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Found 47 results

  1. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn received its latest expansion June 20 with the release of Stormblood. A journey and the warrior of light are the focal points in Stormblood story. New features include additional jobs such as the red mage and samurai, a level cap increase, new enemies, new areas to explore and more content additions. In true Square Enix fashion, there's no skimping on the epic high-fantasy vibes of the expansion's trailer. Reportedly, there were a plethora of issues for any players trying to play the game during the early access period that began on June 16. Gamers were stuck with long wait times to log into the game and still had issues while in the game. Early access will end this Friday, June 23. FFXIV: A Realm Reborn itself is a MMORPG that launched in August 2013 to Windows and PlayStation 3. Currently, it is available on PlayStation 4 and Mac. A Realm Reborn acts as a remake of the original FFXIV which was released in 2010 but was plagued with many issues. Are you playing FFXIV? Are you excited for Stormblood? View full article
  2. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn received its latest expansion June 20 with the release of Stormblood. A journey and the warrior of light are the focal points in Stormblood story. New features include additional jobs such as the red mage and samurai, a level cap increase, new enemies, new areas to explore and more content additions. In true Square Enix fashion, there's no skimping on the epic high-fantasy vibes of the expansion's trailer. Reportedly, there were a plethora of issues for any players trying to play the game during the early access period that began on June 16. Gamers were stuck with long wait times to log into the game and still had issues while in the game. Early access will end this Friday, June 23. FFXIV: A Realm Reborn itself is a MMORPG that launched in August 2013 to Windows and PlayStation 3. Currently, it is available on PlayStation 4 and Mac. A Realm Reborn acts as a remake of the original FFXIV which was released in 2010 but was plagued with many issues. Are you playing FFXIV? Are you excited for Stormblood?
  3. Square Enix unveiled the first full trailer for its next piece of Final Fantasy XV story DLC. Prompto follows in the steps of Gladiolus with his own episode that places the pistol-toting goofball under a far less jovial light. Episode Prompto follows the titular character as he uncovers the truth surrounding his origins. Combat focuses heavily on gunplay, with explosive over-the-shoulder-style firefights. Check out the trailer below, although players who have yet to play or complete Final Fantasy XV will see spoilers for one of the game's murkier subplots. Just a heads up. Episode Prompto becomes available for download June 27. For more on Final Fantasy XV, read about Square Enix's upcoming updates. View full article
  4. Square Enix unveiled the first full trailer for its next piece of Final Fantasy XV story DLC. Prompto follows in the steps of Gladiolus with his own episode that places the pistol-toting goofball under a far less jovial light. Episode Prompto follows the titular character as he uncovers the truth surrounding his origins. Combat focuses heavily on gunplay, with explosive over-the-shoulder-style firefights. Check out the trailer below, although players who have yet to play or complete Final Fantasy XV will see spoilers for one of the game's murkier subplots. Just a heads up. Episode Prompto becomes available for download June 27. For more on Final Fantasy XV, read about Square Enix's upcoming updates.
  5. Final Fantasy XV isn't at its first year anniversary yet, and yet Square Enix has already been working to fulfill its promise to continue expanding on the lore of the game. Creating a media-rich universe for its latest major Final Fantasy title has been a strong suit for Square. It's cohesiveness, however, has been a little lacking. E3 2017 saw the release of a few trailers within the FFXV Eos. First up, it was announced during the Microsoft conference that the game would get a free 4K enhancement per the Xbox One Enhance Program. Sony followed suit during its conference by announcing PS4 Pro updates. Sony also announced a VR component with PSVR spin-off Monster of the Deep. The game focuses on the fishing feature of the game, putting players behind the eyes (and rod) of Noctis. Monster of the Deep has the release date of September 2017. On June 13, aka the first official day of E3, Square released additional trailers outlining old content alongside new. The new includes a mobile game that Noctis and Co. are obsessed with called King's Knight, with its full title being King's Knight - Wrath of the Dark Dragon. The stage was pretty much set for this game to be made eventually, as it is referenced several times throughout the core gameplay of FFXV. It will be available on both Android and iOS in 2017. The FFXV Universe E3 trailer does exactly what its name implies. During the first half (roughly), viewers get a recap of all of the expanded media released so far, from the core game to the Brotherhood anime series and Kingsglaive movie. On the other end, we get the King's Knight news, E3 info, and updates including a new Regalia model, the Regalia Type-D with the June update. There, of course, was also some information on the upcoming Prompto DLC as well. During the "Universe" trailer viewers get a brief glimpse (see 1:15 on that trailer) of some sort of combat system. And June 13 also saw the release of a new video for the DLC. In the trailer, Naoshi Mizuta talks about his time composing the music for the game. There isn't much in-game content released in its runtime, but new artwork for Episode Prompto does appear at the conclusion. The third episode, centering around Ignis, didn't receive any mention. What do you think of Square Enix's efforts to create media for the FFXV universe? What do you think of the DLC content so far? View full article
  6. Final Fantasy XV isn't at its first year anniversary yet, and yet Square Enix has already been working to fulfill its promise to continue expanding on the lore of the game. Creating a media-rich universe for its latest major Final Fantasy title has been a strong suit for Square. It's cohesiveness, however, has been a little lacking. E3 2017 saw the release of a few trailers within the FFXV Eos. First up, it was announced during the Microsoft conference that the game would get a free 4K enhancement per the Xbox One Enhance Program. Sony followed suit during its conference by announcing PS4 Pro updates. Sony also announced a VR component with PSVR spin-off Monster of the Deep. The game focuses on the fishing feature of the game, putting players behind the eyes (and rod) of Noctis. Monster of the Deep has the release date of September 2017. On June 13, aka the first official day of E3, Square released additional trailers outlining old content alongside new. The new includes a mobile game that Noctis and Co. are obsessed with called King's Knight, with its full title being King's Knight - Wrath of the Dark Dragon. The stage was pretty much set for this game to be made eventually, as it is referenced several times throughout the core gameplay of FFXV. It will be available on both Android and iOS in 2017. The FFXV Universe E3 trailer does exactly what its name implies. During the first half (roughly), viewers get a recap of all of the expanded media released so far, from the core game to the Brotherhood anime series and Kingsglaive movie. On the other end, we get the King's Knight news, E3 info, and updates including a new Regalia model, the Regalia Type-D with the June update. There, of course, was also some information on the upcoming Prompto DLC as well. During the "Universe" trailer viewers get a brief glimpse (see 1:15 on that trailer) of some sort of combat system. And June 13 also saw the release of a new video for the DLC. In the trailer, Naoshi Mizuta talks about his time composing the music for the game. There isn't much in-game content released in its runtime, but new artwork for Episode Prompto does appear at the conclusion. The third episode, centering around Ignis, didn't receive any mention. What do you think of Square Enix's efforts to create media for the FFXV universe? What do you think of the DLC content so far?
