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Sony's PlayStation Experience Keynote presentation was today and didn't disappoint, revealing gameplay footage of Square-Enix's upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII for the first time. The trailer focuses on the early game in Midgar, revealing in-game footage of Cloud, Barret, Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge through cinematics.
As the trailer continues, though, there is footage of how the battle system is likely to work. It appears to be more of an action-oriented combat system where the player controls one of the party members at a time, leaving the AI to control the others. Very interestingly, the player was shown controlling Barret in battle instead of leaving only Cloud as an option. Rather than a full menu system, there is now a menu where the player chooses what action they're currently taking. "Summon" and "Magic" were selections, though they went tantalizingly unused. Cloud's "Braver" and Barret's "Big Shot" limits seemed to be used, as well as an unknown dash attack. The battle area appeared very large but it was uncertain whether the player enters a separate area for battle or if combat takes place in the same environment where the player walks around and interacts with the environment.
The footage looked incredibly fun, if somewhat unpolished. The voices didn't match up with the mouths of the characters, which is probably just a factor of getting a trailer out before doing the final localization, acting, or voice matching. But we've finally got some actual game footage of a game some of us have been anticipating for decades, and if it's an accurate representation of what we'll get, we may actually have our long-awaited dreams come true.
Source: Kotaku, YouTube
Posted in: Final Fantasy VII
Satisfying the desires of many Nintendo gamers, a re-release of Nintendo 64's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was confirmed as an upcoming title on the 3DS. There aren't many details around the re-release as of yet, but when Ocarina of Time was re-released in the same vein, it featured improved graphics, bug fixes, and a new, more difficult gameplay mode. Perhaps we can expect the same from Majora's Mask?
I personally am thrilled about the news. I'm hoping that it doesn't get upgraded to the upcoming "New" 3DS, because it'd be great to have this available on the system I currently own. I never got around to playing Majora's Mask back when I owned an N64, instead pretty much stopping at Ocarina - I'd love to be able to play a game that I've heard is really good. What does everybody think of this news?
Though there have already been a few minor DLCs for Square-Enix's recently-released Final Fantasy XIII-2, like extra costumes for the main characters and some fights in the Colosseum, a larger pack is dropping within the next week. The first major piece of DLC, titled "Sazh: Heads or Tails?" is being released on XBox Live on Tuesday, 28 February, and on PlayStation Network on Wednesday, 29 February. Additionally, this will unlock the card games that were awkwardly left out of the casino in the original game. On the same days, another DLC will be available giving access to even more costumes for the main characters.
The costume piece isn't really all that exciting, in my opinion, but it will be very nice to have some DLC in the game, especially since it appears to feature Sazh, a really fun character from the original game. It's also nice that it will unlock the card games promised in the original, as it was really amateurish to have the "card game" option available to be selected, only to display a message saying it would be available in upcoming DLC. I'll definitely be grabbing this on Wednesday.
Posted in: Square-Enix News
Nintendo was the main event on Tuesday, and based on announcements from earlier this year coupled with their performance in E3 conferences from previous years, expectations were high. Nintendo did not disappoint.
Right away, it was obvious that Nintendo was here to make a statement as we were introduced to the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series via a live orchestra. Shigeru Miyamoto and Bill Trinen talked about the many high points of the series as a whole, interacting occasionally with the orchestra to play some sound effects, then announced a few small things. First off, some port of Link's Awakening is coming to 3DS virtual console, and everyone can get a free copy of Four Swords. They also announced a concert tour of Zelda music, promised to come to "every region" of the world, so you can expect to travel to Papua New Guinea or Albania to hear orchestras perform your favorite songs from the series.
The Zelda bit was a bit underwhelming, with a lot of flair but not much substance, but the next segment - introduced by Satoru Iwata - was an instant remedy to a very un-Nintendo lackluster launch to the 3DS handheld system. We were treated to an incredibly impressive array of 3DS games promised to be out by this year's holiday season. We were shown a brief view of five key Nintendo titles to come out, and then Reggie Fils-Aime came out to show them in detail.
