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Found 102 results

  1. Bluehole Studios announced a new MMORPG today during the G-Star media showcase in Busan, South Korea. The upcoming MMO will be developed by Kakao Games, a subsidiary of Bluehole, as well as published by Bluehole, which made a name for itself with Tera and the stratospheric rise of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Their new title goes by the name Ascent: Infinite Realm (A:IR) and offers a world of fantasy mixed with steampunk with a heavy emphasis on vehicular combat. One of the selling points of A:IR definitely seems to be the ability players will have to board massive flying ships to traverse the world and wage war in the Realm vs. Realm combat, A:IR's take on PvP. Players can rely on their vessels or take to the ground in hulking fantasy mechs to continue an offensive or perhaps defend their territory using anti-aircraft weapons. In order to prevails, players will have to use cunning strategies and equipment like mines, hand-to-hand fighting (players can board enemy ships by using jet packs), or cannons. While the aerial combat and mechanical take on fantasy are clearly angled to be the main draw of A:IR, customization and building will also be a focus for the MMO. Each airship can be customized to change its type, color, appearance, and performance. Players will be able to construct bases to share with their friends, opening up different professions, like cooking or alchemy. Kakao Games hopes that allowing players to create quests, change game difficulty on the fly, and basically just giving players the flexibility to play how they want will allow players to have a good time regardless of where their interests lie within the scope of the MMO. Minsung Kim, CEO of Kakao Games gave a statement as part of the announcement saying, “All of us at Kakao Games are very proud to be able to work with the remarkable talent at Bluehole and bring their new AAA MMORPG to Western audiences. We are confident that we can localize their creative vision effectively and help make A:IR into a massive global success.” Ascent: Infinite Realm will see a worldwide release, and people interested in checking out the upcoming beta test scheduled for the first half of 2018 can enter to win a spot by signing up for the A:IR newsletter on the official website. No official release date has been announced.
  2. Bluehole Studios announced a new MMORPG today during the G-Star media showcase in Busan, South Korea. The upcoming MMO will be developed by Kakao Games, a subsidiary of Bluehole, as well as published by Bluehole, which made a name for itself with Tera and the stratospheric rise of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Their new title goes by the name Ascent: Infinite Realm (A:IR) and offers a world of fantasy mixed with steampunk with a heavy emphasis on vehicular combat. One of the selling points of A:IR definitely seems to be the ability players will have to board massive flying ships to traverse the world and wage war in the Realm vs. Realm combat, A:IR's take on PvP. Players can rely on their vessels or take to the ground in hulking fantasy mechs to continue an offensive or perhaps defend their territory using anti-aircraft weapons. In order to prevails, players will have to use cunning strategies and equipment like mines, hand-to-hand fighting (players can board enemy ships by using jet packs), or cannons. While the aerial combat and mechanical take on fantasy are clearly angled to be the main draw of A:IR, customization and building will also be a focus for the MMO. Each airship can be customized to change its type, color, appearance, and performance. Players will be able to construct bases to share with their friends, opening up different professions, like cooking or alchemy. Kakao Games hopes that allowing players to create quests, change game difficulty on the fly, and basically just giving players the flexibility to play how they want will allow players to have a good time regardless of where their interests lie within the scope of the MMO. Minsung Kim, CEO of Kakao Games gave a statement as part of the announcement saying, “All of us at Kakao Games are very proud to be able to work with the remarkable talent at Bluehole and bring their new AAA MMORPG to Western audiences. We are confident that we can localize their creative vision effectively and help make A:IR into a massive global success.” Ascent: Infinite Realm will see a worldwide release, and people interested in checking out the upcoming beta test scheduled for the first half of 2018 can enter to win a spot by signing up for the A:IR newsletter on the official website. No official release date has been announced. View full article
  3. The stealth, action RPG Seven: The Days Long Gone has come a long way since it was announced last year. Its developer, Fool's Theory, has revealed the upcoming release date along side the various versions of the game headed to digital storefronts and a new trailer. Seven: The Days Long Gone adapts the 3D isometric perspective popular in games like Divinity Original Sin to fit stealth-action RPG gameplay. Players take on the role of Teriel, a master thief bent on making his way in a "beyond post-apocalyptic" world ruled by the Vetrall Empire. His life becomes complicated when he finds himself possessed by an ancient daemon and sent off on a mission to the prison isle of Peh. Teriel is able to use his thieving skills to climb objects and buildings in an environment littered with mysterious technology, ancient legends, and more. Each mission offers multiple paths to completion in this adventure made by a team of ex-CD Projekt Red developers. Seven: The Days Long Gone launches for PC on December 1. Customers who pre-order the game can get the exclusive Shadowhand armor set. There's also a collector's edition that comes with the Shadowhand armor, a digital artbook that contains every sketch and piece of artwork from the development process, the soundtrack by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt composer Marcin Przybyłowicz, a map of the island of Peh, and a guidebook for the world of Seven.
  4. The stealth, action RPG Seven: The Days Long Gone has come a long way since it was announced last year. Its developer, Fool's Theory, has revealed the upcoming release date along side the various versions of the game headed to digital storefronts and a new trailer. Seven: The Days Long Gone adapts the 3D isometric perspective popular in games like Divinity Original Sin to fit stealth-action RPG gameplay. Players take on the role of Teriel, a master thief bent on making his way in a "beyond post-apocalyptic" world ruled by the Vetrall Empire. His life becomes complicated when he finds himself possessed by an ancient daemon and sent off on a mission to the prison isle of Peh. Teriel is able to use his thieving skills to climb objects and buildings in an environment littered with mysterious technology, ancient legends, and more. Each mission offers multiple paths to completion in this adventure made by a team of ex-CD Projekt Red developers. Seven: The Days Long Gone launches for PC on December 1. Customers who pre-order the game can get the exclusive Shadowhand armor set. There's also a collector's edition that comes with the Shadowhand armor, a digital artbook that contains every sketch and piece of artwork from the development process, the soundtrack by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt composer Marcin Przybyłowicz, a map of the island of Peh, and a guidebook for the world of Seven. View full article
  5. Back in 1995 Nintendo decided that it wanted to expand Mario into the realm of RPGs. Who better to work with than the premier RPG developer of the time, Square? The two companies pooled their knowledge and the project was developed mostly by Square with oversight of Shigeru Miyamoto himself... however, 1996's Super Mario RPG isn't really a game that Nintendo would ever consider releasing today. The content ranges from laugh-out-loud slapstick and wordplay to some surprising moments of innuendo - all within the universe of Mario. Does this singular, niche RPG deserve to be called one of the best games period? Chevy Ray Johnston, the developer of the upcoming indie RPG Ikenfell, joins us to help answer that question! You can find Chevy on Twitter, @ChevyRay, and learn more about Ikenfell on its website: Ikenfell.com Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Honkytonk Town' by Wiesty and XPERTNovice (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03535) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  6. Back in 1995 Nintendo decided that it wanted to expand Mario into the realm of RPGs. Who better to work with than the premier RPG developer of the time, Square? The two companies pooled their knowledge and the project was developed mostly by Square with oversight of Shigeru Miyamoto himself... however, 1996's Super Mario RPG isn't really a game that Nintendo would ever consider releasing today. The content ranges from laugh-out-loud slapstick and wordplay to some surprising moments of innuendo - all within the universe of Mario. Does this singular, niche RPG deserve to be called one of the best games period? Chevy Ray Johnston, the developer of the upcoming indie RPG Ikenfell, joins us to help answer that question! You can find Chevy on Twitter, @ChevyRay, and learn more about Ikenfell on its website: Ikenfell.com Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Honkytonk Town' by Wiesty and XPERTNovice (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03535) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  7. Earlier this year, Wizards of the Coast launched the most ambitious addition to Dungeons and Dragons in years. The prolific game company introduced D&D Beyond back in March as a beta for hardcore players of the traditional tabletop role-playing game. The beta period came to an end at the beginning of September, launching to a positive reception. I've had a chance to play around with the materials and systems the past few weeks, and Beyond might just be the most useful, mainstream tool a modern D&D role-playing group could use. D& D Beyond takes on all of the tasks previously reserved for bulky books and easily misplaced character sheets. The streamlined approach means that any player can access a roster of their created characters online while also having access to the basic rules and systems needed to run a game of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons for free. Players who want any of the content contained within adventure modules, expansions, and supplements can purchase those on the digital marketplace for use online in D&D Beyond. That might seem a bit standard, however D&D Beyond offers a really intriguing idea: A two tiered subscription model. Anyone