  7. "Hella." If that word evokes a distinct sense of bemusement and nostalgia, have we got good news for you. Microsoft announced a prequel series to Dontnod's award-winning episodic adventure game Life Is Strange titled Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. The prequel series will be three episodes long and feature a younger version of Chloe, the blue-haired attitude machine known for getting into trouble and saying expletives that no human would ever utter. It's unclear if the game will feature original protagonist Max Caulfield, as the two were evidently separated when Max's parents moved years before. However, the game will evidently feature Rachel Amber, the best friend of Chloe's who met an unfortunate end before the events of Life Is Strange. Life Is Strange: Before the Storm's first episode is scheduled to release on August 31. View full article
  8. "Hella." If that word evokes a distinct sense of bemusement and nostalgia, have we got good news for you. Microsoft announced a prequel series to Dontnod's award-winning episodic adventure game Life Is Strange titled Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. The prequel series will be three episodes long and feature a younger version of Chloe, the blue-haired attitude machine known for getting into trouble and saying expletives that no human would ever utter. It's unclear if the game will feature original protagonist Max Caulfield, as the two were evidently separated when Max's parents moved years before. However, the game will evidently feature Rachel Amber, the best friend of Chloe's who met an unfortunate end before the events of Life Is Strange. Life Is Strange: Before the Storm's first episode is scheduled to release on August 31.
  9. Any news of the next Kingdom Hearts game in the series has been eagerly awaited by fans and coinciding with E3, Square Enix has delivered a new sneak peak. The latest trailer was released during the Los Angeles leg of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour on June 10. In the trailer, we see the franchise heroes Sora, Donald and Goofy fighting heartless on Hercules' Mount Olympus and talking all things Roxas with Organization XIII. In another scene, universe baddies Pete and Maleficent are seen asking Hades about a "distinctive black box." Square Enix had previously teased images of Mount Olympus on it's Twitter account late 2016. The trailer was also sure to show off gameplay footage of Sora battling heartless across different locations in the Disney world. No release date was associated with the trailer. Instead, we got July 15, 2017, aka D23 Expo 2017 where there will be a presentation of a new world and another trailer. Kingdom Hearts III was first announced back at E3 2013. Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts III? When do you think we'll finally get a release date? View full article
  10. Any news of the next Kingdom Hearts game in the series has been eagerly awaited by fans and coinciding with E3, Square Enix has delivered a new sneak peak. The latest trailer was released during the Los Angeles leg of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour on June 10. In the trailer, we see the franchise heroes Sora, Donald and Goofy fighting heartless on Hercules' Mount Olympus and talking all things Roxas with Organization XIII. In another scene, universe baddies Pete and Maleficent are seen asking Hades about a "distinctive black box." Square Enix had previously teased images of Mount Olympus on it's Twitter account late 2016. The trailer was also sure to show off gameplay footage of Sora battling heartless across different locations in the Disney world. No release date was associated with the trailer. Instead, we got July 15, 2017, aka D23 Expo 2017 where there will be a presentation of a new world and another trailer. Kingdom Hearts III was first announced back at E3 2013. Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts III? When do you think we'll finally get a release date?
