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Found 110 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. The new Final Fantasy title, dubbed Final Fantasy Legends II, will be helmed by veteran game director Takashi Tokita. If that name rings a bell, you might recognize him for his prominent work designing and directing games like Chrono Trigger, Parasite Eve, and Final Fantasy IV. You might be scratching your head trying to remember what happened to Final Fantasy Legends I. Rightfully so, as the first game in the Legends series of Final Fantasy games underwent a name change on its Western release, as Final Fantasy games sometimes do Legends I released under the name Final Fantasy Dimensions in the US. Final Fantasy Legends II has only been announced for Japanese audiences, but the likelihood of it becoming a worldwide release, similar to Final Fantasy Dimensions seems to be rather high at this point. In a somewhat strange move for a mobile game, fans in Japan can actually pre-order Legends II on the Square Enix website. Those who pre-order get two in-game items: the Tidus Phantom Stone and the Fraternity weapon. However, at this point no release date has been given or any gameplay shown. If you happen to be traveling to Japan, you might want to wait on pre-ordering until more information on the game comes out.
  9. The new Final Fantasy title, dubbed Final Fantasy Legends II, will be helmed by veteran game director Takashi Tokita. If that name rings a bell, you might recognize him for his prominent work designing and directing games like Chrono Trigger, Parasite Eve, and Final Fantasy IV. You might be scratching your head trying to remember what happened to Final Fantasy Legends I. Rightfully so, as the first game in the Legends series of Final Fantasy games underwent a name change on its Western release, as Final Fantasy games sometimes do Legends I released under the name Final Fantasy Dimensions in the US. Final Fantasy Legends II has only been announced for Japanese audiences, but the likelihood of it becoming a worldwide release, similar to Final Fantasy Dimensions seems to be rather high at this point. In a somewhat strange move for a mobile game, fans in Japan can actually pre-order Legends II on the Square Enix website. Those who pre-order get two in-game items: the Tidus Phantom Stone and the Fraternity weapon. However, at this point no release date has been given or any gameplay shown. If you happen to be traveling to Japan, you might want to wait on pre-ordering until more information on the game comes out. View full article
  10. The world can be cruel and unfair. If left unchecked, injustices pile up with discontent and anger at systemic failures not far behind. Sometimes these frustrations fester and become redirected at entire groups of people who have nothing to do with the root problem, creating cycles of irrational discrimination. Those perpetuating cycles can be seen in societies struggling with change across the globe today. It’s a relevant, powerful force in our world. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided attempts to tap into that power to fuel a narrative that focuses squarely on discrimination, allowing players to navigate tricky social situations through the eyes of Adam Jensen, a near-future special agent with an impressive array of mechanical augmentations. Set two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the far-flung year of 2029, Jensen finds himself miraculously fine after the catastrophic conclusion of the previous game that saw our protagonist buried in the middle of the ocean amid the ruins of the gigantic superstructure Panchaea as mechanically augmented people around the world were sent into murderous frenzies by a nefarious signal sent from the structure. Non-augmented humans have developed a deep fear and distrust for their augmented friends and family following the “Aug Incident” and governments around the world have begun segregating their people. One powerful corporation has even built towering ghettos to isolate and restrain augmented citizens. Let’s tackle the elephant in the room: Eidos Montreal clearly intended to draw parallels between the unrest and tensions between their fictional "augs vs. naturals” storyline and recent racial tensions in the United States and abroad with the refugee crisis in Europe. There were numerous advertisements prior to release that made use of altered slogans, notably an image with a protester holding a banner that said “Aug Lives Matter.” There’s a part of me that wants to commend Eidos for having the courage to tackle real, controversial, and possibly incendiary topics. I think we need more of that in video games – at the very least because it leads to more meaningful and interesting stories. Unfortunately, the parallels Mankind Divided wants to draw are just very flawed. The fundamental differences between someone limited by their natural abilities and someone who goes beyond those limitations using technology might lead to resentment, sure, or fear after a worldwide incident. However, who would discriminate against someone who needed a pacemaker to live? Who would hold it against someone to have a fully functional leg after a freak accident? Or begrudge a soldier returning from war a brand new hand? The world of Deus Ex isn’t that different from our own, but the people living there seem more than willing to send people to concentration camps for having life-saving technology in their bodies. It strikes me as the equivalent of having worldwide discrimination against people who use antibiotics – it just doesn’t make any sense. The connection Eidos Montreal wants to draw between the injustices of a police state and discrimination against groups of people falls apart once you think about it in terms of brain implants that help with mental disorders or eyes to help the blind see or cochlear implants to help the deaf hear. All of that being said, the breathtaking environments Eidos Montreal created visually tell the story of oppression and discrimination (even if the themes themselves don’t quite work as intended). Walking the streets of Prague yields sights of random police stops, armored checkpoints, roving surveillance drones, and hurried graffiti both criticizing the deplorable conditions and calling for the deportation of augmented citizens. The near-future version of Prague constantly reminds the player that they aren’t one of the “natural” humans. Police frequently stop Jensen to check his papers (several side-missions revolve around panicked augmented citizens being unable to obtain the correct, ever changing papers for their synthetic limbs or organs) or take him aside to yell at him if he used one of the “non-aug” trains to travel around the city. Even though the environments are incredibly designed, the technical aspects of the visuals are a bit harder to pin down. Eidos Montreal created Mankind Divided for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 before ported it over to PC. The results are less than stellar. Despite a wide array of visual options, it ran horribly even on an incredibly beefy PC. I experienced numerous crashes, graphical glitches, and stark differences between how characters looked from moment to moment, even on maximum settings. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the technical achievements of last year’s Witcher 3, but in particular almost every characters' hair looked jarringly wrong. Not only that, but while the core characters all have well realized faces and animations, some of the background characters look far less refined. Again, Eidos Montreal passionately created the environments on display in Mankind Divided. Numerous scenes pop with style or have an interesting flair that keeps things novel, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to forgive the technical sins present in the PC port. If you are playing on console or can overcome an hour of fiddling to get the settings just right on PC, the core gameplay feels fantastic. Players can tackle the scenarios throughout Mankind Divided with stealth, guns-blazing, or some mix of the two that uses an array of lethal and non-lethal weapons and skills - at least in theory. There exists a definite satisfaction to sneaking through missions undetected, taking out enemies silently while playing cat-and-mouse with unaware guards on patrol. Mankind Divided wants players to adopt the stealthy playstyle – mechanics that are undeniably fun and fleshed out. Unfortunately, very few augmentations support different playstyles, even the straight forward assault that always seems to be the hypothetical alternative is only bolstered with some redundant weapons, an armored plating option, and standard health upgrades. A bull-headed rush into danger only nets a hailstorm of bullets, forcing players into traditional cover-based shooting they've seen countless times. While Mankind Divided pays lip service to “play however you want” gameplay, the reality is that stealth or straightforward assault are the only two real options for the vast majority of the game. Compare that with the original Deus Ex where players were presented with a sweeping variety of solutions for each problem. Early on, players have access to a full complement of Adam Jensen’s abilities, but the game quickly strips those powers and allows the player to reallocate a limited number of praxis points into their augments to suit their playstyle. It becomes apparent at that moment that there are a limited number of useful upgrades. There are some which feel essential that allow for easier infiltration or open up hidden areas, like the ability to lift heavy objects or punch through weak walls. Aside from those necessities, a number of augmentations are highly situational to the point where they can only usefully be deployed once in the entire game. Did you think it would be useful to tag 50 enemies on your HUD? Because only one mission would actually even come close to making that useful. Did you take invisibility? That’s neat, but there are so many hiding places and ventilation ducts that being invisible seems pointless. Have a cool tesla augment? Putting points into shooting electricity seems redundant when stun gun ammo that instantly incapacitates enemies just as effectively litters nearly every level. The presence of an in-game store to sell items and upgrade points to players for real money makes me uneasy. Thankfully, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was almost certainly balanced without the store in mind. Some players might not even notice that it exists in the menus. On the one hand, I can see how some players might just want the convenience of dropping a wad of cash and playing through the game as an overpowered cyber-god. On the other, including that option takes away from the work that goes into balancing the difficulty and progression. It both devalues what the developers have put into Mankind Divided and cheapens the experience of the player. Not only that, but balancing issues could lead to abuses in game design that subtly compel players to make micro-purchases in future implementations of similar in-game RPG stores. Oh, and guess what? If you make a purchase through the store for in-game items they are only given to that single save file. If you start a new game or go back to a save that was before the purchase, you will not have those items. RPGs live and die on the strength of their stories. Mankind Divided might have a lot of issues, but the narrative can hold its head high. Adam Jensen, despite being a charisma black hole, manages to entangle himself in a number of mysteries that are genuinely interesting. True, a shockingly large number of the side missions don’t go anywhere or end ambiguously, but they’re undeniably thought-provoking. One side-quest puts players on the case of an accused murderer (who may or may not be a serial killer) and how players manage to piece together the evidence determines the outcome of the investigation. The main storyline deals with tensions between the pro-augmented protesters and the anti-augmented government of the Czech Republic. Over the course of Mankind Divided, the player is asked to empathize and understand both sides while trying to uncover the plot that set off an explosion in a Prague train station early in the game. The narrative demands a lot from players in a way that feels important and applicable to current world affairs. The narrative has interesting mechanical aspects, too, leading to missions that have different outcomes depending on how players approach the game. This manifests in some instances like an invisible morality system that watches to determine if the player kills enemies, uses non-lethal takedowns, or even if an enemy raises an alert. I was chewed out after one mission that involved police because I had been spotted while trying to infiltrate a crime scene. The finale of Mankind Divided in particular uses storytelling mechanics very effectively. Depending on what players decide at certain points throughout the game, certain elements of the finale will be different and new opportunities will present themselves. The game presents a choice between saving people and confronting the main villain, but if players can complete their initial choice quickly enough or with the right gear, they can actually accomplish both objectives. Not only that, but it rewards players who are thorough. As