can use Beyond for free, but they will be limited to six characters on their account, the occasional ad will appear, and homebrew content from others cannot be added to a given campaign. The Hero tier for $2.99 per month allows for unlimited characters, no ads, and allows for all homebrew content. Most interestingly, the Master tier for $5.99 per month brings in all of the access of lower tiers, but also allows Dungeon Masters to share all of the purchased content they have with everyone in up to three campaigns. You can feasibly join a D&D Beyond campaign, create a character, and immediately have access to everything your DM will be using in the upcoming adventure - for free. That means, in theory, that a group could pitch in to collectively buy a book apiece and have collective access to the entire 5th edition library. This feature has been one that fans of the staple pen and paper RPG have been awaiting for a long, long time. There are numerous online tools that players have used to help in character creation, organize player-created expansions, and keep track of campaigns. D&D Beyond puts all of those tools into one place and offers that aforementioned game sharing ability. Nathan Stewart, the senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, stated in the announcement for D&D Beyond's beta phase that, "D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends. These tools represent a way forward for D&D, and we’re excited to get them into the hands of players." The ideal experience of D&D Beyond resides on PC. Going to the website with a full keyboard makes finding what you need and adjusting numbers on a character sheet a cinch. Currently Wizards of the Coast plans to bring the service to a dedicated app for tablets and smart phones. In the meantime, players can use the mobile version of the D&D Beyond website, which offers most of the same functionality as the desktop website. Accessibility stands as the main downside of the mobile version. Often it can take a few clunky finger taps to navigate to the page you need. Weighed against the previous state of the game, where it could take someone several minutes of page turning through rule books and modules, the mobile site offers a vast improvement. The mobile app represents an opportunity for Wizards of the Coast and their development partners at Curse to refine the Beyond experience into a finely tuned collection of role-playing tools. As it stands, one of the main strengths of the Beyond platform is how easy and readily understandable it makes creating a character for even the most uninitiated. It automatically handles the heavy lifting of putting values and adding bonuses derived from the player's choice of creature and class for their character. The only hitch in the character creation process might be when it comes to figuring out starting equipment. That process seems to be complicated for beginners and possibly frustrating the first few times through for those more accustomed to pen and paper. However, there are options to create randomized characters or characters at level 1 that's properly geared for their class. Players who want to create new content in D&D Beyond are free to do so. Want to create a new spell, item, or monster? There are ways to do that and share them with your fellow adventurers. Those creations do have to adhere to some guidelines that prohibit the use of licensed content in homebrew additions. You can't make an item that gives out someone's personal information, contains hate speech in the description, or is very obviously from another IP like directly inserting The One Ring from Lord of the Rings. Wizards of the Coast also prohibits players from adding content that builds off of other races or creatures mentioned in the already established lore of their worlds. Overall, D&D Beyond might have a couple flaws or kinks in the system, but it's an incredibly solid foundation that Wizards of the Coast will most definitely be refining over the coming years. It's a great way to ensure players keep coming back to get hooked on new modules and expansions. Sure, you might have played through a whole campaign as a skilled human swordsman, but what would your adventures be like if you had created a Tortle barbarian? Beyond makes it easy to experiment with new characters and discover new adventures. Oh, and that Tortle race that can be used in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition? It was created as a supplement to the Tomb of Annihilation adventure to raise money for Extra Life! All proceeds from the sale of The Tortle Package go to Extra Life - so, if you're looking for a D&D one-shot to run on Game Day, think about grabbing a few friends, hopping on D&D Beyond, and crafting your own adventure in the isolated Snout of Omgar. View full article
  8. Earlier this year, Wizards of the Coast launched the most ambitious addition to Dungeons and Dragons in years. The prolific game company introduced D&D Beyond back in March as a beta for hardcore players of the traditional tabletop role-playing game. The beta period came to an end at the beginning of September, launching to a positive reception. I've had a chance to play around with the materials and systems the past few weeks, and Beyond might just be the most useful, mainstream tool a modern D&D role-playing group could use. D& D Beyond takes on all of the tasks previously reserved for bulky books and easily misplaced character sheets. The streamlined approach means that any player can access a roster of their created characters online while also having access to the basic rules and systems needed to run a game of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons for free. Players who want any of the content contained within adventure modules, expansions, and supplements can purchase those on the digital marketplace for use online in D&D Beyond. That might seem a bit standard, however D&D Beyond offers a really intriguing idea: A two tiered subscription model. Anyone can use Beyond for free, but they will be limited to six characters on their account, the occasional ad will appear, and homebrew content from others cannot be added to a given campaign. The Hero tier for $2.99 per month allows for unlimited characters, no ads, and allows for all homebrew content. Most interestingly, the Master tier for $5.99 per month brings in all of the access of lower tiers, but also allows Dungeon Masters to share all of the purchased content they have with everyone in up to three campaigns. You can feasibly join a D&D Beyond campaign, create a character, and immediately have access to everything your DM will be using in the upcoming adventure - for free. That means, in theory, that a group could pitch in to collectively buy a book apiece and have collective access to the entire 5th edition library. This feature has been one that fans of the staple pen and paper RPG have been awaiting for a long, long time. There are numerous online tools that players have used to help in character creation, organize player-created expansions, and keep track of campaigns. D&D Beyond puts all of those tools into one place and offers that aforementioned game sharing ability. Nathan Stewart, the senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, stated in the announcement for D&D Beyond's beta phase that, "D&D Beyond speaks to the way gamers are able to blend digital tools with the fun of storytelling around the table with your friends. These tools represent a way forward for D&D, and we’re excited to get them into the hands of players." The ideal experience of D&D Beyond resides on PC. Going to the website with a full keyboard makes finding what you need and adjusting numbers on a character sheet a cinch. Currently Wizards of the Coast plans to bring the service to a dedicated app for tablets and smart phones. In the meantime, players can use the mobile version of the D&D Beyond website, which offers most of the same functionality as the desktop website. Accessibility stands as the main downside of the mobile version. Often it can take a few clunky finger taps to navigate to the page you need. Weighed against the previous state of the game, where it could take someone several minutes of page turning through rule books and modules, the mobile site offers a vast improvement. The mobile app represents an opportunity for Wizards of the Coast and their development partners at Curse to refine the Beyond experience into a finely tuned collection of role-playing tools. As it stands, one of the main strengths of the Beyond platform is how easy and readily understandable it makes creating a character for even the most uninitiated. It automatically handles the heavy lifting of putting values and adding bonuses derived from the player's choice of creature and class for their character. The only hitch in the character creation process might be when it comes to figuring out starting equipment. That process seems to be complicated for beginners and possibly frustrating the first few times through for those more accustomed to pen and paper. However, there are options to create randomized characters or characters at level 1 that's properly geared for their class. Players who want to create new content in D&D Beyond are free to do so. Want to create a new spell, item, or monster? There are ways to do that and share them with your fellow adventurers. Those creations do have to adhere to some guidelines that prohibit the use of licensed content in homebrew additions. You can't make an item that gives out someone's personal information, contains hate speech in the description, or is very obviously from another IP like directly inserting The One Ring from Lord of the Rings. Wizards of the Coast also prohibits players from adding content that builds off of other races or creatures mentioned in the already established lore of their worlds. Overall, D&D Beyond might have a couple flaws or kinks in the system, but it's an incredibly solid foundation that Wizards of the Coast will most definitely be refining over the coming years. It's a great way to ensure players keep coming back to get hooked on new modules and expansions. Sure, you might have played through a whole campaign as a skilled human swordsman, but what would your adventures be like if you had created a Tortle barbarian? Beyond makes it easy to experiment with new characters and discover new adventures. Oh, and that Tortle race that can be used in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition? It was created as a supplement to the Tomb of Annihilation adventure to raise money for Extra Life! All proceeds from the sale of The Tortle Package go to Extra Life - so, if you're looking for a D&D one-shot to run on Game Day, think about grabbing a few friends, hopping on D&D Beyond, and crafting your own adventure in the isolated Snout of Omgar.