  11. Since its release in 2005, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has attracted negative reviews about its story, characters, fight scenes, dialog, and fan service. For fans of the film like me, defending it seemed an unthinkable, if not impossible, task. This made it all the more surprising when I dared to look closer at these criticisms and found baseless claims and exaggerations instead. The previous article in this series refuted arguments that Advent Children doesn’t contain a strong story or compelling characters by outlining the story it tells, examining the protagonist Cloud and his relationships, and exploring some of the film’s many themes. Critics may be quick to point out that even if the film contains a story, deeply flawed storytelling obscures it. They say Advent Children contains an excessive amount of meaningless action scenes strung together with weak and brief dialog. In reality, its action scenes are as important to understanding the story and world as the characters’ efficient and purposeful conversations. Many critics of Advent Children claim that the film’s excessive fight scenes contain only action-packed fan service. These visually stunning scenes allegedly have nothing at stake, no indication that characters can die, no physical limitations, no change in energy from fight to fight, and no purpose in the story. To the contrary, the fight scenes build the world, advance the story, and develop the characters in parallel with the battle. The visuals not only look wonderful but also contain a wealth of information. Advent Children doesn’t use the physics that we know, but it still has rules that it defines and follows. What the characters can do and their limitations are established in the fight scenes. In the first battle of the movie, the antagonist Kadaj sends his brothers Loz and Yazoo to fight Cloud. The combatants introduce motorcycle battles, summoned monsters, and physics-defying action. Cloud gets his goggles shot off his face at point blank, but the scratch it leaves behind hints for the rest of the film that he isn’t invincible. The following fight between Loz and Cloud’s friend Tifa demonstrates the characters’ high jumping abilities and super human strength. While Tifa can take wooden benches to the face, electrocution is her weakness as is being punched with enough force to destroy a concrete pillar. Next, Cloud has a mystical weapon battle with Kadaj’s gang where we see the magical and destructive capabilities of materia. Cloud blocks bullets and magic with a sword, but he tires rather quickly. These first three scenes also establish that the bad guys pose a threat because Cloud and Tifa lose them all. The tide changes during the fight with the monster Bahamut, which introduces friendship as an element of combat. Cloud’s friends demonstrate their differing skills and how they compensate for one another’s weaknesses. Cait Sith is quite useless, riding on Red XIII’s back the entire fight, but he provides moral support and comic relief. Barret saves Cloud’s foster son Denzel, but he can’t high jump and periodically needs to be saved himself. Red XIII saves Cid from plowing face-first into a pillar. Cid saves Yuffie from an energy blast. Cloud saves Barret from falling debris. And all of them together with divine assistance from Aerith help Cloud defeat Bahamut, the first win of the movie. Cloud, Loz, and Yazoo’s motorcycle chase and the following sword fight between Cloud and Kadaj cement these rules in place by using every element that we’ve learned about from all previous battles: high jumping, motorcycle battles, materia, divine assistance, friendship power, etc. In the final battle, Cloud’s true enemy Sephiroth reveals that he has abilities that we’ve never seen before. He can fly and apparently manipulate the weather without materia. Cloud, however, is still bound by the rules. He tires easily, feels afraid and uncertain, and requires his friends’ assistance to survive. The film doesn’t define how characters die, but it does use other means to endanger them. Because the characters don’t often give the bad guys the chance to injure them, danger mainly comes from their reactions and emotions. Falling debris scare Barrett and Cloud. Cloud fears separation from his sword in battles, and geostigma pains him. His friends flee and exclaim from various threats during the battle with Bahamut. These human reactions, the humanity of Cloud’s personality and struggles at the center of the film, the fantastic action scenes, and the lack of information combine to leave us in suspense. How human are these characters? Withholding violent acts actually makes Sephiroth stabbing Cloud and Yazoo shooting him at the end of the film more shocking. Even when Cloud survives, the movie heavily implies that it was only because Aerith helped him. Advent Children’s action scenes are scenes, integral to advancing the plot and developing the characters. Loz, Kadaj, and Yazoo introduce themselves in the first fight scene by toying with Cloud, which shows their childish personalities. By the end, Cloud still doesn’t know what they want, but he knows that they pose a threat. Tifa’s battle with Loz begins with neither of them taking each other seriously, but by the end, Loz easily outmatches Tifa and kidnaps Barret’s daughter Marlene. The next battle features Cloud trying to save the city’s orphans, but it ends in miserable failure, confirming to him his uselessness. After regaining his confidence in the fight with Bahamut, Cloud attempts to show in his sword fight with Kadaj that he doesn’t need his friends while Kadaj attempts to prove that he doesn’t need Sephiroth. Each battle also heightens the stakes. In the first action scene of the film, Cloud must fight only to save himself. Tifa then fights Loz to save herself and Marlene. After that, Cloud fights Kadaj’s gang to save the city’s orphans. Cloud and his friends fight Bahamut to protect the entire city. Then, Cloud chases Kadaj to prevent him from using Jenova’s remains to resurrect Sephiroth, which could lead to the world’s destruction. Finally, Cloud fights Sephiroth, a god-like being, to save the world. The cinematic choices during fights make the choreography a spectacle, which is an important aspect of any action movie, but they also define the characters’ locations in space, show what they’re doing, and convey their feelings and thoughts. Compare the shots in Advent Children to a bad action movie full of shaky camera angles, two-second-long shots, and close ups (e.g. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV) where it’s difficult to tell what’s happening or why. Advent Children does use disorienting camera work, such as in Cloud’s battle with Sephiroth, but only to convey confusion and fear. Otherwise, it shows almost everything, including some imaginative choreography that compliments the characters and story. Combatants don’t shout cheesy catchphrases to announce what they feel or what they want to accomplish. They communicate this information almost entirely through visuals. The following are just a few examples. During Cloud’s attempt to rescue the orphans from Kadaj’s gang, Cloud shifts his attention from Loz and Yazoo to Kadaj, his true target. The camera zooms in on Kadaj’s face, and Cloud attacks. In the motorcycle chase later in the movie, Kadaj flees from Cloud with Jenova’s remains in hand. He takes the upper road when the super highway splits. Loz rides up alongside Cloud and attacks, preventing him from taking the same path. In the final fight scene, Sephiroth darkens the sky with a flick of his wrist; Cloud grimaces fearfully and grips his sword tighter. The characters seem to have conversations without saying anything at all. Only so much can be conveyed through facial expressions and body language, but they say more than: “I’m going to kill you!” “No, I’m going to kill you!” Advent Children explains what it can’t show with clever and to-the-point dialog that reviewers complain is terribly written. Sure, it has weaknesses, but overall, the dialog is some combination of real, efficient, informative, and thought provoking. The characters don’t sobbingly spew their backstory in a futile attempt to make us care, explain concepts that everyone in the scene already knows, inject catch phrases into everything they do, or announce what they will do instead of, you know, just doing it. Characters don’t have much chance to sound insincere because they rarely speak. And when they do converse, they do so purposefully. Make fun of “dilly-dally, shilly-shally” all you want; it’s part of a real conversation about a real-life problem said much more efficiently. The majority of the dialog in the film exists to explain Final Fantasy VII concepts, but it performs double duty by developing the characters at the same time. In a scene near the beginning of the movie, for example, Cloud and Rufus talk about the Shinra Power Company, geostigma, Jenova, and Sephiroth. The tone of the conversation simultaneously shows Cloud’s love-hate relationship with Shinra. Cloud treats Rufus coldly, constantly cutting him off and questioning him. He jabs at Rude and Reno, who seem like loveable goofs, and hesitates when Rufus suggests that Shinra wants to atone for its past sins. Some dialog simply provokes the audience to think about the film beyond its superficial action-oriented, Final Fantasy VII-enhanced plot. For example, Cloud’s friend Vincent asks, “Cloud, are you sure this is about fighting?” Sephiroth says, immediately before he disappears, “I will never be a memory.” And Cloud ends the film with, “I know. I’m not alone. Not anymore.” A film adorned in fan service almost requires lines like this if it wants to make the audience aware that it has anything important to say. The dialog stumbles most when it explains concepts and does nothing much else, but even then, it’s efficient. At one point, Kadaj obviously explains materia as if nobody in the scene knows already, but the film had to explain it at some point and doesn’t spend much time on it. Compare it to the director’s cut, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, where this scene turns into two minutes of equally cringe-worthy dialog featuring Kadaj and Loz explaining everything that they’re about to do and re-explain. The overview of Final Fantasy VII at the beginning of the film receives criticism for existing, not explaining enough, and containing awkward dialog. Overviews are necessary refreshers for newbies and veterans alike and difficult to write well in general, not a fault of Advent Children in particular. Like the rest of the film’s spoken information, it provides the bare minimum needed to understand the plot. Advent Children’s fight scenes look spectacular because they contain so much information about the story, characters, and world. The script intentionally keeps the dialog short to highlight where the story really shines in the film’s visuals and the characters’ actions. This explains how Advent Children tells its story, but it doesn’t explain why it took over a decade for anyone to recognize it. Why has no one ever discussed Advent Children’s use of visual language if it’s as excellent as I claim? Is this film so opaque? The final part of this series will examine the misconceptions surrounding Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children that stifled the conversation about its story and storytelling techniques before it even began. View full article
  12. Since its release in 2005, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has attracted negative reviews about its story, characters, fight scenes, dialog, and fan service. For fans of the film like me, defending it seemed an unthinkable, if not impossible, task. This made it all the more surprising when I dared to look closer at these criticisms and found baseless claims and exaggerations instead. The previous article in this series refuted arguments that Advent Children doesn’t contain a strong story or compelling characters by outlining the story it tells, examining the protagonist Cloud and his relationships, and exploring some of the film’s many themes. Critics may be quick to point out that even if the film contains a story, deeply flawed storytelling obscures it. They say Advent Children contains an excessive amount of meaningless action scenes strung together with weak and brief dialog. In reality, its action scenes are as important to understanding the story and world as the characters’ efficient and purposeful conversations. Many critics of Advent Children claim that the film’s excessive fight scenes contain only action-packed fan service. These visually stunning scenes allegedly have nothing at stake, no indication that characters can die, no physical limitations, no change in energy from fight to fight, and no purpose in the story. To the contrary, the fight scenes build the world, advance the story, and develop the characters in parallel with the battle. The visuals not only look wonderful but also contain a wealth of information. Advent Children doesn’t use the physics that we know, but it still has rules that it defines and follows. What the characters can do and their limitations are established in the fight scenes. In the first battle of the movie, the antagonist Kadaj sends his brothers Loz and Yazoo to fight Cloud. The combatants introduce motorcycle battles, summoned monsters, and physics-defying action. Cloud gets his goggles shot off his face at point blank, but the scratch it leaves behind hints for the rest of the film that he isn’t invincible. The following fight between Loz and Cloud’s friend Tifa demonstrates the characters’ high jumping abilities and super human strength. While Tifa can take wooden benches to the face, electrocution is her weakness as is being punched with enough force to destroy a concrete pillar. Next, Cloud has a mystical weapon battle with Kadaj’s gang where we see the magical and destructive capabilities of materia. Cloud blocks bullets and magic with a sword, but he tires rather quickly. These first three scenes also establish that the bad guys pose a threat because Cloud and Tifa lose them all. The tide changes during the fight with the monster Bahamut, which introduces friendship as an element of combat. Cloud’s friends demonstrate their differing skills and how they compensate for one another’s weaknesses. Cait Sith is quite useless, riding on Red XIII’s back the entire fight, but he provides moral support and comic relief. Barret saves Cloud’s foster son Denzel, but he can’t high jump and periodically needs to be saved himself. Red XIII saves Cid from plowing face-first into a pillar. Cid saves Yuffie from an energy blast. Cloud saves Barret from falling debris. And all of them together with divine assistance from Aerith help Cloud defeat Bahamut, the first win of the movie. Cloud, Loz, and Yazoo’s motorcycle chase and the following sword fight between Cloud and Kadaj cement these rules in place by using every element that we’ve learned about from all previous battles: high jumping, motorcycle battles, materia, divine assistance, friendship power, etc. In the final battle, Cloud’s true enemy Sephiroth reveals that he has abilities that we’ve never seen before. He can fly and apparently manipulate the