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Found 84 results

  1. One of the biggest surprises at Square Enix's E3 showcase was a provocative new IP called The Quiet Man (presumably with no connection to the 1952 John Wayne romantic drama). The trailer opened with a live-action segment showing off the picturesque scenery of Lower Manhattan, the heart of New York CIty. A lone, hooded figure carrying a paper bag walks into a dark alley where he encounters a trio of gaudily-dressed gang members. After they mouth off to him, he points to his ear, suggesting he is deaf and possiblly mute. As the two men approach the unnamed protagonist, the scene seamlessly transitions to what appears to be in-engine footage, and he beats them up while the tagline, Silence Rings Loudest. Square Enix is promising more from The Quiet Man in August, and there's evidence to suggest that this trailer is heavily edited, a tease of a greater reveal yet to come. The Quiet Man confronts three men in the alley, but only fights two of them in the brief CGI sequence. However, the third figure can be briefly seen sprawled on the ground behind the silent hero when the camera first pans around to his feet. Perhaps, when the game is fully revealed later on, an extended version of this trailer will present itself. The Quiet Man is a mysterious new game, and little is known about it. It appears to feature hand-to-hand combat it's set in New York City, and the lead character has beautiful hair, but it's too early to say anything more than that. Will the game feature live-action segments? Will it seamlessly switch between live-action cutscenes and high-adrenaline fighting gameplay? It's too early to say with any degree of certainty. Regardless, we're hyped to learn more about Square Enix's newest project. View full article
  2. One of the biggest surprises at Square Enix's E3 showcase was a provocative new IP called The Quiet Man (presumably with no connection to the 1952 John Wayne romantic drama). The trailer opened with a live-action segment showing off the picturesque scenery of Lower Manhattan, the heart of New York CIty. A lone, hooded figure carrying a paper bag walks into a dark alley where he encounters a trio of gaudily-dressed gang members. After they mouth off to him, he points to his ear, suggesting he is deaf and possiblly mute. As the two men approach the unnamed protagonist, the scene seamlessly transitions to what appears to be in-engine footage, and he beats them up while the tagline, Silence Rings Loudest. Square Enix is promising more from The Quiet Man in August, and there's evidence to suggest that this trailer is heavily edited, a tease of a greater reveal yet to come. The Quiet Man confronts three men in the alley, but only fights two of them in the brief CGI sequence. However, the third figure can be briefly seen sprawled on the ground behind the silent hero when the camera first pans around to his feet. Perhaps, when the game is fully revealed later on, an extended version of this trailer will present itself. The Quiet Man is a mysterious new game, and little is known about it. It appears to feature hand-to-hand combat it's set in New York City, and the lead character has beautiful hair, but it's too early to say anything more than that. Will the game feature live-action segments? Will it seamlessly switch between live-action cutscenes and high-adrenaline fighting gameplay? It's too early to say with any degree of certainty. Regardless, we're hyped to learn more about Square Enix's newest project.