  9. We finally have more details on the upcoming Square Enix title Project Octopath Traveler that was teased during the Nintendo Direct back in February. With Project Octopath Traveler, Square Enix seems to be angling to recapture the retro RPG fans with stylish presentation, a branching narrative, and a unique combat system. Watching Octopath Traveler in action and it immediately becomes clear that you've never seen anything quite like it. Square Enix announced that the title will make use of a new aesthetic technique that they have dubbed HD-2D. This new style looks like an old-school RPG format that has been tilted into a 3D world while retaining 2D characters. It's certainly unique and eye-catching while retaining that ye olden days RPG feel. We now know that the octopath in Octopath Traveler references the eight potential protagonists that players can select when beginning their adventure. Each character has their own story, motivations in the world, and a unique ability that will allow them to pursue their goals. The two characters shown, Olberic and Primrose, can manipulate NPCs. Olberic can challenge almost anyone to a duel to prove his strength or move characters out of his way. Primrose, on the other hand, can seduce NPCs to help her on quests or lure enemies into traps. While Octopath Traveler certainly seems like a retro RPG, Square Enix has been experimenting with combat mechanics. Turn-based battles that will be immediately familiar to RPG fans are present in full force, but the major difference in Octopath Traveler is the ability to gain Boost Points with every turn that passes. These points can then be used to boost attacks, doing two, three, or four times more damage. They can also be used to heal, cast spells, or even chain combos together. A demo for Octopath Traveler is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. The full game is expected to release sometime during 2018 and, while it has certainly been covered in Nintendo events, it seems like it might be coming to other systems as well.
  10. We finally have more details on the upcoming Square Enix title Project Octopath Traveler that was teased during the Nintendo Direct back in February. With Project Octopath Traveler, Square Enix seems to be angling to recapture the retro RPG fans with stylish presentation, a branching narrative, and a unique combat system. Watching Octopath Traveler in action and it immediately becomes clear that you've never seen anything quite like it. Square Enix announced that the title will make use of a new aesthetic technique that they have dubbed HD-2D. This new style looks like an old-school RPG format that has been tilted into a 3D world while retaining 2D characters. It's certainly unique and eye-catching while retaining that ye olden days RPG feel. We now know that the octopath in Octopath Traveler references the eight potential protagonists that players can select when beginning their adventure. Each character has their own story, motivations in the world, and a unique ability that will allow them to pursue their goals. The two characters shown, Olberic and Primrose, can manipulate NPCs. Olberic can challenge almost anyone to a duel to prove his strength or move characters out of his way. Primrose, on the other hand, can seduce NPCs to help her on quests or lure enemies into traps. While Octopath Traveler certainly seems like a retro RPG, Square Enix has been experimenting with combat mechanics. Turn-based battles that will be immediately familiar to RPG fans are present in full force, but the major difference in Octopath Traveler is the ability to gain Boost Points with every turn that passes. These points can then be used to boost attacks, doing two, three, or four times more damage. They can also be used to heal, cast spells, or even chain combos together. A demo for Octopath Traveler is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. The full game is expected to release sometime during 2018 and, while it has certainly been covered in Nintendo events, it seems like it might be coming to other systems as well. View full article
  11. Square Enix has a complete remake of one of the greatest RPGS of all-time in the works, and it's coming sooner than anyone would have expected! The reveal of Secret of Mana comes with a slew of information about what the remake changes and leaves the same, along with a hard release date. The team working on Secret of Mana has gone to great lengths to keep the classic, top-down gameplay the same while modernizing a number of other aspects. The most obvious change comes with the 3D graphics - a dramatic departure from the Super Nintendo original. The vibrant 3D might not be on par with the likes of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, but it holds a charm all its own. The developers also modernized the controls for the PlayStation 4 controller and the PS Vita. As the trailer demonstrates, actors will finally give a voice to the text players could only imagine when they played Secret of Mana back in 1993. Randi, Primm, Popoi, and many of the whimsical cast of Secret of Mana will talk and feel more alive than they ever have before. To go along with the new voices, a new soundtrack has been created to fully realize the dreams of the original's composer, Hiroki Kikuta. The soundtrack pays tribute to the original while introducing complementary elements and flourishes that weren't present previously. Of course, players will still be able to play solo or with up to two friends in local co-op. For players unfamiliar with Secret of Mana, the story centers on a young man named Randi, a headband-wearing rascal who stumbles upon the Mana Sword, a powerful weapon meant to bring peace to a world in turmoil. With the blade in hand, Randi can harness the power of Mana, a force of unimaginable power and a target for nefarious evildoers throughout the world. He sets out to defeat the forces of evil and is joined along the way by Primm, a fiery noblewoman, and a sprite named Popoi. Pre-orders are now open for Secret of Mana. Those who take advantage of the offer from PSN receive PSN avatars for the three main characters as well as a moogle suit and tiger suit option for all characters at launch. Secret of Mana releases February 15, 2018 for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC. Players too excited to wait can get their hands on the title a bit earlier at PAX West September 1-4. View full article
  12. Square Enix has a complete remake of one of the greatest RPGS of all-time in the works, and it's coming sooner than anyone would have expected! The reveal of Secret of Mana comes with a slew of information about what the remake changes and leaves the same, along with a hard release date. The team working on Secret of Mana has gone to great lengths to keep the classic, top-down gameplay the same while modernizing a number of other aspects. The most obvious change comes with the 3D graphics - a dramatic departure from the Super Nintendo original. The vibrant 3D might not be on par with the likes of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, but it holds a charm all its own. The developers also modernized the controls for the PlayStation 4 controller and the PS Vita. As the trailer demonstrates, actors will finally give a voice to the text players could only imagine when they played Secret of Mana back in 1993. Randi, Primm, Popoi, and many of the whimsical cast of Secret of Mana will talk and feel more alive than they ever have before. To go along with the new voices, a new soundtrack has been created to fully realize the dreams of the original's composer, Hiroki Kikuta. The soundtrack pays tribute to the original while introducing complementary elements and flourishes that weren't present previously. Of course, players will still be able to play solo or with up to two friends in local co-op. For players unfamiliar with Secret of Mana, the story centers on a young man named Randi, a headband-wearing rascal who stumbles upon the Mana Sword, a powerful weapon meant to bring peace to a world in turmoil. With the blade in hand, Randi can harness the power of Mana, a force of unimaginable power and a target for nefarious evildoers throughout the world. He sets out to defeat the forces of evil and is joined along the way by Primm, a fiery noblewoman, and a sprite named Popoi. Pre-orders are now open for Secret of Mana. Those who take advantage of the offer from PSN receive PSN avatars for the three main characters as well as a moogle suit and tiger suit option for all characters at launch. Secret of Mana releases February 15, 2018 for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC. Players too excited to wait can get their hands on the title a bit earlier at PAX West September 1-4.