weather without materia. Cloud, however, is still bound by the rules. He tires easily, feels afraid and uncertain, and requires his friends’ assistance to survive. The film doesn’t define how characters die, but it does use other means to endanger them. Because the characters don’t often give the bad guys the chance to injure them, danger mainly comes from their reactions and emotions. Falling debris scare Barrett and Cloud. Cloud fears separation from his sword in battles, and geostigma pains him. His friends flee and exclaim from various threats during the battle with Bahamut. These human reactions, the humanity of Cloud’s personality and struggles at the center of the film, the fantastic action scenes, and the lack of information combine to leave us in suspense. How human are these characters? Withholding violent acts actually makes Sephiroth stabbing Cloud and Yazoo shooting him at the end of the film more shocking. Even when Cloud survives, the movie heavily implies that it was only because Aerith helped him. Advent Children’s action scenes are scenes, integral to advancing the plot and developing the characters. Loz, Kadaj, and Yazoo introduce themselves in the first fight scene by toying with Cloud, which shows their childish personalities. By the end, Cloud still doesn’t know what they want, but he knows that they pose a threat. Tifa’s battle with Loz begins with neither of them taking each other seriously, but by the end, Loz easily outmatches Tifa and kidnaps Barret’s daughter Marlene. The next battle features Cloud trying to save the city’s orphans, but it ends in miserable failure, confirming to him his uselessness. After regaining his confidence in the fight with Bahamut, Cloud attempts to show in his sword fight with Kadaj that he doesn’t need his friends while Kadaj attempts to prove that he doesn’t need Sephiroth. Each battle also heightens the stakes. In the first action scene of the film, Cloud must fight only to save himself. Tifa then fights Loz to save herself and Marlene. After that, Cloud fights Kadaj’s gang to save the city’s orphans. Cloud and his friends fight Bahamut to protect the entire city. Then, Cloud chases Kadaj to prevent him from using Jenova’s remains to resurrect Sephiroth, which could lead to the world’s destruction. Finally, Cloud fights Sephiroth, a god-like being, to save the world. The cinematic choices during fights make the choreography a spectacle, which is an important aspect of any action movie, but they also define the characters’ locations in space, show what they’re doing, and convey their feelings and thoughts. Compare the shots in Advent Children to a bad action movie full of shaky camera angles, two-second-long shots, and close ups (e.g. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV) where it’s difficult to tell what’s happening or why. Advent Children does use disorienting camera work, such as in Cloud’s battle with Sephiroth, but only to convey confusion and fear. Otherwise, it shows almost everything, including some imaginative choreography that compliments the characters and story. Combatants don’t shout cheesy catchphrases to announce what they feel or what they want to accomplish. They communicate this information almost entirely through visuals. The following are just a few examples. During Cloud’s attempt to rescue the orphans from Kadaj’s gang, Cloud shifts his attention from Loz and Yazoo to Kadaj, his true target. The camera zooms in on Kadaj’s face, and Cloud attacks. In the motorcycle chase later in the movie, Kadaj flees from Cloud with Jenova’s remains in hand. He takes the upper road when the super highway splits. Loz rides up alongside Cloud and attacks, preventing him from taking the same path. In the final fight scene, Sephiroth darkens the sky with a flick of his wrist; Cloud grimaces fearfully and grips his sword tighter. The characters seem to have conversations without saying anything at all. Only so much can be conveyed through facial expressions and body language, but they say more than: “I’m going to kill you!” “No, I’m going to kill you!” Advent Children explains what it can’t show with clever and to-the-point dialog that reviewers complain is terribly written. Sure, it has weaknesses, but overall, the dialog is some combination of real, efficient, informative, and thought provoking. The characters don’t sobbingly spew their backstory in a futile attempt to make us care, explain concepts that everyone in the scene already knows, inject catch phrases into everything they do, or announce what they will do instead of, you know, just doing it. Characters don’t have much chance to sound insincere because they rarely speak. And when they do converse, they do so purposefully. Make fun of “dilly-dally, shilly-shally” all you want; it’s part of a real conversation about a real-life problem said much more efficiently. The majority of the dialog in the film exists to explain Final Fantasy VII concepts, but it performs double duty by developing the characters at the same time. In a scene near the beginning of the movie, for example, Cloud and Rufus talk about the Shinra Power Company, geostigma, Jenova, and Sephiroth. The tone of the conversation simultaneously shows Cloud’s love-hate relationship with Shinra. Cloud treats Rufus coldly, constantly cutting him off and questioning him. He jabs at Rude and Reno, who seem like loveable goofs, and hesitates when Rufus suggests that Shinra wants to atone for its past sins. Some dialog simply provokes the audience to think about the film beyond its superficial action-oriented, Final Fantasy VII-enhanced plot. For example, Cloud’s friend Vincent asks, “Cloud, are you sure this is about fighting?” Sephiroth says, immediately before he disappears, “I will never be a memory.” And Cloud ends the film with, “I know. I’m not alone. Not anymore.” A film adorned in fan service almost requires lines like this if it wants to make the audience aware that it has anything important to say. The dialog stumbles most when it explains concepts and does nothing much else, but even then, it’s efficient. At one point, Kadaj obviously explains materia as if nobody in the scene knows already, but the film had to explain it at some point and doesn’t spend much time on it. Compare it to the director’s cut, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, where this scene turns into two minutes of equally cringe-worthy dialog featuring Kadaj and Loz explaining everything that they’re about to do and re-explain. The overview of Final Fantasy VII at the beginning of the film receives criticism for existing, not explaining enough, and containing awkward dialog. Overviews are necessary refreshers for newbies and veterans alike and difficult to write well in general, not a fault of Advent Children in particular. Like the rest of the film’s spoken information, it provides the bare minimum needed to understand the plot. Advent Children’s fight scenes look spectacular because they contain so much information about the story, characters, and world. The script intentionally keeps the dialog short to highlight where the story really shines in the film’s visuals and the characters’ actions. This explains how Advent Children tells its story, but it doesn’t explain why it took over a decade for anyone to recognize it. Why has no one ever discussed Advent Children’s use of visual language if it’s as excellent as I claim? Is this film so opaque? The final part of this series will examine the misconceptions surrounding Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children that stifled the conversation about its story and storytelling techniques before it even began.