  3. The Adventures of Captain Spirit is Dontnod's heartwarming new story set in the Life is Strange universe. Instead of focusing on teenage drama, the game centers on a child with an imagination vivid enough to, seemingly, come to life. Though it occupies the same world as Max and Chloe's, Captain Spirit is a standalone story. A lonely boy named Chris lives as an only-child to a father who neglects him. In order to entertain himself, he turns to the world of make-believe. However, his fantasies seem to manifest beyond his thoughts, suggesting Chris may have posses supernatural abilities–a trademark element of Life is Strange. Dontnod states that the game acts a precursor to Life is Strange 2, a project that still has not been formally unveiled. Also, Captain Spirit appears to be a one-off installment as opposed to being a season of episodes. You won't have to wait long to play along with Chris. The Adventures of Captain Spirit launches June 26 and will be completely free to download. The game is slated to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. View full article
  4. The Adventures of Captain Spirit is Dontnod's heartwarming new story set in the Life is Strange universe. Instead of focusing on teenage drama, the game centers on a child with an imagination vivid enough to, seemingly, come to life. Though it occupies the same world as Max and Chloe's, Captain Spirit is a standalone story. A lonely boy named Chris lives as an only-child to a father who neglects him. In order to entertain himself, he turns to the world of make-believe. However, his fantasies seem to manifest beyond his thoughts, suggesting Chris may have posses supernatural abilities–a trademark element of Life is Strange. Dontnod states that the game acts a precursor to Life is Strange 2, a project that still has not been formally unveiled. Also, Captain Spirit appears to be a one-off installment as opposed to being a season of episodes. You won't have to wait long to play along with Chris. The Adventures of Captain Spirit launches June 26 and will be completely free to download. The game is slated to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
  5. Continuing the trend of porting retro RPGs to mobile, Square Enix unexpectedly released the 2006 PSP remake of the classic Valkyrie Profile today on iOS and Android. The company had been teasing a Valkyrie-related release for 2018, but no information was available on it until today. Originally a PlayStation 1 exclusive, Valkyrie Profile follows the exploits of Lenneth, a Valkyrie in service to Odin and Freya. The godly duo assign Lenneth the task of obtaining and training powerful souls, Einherjar, for the coming of the final battle Ragnarok. Across a series of chapters, Lenneth travels the world of Midgard reaping souls and helping them make peace with their former lives so they can move on and focus on the coming apocalypse. Along the way, Lenneth becomes entangled in a variety of divine conflicts involving sorcery, elves, necromancers, and the Norse pantheon. The 2006 PSP release offers some higher quality audio and scraps the original animated opening and cutscenes in favor of reworked CG versions of those scenes. The portable version was based off of the Japanese version, which released a year before the North American release of Valkyrie Profile. That means that some of the tweaks that were present in the original version were lost, such as the ability to alter the entire party's armor instead of just active party members. However, additional scenes from the North American release made it into the remastered version. The mobile version has only a few minor tweaks to adapt it for new platforms. The most welcome of these being auto-save and the ability to save anywhere. There's also an auto-battle feature if you don't want to actually play the game. Unfortunately, Square Enix has also decided to add booster packs for sale on top of the $16 (soon to be $18) price of the base game, which... yeah, that's not great. All told, there's about $21-$28 (depending on how you bundle them) of these additional things in the base game that allow players to earn triple EXP, halve the cost of in-game items, heal instantly after fights, be immune to status ailments, and more. Each of those abilities cost about $4 on their own. There has been some poor reception recently of Square Enix's mobile offerings, so tread carefully.
  6. Continuing the trend of porting retro RPGs to mobile, Square Enix unexpectedly released the 2006 PSP remake of the classic Valkyrie Profile today on iOS and Android. The company had been teasing a Valkyrie-related release for 2018, but no information was available on it until today. Originally a PlayStation 1 exclusive, Valkyrie Profile follows the exploits of Lenneth, a Valkyrie in service to Odin and Freya. The godly duo assign Lenneth the task of obtaining and training powerful souls, Einherjar, for the coming of the final battle Ragnarok. Across a series of chapters, Lenneth travels the world of Midgard reaping souls and helping them make peace with their former lives so they can move on and focus on the coming apocalypse. Along the way, Lenneth becomes entangled in a variety of divine conflicts involving sorcery, elves, necromancers, and the Norse pantheon. The 2006 PSP release offers some higher quality audio and scraps the original animated opening and cutscenes in favor of reworked CG versions of those scenes. The portable version was based off of the Japanese version, which released a year before the North American release of Valkyrie Profile. That means that some of the tweaks that were present in the original version were lost, such as the ability to alter the entire party's armor instead of just active party members. However, additional scenes from the North American release made it into the remastered version. The mobile version has only a few minor tweaks to adapt it for new platforms. The most welcome of these being auto-save and the ability to save anywhere. There's also an auto-battle feature if you don't want to actually play the game. Unfortunately, Square Enix has also decided to add booster packs for sale on top of the $16 (soon to be $18) price of the base game, which... yeah, that's not great. All told, there's about $21-$28 (depending on how you bundle them) of these additional things in the base game that allow players to earn triple EXP, halve the cost of in-game items, heal instantly after fights, be immune to status ailments, and more. Each of those abilities cost about $4 on their own. There has been some poor reception recently of Square Enix's mobile offerings, so tread carefully. View full article
  7. Square Enix continues the trickle of Kingdom Hearts III news with a new trailer that shows off a collection of mini-games based on the handheld LCD systems that were popular in the 80s. Players take on the role of Sora and Mickey as they complete various tasks related to original Mickey Mouse cartoons from back in the day. The trailer shows four different mini-games titled The Barnyard Battle, The Karnival Kid, Giantland, and Musical Farmer, respectively. The Classic Kingdom trailer comes courtesy of the Kingdom Hearts Union X fan event being held in Anaheim, California. Kingdom Hearts III will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The release date has not officially been revealed quite yet, though there are hints that it could be coming sooner rather than later. I'd put money on us learning that information sometime during E3 2018.