  13. In 2008, the now defunct Lionhead Studios released what many saw as the culmination of founder Peter Molyneux's vision. Molyneux had hyped the original Fable as a game that would change the very fabric of the industry, which left fans very underwhelmed when it released as a solid, but rather run-of-the-mill RPG. With Fable 2, things were destined to be different. Molyneux apologized for his salesmanship of Fable and swore that things would be different. Fable 2 managed to deliver on what Lionhead had seemed to promise with the original - it was actually a different kind of RPG. Also, there was a dog and it was very endearing. It's time to ask: Is Fable 2 one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Sims 3 'Musicolours' by Guifrog (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02420) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  14. The Best Games Period - Episode 72 - Fable 2

    In 2008, the now defunct Lionhead Studios released what many saw as the culmination of founder Peter Molyneux's vision. Molyneux had hyped the original Fable as a game that would change the very fabric of the industry, which left fans very underwhelmed when it released as a solid, but rather run-of-the-mill RPG. With Fable 2, things were destined to be different. Molyneux apologized for his salesmanship of Fable and swore that things would be different. Fable 2 managed to deliver on what Lionhead had seemed to promise with the original - it was actually a different kind of RPG. Also, there was a dog and it was very endearing. It's time to ask: Is Fable 2 one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Sims 3 'Musicolours' by Guifrog (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02420) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  15. Last year, Asymmetric Publications released a teaser for a new RPG set in their Kingdom of Loathing universe. The developers have described West of Loathing as, "basically a stick-figure Skyrim with beans and big hats." Well, now those beans and big hats have a release date, so it is time to dust off those boots and brush out the tumbleweeds. While Kingdom of Loathing remains an active MMORPG after over a decade, West of Loathing aims to capture the single-player crowd. As one of three starting classes, Cow Puncher, Beanslinger, or Snake Oiler, players explore the rough and tumble wilds of the West that has been heavily sprinkled with humor. This "single-player slapstick comedy stick-figure wild west adventure role-playing game" releases for PC on August 10th. Get ready for some silliness! View full article
  16. Last year, Asymmetric Publications released a teaser for a new RPG set in their Kingdom of Loathing universe. The developers have described West of Loathing as, "basically a stick-figure Skyrim with beans and big hats." Well, now those beans and big hats have a release date, so it is time to dust off those boots and brush out the tumbleweeds. While Kingdom of Loathing remains an active MMORPG after over a decade, West of Loathing aims to capture the single-player crowd. As one of three starting classes, Cow Puncher, Beanslinger, or Snake Oiler, players explore the rough and tumble wilds of the West that has been heavily sprinkled with humor. This "single-player slapstick comedy stick-figure wild west adventure role-playing game" releases for PC on August 10th. Get ready for some silliness!
  17. There’s something to be said for a well-built role-playing game -- even better if it’s one with a visually pleasing aesthetic that communicates everything it needs to. Too many RPGs these days find themselves buried under menus and woefully implemented combat mechanics, or repetitive dungeon-diving. Battle Chasers: Nightwar feels like the rare RPG to sidestep all the bluster and bulk for something entertaining and at least mildly fresh. Based on the original Battle Chasers comic by Joe Madureira (also known for his work on Uncanny X-Men) and developed by Airship Syndicate (comprised of former Darksiders developers), RPG fans of any stripe should get a kick out of this action-packed world. I got a hands-off demo of Battle Chasers at E3 2017, where the developer took time to show off the world and combat systems. Taking place an undetermined amount of time after the original Battle Chasers comic left off on a cliffhanger, players can create a team of three (from a total of six optional characters) to do battle with vicious creatures and loot randomly generated dungeons. There’s Garrison, a swordsman with a tragic past, Gully, a nine-year-old girl who inherited a pair of massive, magical boxing gloves after her father disappeared, Calibretto, the iron giant war golem with a heart of gold, and more. The first thing players might notice is that despite Battle Chasers decidedly JRPG-esque nature, it’s characters play off of old tropes for inventive combat and character building. Instead of the lumbering, mechanical Calibretto acting as the team’s tank, it’s Gully’s magic gloves that provide the massive damage, and Calibretto’s intrinsic ties to nature that provide healing spells. Though each dungeon will be randomly generated, players will have to strategize before ever stepping foot into one. Each dungeon has different difficulties to choose from, modifying the number of enemies, traps, and the layout you’ll find, but also affecting the size of its reward. Once inside, players navigate an isometric layout filled with beastmen, animated skeleton warriors, and worse. Players can give themselves an advantage by luring enemies into the dungeon’s ancient traps before battle, shaving off a few key health points. Once in battle, characters take turns dealing damage or casting spells, with a queue on the left hand side telling you who will go during the next several turns, all based on stats like speed and initiative. Characters share a single “overcharge” gauge that essentially acts as magic fuel for special attacks. This gauge can be accrued over time, and each character has three separate levels of overcharge attacks so you might want to save it for a boss or particularly rough group of enemies. Garrison can unleash a devastating series of sword strikes on a single enemy, for example, while Calibretto is focused on damaging multiple enemies with his massive chaingun arm. Each character will have unique abilities they can use only a set number of times to solve puzzles or advance deeper into a dungeon, such as Garrison’s dash move or Gully’s punch, which allows her to knock down walls hiding secret areas. Every step taken begins to feel like a measured one, weighed against risk versus reward dilemmas. Players can locate treasure chests with rare loot inside, or opt to teleport it deeper into the dungeon. You’ll have to find it again, and the loot will be twice as beneficial, but you’ll lose it if you die before reaching it. Rare gear can also only be crafted within certain dungeons, giving players another incentive to take a deep dive. Amidst all of this, Battle Chasers possesses a striking art style, and not just thanks to Madureira’s illustrations. Even as they’re awaiting their turn in battle, characters bob and weave with an animated feel that helps bring them to life in a way few RPGs of either hemisphere achieve. This is especially apparent during attacks, when the weight of each character can be felt in their motion. Calibretto, the hulking mass that he is, barrels down on enemies with a decimating right hook, smoke billowing behind his trail, and enemies bouncing back with appropriate force. Even enemies get in on the action, with monsters similar to Dark Souls’ mimics (beasts that impersonate treasure chests for a sneaky bite attack) lashing out their engorged tongues with wicked style. It’s unclear how closely Battle Chasers will stick to the original comic series’ lore. Developers at Airship Syndicate say the plot will follow the party’s adventures in a world being sucked dry of its mana. After being shot down from the sky by pirates, the group will have to adventure across a massive island, finding themselves roped into a war against an evil vampire lord bent on conquering the world. Battle Chasers certainly isn’t shying away from the cheese of its inspirations. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is due out October 3 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and the Nintendo Switch for $29.99. A Steam sale currently has the game listed at $26.99, though it’s unclear how long that will last. View full article
  18. There’s something to be said for a well-built role-playing game -- even better if it’s one with a visually pleasing aesthetic that communicates everything it needs to. Too many RPGs these days find themselves buried under menus and woefully implemented combat mechanics, or repetitive dungeon-diving. Battle Chasers: Nightwar feels like the rare RPG to sidestep all the bluster and bulk for something entertaining and at least mildly fresh. Based on the original Battle Chasers comic by Joe Madureira (also known for his work on Uncanny X-Men) and developed by Airship Syndicate (comprised of former Darksiders developers), RPG fans of any stripe should get a kick out of this action-packed world. I got a hands-off demo of Battle Chasers at E3 2017, where the developer took time to show off the world and combat systems. Taking place an undetermined amount of time after the original Battle Chasers comic left off on a cliffhanger, players can create a team of three (from a total of six optional characters) to do battle with vicious creatures and loot randomly generated dungeons. There’s Garrison, a swordsman with a tragic past, Gully, a nine-year-old girl who inherited a pair of massive, magical boxing gloves after her father disappeared, Calibretto, the iron giant war golem with a heart of gold, and more. The first thing players might notice is that despite Battle Chasers decidedly JRPG-esque nature, it’s characters play off of old tropes for inventive combat and character building. Instead of the lumbering, mechanical Calibretto acting as the team’s tank, it’s Gully’s magic gloves that provide the massive damage, and Calibretto’s intrinsic ties