an example, while investigating a base earlier in the game, I had actually found a device capable of instantly killing the main villain. Players can pull it out during the final encounter to either use it as leverage during a negotiation or to simply neutralize the bad guy. I’m not even going into all the permutations of the finale, those are just indicative of Eidos Montreal’s commitment to creating a malleable, intriguing scenario. In conclusion: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has a lot of problems. Putting aside the technical issues if you want to play it on the PC port, the core themes are muddled, though well-intentioned. The in-game store is a naked cash grab that does a disservice to the core game Eidos Montreal has made. The game itself, while surprisingly short and leaving a number of loose ends, presents an enjoyable, satisfying core gameplay experience, provided players aren’t looking for classic Deus Ex levels of freedom to play in more creative ways. If you can set aside Adam Jensen’s Dementor-like ability to suck emotion from a room, the narrative feels original and brave, if more than a little bumbling, in its willingness to tackle volatile topics. Give it a shot when the price comes down a bit, but don’t bother giving the in-game store a single cent after you’ve already paid for the game. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was reviewed on PC and is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article
  11. The world can be cruel and unfair. If left unchecked, injustices pile up with discontent and anger at systemic failures not far behind. Sometimes these frustrations fester and become redirected at entire groups of people who have nothing to do with the root problem, creating cycles of irrational discrimination. Those perpetuating cycles can be seen in societies struggling with change across the globe today. It’s a relevant, powerful force in our world. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided attempts to tap into that power to fuel a narrative that focuses squarely on discrimination, allowing players to navigate tricky social situations through the eyes of Adam Jensen, a near-future special agent with an impressive array of mechanical augmentations. Set two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the far-flung year of 2029, Jensen finds himself miraculously fine after the catastrophic conclusion of the previous game that saw our protagonist buried in the middle of the ocean amid the ruins of the gigantic superstructure Panchaea as mechanically augmented people around the world were sent into murderous frenzies by a nefarious signal sent from the structure. Non-augmented humans have developed a deep fear and distrust for their augmented friends and family following the “Aug Incident” and governments around the world have begun segregating their people. One powerful corporation has even built towering ghettos to isolate and restrain augmented citizens. Let’s tackle the elephant in the room: Eidos Montreal clearly intended to draw parallels between the unrest and tensions between their fictional "augs vs. naturals” storyline and recent racial tensions in the United States and abroad with the refugee crisis in Europe. There were numerous advertisements prior to release that made use of altered slogans, notably an image with a protester holding a banner that said “Aug Lives Matter.” There’s a part of me that wants to commend Eidos for having the courage to tackle real, controversial, and possibly incendiary topics. I think we need more of that in video games – at the very least because it leads to more meaningful and interesting stories. Unfortunately, the parallels Mankind Divided wants to draw are just very flawed. The fundamental differences between someone limited by their natural abilities and someone who goes beyond those limitations using technology might lead to resentment, sure, or fear after a worldwide incident. However, who would discriminate against someone who needed a pacemaker to live? Who would hold it against someone to have a fully functional leg after a freak accident? Or begrudge a soldier returning from war a brand new hand? The world of Deus Ex isn’t that different from our own, but the people living there seem more than willing to send people to concentration camps for having life-saving technology in their bodies. It strikes me as the equivalent of having worldwide discrimination against people who use antibiotics – it just doesn’t make any sense. The connection Eidos Montreal wants to draw between the injustices of a police state and discrimination against groups of people falls apart once you think about it in terms of brain implants that help with mental disorders or eyes to help the blind see or cochlear implants to help the deaf hear. All of that being said, the breathtaking environments Eidos Montreal created visually tell the story of oppression and discrimination (even if the themes themselves don’t quite work as intended). Walking the streets of Prague yields sights of random police stops, armored checkpoints, roving surveillance drones, and hurried graffiti both criticizing the deplorable conditions and calling for the deportation of augmented citizens. The near-future version of Prague constantly reminds the player that they aren’t one of the “natural” humans. Police frequently stop Jensen to check his papers (several side-missions revolve around panicked augmented citizens being unable to obtain the correct, ever changing papers for their synthetic limbs or organs) or take him aside to yell at him if he used one of the “non-aug” trains to travel around the city. Even though the environments are incredibly designed, the technical aspects of the visuals are a bit harder to pin down. Eidos Montreal created Mankind Divided for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 before ported it over to PC. The results are less than stellar. Despite a wide array of visual options, it ran horribly even on an incredibly beefy PC. I experienced numerous crashes, graphical glitches, and stark differences between how characters looked from moment to moment, even on maximum settings. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the technical achievements of last year’s Witcher 3, but in particular almost every characters' hair looked jarringly wrong. Not only that, but while the core characters all have well realized faces and animations, some of the background characters look far less refined. Again, Eidos Montreal passionately created the environments on display in Mankind Divided. Numerous scenes pop with style or have an interesting flair that keeps things novel, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to forgive the technical sins present in the PC port. If you are playing on console or can overcome an hour of fiddling to get the settings just right on PC, the core gameplay feels fantastic. Players can tackle the scenarios throughout Mankind Divided with stealth, guns-blazing, or some mix of the two that uses an array of lethal and non-lethal weapons and skills - at least in theory. There exists a definite satisfaction to sneaking through missions undetected, taking out enemies silently while playing cat-and-mouse with unaware guards on patrol. Mankind Divided wants players to adopt the stealthy playstyle – mechanics that are undeniably fun and fleshed out. Unfortunately, very few augmentations support different playstyles, even the straight forward assault that always seems to be the hypothetical alternative is only bolstered with some redundant weapons, an armored plating option, and standard health upgrades. A bull-headed rush into danger only nets a hailstorm of bullets, forcing players into traditional cover-based shooting they've seen countless times. While Mankind Divided pays lip service to “play however you want” gameplay, the reality is that stealth or straightforward assault are the only two real options for the vast majority of the game. Compare that with the original Deus Ex where players were presented with a sweeping variety of solutions for each problem. Early on, players have access to a full complement of Adam Jensen’s abilities, but the game quickly strips those powers and allows the player to reallocate a limited number of praxis points into their augments to suit their playstyle. It becomes apparent at that moment that there are a limited number of useful upgrades. There are some which feel essential that allow for easier infiltration or open up hidden areas, like the ability to lift heavy objects or punch through weak walls. Aside from those necessities, a number of augmentations are highly situational to the point where they can only usefully be deployed once in the entire game. Did you think it would be useful to tag 50 enemies on your HUD? Because only one mission would actually even come close to making that useful. Did you take invisibility? That’s neat, but there are so many hiding places and ventilation ducts that being invisible seems pointless. Have a cool tesla augment? Putting points into shooting electricity seems redundant when stun gun ammo that instantly incapacitates enemies just as effectively litters nearly every level. The presence of an in-game store to sell items and upgrade points to players for real money makes me uneasy. Thankfully, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was almost certainly balanced without the store in mind. Some players might not even notice that it exists in the menus. On the one hand, I can see how some players might just want the convenience of dropping a wad of cash and playing through the game as an overpowered cyber-god. On the other, including that option takes away from the work that goes into balancing the difficulty and progression. It both devalues what the developers have put into Mankind Divided and cheapens the experience of the player. Not only that, but balancing issues could lead to abuses in game design that subtly compel players to make micro-purchases in future implementations of similar in-game RPG stores. Oh, and guess what? If you make a purchase through the store for in-game items they are only given to that single save file. If you start a new game or go back to a save that was before the purchase, you will not have those items. RPGs live and die on the strength of their stories. Mankind Divided might have a lot of issues, but the narrative can hold its head high. Adam Jensen, despite being a charisma black hole, manages to entangle himself in a number of mysteries that are genuinely interesting. True, a shockingly large number of the side missions don’t go anywhere or end ambiguously, but they’re undeniably thought-provoking. One side-quest puts players on the case of an accused murderer (who may or may not be a serial killer) and how players manage to piece together the evidence determines the outcome of the investigation. The main storyline deals with tensions between the pro-augmented protesters and the anti-augmented government of the Czech Republic. Over the course of Mankind Divided, the player is asked to empathize and understand both sides while trying to uncover the plot that set off an explosion in a Prague train station early in the game. The narrative demands a lot from players in a way that feels important and applicable to current world affairs. The narrative has interesting mechanical aspects, too, leading to missions that have different outcomes depending on how players approach the game. This manifests in some instances like an invisible morality system that watches to determine if the player kills enemies, uses non-lethal takedowns, or even if an enemy raises an alert. I was chewed out after one mission that involved police because I had been spotted while trying to infiltrate a crime scene. The finale of Mankind Divided in particular uses storytelling mechanics very effectively. Depending on what players decide at certain points throughout the game, certain elements of the finale will be different and new opportunities will present themselves. The game presents a choice between saving people and confronting the main villain, but if players can complete their initial choice quickly enough or with the right gear, they can actually accomplish both objectives. Not only that, but it rewards players who are thorough. As an example, while investigating a base earlier in the game, I had actually found a device capable of instantly killing the main villain. Players can pull it out during the final encounter to either use it as leverage during a negotiation or to simply neutralize the bad guy. I’m not even going into all the permutations of the finale, those are just indicative of Eidos Montreal’s commitment to creating a malleable, intriguing scenario. In conclusion: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has a lot of problems. Putting aside the technical issues if you want to play it on the PC port, the core themes are muddled, though well-intentioned. The in-game store is a naked cash grab that does a disservice to the core game Eidos Montreal has made. The game itself, while surprisingly short and leaving a number of loose ends, presents an enjoyable, satisfying core gameplay experience, provided players aren’t looking for classic Deus Ex levels of freedom to play in more creative ways. If you can set aside Adam Jensen’s Dementor-like ability to suck emotion from a room, the narrative feels original and brave, if more than a little bumbling, in its willingness to tackle volatile topics. Give it a shot when the price comes down a bit, but don’t bother giving the in-game store a single cent after you’ve already paid for the game. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was reviewed on PC and is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  12. Square Enix seems to be trying to pull off all the tie-ins it can manage with Final Fantasy XV. They prominently touted an ongoing anime mini-series composed of six episodes had a positive reception on the internet (or rather five episodes and a sixth exclusive to the Ultimate Collector's Edition of Final Fantasy XV). Apps that connect to the in-game world of XV like the mobile pinball title Justice Monsters Five are slated for release alongside the full game. Plus, we've had a number of playable demos packaged with other titles. Now the feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is on the horizon. In the announcement accompanying the release of the global story trailer, director Takeshi Nozue explains that, "Kingsglaive stands on its own and can be enjoyed without knowledge of the previous games. But if you play Final Fantasy XV there are many references in the game that you wouldn’t necessarily understand without watching the film." He goes on to explain that the themes of Kingsglaive relate to leadership and what it means to be a just king. Whereas people working on Final Fantasy XV have stated that the game examines the bond between men and brotherhood, Kingsglaive delves into the bond between father and son. The plot to Kingsglaive follows the events leading up to the events of Final Fantasy XV. Noctis' father, King Regis, and his elite guard fight against the encroaching Empire to save his kingdom and family after a peace deal goes horribly wrong. A star-studded cast has been assembled to tell the animated tale of Kingsglaive. Sean Bean plays King Regis; Lena Headey portrays princess Luna; and Aaron Paul makes sure villains are breaking bad as Nyx, a member of the titular Kingsglaive knights. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV explodes into select theaters on August 19. Those who can't manage to make it to the theater to see it can watch the film on PlayStation Video beginning on August 30. Final Fantasy XV itself releases on September 30 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
  13. Square Enix seems to be trying to pull off all the tie-ins it can manage with Final Fantasy XV. They prominently touted an ongoing anime mini-series composed of six episodes had a positive reception on the internet (or rather five episodes and a sixth exclusive to the Ultimate Collector's Edition of Final Fantasy XV). Apps that connect to the in-game world of XV like the mobile pinball title Justice Monsters Five are slated for release alongside the full game. Plus, we've had a number of playable demos packaged with other titles. Now the feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is on the horizon. In the announcement accompanying the release of the global story trailer, director Takeshi Nozue explains that, "Kingsglaive stands on its own and can be enjoyed without knowledge of the previous games. But if you play Final Fantasy XV there are many references in the game that you wouldn’t necessarily understand without watching the film." He goes on to explain that the themes of Kingsglaive relate to leadership and what it means to be a just king. Whereas people working on Final Fantasy XV have stated that the game examines the bond between men and brotherhood, Kingsglaive delves into the bond between father and son. The plot to Kingsglaive follows the events leading up to the events of Final Fantasy XV. Noctis' father, King Regis, and his elite guard fight against the encroaching Empire to save his kingdom and family after a peace deal goes horribly wrong. A star-studded cast has been assembled to tell the animated tale of Kingsglaive. Sean Bean plays King Regis; Lena Headey portrays princess Luna; and Aaron Paul makes sure villains are breaking bad as Nyx, a member of the titular Kingsglaive knights. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV explodes into select theaters on August 19. Those who can't manage to make it to the theater to see it can watch the film on PlayStation Video beginning on August 30. Final Fantasy XV itself releases on September 30 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. View full article
  14. It's true, a full HD remaster of Final Fantasy XII is on the way under the title Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. The remaster will be based on the Japanese re-release, Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System that came out in Japan a year after its original 2006 release. Players should expect Zodiac Age to contain the revamped combat from the re-release, which featured twelve different job boards for players to level their characters into, rather than the single board that was available in the original release. Perhaps even more importantly, International Zodiac Job System came with the option to double running speed and a New Game + option (as well as a New Game -, in which players gained no experience). The international version also released with over 100 trial maps on which players could hunt monsters for money and items. All of this extra goodness layered on top of what some people consider to be one of, if not THE, best Final Fantasy titles to date. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is slated for release sometime in 2017. View full article
  15. It's true, a full HD remaster of Final Fantasy XII is on the way under the title Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. The remaster will be based on the Japanese re-release, Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System that came out in Japan a year after its original 2006 release. Players should expect Zodiac Age to contain the revamped combat from the re-release, which featured twelve different job boards for players to level their characters into, rather than the single board that was available in the original release. Perhaps even more importantly, International Zodiac Job System came with the option to double running speed and a New Game + option (as well as a New Game -, in which players gained no experience). The international version also released with over 100 trial maps on which players could hunt monsters for money and items. All of this extra goodness layered on top of what some people consider to be one of, if not THE, best Final Fantasy titles to date. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is slated for release sometime in 2017.