  8. Square Enix continues the trickle of Kingdom Hearts III news with a new trailer that shows off a collection of mini-games based on the handheld LCD systems that were popular in the 80s. Players take on the role of Sora and Mickey as they complete various tasks related to original Mickey Mouse cartoons from back in the day. The trailer shows four different mini-games titled The Barnyard Battle, The Karnival Kid, Giantland, and Musical Farmer, respectively. The Classic Kingdom trailer comes courtesy of the Kingdom Hearts Union X fan event being held in Anaheim, California. Kingdom Hearts III will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The release date has not officially been revealed quite yet, though there are hints that it could be coming sooner rather than later. I'd put money on us learning that information sometime during E3 2018. View full article
  9. Over a decade after its release on the Nintendo DS, the quirky JRPG The World Ends with You makes its way onto Nintendo's flagship console. The remastered game will be fully titled, The World Ends with You -Final Remix- and offers a slew of improvements over the DS cult classic. For the uninitiated, The World Ends with You tells the story of a teenage boy who becomes trapped in an insidious game that threatens to erase him from existence. Other players become both allies and enemies as they all race to win the game and avoid a fate worse than death. Relying on a unique rhythm combat system, The World Ends with You has stuck with fans for years. Visual improvements are apparent in the trailer, but perhaps the most interesting addition will be a "new scenario" for players to dig into. Nintendo was a bit vague on exactly what that new scenario might entail. Perhaps the expanded content might hint at a possible sequel to The World Ends with You, something that both the fans and the original creators have been wanting for quite some time. The appearance of characters from the game within Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance in 2012 helped to keep the hope alive. The World Ends with You -Final Remix- will release sometime this year for the Nintendo Switch. View full article
  10. Over a decade after its release on the Nintendo DS, the quirky JRPG The World Ends with You makes its way onto Nintendo's flagship console. The remastered game will be fully titled, The World Ends with You -Final Remix- and offers a slew of improvements over the DS cult classic. For the uninitiated, The World Ends with You tells the story of a teenage boy who becomes trapped in an insidious game that threatens to erase him from existence. Other players become both allies and enemies as they all race to win the game and avoid a fate worse than death. Relying on a unique rhythm combat system, The World Ends with You has stuck with fans for years. Visual improvements are apparent in the trailer, but perhaps the most interesting addition will be a "new scenario" for players to dig into. Nintendo was a bit vague on exactly what that new scenario might entail. Perhaps the expanded content might hint at a possible sequel to The World Ends with You, something that both the fans and the original creators have been wanting for quite some time. The appearance of characters from the game within Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance in 2012 helped to keep the hope alive. The World Ends with You -Final Remix- will release sometime this year for the Nintendo Switch.