to nature that provide healing spells. Though each dungeon will be randomly generated, players will have to strategize before ever stepping foot into one. Each dungeon has different difficulties to choose from, modifying the number of enemies, traps, and the layout you’ll find, but also affecting the size of its reward. Once inside, players navigate an isometric layout filled with beastmen, animated skeleton warriors, and worse. Players can give themselves an advantage by luring enemies into the dungeon’s ancient traps before battle, shaving off a few key health points. Once in battle, characters take turns dealing damage or casting spells, with a queue on the left hand side telling you who will go during the next several turns, all based on stats like speed and initiative. Characters share a single “overcharge” gauge that essentially acts as magic fuel for special attacks. This gauge can be accrued over time, and each character has three separate levels of overcharge attacks so you might want to save it for a boss or particularly rough group of enemies. Garrison can unleash a devastating series of sword strikes on a single enemy, for example, while Calibretto is focused on damaging multiple enemies with his massive chaingun arm. Each character will have unique abilities they can use only a set number of times to solve puzzles or advance deeper into a dungeon, such as Garrison’s dash move or Gully’s punch, which allows her to knock down walls hiding secret areas. Every step taken begins to feel like a measured one, weighed against risk versus reward dilemmas. Players can locate treasure chests with rare loot inside, or opt to teleport it deeper into the dungeon. You’ll have to find it again, and the loot will be twice as beneficial, but you’ll lose it if you die before reaching it. Rare gear can also only be crafted within certain dungeons, giving players another incentive to take a deep dive. Amidst all of this, Battle Chasers possesses a striking art style, and not just thanks to Madureira’s illustrations. Even as they’re awaiting their turn in battle, characters bob and weave with an animated feel that helps bring them to life in a way few RPGs of either hemisphere achieve. This is especially apparent during attacks, when the weight of each character can be felt in their motion. Calibretto, the hulking mass that he is, barrels down on enemies with a decimating right hook, smoke billowing behind his trail, and enemies bouncing back with appropriate force. Even enemies get in on the action, with monsters similar to Dark Souls’ mimics (beasts that impersonate treasure chests for a sneaky bite attack) lashing out their engorged tongues with wicked style. It’s unclear how closely Battle Chasers will stick to the original comic series’ lore. Developers at Airship Syndicate say the plot will follow the party’s adventures in a world being sucked dry of its mana. After being shot down from the sky by pirates, the group will have to adventure across a massive island, finding themselves roped into a war against an evil vampire lord bent on conquering the world. Battle Chasers certainly isn’t shying away from the cheese of its inspirations. Battle Chasers: Nightwar is due out October 3 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and the Nintendo Switch for $29.99. A Steam sale currently has the game listed at $26.99, though it’s unclear how long that will last.
  19. This week our topic was a bit tricky - Mass Effect 3 released to critical praise in 2012 but also made a name for itself by being at the epicenter of one of the biggest fan backlashes in gaming history. In order to properly talk about the conclusion of the Mass Effect trilogy, we made the decision to split the podcast into two parts. In part one, we discuss everything but the DLCs and the ending. Next week we will return with another full episode dedicated to discussing the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the apocalyptic public response that it received. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Nova Siberia' by Big Giant Circles (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02036) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  20. This week our topic was a bit tricky - Mass Effect 3 released to critical praise in 2012 but also made a name for itself by being at the epicenter of one of the biggest fan backlashes in gaming history. In order to properly talk about the conclusion of the Mass Effect trilogy, we made the decision to split the podcast into two parts. In part one, we discuss everything but the DLCs and the ending. Next week we will return with another full episode dedicated to discussing the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the apocalyptic public response that it received. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Nova Siberia' by Big Giant Circles (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02036) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  21. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year. View full article
  22. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.
  23. Mass Effect has been a series dear to my heart since I played the first entry almost a decade ago. That original trilogy captivated a generation of players with a science-fiction universe into which BioWare wove a spellbinding tale of heroism that sought to answer some of the very fundamental questions of human existence. The trilogy ended on a note that left an entire Milky Way galaxy irrevocably changed – the kind of ending upon with it is difficult, if not impossible, to continue. To that circumvent that finality, Mass Effect: Andromeda sends players on a mission to colonize a completely different galaxy. Having left years before the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, several arks house the primary sentient species that inhabited the Milky Way. Those familiar races, the humans, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan, spent six hundred years in stasis pods to reach the Andromeda galaxy. This journey promised a fresh start for those who embarked upon it. The Initiative, the organization behind the resettlement, launched the Nexus, a gigantic space station that would serve as a new galactic hub, around the same time as the ark ships. Several “golden worlds” had been identified, prime targets for habitation for the various settling species. Everything was planned to the letter. Except very few things ever go according to plan. Really, that above sentence could apply broadly to Mass Effect: Andromeda, not just the story. No doubt most people reading this review will be familiar with the facial animation issues in Andromeda. While those animation woes are by no means small, the extreme focus on them has eclipsed a lot of the discussion regarding the more interesting problems that plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I think back on my time with BioWare’s latest attempt as a space epic, I remember all the time I spent on sprawling planets that initially held a certain thrill of discovery. I was an explorer! These were planets in a new and unknown galaxy! Who knows what kinds of crazy lifeforms or interesting encounters might be around any given turn of the terrain? Heck, BioWare even resurrected a planet roving vehicle and improved its handling to hark back to the original Mass Effect and its Mako tank. As I delved deeper and deeper into Andromeda, the game begin to feel routine. Why? Part of what contributed to the mundane atmosphere that pervades Mass Effect: Andromeda can be traced to the waste of its own fundamental premise. Players were on an adventure to an entirely unknown galaxy, a situation prime for introducing truly alien encounters. Instead of expanding the Mass Effect universe in interesting ways, players simply find more of the same stuff. BioWare took a creative approach to write themselves out of the corner they had created with Mass Effect 3, but chose to ignore many of the interesting elements that their solution would entail in order to bring everything back to some arbitrary status quo. Instead of encountering novel beings that would arise from a galaxy free from the cycle of destruction within the Milky Way, the two new sentient races encountered in Andromeda are humanoid with immediately relatable wants and desires. The main quirk of the angaran? They are more communal and open with their emotions. The main quirk of the kett? They have a rigid theocratic hierarchy based around genetics. We’re in a new galaxy in a rich sci-fi universe where the creatures we encounter could be anything: sentient energy crystals, renegade swarms of nanites that have achieved a hivemind, mouse-sized silicon creatures whose ways are completely incomprehensible. Literally anything could exist in a galaxy so far removed from any kind of interaction with the galaxy BioWare crafted in the first three games. Those interesting possibilities are shoved aside in favor of more familiar and “relatable” allies and villains. In fact, this desire to return to the pre-Mass Effect 3 status quo in a new galaxy even extends to some of the most thought provoking questions of encountering alien species. The most important part of first contact involves figuring out how to communicate. Entire films have been based around that premise *cough* Arrival *cough*. Even Star Trek: The Next Generation took an hour for Picard to figure out how a new alien species communicated. You could take it for granted in the trilogy that humans had figured out communications with the aliens of Citadel space decades previously, so it wasn’t an issue. Mass Effect: Andromeda spends not even five minutes on that subject with either of its new additions to their galactic cast of character species. Not only that, but the entire sense of scale, the stakes, and the urgency at play is skewed. If things go wrong with the ark ships, the entire initiative could fail. Even ground-level, no-name NPCs don’t seem too concerned, despite their desperate circumstances that present a threat to their survival. In one side mission, Ryder encounters two human pot heads living in the middle of nowhere