  13. Square Enix announced at E3 2015 that the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake was finally going to become a reality over a decade after first showing footage of a remade Final Fantasy VII opening running on the PlayStation 3. Since then, more sceenshots and trailers have appeared along with details about how Square Enix would be releasing the game as an episodic series (not the way many would prefer to play FFVII, but at least the remake would finally exist). Now the director of the PlayStation 4 HD remaster of Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, has revealed that Square Enix might very well be expanding its remake efforts to another Final Fantasy title from the PlayStation One era, though that revelation comes with some predictable caveats. In an interview with The International Business Times - UK, Takashi Katano let some insider speculation slip, saying, "[Final Fantasy 12] is a PS2 title, and you look at the other titles in the series and technologically anything before the PS2 era is going to be quite difficult to do a modern remaster of to a suitable level of quality. That means [a future game] is far more likely to be a remake." That statement is hardly controversial - Square Enix has reimagined and remade the earliest Final Fantasy titles for mobile, PC, and Nintendo DS/3DS several times over the years. However, this news coming from a director of a major Square Enix project seems to imply that any upcoming remake would be a major, franchise undertaking, perhaps on par with their efforts to remake Final Fantasy VII. The question seems to be which Final Fantasy game would see such a complete overhaul? Final Fantasy V and VI, though originally released on the Super Nintendo, could be a contenders as both eventually made their way to the PlayStation and the current director of the Final Fantasy VII remake has expressed interest in remaking those two titles in particular. However, significant camps of support are present for Final Fantasy VIII and also Final Fantasy IX. Expanding on his statement, Katano explained that the process would be less about what any individuals within Square Enix would like to port and more about what their customers want, "I've personally been working at Square Enix for 20 years now and I've got a lot of memories from that time. I think the way that we look at it is not the game that [we] would like to remake it's really down to what the players, the fans, want to see. We really have to hear their voices on that, if they want to see a remake or a remaster of a certain game then that's more likely to be the one we go for." Anything beyond the Final Fantasy VII remake is likely still in only the very earliest stages of development, if at all, but it is certainly wonderful news to hear that the company is open to revisiting their classic line-up with more modern technology. View full article
  14. Square Enix announced at E3 2015 that the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake was finally going to become a reality over a decade after first showing footage of a remade Final Fantasy VII opening running on the PlayStation 3. Since then, more sceenshots and trailers have appeared along with details about how Square Enix would be releasing the game as an episodic series (not the way many would prefer to play FFVII, but at least the remake would finally exist). Now the director of the PlayStation 4 HD remaster of Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, has revealed that Square Enix might very well be expanding its remake efforts to another Final Fantasy title from the PlayStation One era, though that revelation comes with some predictable caveats. In an interview with The International Business Times - UK, Takashi Katano let some insider speculation slip, saying, "[Final Fantasy 12] is a PS2 title, and you look at the other titles in the series and technologically anything before the PS2 era is going to be quite difficult to do a modern remaster of to a suitable level of quality. That means [a future game] is far more likely to be a remake." That statement is hardly controversial - Square Enix has reimagined and remade the earliest Final Fantasy titles for mobile, PC, and Nintendo DS/3DS several times over the years. However, this news coming from a director of a major Square Enix project seems to imply that any upcoming remake would be a major, franchise undertaking, perhaps on par with their efforts to remake Final Fantasy VII. The question seems to be which Final Fantasy game would see such a complete overhaul? Final Fantasy V and VI, though originally released on the Super Nintendo, could be a contenders as both eventually made their way to the PlayStation and the current director of the Final Fantasy VII remake has expressed interest in remaking those two titles in particular. However, significant camps of support are present for Final Fantasy VIII and also Final Fantasy IX. Expanding on his statement, Katano explained that the process would be less about what any individuals within Square Enix would like to port and more about what their customers want, "I've personally been working at Square Enix for 20 years now and I've got a lot of memories from that time. I think the way that we look at it is not the game that [we] would like to remake it's really down to what the players, the fans, want to see. We really have to hear their voices on that, if they want to see a remake or a remaster of a certain game then that's more likely to be the one we go for." Anything beyond the Final Fantasy VII remake is likely still in only the very earliest stages of development, if at all, but it is certainly wonderful news to hear that the company is open to revisiting their classic line-up with more modern technology.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Square Enix's Just Cause series is getting the Hollywood treatment. According to Deadline, a screenplay has already been completed by John Collee, the writer behind Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Brad Peyton is slated to direct. Peyton has become known in recent years for his directorial work following the financial success of the Dwayne Johnson vehicle San Andreas. The Just Cause series could put those destructive chops to good use given the game franchise's penchant for exploding... well, pretty much everything. Interestingly, Peyton is also set to direct The Rock's pet video game movie project, Rampage. Jason Momoa, the actor set to portray Aquaman later this year in Warner Bros. Justice League, has reportedly signed on to star in the Just Cause film as Rico Rodriguez. Rico has been the protagonist of the last three Just Cause titles and the film follows his adventures, reportedly taking cues from Just Cause 3. The focus of the film's story centers on a moment during one of his missions that finds Rico beginning to have doubts about whether his cause truly is just. While video game movies tend to get a bad rap, there seems to be a surprising amount of effort and talent behind this attempt that could lead to an enjoyable (and profitable) theatrical release. There's no release window for the film as of yet.