  11. It's official, the game that took 10 years to develop is one year old. Final Fantasy XV celebrated it's first birthday today and to celebrate Square Enix made a few announcements. To commemorate the event, Square Enix held what it called an “Active Time Report” which was a live stream with voice actors from the game and Kingsglaive and discussed "the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy XV." The biggest news to come from the stream was the details of December update. It was revealed that players will be able to switch between Noctis Ignis, Prompto and Gladio during the main campaign of the game. While there are some restrictions to this, notably the Chapter 9 Leviathan fight, this feature is available mostly in the open world. During the Japanese stream, it was revealed that there would be more episodic installments for the game with Episode Ardyn being confirmed as one of them. There was no word on the character focus for the other two, but there has been speculation that they might be about Aranea and Lunafreya. Yes please. The goal for release on these is 2018. In addition to all of that, we also got to see the first three opening minutes of the upcoming Episode Ignis which will be released Dec. 13. The multiplayer expansion Comrades made an appearance as well with the update on that coming out around the same time as Episode Ignis. Updates for Comrades are also planned for next year, with the possibility of a playable Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto. FFXV wouldn't be anywhere without its fans, and Square included its players in the celebration with a Moogle Fan Art Competition. "To help celebrate the one year anniversary of FFXV, we’ve made a limited number of handmade FFXV moogles, kupo!" said the announcement. The competition is open now until Dec. 31.
  12. It's official, the game that took 10 years to develop is one year old. Final Fantasy XV celebrated it's first birthday today and to celebrate Square Enix made a few announcements. To commemorate the event, Square Enix held what it called an “Active Time Report” which was a live stream with voice actors from the game and Kingsglaive and discussed "the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy XV." The biggest news to come from the stream was the details of December update. It was revealed that players will be able to switch between Noctis Ignis, Prompto and Gladio during the main campaign of the game. While there are some restrictions to this, notably the Chapter 9 Leviathan fight, this feature is available mostly in the open world. During the Japanese stream, it was revealed that there would be more episodic installments for the game with Episode Ardyn being confirmed as one of them. There was no word on the character focus for the other two, but there has been speculation that they might be about Aranea and Lunafreya. Yes please. The goal for release on these is 2018. In addition to all of that, we also got to see the first three opening minutes of the upcoming Episode Ignis which will be released Dec. 13. The multiplayer expansion Comrades made an appearance as well with the update on that coming out around the same time as Episode Ignis. Updates for Comrades are also planned for next year, with the possibility of a playable Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto. FFXV wouldn't be anywhere without its fans, and Square included its players in the celebration with a Moogle Fan Art Competition. "To help celebrate the one year anniversary of FFXV, we’ve made a limited number of handmade FFXV moogles, kupo!" said the announcement. The competition is open now until Dec. 31. View full article
  13. Star Ocean faithful and newcomers alike will have the chance to experience the earliest point in the series' timeline. Square Enix announced that Star Ocean: The Last Hope is getting a 4K and HD facelift, launching for PlayStation 4 and Steam on November 28. The Last Hope is a prequel to the first Star Ocean game, taking place several hundreds years prior and features a heavier sci-fi theme than other entries. It originally released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. In addition to controller, the PC version of the remaster features full mouse and keyboard support. Naturally, the 4K upgrade applies to PlayStation 4 Pro users as well as PC players with a compatible setup. The remaster will release digitally for $20.99 (no word on a physical release). Purchasing before December 12 nets players a 10% discount, with Steam users also receiving an exclusive mini-soundtrack. PS4 players can get a special Star Ocean theme and 12 avatars if they pick up The Last Hope before January 12. If you're a Star Ocean fan, how do you feel about The Last Hope's remaster? What other entries would you like to see get the same treatment?