on a planet where the water is so toxic it is literally on fire. The duo should be in the perfect position to know how monumentally screwed the Initiative’s future is, but they simply don’t care – an attitude reflected in how most NPCs react to deadly danger in Andromeda. Here’s an example: One of the primary locations in Mass Effect: Andromeda is an ice planet called Voeld. It’s one of the worlds controlled by the angara, but the player is told that it has become the front line in the war against the kett. When players land and begin exploring Voeld, the planet presents absolutely no evidence of any kind of protracted war. There are some scattered bases, some ships overhead on occasion, but nothing resembling an ongoing war. Heck, there aren’t even any craters to be seen. We know from Mass Effect 3 what a war in Mass Effect’s universe looks like. Palavin was a colossal battleground between the Reapers and the turians. Soldiers were breathless, tired from combat and wiped out emotionally. They did everything and anything they could to hold the line against an overwhelming adversary. Voeld has none of that. They even have entire towns – one of which has a hotel. They have scientists traipsing around researching animals beneath the ice or old ruins. The kett, supposedly an existential threat to the angaran people, seem at worst a nuisance. Very few characters act appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves. Most almost always go for a glib one-liner on par with Batman Forever’s Mr. Freeze, “Ice to meet you.” Arrived at what should be the sparkling hub of your new civilization only to find that it seems partially derelict? Time for a quip! Wandering in the belly of a completely unknown alien civilization’s living ruin? Time to just randomly activate things because you think you know what they do! Side note: Just once I want to see Ryder or their allies activate one of these alien devices only to find out it starts a giant alien weapon made to warp the planet into a star or some nonsense. They literally have no idea what these devices do, just their best guess and a human created AI that also is just making educated guesses. Then we get to the actual exploration, supposedly the core of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Very little exploration goes on. There are several huge maps covered with constantly respawning camps of enemies that stand between players and objective markers. The missions encountered in the wild rarely become anything more complicated than a fetch quest to get a thing from some bad guys. Sometimes pleasant surprises lurk at the end of seemingly boring quests, like gigantic robot boss battles, but often these grunt work tasks reward the player with habitability points. These points act as a kind of gating mechanism for upgrades, similar to the points used on the world map in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Outside of that, they don’t feel that impactful or important. Even raising planet habitability to 100% feels pointless. The settlements remain the same, some marginal rewards increase, but other than that there never felt like a compelling reason for anyone to bother unless they are a completionist. I’d like to contrast this approach with the original Mass Effect. While the first Mass Effect game certainly had problems, there was genuinely a sense of adventure. Every planet scanned might lead to something unique, like an ancient alien ruin or a collective of terrorists or rogue scientists whose experiment has gone awry. These sequences also had large, open maps that were filled with a lot of nothing and filler enemies, but enough was done to the planets to make them feel distinct and many of the encounters, though reusing assets, were written well enough to be interesting and involved player choice. None of that random exploration is present in Andromeda. I scanned every planet and found not a single unique situation or hidden adventure, only resources for crafting. That crafting system that BioWare touted in the lead up to Andromeda’s release? Unfortunately, it rarely feels impactful. I used weapons I picked up and they worked fine. I crafted weapons a handful of times and they also worked fine in slightly different ways. Most of the time the only things I was excited to craft for Ryder were improvements to the roving tank to improve its speed or boosters. For the most part, Andromeda’s supporting cast manage to provide endearing personalities. Drack as a krogan grandpa and Vetra’s lady-turian smuggler were fun additions to the crew, but on there aren’t any Garrus Vakarians or Tali’Zorah vas Normandys to really latch onto as standout characters. That’s something BioWare could build toward over time with sequels, but I didn’t feel any particularly strong connections with most of the characters in this first outing. The disconnect between the player and various characters in Andromeda largely boils down to the amount of inconsequential fluff that pads out Andromeda. There’s so much busywork with so little pay-off that players lose track of what makes the cast fun or special. There was a 15+ hour long period in my playtime where I was just bored with what I was doing. Oh no, a scientist put her thesis on a hard drive that was stolen by bandits. Time to drive to the middle of nowhere to kill them and get it back (and the solution is almost always kill some ambiguous “them”). Missions like this exist in abundance throughout Andromeda – little to no interesting character interactions, just straightforward affairs that have players going around the same big environments. When the worlds open up, players naturally invest themselves in the various activities thinking that there might be an interesting moment or pay off to any of it… but there isn’t. Instead, players start to forget what they’re even supposed to be doing or care about. The narrative loses its propulsion. Trudging through the motions of establishing colonies and checking off the soon routine alien ruins spread across planets while dealing with disgruntled colonists- it all becomes work. All of this should be fun – we’re using cutting-edge technology to forge a new home on planets full of alien technology and life forms we have never seen before. The first beat of life after the exciting introductory sequence occurred over a dozen hours later when I was able to take on companion missions. It felt like things were happening! I got to see characters interacting with each other! Some well-written scenarios that made me laugh or excited! Liam’s side mission in particular felt like such a welcome breath of fresh air it almost seemed like it was from a different game. When Andromeda leans into those more linear segments and allows its characters to be themselves with Ryder or other companions, it really shines. Remember the action button prompts that would frequently pop up in Mass Effect 2 and 3? The ones that allowed extreme actions to be taken during dialogue sequences? Those are so rare that I could count with one hand the number I saw in a full playthrough. It got to the point that I just pressed it excitedly when it popped up without really knowing what was going to happen and at least on one occasion that resulted in a character’s death. While ditching the Paragon and Renegade system of years past seemed like a necessary update, it also eliminated the short hand players could use to predict what kind of an outcome pressing the action prompt might have in Andromeda. Combat stands out as the most solid aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is the smoothest and most action-filled BioWare game to date and it just feels good to take down enemies. On top of that, the new jump and boost mechanics give combat a whole new degree of mobility that it never had before. It feels free and fluid, providing players with more options in a fight than ever before. The responsive gunplay and interesting abilities really come to the forefront, making it easy to sink a lot of time into the less interesting parts of the game just to discover the perfect combination of abilities. The smooth combat translates into an enjoyable multiplayer experience who enjoy the gameplay on its own. Players accomplish a variety of objectives around various maps before escaping in shuttle craft. Succeeding in these missions allows players to level their multiplayer character and unlock new weapons and abilities for that character. Some rewards also carry over into the single-player campaign. It's a solid experience, but I'm not entirely sure how much longevity it has for players who have had their fill of fighting from the core game. Unfortunately, the combat stumbles when it comes to progression in Mass Effect: Andromeda's campaign. Players begin by choosing specialties, but can decide to respec their ability points at any time from their ship or simply use points from new levels to unlock abilities outside of their beginning specialties. Only a handful of those abilities are gated to certain levels, meaning that most abilities are available from the start. This all sounds great, but the problem comes in when players discover their preferred play style and abilities. When that happens, the motivation to experiment comes to an end. Upgrading those abilities simply makes them more effective, but doesn’t change the player’s approach to gameplay. This leads to gameplay becoming stale toward the end of a prolonged playthrough, which is hardly ideal. All of this doesn’t even touch on the various glitches that can plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. These manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes the game randomly crashes. Other times NPCs duplicate themselves. This can happen during conversations and can be really jarring. Sometimes NPCs get stuck in world objects. Notably, a random NPC on the Nexus space station would stand still on a stage staring straight ahead. She unnervingly persisted throughout my entire playthrough. Enemies in the respawning zones around the various worlds sometimes just float in the air. Sometimes characters simply disappear from cutscenes or fuse with other characters to