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Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report 7.0

Final Fantasy XV
A lot of new Final Fantasy XV information was revealed in Active Time Report 7.0 last weekend, and I missed it all due to moving. In case you missed it too, read on and watch the ATR at your leisure.

The main focus of ATR7 is that the game is now 80% complete and that they consider development to be close to the final build, meaning there will likely be no further updates until after they consider the game to have gone gold.

There are a lot of mechanics and minor updates wrapped up in the beginning, almost like a visual changelog. There are a couple things I hadn't seen anything of yet, such as the snare combat mechanic and the fluid dynamics of characters in deep water, that looked pretty great. Also... frogs! Additionally, the overall updates show that the camera and UI have been drastically changed since the original demo, improving the overall battle mechanics.

This update showed more of Niflheim and its role and personnel, introducing in particular a dragoon officer named Aranea Highwind - it's worth noting that she has a pretty cool take on some classic Kain Highwind-style armor. The story frames Niflheim as a controlling, mechanically oriented kingdom expanding over Lucis, in a manner that echoes a bit of the plot setup for Final Fantasy VI.

A huge gameplay mechanic introduced this time around has been nicknamed "Final Fantasy Solid" in some circles; a stealth mechanic in which Noctis and crew infiltrate and take down Niflheim bases from within appears to be a significant part of the plot this time around. Destructible and otherwise interactive environments play a role in these takedowns as well, both in terms of destroying and commandeering Niflheim equipment.

With regards to magic, the typical magic system has been modified in XV to be more focused on a few elementals and "ring" magic, which is available only later in the game. The elemental spells have improved efficacy in certain environments, and have the ability to use the environments to spread to wider ranges and therefore envelop more targets.

Coming up next: the Uncovered event. This is the big one, and it's happening in Los Angeles (and free tickets are available, Californian readers!). In this event, the final demo will be announced, the 2016 release date for the final game will be announced, as well as price and "other details."

If that's not enough for XV for you, Gematsu collected a gallery of screenshots to check out too.

Source: Siliconera, Gematsu, Game Informer
Posted in: North America

Final Fantasy V Joins Cohort on Windows

Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V was the first game to be released for mobile platforms in the most recent in-game art style, back in 2013. Said art style is a bit polarizing among the fanbase, but one thing that it has going for it is that it appears to be pretty easy to scale for various devices - in fact, after these two years, it just dawned on me that this is probably one of the main reasons that the art was changed in the first place.

And, that might be relevant now, because after the ports of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV to Windows recently, the mobile version of Final Fantasy V is coming too. The game will be released on Steam on September 24 at a price point of $15.99 before a preorder discount of 10%. As a reminder, this game will have the same content as Final Fantasy V Advance (which of course means CoN can be your guide), but will have the updated look and feel of the iOS and Android ports. New to this version will be gamepad support, Steam achievements, and Steam trading cards.

No, they haven't announced the same for Final Fantasy VI yet. Yes, I expect they will, and probably quite soon.

Source: Siliconera
Posted in: North America

RPG Limit Break Charity Marathon May 12th

General Final Fantasy
From our friends over at Games Done Quick comes word that this coming week, RPG Limit Break will be running a charity RPG marathon from Salt Lake City (and, of course, on Twitch). The marathon will begin at 2pm Eastern on Tuesday, May 12, and run until roughly midnight on the 17th, collecting donations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness all the while.

The schedule contains thirty-one games from a huge variety of series, including Lunar, Wild Arms, Suikoden, Fire Emblem, Disgaea and Mother. Of course, for those folks who read CoN solely for the Square Enix content, naturally series like Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy are also represented. Crystal Chronicles, Tactics, Mystic Quest, I, IV, and V will all show up, and the final game of the marathon will be Chrono Trigger.

To learn more, see the schedule, or donate to the cause once everything kicks in a few days from now, visit RPG Limit Break's twitch channel now.
Posted in: North America

The After Years Come to Steam

Final Fantasy IV
Well, I guess enough people bought it on mobile phones, then. The Final Fantasy IV sequel, "The After Years," which has bounced from platform to platform since 2008, will have yet another release in May, this time for the Steam platform. This release will be based on the iOS and Android version released in 2013, following the same path as Final Fantasy III and IV took to Windows.

It's worth noting that this sequel has been full of mixed reviews over its lifespan, with the iOS version carrying a Metacritic score of just 62, compared to the iOS version of Final Fantasy IV sitting at 89. The news that this game is getting a Windows port might not sit well with fans hoping for remakes of other games in the series, but this release still makes a great deal of financial sense for Square Enix at this point given that it was likely a relatively easy and low-cost port.

The game's listed at $16 with a 10% preorder discount in the American Steam store, with a release date of May 12.