  18. Square Enix's Just Cause series is getting the Hollywood treatment. According to Deadline, a screenplay has already been completed by John Collee, the writer behind Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Brad Peyton is slated to direct. Peyton has become known in recent years for his directorial work following the financial success of the Dwayne Johnson vehicle San Andreas. The Just Cause series could put those destructive chops to good use given the game franchise's penchant for exploding... well, pretty much everything. Interestingly, Peyton is also set to direct The Rock's pet video game movie project, Rampage. Jason Momoa, the actor set to portray Aquaman later this year in Warner Bros. Justice League, has reportedly signed on to star in the Just Cause film as Rico Rodriguez. Rico has been the protagonist of the last three Just Cause titles and the film follows his adventures, reportedly taking cues from Just Cause 3. The focus of the film's story centers on a moment during one of his missions that finds Rico beginning to have doubts about whether his cause truly is just. While video game movies tend to get a bad rap, there seems to be a surprising amount of effort and talent behind this attempt that could lead to an enjoyable (and profitable) theatrical release. There's no release window for the film as of yet. View full article
  19. A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV was initially offered as a pre-order exclusive for those who chose to pre-purchase Final Fantasy XV from Gamestop. Since then, players have been unable to obtain and play the retro brawler based on the Final Fantasy XV universe. Square Enix announced that they would be releasing A King's Tale to all players for free on March 1. Like much of the extended universe around Final Fantasy XV, A King's Tale offers an opportunity to deepen the backstory of Square Enix's main title. Players take on the role of Regis, the father of Final Fantasy XV's protagonist Noctis, as he tells his young son a bedtime story about events that took place 30 years before Final Fantasy XV begins. Players must defend the kingdom of Insomnia from attacking monsters alongside long-time allies like Cid, Weskham, and Clarus. Rather than being another RPG, A King's Tale plays more like a brawling Streets of Rage than a typical Final Fantasy game. Players must make good use of combos, blocking, magic, and summons to make progress. It's not a terribly long experience, clocking in at an average of two to three hours, but it's certainly not too shabby for a free game with a charming aesthetic. Players will be able to download A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV on March 1.
  20. A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV was initially offered as a pre-order exclusive for those who chose to pre-purchase Final Fantasy XV from Gamestop. Since then, players have been unable to obtain and play the retro brawler based on the Final Fantasy XV universe. Square Enix announced that they would be releasing A King's Tale to all players for free on March 1. Like much of the extended universe around Final Fantasy XV, A King's Tale offers an opportunity to deepen the backstory of Square Enix's main title. Players take on the role of Regis, the father of Final Fantasy XV's protagonist Noctis, as he tells his young son a bedtime story about events that took place 30 years before Final Fantasy XV begins. Players must defend the kingdom of Insomnia from attacking monsters alongside long-time allies like Cid, Weskham, and Clarus. Rather than being another RPG, A King's Tale plays more like a brawling Streets of Rage than a typical Final Fantasy game. Players must make good use of combos, blocking, magic, and summons to make progress. It's not a terribly long experience, clocking in at an average of two to three hours, but it's certainly not too shabby for a free game with a charming aesthetic. Players will be able to download A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV on March 1. View full article
  21. Yesterday, Square Enix teased their followers on social media, asking people to look for a big reveal sometime today. Since Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD released earlier this week, many assumed that this might be some lead up to long awaited details on Kingdom Hearts 3. This view gained traction when Marvel's social media team put out a similar message to their followers. We didn't get more Kingdom Hearts 3 details, but something entirely new. Marvel has partnered with Square Enix to create... something. Shockingly, Square Enix has put two of its biggest, most highly acclaimed developers on The Avengers Project, Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider) and Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided). While the teaser certainly captures the excitement generated by Marvel's superhero juggernaut, additional details have not been forthcoming. The basics like genre, release date, and platforms are still unknown. The Avengers Project might even be a working title as far as we know.