create horrifying chimeras. Note: A recent patch weeks after release managed to fix the bizarrely dead and distracting eyes that often appeared to be locked into a look of fear or surprise. That patch doesn’t fix some of the other issues most of the faces in Andromeda seem to have with emoting, though. Some characters have certain resting faces that make them look like they are perpetually smiling, regardless of the situation. This issue is particularly noticeable with certain versions of female Ryder or her ally Cora. Also, and this is really not important, but female angaran character models look like they weren’t finished. Compare them to male angaran faces and they seem to lack a lot of detail or defining features. Conclusion: Mass Effect: Andromeda has the potential to be built into something great, but that potential is buried under a pile of issues that range from structural to technical. These problems range in scale from insignificant to huge. That this game launched without a fix for something as basic as the patch that fixed how eyes looked is incredible. Combat manages to top that of its predecessors, but becomes mired when it comes to progression. The visual presentation of the various planets at times reaches awe-inspiring heights, but gets brought low by the facial animations and persistent glitches. The potential of a new galaxy stretches out for players to explore and define, but that promise gets squandered in a number of disappointing ways. All of that being said, Mass Effect: Andromeda succeeds in laying a foundation on which sequels could successfully build. This outing might not live up to the series’ roots, but the possibility remains open for the entries that are sure to come. Mass Effect: Andromeda is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article
  24. Review: Mass Effect - Andromeda

    Mass Effect has been a series dear to my heart since I played the first entry almost a decade ago. That original trilogy captivated a generation of players with a science-fiction universe into which BioWare wove a spellbinding tale of heroism that sought to answer some of the very fundamental questions of human existence. The trilogy ended on a note that left an entire Milky Way galaxy irrevocably changed – the kind of ending upon with it is difficult, if not impossible, to continue. To that circumvent that finality, Mass Effect: Andromeda sends players on a mission to colonize a completely different galaxy. Having left years before the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, several arks house the primary sentient species that inhabited the Milky Way. Those familiar races, the humans, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan, spent six hundred years in stasis pods to reach the Andromeda galaxy. This journey promised a fresh start for those who embarked upon it. The Initiative, the organization behind the resettlement, launched the Nexus, a gigantic space station that would serve as a new galactic hub, around the same time as the ark ships. Several “golden worlds” had been identified, prime targets for habitation for the various settling species. Everything was planned to the letter. Except very few things ever go according to plan. Really, that above sentence could apply broadly to Mass Effect: Andromeda, not just the story. No doubt most people reading this review will be familiar with the facial animation issues in Andromeda. While those animation woes are by no means small, the extreme focus on them has eclipsed a lot of the discussion regarding the more interesting problems that plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I think back on my time with BioWare’s latest attempt as a space epic, I remember all the time I spent on sprawling planets that initially held a certain thrill of discovery. I was an explorer! These were planets in a new and unknown galaxy! Who knows what kinds of crazy lifeforms or interesting encounters might be around any given turn of the terrain? Heck, BioWare even resurrected a planet roving vehicle and improved its handling to hark back to the original Mass Effect and its Mako tank. As I delved deeper and deeper into Andromeda, the game begin to feel routine. Why? Part of what contributed to the mundane atmosphere that pervades Mass Effect: Andromeda can be traced to the waste of its own fundamental premise. Players were on an adventure to an entirely unknown galaxy, a situation prime for introducing truly alien encounters. Instead of expanding the Mass Effect universe in interesting ways, players simply find more of the same stuff. BioWare took a creative approach to write themselves out of the corner they had created with Mass Effect 3, but chose to ignore many of the interesting elements that their solution would entail in order to bring everything back to some arbitrary status quo. Instead of encountering novel beings that would arise from a galaxy free from the cycle of destruction within the Milky Way, the two new sentient races encountered in Andromeda are humanoid with immediately relatable wants and desires. The main quirk of the angaran? They are more communal and open with their emotions. The main quirk of the kett? They have a rigid theocratic hierarchy based around genetics. We’re in a new galaxy in a rich sci-fi universe where the creatures we encounter could be anything: sentient energy crystals, renegade swarms of nanites that have achieved a hivemind, mouse-sized silicon creatures whose ways are completely incomprehensible. Literally anything could exist in a galaxy so far removed from any kind of interaction with the galaxy BioWare crafted in the first three games. Those interesting possibilities are shoved aside in favor of more familiar and “relatable” allies and villains. In fact, this desire to return to the pre-Mass Effect 3 status quo in a new galaxy even extends to some of the most thought provoking questions of encountering alien species. The most important part of first contact involves figuring out how to communicate. Entire films have been based around that premise *cough* Arrival *cough*. Even Star Trek: The Next Generation took an hour for Picard to figure out how a new alien species communicated. You could take it for granted in the trilogy that humans had figured out communications with the aliens of Citadel space decades previously, so it wasn’t an issue. Mass Effect: Andromeda spends not even five minutes on that subject with either of its new additions to their galactic cast of character species. Not only that, but the entire sense of scale, the stakes, and the urgency at play is skewed. If things go wrong with the ark ships, the entire initiative could fail. Even ground-level, no-name NPCs don’t seem too concerned, despite their desperate circumstances that present a threat to their survival. In one side mission, Ryder encounters two human pot heads living in the middle of nowhere on a planet where the water is so toxic it is literally on fire. The duo should be in the perfect position to know how monumentally screwed the Initiative’s future is, but they simply don’t care – an attitude reflected in how most NPCs react to deadly danger in Andromeda. Here’s an example: One of the primary locations in Mass Effect: Andromeda is an ice planet called Voeld. It’s one of the worlds controlled by the angara, but the player is told that it has become the front line in the war against the kett. When players land and begin exploring Voeld, the planet presents absolutely no evidence of any kind of protracted war. There are some scattered bases, some ships overhead on occasion, but nothing resembling an ongoing war. Heck, there aren’t even any craters to be seen. We know from Mass Effect 3 what a war in Mass Effect’s universe looks like. Palavin was a colossal battleground between the Reapers and the turians. Soldiers were breathless, tired from combat and wiped out emotionally. They did everything and anything they could to hold the line against an overwhelming adversary. Voeld has none of that. They even have entire towns – one of which has a hotel. They have scientists traipsing around researching animals beneath the ice or old ruins. The kett, supposedly an existential threat to the angaran people, seem at worst a nuisance. Very few characters act appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves. Most almost always go for a glib one-liner on par with Batman Forever’s Mr. Freeze, “Ice to meet you.” Arrived at what should be the sparkling hub of your new civilization only to find that it seems partially derelict? Time for a quip! Wandering in the belly of a completely unknown alien civilization’s living ruin? Time to just randomly activate things because you think you know what they do! Side note: Just once I want to see Ryder or their allies activate one of these alien devices only to find out it starts a giant alien weapon made to warp the planet into a star or some nonsense. They literally have no idea what these devices do, just their best guess and a human created AI that also is just making educated guesses. Then we get to the actual exploration, supposedly the core of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Very little exploration goes on. There are several huge maps covered with constantly respawning camps of enemies that stand between players and objective markers. The missions encountered in the wild rarely become anything more complicated than a fetch quest to get a thing from some bad guys. Sometimes pleasant surprises lurk at the end of seemingly boring quests, like gigantic robot boss battles, but often these grunt work tasks reward the player with habitability points. These points act as a kind of gating mechanism for upgrades, similar to the points used on the world map in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Outside of that, they don’t feel that impactful or important. Even raising planet habitability to 100% feels pointless. The settlements remain the same, some marginal rewards increase, but other than that there never felt like a compelling reason for anyone to bother unless they are a completionist. I’d like to contrast this approach with the original Mass