He began with the announcement of a new Mario Kart title. Though not a lot of details were given, it was promised to be tricked-out and clearly featured some hovering and flying elements along with some underwater racing. The karts seemed to transform a bit - nothing huge and out-of-character for the series - to accomodate the environments in which they were placed. The karts seemed a lot more customizable, as spoken about in CoNChat: "Bowser in a Mini Cooper." -R51
Following Mario Kart was probably the most impressive of the 3DS titles - Star Fox. The first push of the presentation showed gameplay from the outside - actually looking at the console as the game was played. They really pushed the fact that you can use the built-in accelerometer and gyroscopes to play Star Fox by turning the system itself instead of using the traditional controls if you wished. The screen images were small, but it appeared to be a pretty archetypal Star Fox game...until they got to the multiplayer piece. It looked like a pretty fantastic game that utilizes the cameras in a way to show player reactions to kills, whether the victim or the perpetrator. We don't yet know whether or not the multiplayer is WiFi enabled, but given that the original Mario Kart DS was enabled in that regard, gamers should expect that Nintendo would follow suit here. Anything less would be a disappointment and a mistake.
Smack dab in the middle of the 3DS announcements came a new Super Mario Bros game, SMB3D. Though Reggie seemed to be pretty excited about it, nothing that was shown in the trailer looked really innovative for the franchise. It looked very much like a Mario 64 universe, with improved graphics and some relics from the past thrown in, such as the raccoon suit from Super Mario Bros 3. Though it was one of the weaker titles shown, it simply wouldn't be a Nintendo console without a Mario platformer on it...it just seems like it would've been much better suited as a launch title.
Next up came the continued revival of #welovepit in the form of Kid Icarus: Uprising. A heck of a lot of gameplay was shown for this, including a character who looked suspiciously like Jecht from Final Fantasy X. It was very action-packed, with some platforming sequences and some flying through the air. It also featured a nice-looking multiplayer mode that almost felt like Kid Icarus meets Dissidia from how the action appeared to work. Finally, there was an augmented reality card game along with the actual game, but not a whole lot details were given there. A nice and simple summary quote came in CoNChat: "I wasn't at all excited for this game but this looks good." - FallingHeart
Finally, an unexpected series came back to the forefront as Reggie announced Luigi's Mansion 2. Having never played the original game, I can't comment on whether or not this was vastly different from the original, but the gameplay looked fun with more mansion exploration, and Reggie promised that there would be multiple mansions to explore, which made me wonder if there were complaints with the length of the original game.
Following these five came a look at what some 3rd party developers were creating for the 3DS, including but not limited to Cave Story 3D, Pacman, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Eggman Badminton, and Tetris. There was also a less-than-exciting Pokemon 3D announcement that only seemed to be about the Pokedex. I described it as "like Pokemon but not fun".
Amazingly, Nintendo wasn't even at their most impressive following this pile of must-own 3DS titles. After months of speculation, the official announcement of Nintendo's next console arrived. It is called the WiiU, which was explained in a somewhat confusing manner about putting You back into the We so when We play the Wii, wii are incorporating You into the equation, so that You are never forgotten when We are playing Wii with U.
The first announcement with the WiiU came via the controller. It almost looks like an Amazon Kindle, with a 6.2" touchscreen placed right on the front of the controller itself, surrounded by two joysticks, a D-pad, and the regular buttons that you've come to expect from a Nintendo console. The controller is highly interactive with the system, as you can play entire games on that screen if the television isn't available. It was shown being used as a drawing tablet, being used as an Othello board, being used as a targeting scope to assassinate Miyamoto in some bizarre peeping tom game. The controller also had a camera and showed a couple of people using it to videochat.
