from Dragon Quest VI onwards, which was made by Heartbeat the series had a rotation of developers. Heatbeat would also go on to co-develop Dragon Quest VII on the original PlayStation with ArtePiazza (who themselves would develop many remakes of earlier titles in the series). The massive Dragon Quest VII was released in North America and the next few games would follow suit.

Dragon Quest World

In 2003, Enix merged with former rival Square and Square Enix partnered with Dark Cloud developer Level-5 to release one of the most critically acclaimed and successful instalment in the series. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King released on the monumental PlayStation 2 and propelled Dragon Quest into a beautiful 3D cel-shaded world. The exploration was vast, the voice acting engaging and everything else great from the series was carried over and improved to make it one of the PS2’s best RPGs. Dragon Quest VIII also overhauled the dialogue in the English releases which has been carried over into the remakes of earlier games and new releases over the past few years.

Dragon Quest VIII Characters

Having found success with Level-5, Square Enix worked with them again to develop Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for the impressive Nintendo DS. Originally planned to be an action-RPG, loyal fans disliked this direction so much that the idea was scrapped and a turn-based battle system was restored. Implementing an interesting take on multiplayer in what is predominantly a single player experience, Dragon Quest IX took the series to new heights and arguably it’s most popular era in English countries.

Dragon Quest IX Combat

Unfortunately in the years since, remakes of DQ IV, V and VI were released on the Nintendo DS by Nintendo themselves to a less popular response in North America and the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Dragon Quest X, as well as spin offs such as Dragon Quest Monsters have stayed in Japan only. With such a rich history of quality RPGs it would be a shame to not have any more Dragon Quest games translated into English. There is still hope as the action/ adventure spin off Dragon Quest Heroes is in development for 2015 on The PlayStation 3 and 4 and the next mainline instalment Dragon Quest XI has been confirmed to be returning to a traditional RPG on consoles. So if you are a fan of the series or love a great classic turn-based RPG, the history of Dragon Quest is worth a look into.

Dragon Quest Heroes

4 Comments

Filed under Dragon Quest Series, Editorial

Review: Why You Should Play Suikoden II

Suikoden II is a turn-based RPG for the PlayStation that showcased a magnificent political narrative, over 100 playable characters to recruit and featured three different types of combat.

Suikoden II Duel

Set years after the events of the first Suikoden game, this sequel improves upon the good ideas of the original and blends them into an impressive and epic RPG. Released in an age when 3D was the next big thing and developers were pushing themselves to understand the new technology, Suikoden II featured a 2D world with highly detailed and expressive character sprites that works very well to convey the emotional narrative. This is a fantastic looking 2D RPG.

Suikoden II Jowy

The story focuses on the invading army of Highland lead by the destructive Prince Luca Blight and the various City States of Jowston. The two main characters fight both together and apart against Highland to bring peace to the land. The relationship between the silent protagonist and childhood friend Jowy is the highlight of the story and the character development and plot twists are extremely emotional. Rarely are characters written with this much depth and complexity. The scope of the narrative allows for an unbelievable 108 unique playable characters to recruit to your party, with many memorable and unique faces.

Suikoden II Luca

The Suikoden series is known for utilising three different types of combat and the second game uses them all wonderfully. The regular turn-based battles allow for up to six-characters with unique partner attacks and magic rune spells. The second combat system is one-on-one duels, with each character choosing between three attack options and the winner decided in a rock-paper-scissors style. The last combat type is massive grid style tactical battles similar to the Fire Emblem series. The stakes are higher in these battles and if characters are killed they stay dead in the storyline. Suikoden II has a plethora of game play features and also includes great mini-games such as the addicting cooking competition.

Suikoden II Dragon

Just like the rest of the game, the music of Suikoden II is epic and ambitious. The “Opening Theme” sets the standard hitting magnificent highs and lows, while the ethereal “Reminiscence” is a beautiful melody. With all the quality soundtracks from the PlayStation era RPGs, Suikoden II stands tall with the best of them.

Suikoden II Last Words

Suikoden II is a classic and rare RPG. If you wish to play an RPG with an intriguing story, over 100 characters to recruit and massive battles then you should play Suikoden II.

2 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Suikoden Series

Review: Why You Should Play Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG for the PlayStation 2 that featured the bizarre, but magical combination of classic Disney characters with Squaresoft’s own Final Fantasy characters.

Kingdom Hearts Cloud

Kingdom Hearts created a universe where characters from Disney animated films such as Aladdin and Peter Pan co-existed with Final Fantasy characters ranging from Cloud Strife to Squall Leonheart. It didn’t just rest on the popularity of Disney’s timeless characters and settings though, expertly mixing it together featuring an entertaining original story, fun real time combat system, high quality voice acting and an amazing soundtrack. Kingdom Hearts was so unpredictable, yet so ingenious.

Kingdom Hearts Sora and Kairi

The story focuses mostly on original characters, while leaving the Disney and Final Fantasy characters as cameos, which works extremely well as it lets Kingdom Hearts stand on its own two feet. The main character Sora is tasked with using the Keyblade to travel to different worlds and protect them from being consumed by the dark creatures known as the Heartless. The story evolves from the light verse darkness theme and provides many twists and turns such as your allies becoming enemies. The locations are also a highlight as each new world brings a classic Disney film to life.