Effect. While the first Mass Effect game certainly had problems, there was genuinely a sense of adventure. Every planet scanned might lead to something unique, like an ancient alien ruin or a collective of terrorists or rogue scientists whose experiment has gone awry. These sequences also had large, open maps that were filled with a lot of nothing and filler enemies, but enough was done to the planets to make them feel distinct and many of the encounters, though reusing assets, were written well enough to be interesting and involved player choice. None of that random exploration is present in Andromeda. I scanned every planet and found not a single unique situation or hidden adventure, only resources for crafting. That crafting system that BioWare touted in the lead up to Andromeda’s release? Unfortunately, it rarely feels impactful. I used weapons I picked up and they worked fine. I crafted weapons a handful of times and they also worked fine in slightly different ways. Most of the time the only things I was excited to craft for Ryder were improvements to the roving tank to improve its speed or boosters. For the most part, Andromeda’s supporting cast manage to provide endearing personalities. Drack as a krogan grandpa and Vetra’s lady-turian smuggler were fun additions to the crew, but on there aren’t any Garrus Vakarians or Tali’Zorah vas Normandys to really latch onto as standout characters. That’s something BioWare could build toward over time with sequels, but I didn’t feel any particularly strong connections with most of the characters in this first outing. The disconnect between the player and various characters in Andromeda largely boils down to the amount of inconsequential fluff that pads out Andromeda. There’s so much busywork with so little pay-off that players lose track of what makes the cast fun or special. There was a 15+ hour long period in my playtime where I was just bored with what I was doing. Oh no, a scientist put her thesis on a hard drive that was stolen by bandits. Time to drive to the middle of nowhere to kill them and get it back (and the solution is almost always kill some ambiguous “them”). Missions like this exist in abundance throughout Andromeda – little to no interesting character interactions, just straightforward affairs that have players going around the same big environments. When the worlds open up, players naturally invest themselves in the various activities thinking that there might be an interesting moment or pay off to any of it… but there isn’t. Instead, players start to forget what they’re even supposed to be doing or care about. The narrative loses its propulsion. Trudging through the motions of establishing colonies and checking off the soon routine alien ruins spread across planets while dealing with disgruntled colonists- it all becomes work. All of this should be fun – we’re using cutting-edge technology to forge a new home on planets full of alien technology and life forms we have never seen before. The first beat of life after the exciting introductory sequence occurred over a dozen hours later when I was able to take on companion missions. It felt like things were happening! I got to see characters interacting with each other! Some well-written scenarios that made me laugh or excited! Liam’s side mission in particular felt like such a welcome breath of fresh air it almost seemed like it was from a different game. When Andromeda leans into those more linear segments and allows its characters to be themselves with Ryder or other companions, it really shines. Remember the action button prompts that would frequently pop up in Mass Effect 2 and 3? The ones that allowed extreme actions to be taken during dialogue sequences? Those are so rare that I could count with one hand the number I saw in a full playthrough. It got to the point that I just pressed it excitedly when it popped up without really knowing what was going to happen and at least on one occasion that resulted in a character’s death. While ditching the Paragon and Renegade system of years past seemed like a necessary update, it also eliminated the short hand players could use to predict what kind of an outcome pressing the action prompt might have in Andromeda. Combat stands out as the most solid aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is the smoothest and most action-filled BioWare game to date and it just feels good to take down enemies. On top of that, the new jump and boost mechanics give combat a whole new degree of mobility that it never had before. It feels free and fluid, providing players with more options in a fight than ever before. The responsive gunplay and interesting abilities really come to the forefront, making it easy to sink a lot of time into the less interesting parts of the game just to discover the perfect combination of abilities. The smooth combat translates into an enjoyable multiplayer experience who enjoy the gameplay on its own. Players accomplish a variety of objectives around various maps before escaping in shuttle craft. Succeeding in these missions allows players to level their multiplayer character and unlock new weapons and abilities for that character. Some rewards also carry over into the single-player campaign. It's a solid experience, but I'm not entirely sure how much longevity it has for players who have had their fill of fighting from the core game. Unfortunately, the combat stumbles when it comes to progression in Mass Effect: Andromeda's campaign. Players begin by choosing specialties, but can decide to respec their ability points at any time from their ship or simply use points from new levels to unlock abilities outside of their beginning specialties. Only a handful of those abilities are gated to certain levels, meaning that most abilities are available from the start. This all sounds great, but the problem comes in when players discover their preferred play style and abilities. When that happens, the motivation to experiment comes to an end. Upgrading those abilities simply makes them more effective, but doesn’t change the player’s approach to gameplay. This leads to gameplay becoming stale toward the end of a prolonged playthrough, which is hardly ideal. All of this doesn’t even touch on the various glitches that can plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. These manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes the game randomly crashes. Other times NPCs duplicate themselves. This can happen during conversations and can be really jarring. Sometimes NPCs get stuck in world objects. Notably, a random NPC on the Nexus space station would stand still on a stage staring straight ahead. She unnervingly persisted throughout my entire playthrough. Enemies in the respawning zones around the various worlds sometimes just float in the air. Sometimes characters simply disappear from cutscenes or fuse with other characters to create horrifying chimeras. Note: A recent patch weeks after release managed to fix the bizarrely dead and distracting eyes that often appeared to be locked into a look of fear or surprise. That patch doesn’t fix some of the other issues most of the faces in Andromeda seem to have with emoting, though. Some characters have certain resting faces that make them look like they are perpetually smiling, regardless of the situation. This issue is particularly noticeable with certain versions of female Ryder or her ally Cora. Also, and this is really not important, but female angaran character models look like they weren’t finished. Compare them to male angaran faces and they seem to lack a lot of detail or defining features. Conclusion: Mass Effect: Andromeda has the potential to be built into something great, but that potential is buried under a pile of issues that range from structural to technical. These problems range in scale from insignificant to huge. That this game launched without a fix for something as basic as the patch that fixed how eyes looked is incredible. Combat manages to top that of its predecessors, but becomes mired when it comes to progression. The visual presentation of the various planets at times reaches awe-inspiring heights, but gets brought low by the facial animations and persistent glitches. The potential of a new galaxy stretches out for players to explore and define, but that promise gets squandered in a number of disappointing ways. All of that being said, Mass Effect: Andromeda succeeds in laying a foundation on which sequels could successfully build. This outing might not live up to the series’ roots, but the possibility remains open for the entries that are sure to come. Mass Effect: Andromeda is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  25. A strangely off-beat throwback to the Final Fantasy of yesteryear? A sunny journey into the heart of existential crisis? A relic outdone by its shinier successor? Final Fantasy IX is many things to many people. Only recently has the general gaming population begun to look back and notice the entry in Square Enix's long-running series that came only a year before X moved the series into a new console generation. Dan Olson from Folding Ideas joins the podcast for a two-part episode discussing Final Fantasy IX's fascinating development history and subtly powerful narrative. Does a PlayStation 1 title from the turn of the millennium earn a place in video game canon? Is Final Fantasy IX one of the best games period? You can find Dan Olson on Twitter, @FoldableIdeas, or on his YouTube channel Folding Ideas. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Part one focuses on our special guest, the development history of Final Fantasy IX, and our individual experiences with the title. Outro music: Final Fantasy IX 'Melodies of Life (Arranged)' by MkViff (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00152) Part two delves into an attempt at summarizing the intricate plot and some narrative dissection in an effort to get at the heart of why IX has always felt different from the rest of the franchise. Outro music: Final Fantasy IX ''You Don't Know Me" by katethegreat19 (http://ff9.ocremix.org/) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article