  16. Have you ever wanted to play a game that actually responded to voice commands? Well, RealmStudios has been accruing some experience making games that do just that over the past several months. The indie film channel hit upon a brilliant idea last year when it released the video Real Life First Person Shooter (Chatroulette Version), a piece of experimental filmmaking/game design that allowed random people on Chatroulette to give commands to a protagonist armed with a helmet cam. The results were really interesting, hilarious, and looked terribly fun. Following the massive popularity of RealmPictures' Chatroulette game/video, a certain game studio reached out to see if they would be interested in partnering for a similar, bigger budget project. That studio was IO-Interactive, the developers behind Hitman. RealmPictures was able to go all out, setting up a room where YouTubers from various parts of the internet could act as Agent 47's operator, giving him instructions through an ear piece and view his progress toward fulfilling his objectives around a fancy mansion. It's a pretty wild ride full of creative kills and goofs. The episodic Hitman season began on March 11 and the second episode will release on April 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  17. Have you ever wanted to play a game that actually responded to voice commands? Well, RealmStudios has been accruing some experience making games that do just that over the past several months. The indie film channel hit upon a brilliant idea last year when it released the video Real Life First Person Shooter (Chatroulette Version), a piece of experimental filmmaking/game design that allowed random people on Chatroulette to give commands to a protagonist armed with a helmet cam. The results were really interesting, hilarious, and looked terribly fun. Following the massive popularity of RealmPictures' Chatroulette game/video, a certain game studio reached out to see if they would be interested in partnering for a similar, bigger budget project. That studio was IO-Interactive, the developers behind Hitman. RealmPictures was able to go all out, setting up a room where YouTubers from various parts of the internet could act as Agent 47's operator, giving him instructions through an ear piece and view his progress toward fulfilling his objectives around a fancy mansion. It's a pretty wild ride full of creative kills and goofs. The episodic Hitman season began on March 11 and the second episode will release on April 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  18. Just a heads up for anyone interested. Square Enix is doing another surprise bundle for Easter. it's priced at 9.99 and includes 5 games with a value of over $80. The deal will run until March 20th with the games being revealed and delivered the following day. They did this around the holidays last year. That bundle included Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Thief, Final Fantasy XIII, Life is Strange Ep 1, and Final Fantasy XIV. It also included 20% off a SE game, 10% off Life is Strange ep 2-4, and 10% off Just Cause 3. If you like Square Enix games or are looking for some giveaway games, this is great deal. Go here to purchase.
  19. With the approval of Square Enix, a mod made for the original Deus Ex has made its way onto the Steam store for free. The mod, created by Caustic Creative, took several years of development, so we're glad that Square Enix didn't simply silence it with a cease and desist letter. Deus Ex: Revision overhauls nearly every aspect of the original, updating the environments, enemy models, and even the soundtrack. The mod requires a copy of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition on Steam in order to function properly. Fortunately for those who haven't purchased Deus Ex from Steam, it is currently on sale for $1.89, so the barrier to entry is about as low as possible. Deus Ex: Revision is available now through Steam. View full article
  20. With the approval of Square Enix, a mod made for the original Deus Ex has made its way onto the Steam store for free. The mod, created by Caustic Creative, took several years of development, so we're glad that Square Enix didn't simply silence it with a cease and desist letter. Deus Ex: Revision overhauls nearly every aspect of the original, updating the environments, enemy models, and even the soundtrack. The mod requires a copy of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition on Steam in order to function properly. Fortunately for those who haven't purchased Deus Ex from Steam, it is currently on sale for $1.89, so the barrier to entry is about as low as possible. Deus Ex: Revision is available now through Steam.