  14. Star Ocean faithful and newcomers alike will have the chance to experience the earliest point in the series' timeline. Square Enix announced that Star Ocean: The Last Hope is getting a 4K and HD facelift, launching for PlayStation 4 and Steam on November 28. The Last Hope is a prequel to the first Star Ocean game, taking place several hundreds years prior and features a heavier sci-fi theme than other entries. It originally released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. In addition to controller, the PC version of the remaster features full mouse and keyboard support. Naturally, the 4K upgrade applies to PlayStation 4 Pro users as well as PC players with a compatible setup. The remaster will release digitally for $20.99 (no word on a physical release). Purchasing before December 12 nets players a 10% discount, with Steam users also receiving an exclusive mini-soundtrack. PS4 players can get a special Star Ocean theme and 12 avatars if they pick up The Last Hope before January 12. If you're a Star Ocean fan, how do you feel about The Last Hope's remaster? What other entries would you like to see get the same treatment? View full article
  15. We finally have more details on the upcoming Square Enix title Project Octopath Traveler that was teased during the Nintendo Direct back in February. With Project Octopath Traveler, Square Enix seems to be angling to recapture the retro RPG fans with stylish presentation, a branching narrative, and a unique combat system. Watching Octopath Traveler in action and it immediately becomes clear that you've never seen anything quite like it. Square Enix announced that the title will make use of a new aesthetic technique that they have dubbed HD-2D. This new style looks like an old-school RPG format that has been tilted into a 3D world while retaining 2D characters. It's certainly unique and eye-catching while retaining that ye olden days RPG feel. We now know that the octopath in Octopath Traveler references the eight potential protagonists that players can select when beginning their adventure. Each character has their own story, motivations in the world, and a unique ability that will allow them to pursue their goals. The two characters shown, Olberic and Primrose, can manipulate NPCs. Olberic can challenge almost anyone to a duel to prove his strength or move characters out of his way. Primrose, on the other hand, can seduce NPCs to help her on quests or lure enemies into traps. While Octopath Traveler certainly seems like a retro RPG, Square Enix has been experimenting with combat mechanics. Turn-based battles that will be immediately familiar to RPG fans are present in full force, but the major difference in Octopath Traveler is the ability to gain Boost Points with every turn that passes. These points can then be used to boost attacks, doing two, three, or four times more damage. They can also be used to heal, cast spells, or even chain combos together. A demo for Octopath Traveler is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. The full game is expected to release sometime during 2018 and, while it has certainly been covered in Nintendo events, it seems like it might be coming to other systems as well. View full article
  16. We finally have more details on the upcoming Square Enix title Project Octopath Traveler that was teased during the Nintendo Direct back in February. With Project Octopath Traveler, Square Enix seems to be angling to recapture the retro RPG fans with stylish presentation, a branching narrative, and a unique combat system. Watching Octopath Traveler in action and it immediately becomes clear that you've never seen anything quite like it. Square Enix announced that the title will make use of a new aesthetic technique that they have dubbed HD-2D. This new style looks like an old-school RPG format that has been tilted into a 3D world while retaining 2D characters. It's certainly unique and eye-catching while retaining that ye olden days RPG feel. We now know that the octopath in Octopath Traveler references the eight potential protagonists that players can select when beginning their adventure. Each character has their own story, motivations in the world, and a unique ability that will allow them to pursue their goals. The two characters shown, Olberic and Primrose, can manipulate NPCs. Olberic can challenge almost anyone to a duel to prove his strength or move characters out of his way. Primrose, on the other hand, can seduce NPCs to help her on quests or lure enemies into traps. While Octopath Traveler certainly seems like a retro RPG, Square Enix has been experimenting with combat mechanics. Turn-based battles that will be immediately familiar to RPG fans are present in full force, but the major difference in Octopath Traveler is the ability to gain Boost Points with every turn that passes. These points can then be used to boost attacks, doing two, three, or four times more damage. They can also be used to heal, cast spells, or even chain combos together. A demo for Octopath Traveler is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. The full game is expected to release sometime during 2018 and, while it has certainly been covered in Nintendo events, it seems like it might be coming to other systems as well.