Kingdom Hearts Goofy and Donald

Unlike most of the RPGs Squaresoft were releasing at the time, battles in Kingdom Hearts are in real time with the player having full control over Sora, who is joined by Donald and Goofy (plus other Disney characters) as computer controlled party members. The combat system still has plenty of depth as Sora can attack with his Keyblade, cast magic spells, use special techniques, jump, fly and even use summons. Despite the bright and colourful look of the games graphics, some bosses are very difficult and require the player to master all of their abilities such as an optional fight against the infamous Sephiroth in the Hercules’ Olympus Colosseum.

Kingdom Hearts Sora Vs Riku

Kingdom Hearts excels in its voice acting, as the main characters are brought to life by Hollywood actors and many of the Disney characters have their original voice talent. Adding to the fantastic audio experience is the impressive soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura who carefully blends arrangements of iconic Disney melodies with memorable original compositions such as “Dearly Beloved” and “Hollow Bastion”.

Kingdom Hearts Ansem

Kingdom Hearts is a wonderful mix of originality and nostalgia. If you wish to play an action RPG with thrilling game play and memorable characters then you should play Kingdom Hearts.

4 Comments

Filed under Kingdom Hearts Series, Reviews

Is the Time Right for a Remake of The Legend of Dragoon?

I have just begun playing The Legend of Dragoon for the first time. Released on the original PlayStation in 2000, this was Sony’s attempt at developing an epic RPG to ride the wave of success started by Final Fantasy VII. While it was popular, it never garnered the critical acclaim, or the commercial success of the game it tried to emulate, but it was an outstanding RPG in its own right. While I have been having a fantastic time playing it and it definitely has that magical feel that only RPGs made in that era posses, I believe this would be a great time for Sony to remake the game for a new generation.

The Legend of Dragoon Dart Shana Rose

Firstly, The Legend of Dragoon was released towards the end of the PlayStation’s lifespan and the PlayStation 2 was beginning to take over, so many players may have missed out on the opportunity to play the game. With Sony set to announce new hardware and with a general lack of large-scale console RPGs developed by Sony anymore, now would be a great time to re-imagine the game and capture player’s interests.

The Legend of Dragoon Beautiful

While The Legend of Dragoon was created with pre-rendered backgrounds and low polygon character models, the art direction is detailed and beautiful and would translate well to the realistic graphics found in today’s games. There are a number of set pieces found in the story that would be amazing to see with updated graphics and could be a fine showcase of Sony’s new hardware.

The Legend of Dragoon Attack

The turn-based battle system also tried to do something different, by including real time button presses to execute combos and increase attack power. This made combat more engaging and would allow the designers to keep the turn-based mechanics, instead of following most modern RPGs that utilise more action orientated battle systems. The battles are very cinematic, especially with the Dragoon transformations, which would also translate well into more realistic graphics.

The Legend of Dragoon Dart

The Legend of Dragoon was made as a chance for Sony to increase the momentum of RPGs at the time, but a remake now would allow the game to stand on its own. The story is interesting, the characters are memorable and the game play has unique features that set it apart. A remake would also allow the designers to tweak some aspects of the game such as an updating the soundtrack, adding more voice acting and having a free-roaming world map. It was recently revealed that a sequel was once in production but was unfortunately cancelled and while The Legend of Dragoon was a great RPG that might not have found its full potential, the time is now right for a remake!

23 Comments

Filed under Editorial, The Legend of Dragoon

Review: Why You Should Play Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is a turn-based RPG for the Nintendo DS that features a full fledge single player experience combined with co-operative multiplayer with up to four players.

Dragon Quest IX FMV

Dragon Quest IX is the first main title in the series to be released on a portable system and features unique aspects such as co-operative multiplayer and the ability to create and customise your own character and party members. It greatest strength is that it can still be completed purely as a single player game with great supporting characters, a fantastical story, a giant world full of secrets and an excellent tradition turn-based battle system.

Dragon Quest IX Hero

The story is based around the Celestrians, a group of angels that watch over the mortal world, who will be one day rewarded for their service by ascending to the Realm of the Almighty. Disaster strikes when the Celestrians are attacked and knocked down to the world below. The main character is stripped of his angel wings and forced to discover who was behind the attack and find a way back home. The story starts off formulaic, but really picks up as more is revealed leading to some great boss encounters during the end of the game. The story progression and minimal party member characterisation feels like a throwback to classic RPGs such as early instalments in both the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series.

Dragon Quest IX Greygnarl

Dragon Quest IX offers a very tradition RPG experience bursting with a robust job class system, skills and special attacks to learn, equipment and accessories, side quests and alchemy to mix and craft different items. The battle system is turn based with up to four party members and there are no random battles as all enemies are seen roaming around the environments. The multiplayer component allows other players to become guests in your adventure, while still being fully controllable by each player. Dragon Quest IX offers one of the best implementations of local multiplayer found in the genre and is great if you are looking for an RPG to play with friends.

Dragon Quest IX Metal Slime Armor

The soundtrack accompanying the journey is classic Dragon Quest and stays pretty closely to the series routes. The main theme “Overture IX” is a triumphant tune that evokes images of a grand adventure, while the more sombre piece “Heaven’s Prayer” played at the Observatory, helps add to the angelic tone of the narrative. There will definitely be some memorable melodies as you play through the game.

Dragon Quest IX Town 2

Dragon Quest IX is a fantastic traditional RPG that is equally fun to play through on your own or with friends. If you wish to play a classic RPG with fully customisable characters, then you should play Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dragon Quest Series, Reviews