  21. We know that not everyone who loves games has enough time to seek out and watch nearly two hours of video game announcements made from the other side of the planet, so we went and did it for you! The Sony event included a wide variety of announcements ranging from developers taking the stage to briefly talk about their upcoming games to new accessories and system price drops. Keep very much in mind that many of these announcements are oriented around the Japanese market and may or may not be coming to North America. The release dates are all for Japan unless otherwise stated. However, the chances for some of these titles making their way the North American stores is pretty high, so with that in mind, let's get on with the run down. Sony kicked things off by announcing a new array of PS Vitas that offer a variety of different colors. These systems will be available in Japan September 17. New colors will also be available for the PlayStation 4 in the form of nine colored plates for the detachable portion of the PS4 case. These new colors also come with a price drop for the console to 34,980 yen, which is roughly $290. Perhaps we will also be seeing a holiday price drop in the near future? Later in the conference, Sony announced that a limited run of gold, silver, steel black, and crystal controllers would become available in retailers shortly. One can only hope that these color options can find their way across the ocean. Following that, the first details on Bloodborne's expansion dlc dropped, including a new trailer. Titled The Old Hunters, the DLC pits the protagonist of the core game against the legendary hunters of the past who have become insane and twisted by the powers of the blood. The DLC will hit the digital market worldwide on November 24, followed by a physical release packaged with Bloodborne on releasing December 3 in North America. The highly praised Gravity Rush (known as Gravity Daze in Japan), previously only available on PS Vita, will be receiving an HD remake for PS4. This remake will be making its way to North America on February 9 in North America under the title Gravity Rush Remastered. A sequel was also announced that will release in Japan sometime next year. No word on whether that will be coming to the NA region. It could depend on how well the remaster sells. Ubisoft took the stage next to talk about their upcoming titles. The first title they talked about, For Honor, throws knights (the Legions), vikings (Warborn), and samurai (Chosen) into all out war against each other. At the conference, Ubisoft revealed a gameplay montage for the Chosen faction’s Oni warrior, who can perform brutal katana attacks, call in archer volleys, and use a variety of clever tactical weapons to win the day. For Honor is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. No release date was been announced. Ubisoft also unveiled the trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate's first DLC pack which centers around Jack the Ripper. shown for the first time. It appears to involve tracking down the deranged killer who may or may not hold some affiliation to the Assassins. Following Ubisoft, Sega announced a remake of the game that kickstarted the Yakuza franchise. The remake of the PS2 classic drastically overhauls the graphics, improves overall playablity, and adds new missions that expand the story. The Yakuza remaster will be available on January 21. Sega followed this up with an almost casual mention that Yakuza 6 will release in fall 2016 exclusively for PS4. No word on whether either of those will come to North America any time soon, though given that Yakuza has developed a bit of a cult following, chances are fairly good that we will eventually see both. Additionally, a few seconds of The King of Fighters XIV was shown. The fighting genre staple releases this coming January for Japanese audiences. Bandai Namco took the stage to talk about two of its most lucrative Japanese franchises: One Piece and Gundam VS. New titles are on their way, pretty standard. However, the larger bombshells dropped afterward. Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to PS4. Given that Phantasy Star Online just released for North American audiences, chances are pretty good that we might see the same treatment in the near future. More amazing is a PS4 exclusive named Nioh debuted gameplay footage. Nioh was originally announced over a decade ago and was long thought to have been cancelled. The title appears to be a cool mix of Dark Souls and The Witcher 3 in which players hunt a wide variety of demons in a mystical, feudal Japan. Nioh releases in Japan sometime next year. RPG juggernaut Square Enix took over to flex its JRPG muscles. World of Final Fantasy trailer looks absolutely adorable and the game itself seems to be Final Fantasy meets Pokemon with some chibi character models thrown in for good measure. The title will release in Japan sometime during 2016 for PS4 and Vita. Square Enix and tri-Ace project Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness will hit Japan on February 25, 2016. No word on a US release yet, but if one is happening it should be a month or two after that date. The trailer has some really inviting and promising scenes that get my hopes up. Square Enix announced a new entry in the long dormant Saga series titled Saga: Scarlet Grace. Not many details are available on the game, but it is cool to see Square Enix delve into its lesser used IPs. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a large HD package of games that includes Dream Drop Distance HD, Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-. I have no idea what these names mean any more, but, hey, more Kingdom Hearts (even HD re-releases) isn't ever bad news. For the 20th anniversary of the Resident Evil series (known as Biohazard in Japan), Capcom is releasing a competitive third-person shooter titled Biohazard Umbrella Corps to bring the franchise into a new decade. It appears to be players fighting one another with guns and brutal weaponry while in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The downloadable title will be available worldwide for PS4 and PC next year. Spike Chunsoft, the devs behind Daganronpa, are teaming up with RPG legends tri-Ace for a new title called Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky for PS4 and Vita that will launch on December 17. Square Enix took the stage again to show off Dragon Quest: Builders on January 28, 2016 looks like an adorable combination of Minecraft's blocky world and the traditional RPG nature of Dragon Quest. The game appears to involve restoring a monster-riddled land to safety by helping to construct towns. Project Morpheus is now somewhat more mundanely named PlayStation VR. That about covers the majority of the big and small announcements of the press event. You can watch the full thing for yourself here.