  22. Yesterday, Square Enix teased their followers on social media, asking people to look for a big reveal sometime today. Since Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD released earlier this week, many assumed that this might be some lead up to long awaited details on Kingdom Hearts 3. This view gained traction when Marvel's social media team put out a similar message to their followers. We didn't get more Kingdom Hearts 3 details, but something entirely new. Marvel has partnered with Square Enix to create... something. Shockingly, Square Enix has put two of its biggest, most highly acclaimed developers on The Avengers Project, Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider) and Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided). While the teaser certainly captures the excitement generated by Marvel's superhero juggernaut, additional details have not been forthcoming. The basics like genre, release date, and platforms are still unknown. The Avengers Project might even be a working title as far as we know. View full article
  23. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, the high-definition remake of the highly acclaimed PSP exclusive original, will be making its way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next year along with the demo for the first newly numbered Final Fantasy title in nearly four years. Currently slated for a March 17, 2015 release in North America, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD follows the adventures of a group of elite military cadets known as Class Zero as they become embroiled in a massive war. It is generally regarded as one of the best Final Fantasy titles in years, so it is great to see it being released on more platforms. However, for many Final Fantasy fans the remake of Type-0 is just an added bonus to the Final Fantasy XV demo with which it will be packaged.
  24. Square Enix is gearing up to re-release the definitive RPGs of the PlayStation 2 era in glorious high-definition and they have a trailer to prove it. Both titles in the HD Remaster will be updated version of the international Final Fantasy X and X-2, which contain content that was never seen in the North American releases. Square Enix has set the release to be March 18, 2014. As of this time, it is unknown when the Vita versions of both titles will release, as the given North American date only applies to the PS3 releases. Anybody else gearing up to replay this or play it for the first time?
  25. One of the entirely new IPs brought to the Electronic Entertainment Expo by Square Enix, Murdered: Soul Suspect tasks players with solving one of the most difficult of all crimes: their own murder. After being killed under strange circumstances, Ronan O’Connor finds himself as a ghost in the land of the living. We were shown a section from the beginning of the game, involving the first investigative portion as well as the introduction of combat. The demo began with Ronan’s murder in the middle of a street at night. Feeling completely disoriented from his death, Ronan finds himself near his own body watching his murderer walk away from the scene of the crime. As police officers arrive on the scene and begin searching for clues, Ronan decides to help the investigation. Being an incorporeal ghost renders Ronan unable to directly interact with most objects or people. The objects that are solid to ghosts are known as “vestiges” and can be manipulated to progress through levels. This means that Ronan must use his wits and what vestiges or people he can influence to collect evidence and unravel the mystery surrounding his death. It also means that few walls have any meaning. Frequently, Ronan will be able to walk through walls, objects, and people to find new hints to take note of and observe. I was surprised to learn that Soul Suspect has one of the most logical explanations of why players can’t enter any building they choose that I’ve seen in a video game. The game is set in Salem, Massachusetts a place that has been historically superstitious and has had many of its buildings consecrated. Ghosts like Ronan cannot enter a consecrated space unless invited, as with an open door, which was demonstrated in the demo. Once within the structure, he can freely move through the walls and furniture. Another of Ronan’s ghostly abilities is mentally influencing or outright possessing people’s bodies. In one instance, there was one witness to Ronan’s murder (it was in the middle of the street after all) and the woman was so distraught she couldn’t answer the police officer’s questions coherently. Ronan was able to enter her mind and had the option of focusing her thoughts onto a variety of topics. After choosing thoughts of the killer, the witness became able to clearly describe what she saw of the murderer to the officer and indirectly to Ronan. As Ronan continues to collect clues, he begins to have flashbacks to the events leading up to his death and realizes he was shoved from a window before being killed in the street. Moving toward the house from which he fell, Ronan sees one of the officers leave a door open, which allows him to enter the home. At that point, the demonstrator pointed out that later on in the game Ronan would be able to make electrical equipment malfunction, distracting people into revealing clues or allowing Ronan to proceed. On his way to the top floor of the house, Ronan encounters a young ghost, who is unable to move on because she can’t find her body. This was one of the game’s many side-quests in which Ronan can solve side mysteries to help other deceased move on into the after-life. It was at this point that we were also introduced to the combat. In the world of Soul Suspect, there are ghosts who pass on and there are the ghosts that cling to the world of the living. The ones that remain eventually begin feeding on other ghosts, obsessed with the idea that if they consume enough souls they will become human again. These ghosts become demons and are incredibly deadly to Ronan if taken head-on, but that is where players need to get creative. The best way to destroy a demon is by possessing them unexpectedly. Demons can’t find a ghost who has possessed someone, so possessing a bystander and then jumping into a demon was one of the solutions presented to us in the demo. The other method we were shown involved Ronan’s teleport ability, which functions as a dash that can be used to surprise and destroy the insane spirit. We only saw one type of demon in the demo, but there should be several other types in the final game. As Ronan progresses through the house, he encounters various runes and psychic imprints on objects that all gave clues. After reaching the window he was thrown from, the game entered deduction mode in which the player must correctly order clues and events in the proper order by using logic and reasoning skills. Piecing together his memories of the event and the clues present at the scene of the crime, Ronan realizes that there was a second witness to the murder hiding in the room with him at the time, and that she has disappeared. With no further clues as to the identity of his killer, Ronan begins his search for the witness, the only one who could help him bring his murderer to justice. Murdered: Soul Suspect will be coming to PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in early 2014.