Source: Steam
Posted in: North America

Final Fantasy XI Ages, Dies, Continues, is Reborn

Final Fantasy XI
Did you know Final Fantasy XI was still a thing? I don't think I'd thought about it since the last time I posted news about it, back in 2012. That's unfair, though, because the game is well over a decade old but still has a core of diehard players; it's just that none of us are included in that list!

Anyway, Square Enix had a Final Fantasy XI event today, in which the very definition of what Final Fantasy XI is changed somewhat. Most importantly, the final additional scenario to the game was announced; called "Rhapsodies of Vana'diel," the scenario will come in three parts and are intended to incorporate aspects of the game's history into new battles and loot in an effort to create a feeling of closure to the adventure. These three pieces will be free to all players.

The three pieces of "Rhapsodies" will be released in May, August, and November 2015. In March 2016, the game will be shut down for Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 players, which seems like it might be well due. This will leave only the PC version as an active platform. Sometime before the March shutoff, as well, the game managers are planning a final gameplay event called "The Goddess' Gala," which promises fun content for both active and lapsed players.

While the ancient platforms are being eliminated, though, a new platform is being announced; Final Fantasy XI mobile is in the works now for smartphones and tablets worldwide. The game will carry the XI name, and has optimizations intended to make the game more playable via touch; however, it is not yet clear if it will interact with the existing platform or will exist solely on its own servers and will be multiplayer only with other mobile players.

Also announced today, for release in Japan later this year, is a mobile game set in the universe and leveraging the characters of Final Fantasy XI. The game is called Final Fantasy Grandmasters, and while it will have ad hoc multiplayer, it's not to MMO scale and the gameplay based on screenshots looks like a hybrid between MMO combat and more standard Final Fantasy line-up-and-sword-them fighting. It's aiming for beta sometime in April, but again, there's no release planned outside of Japan.

Source: Gematsu
Posted in: North America

Some Final Fantasy Released Today: Type-0 Review Roundup

Hope you're wearing green, because it's Type-0 day. At least in North America, Type-0 HD released for current-gen consoles today, and, along with it, Episode Duscae. For the former, the reviews are starting to come in; by and large, reviews from some of the big outlets seem to be on the positive side of mixed.

Polygon gives the game an 8/10 based on the strength and variety of combat and the darker and more militaristic storyline and the gameplay changes those things require. Given that review starts off with a few shots at how little the reviewer cared for the Final Fantasy XIII series, and a sidebar about how the port and upscaling was not done very well, that seems like a solid number.

Over at Siliconera, the review is also generally positive, though it's not "scored." The same high and low points are mostly covered, with special emphasis on the changes that Final Fantasy players will notice in terms of combat style and party management. The general theme is that the story is sub-par, but I must say that everything described in the review seems like a pretty interesting concept to me personally - it does come off a bit as though you might need to appreciate how Final Fantasy XIII told its story to really get into Type-0, though, so that won't be for everyone if true.

IGN also nails the game to an 8/10 and has the overall most positive review of any of the three, I think. Here, the darkness of the story is highlighted often, and you definitely need to know that Type-0 is the first game to carry the Final Fantasy name to receive the M rating (and international equivalents). A few sticking points still crop up, though, such as the not-fully-HD quality of some of the graphics and the poor quality of English voice acting.

A friend at work asked me earlier today, "Do you think I should pick up Type-0?" After first reminding him that I probably carry some bias, I said from everything I knew, it looked like it was worth a shot, especially if you're tired of the core Final Fantasy line. I think these reviews back me up just fine on that optimism. Has anyone out there grabbed it yet?

Of course, there's that whole thing of Episode Duscae, too. With all the push around Final Fantasy XV recently, you might have thought you knew just about everything that the demo was going to do - but until today, you didn't know about a summon showing up. And man, did a summon show up. The video contained therein shows an Eidolon well beyond the scale of anything we've seen in a Final Fantasy game, and note that it's Ramuh - typically one of the base-tier summons you get in any FF game. That actually worries me a little bit, because that is a pretty high bar to set, and to me it runs the risk of becoming something over-the-top and annoying over time. To me, this points to the idea that summoning will be a special, less-used thing in Final Fantasy XV, or the summoning itself will have some sort of shortening mechanism to keep the gameplay running.

Oh, and if that's not enough for you for this day, check this out. President Yosuke Mitsuda mentioned in an interview this week that "there is a surprise in store" this year in terms of information about a new JRPG reveal. Siliconera's reporting implies heavily that said reveal will take place at one of the big shows this year, either E3 or Tokyo Game Show. Speculation, naturally, is already underway. Final Fantasy Type-1? Final Fantasy XII HD Remaster? Final Fantasy VI HD Remaster?!?

Yeah, yeah. Don't get too carried away.
Posted in: North America

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