More importantly, the touchscreen on the controller can act as a second screen for the video games themselves - similar to the touch-enabled bottom screen of a DS - if you have access to the actual screen. It is highly interactive with the original Wiimote as well, as we were shown a golf game in which your lie was shown on the new controller, you used the Wiimote as a club, and the television showed the course and your surroundings. They showed a potential Zelda game in which the touchscreen was the item-select menu so gameplay on the main screen would never have to be interrupted.
Even though the new controller is much different than the Wiimote, they are still going to incorporate most of the same hardware within the Wiimote to improve upon gameplay. For example, there was a game where you slide across the top of the touchscreen the fling shurikens, and one where you have to hold the new controller in a specific position to shield yourself from incoming arrows. Additionally, there was a pretty neat-looking game called Mii Chase where only one person has the new controller - giving them an advantage with an additional view - and everyone else is forced to control themselves with the Wiimote.
Once we were all introduced to the WiiU, Iwata came back out and dropped yet another bomb - a new Smash Bros game would be developed that would somehow be cross-platform between the 3DS and WiiU. Legitimately no details outside of this were given, but it was met with rousing applause at both the conference and within CoNChat.
Following Nintendo's own personal announcements came some testimonials from the heads of third-party developers talking about their own reactions to the WiiU and how they could possibly make use of it. The first third party game looked like some bizarre Lego Grand Theft Auto game, and it was followed by titles such as Darksiders 2, Tekken, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon, Ninja Gaiden, and Madden - many of which offer interesting changes for Nintendo as they are first-time appearances on their consoles and are much more violent than most offerings on the original Wii.
You may have noticed the addition of a new forum at the Caves of Narshe forums this afternoon - we have just introduced a new type of Final Fantasy Music CoNtest at the site. We're going to be taking submissions of your favorite Final Fantasy songs and sticking them in one giant bracket to determine which song is the ultimate favorite of our community.
Of course, it wouldn't be a contest without prizes, so make sure that you check out the introduction post for discussion and for full details of what's going on!
Source: Music Contest Introduction, Music Contest Forum
Posted in: CoN Site News
Depending on which source you trust, Sony is either working on some kind of Playstation Phone or isn't involved in a project whatsoever. Engadget has released images of a leaked prototype of the phone, which looks like a typical slideout-keyboard phone, except instead of a keyboard, there's the makings of a Playstation controller. Along with the typical Sony makeup, it also includes a long touchpad in the middle that reportedly supports Multitouch. The machine would use MicroSD cards.
However, according to Gama Sutra, the initial response from Sony said that this was "definitely fake" and didn't offer any further comment. They changed their stance later from "definitely fake" to "no comment" and saying that it was just "rumor and speculation".
For me, this is interesting on many levels. First off, from the screenshots and the articles, the phone would be running the Android phone OS - potentially 3.0. As a current user (and lover) of the Android system, this would be a big win for both Google and Sony. Second, despite the title of the Gama Sutra article, this does NOT appear to be some sort of PSP - some commenters are speculating that this could be the PSP2, but it definitely will not have any sort of backwards compatibility with the current PSP system, judging entirely on the MicroSD technology. However, and most importantly, the system specs are much more powerful than the current PSP ("...runs on a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 chip supported by 512MB of RAM. The current PSP, by way of comparison, has a 333MHz processor with 32MB of RAM..."), so it could be the next wave of portable gaming for Sony.
I didn't realize until last week the popularity of the current PSP - I had written it off as an unimpressive and unsupported console, but was completely floored when I wandered into the PSP section at Fry's and saw a ridiculous selection of quality games. It would be an incredible risk to ask gamers to switch their phone to enjoy the next generation of games - especially when the people most likely to enjoy this sort of gaming are probably the same people who are already owners of SmartPhones. They certainly wouldn't convert people over from the iPhone, and current users of the Android system would have to be persuaded to switch over to the new hardware simply for the addition of the gaming functionality.
I kinda hope this isn't true.
Source: Engadget, Gama Sutra
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