  22. The teaser site reported last week has finally gone live and a new Star Ocean is on its way to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. A trailer exploring the history of the franchise and teasing its future has also appeared and you can view it below: While the trailer doesn't tell us much beyond the title of the next game, a leak in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, the prologue translated by Kotaku, offers more insight into what Star Ocean 5 will be about: Do the depths of space forbid peace for mankind— Centuries after leaving Earth, after a multitude of trials, with the creation and spread of the ‘Galactic Federation’, humanity was on the verge of unified order and peace. But the embers of conflict have begun to burn again. Over 6,000 light years from Earth, on the unsettled planet, ‘Faicreed.’ Just as so many times before, the waves of history begin from a remote planet. According to Gematsu, three characters were revealed in the Famitsu leak as well. The protagonist of Integrity and Faithlessness will be Fedel Camus, a defender of his village and specialized fencer. Miki Sorvesta is Fedel's childhood friend and has a sisterly affection for the hero. Finally, there is Lilia, a young girl who has lost her memories and emotions. Like previous entries in the Star Ocean series, combat will take place in real-time. Integrity and Faithlessness will offer seamless transitions into and out of battles. While Star Ocean 5 is coming to PlayStation 4, it has primarily been developed for PlayStation 3 and the PS4 version will be a port that may or may not take advantage of Share play features. No word yet on when we could expect to see Star Ocean 5 release in North America. Longtime fans will be happy to know that series developer tri-Ace is helming this next installment, so we can be reasonably sure that the project is in capable hands. View full article
  23. The teaser site reported last week has finally gone live and a new Star Ocean is on its way to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. A trailer exploring the history of the franchise and teasing its future has also appeared and you can view it below: While the trailer doesn't tell us much beyond the title of the next game, a leak in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, the prologue translated by Kotaku, offers more insight into what Star Ocean 5 will be about: Do the depths of space forbid peace for mankind— Centuries after leaving Earth, after a multitude of trials, with the creation and spread of the ‘Galactic Federation’, humanity was on the verge of unified order and peace. But the embers of conflict have begun to burn again. Over 6,000 light years from Earth, on the unsettled planet, ‘Faicreed.’ Just as so many times before, the waves of history begin from a remote planet. According to Gematsu, three characters were revealed in the Famitsu leak as well. The protagonist of Integrity and Faithlessness will be Fedel Camus, a defender of his village and specialized fencer. Miki Sorvesta is Fedel's childhood friend and has a sisterly affection for the hero. Finally, there is Lilia, a young girl who has lost her memories and emotions. Like previous entries in the Star Ocean series, combat will take place in real-time. Integrity and Faithlessness will offer seamless transitions into and out of battles. While Star Ocean 5 is coming to PlayStation 4, it has primarily been developed for PlayStation 3 and the PS4 version will be a port that may or may not take advantage of Share play features. No word yet on when we could expect to see Star Ocean 5 release in North America. Longtime fans will be happy to know that series developer tri-Ace is helming this next installment, so we can be reasonably sure that the project is in capable hands.
  24. A new teaser site has popped up on from Square Enix. The site features little in the way of clues, but the background of a foreign planet with the characters "S_AR 01 01" are leading many to conclude that a new Star Ocean game could be in the works. The only other parts of the page are a Twitter feed following #sqex_secret and buttons to share the page on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing the page through those buttons adds the message "NEXT 2015.04.13." It looks like we will be receiving answers this coming Monday. Until then, I'll be holding out hope for a new Star Ocean because I remember watching dragons fight spaceships in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time and it was awesome.
  25. A new teaser site has popped up on from Square Enix. The site features little in the way of clues, but the background of a foreign planet with the characters "S_AR 01 01" are leading many to conclude that a new Star Ocean game could be in the works. The only other parts of the page are a Twitter feed following #sqex_secret and buttons to share the page on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing the page through those buttons adds the message "NEXT 2015.04.13." It looks like we will be receiving answers this coming Monday. Until then, I'll be holding out hope for a new Star Ocean because I remember watching dragons fight spaceships in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time and it was awesome. View full article
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