  17. Square Enix has a complete remake of one of the greatest RPGS of all-time in the works, and it's coming sooner than anyone would have expected! The reveal of Secret of Mana comes with a slew of information about what the remake changes and leaves the same, along with a hard release date. The team working on Secret of Mana has gone to great lengths to keep the classic, top-down gameplay the same while modernizing a number of other aspects. The most obvious change comes with the 3D graphics - a dramatic departure from the Super Nintendo original. The vibrant 3D might not be on par with the likes of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, but it holds a charm all its own. The developers also modernized the controls for the PlayStation 4 controller and the PS Vita. As the trailer demonstrates, actors will finally give a voice to the text players could only imagine when they played Secret of Mana back in 1993. Randi, Primm, Popoi, and many of the whimsical cast of Secret of Mana will talk and feel more alive than they ever have before. To go along with the new voices, a new soundtrack has been created to fully realize the dreams of the original's composer, Hiroki Kikuta. The soundtrack pays tribute to the original while introducing complementary elements and flourishes that weren't present previously. Of course, players will still be able to play solo or with up to two friends in local co-op. For players unfamiliar with Secret of Mana, the story centers on a young man named Randi, a headband-wearing rascal who stumbles upon the Mana Sword, a powerful weapon meant to bring peace to a world in turmoil. With the blade in hand, Randi can harness the power of Mana, a force of unimaginable power and a target for nefarious evildoers throughout the world. He sets out to defeat the forces of evil and is joined along the way by Primm, a fiery noblewoman, and a sprite named Popoi. Pre-orders are now open for Secret of Mana. Those who take advantage of the offer from PSN receive PSN avatars for the three main characters as well as a moogle suit and tiger suit option for all characters at launch. Secret of Mana releases February 15, 2018 for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC. Players too excited to wait can get their hands on the title a bit earlier at PAX West September 1-4.
  18. Square Enix has a complete remake of one of the greatest RPGS of all-time in the works, and it's coming sooner than anyone would have expected! The reveal of Secret of Mana comes with a slew of information about what the remake changes and leaves the same, along with a hard release date. The team working on Secret of Mana has gone to great lengths to keep the classic, top-down gameplay the same while modernizing a number of other aspects. The most obvious change comes with the 3D graphics - a dramatic departure from the Super Nintendo original. The vibrant 3D might not be on par with the likes of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, but it holds a charm all its own. The developers also modernized the controls for the PlayStation 4 controller and the PS Vita. As the trailer demonstrates, actors will finally give a voice to the text players could only imagine when they played Secret of Mana back in 1993. Randi, Primm, Popoi, and many of the whimsical cast of Secret of Mana will talk and feel more alive than they ever have before. To go along with the new voices, a new soundtrack has been created to fully realize the dreams of the original's composer, Hiroki Kikuta. The soundtrack pays tribute to the original while introducing complementary elements and flourishes that weren't present previously. Of course, players will still be able to play solo or with up to two friends in local co-op. For players unfamiliar with Secret of Mana, the story centers on a young man named Randi, a headband-wearing rascal who stumbles upon the Mana Sword, a powerful weapon meant to bring peace to a world in turmoil. With the blade in hand, Randi can harness the power of Mana, a force of unimaginable power and a target for nefarious evildoers throughout the world. He sets out to defeat the forces of evil and is joined along the way by Primm, a fiery noblewoman, and a sprite named Popoi. Pre-orders are now open for Secret of Mana. Those who take advantage of the offer from PSN receive PSN avatars for the three main characters as well as a moogle suit and tiger suit option for all characters at launch. Secret of Mana releases February 15, 2018 for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC. Players too excited to wait can get their hands on the title a bit earlier at PAX West September 1-4. View full article
  19. I'm back in Final Fantasy XV for the fourth time. The first two forays into its world were playthroughs of the main story with the third being the bitterly disappointing Episode Gladio. This time I've returned for Episode Prompto, which presents an opportunity for Square Enix to redeem Final Fantasy XV's downloadable expansions. Episode Prompto released June 27 as the latest installment in the FFXV extended universe. As the name implies, it is all about the lighthearted goofball of the group, Prompto Argentum. Before going any further I should note that there will be no spoilers for the DLC here, but there are MAJOR spoilers if you have not yet beaten the main game. You have been warned! The events of the DLC take place with Prompto in a bit of an emotional limbo. Noctis has seemingly tried to kill him, and left him behind. Of course the player, and eventually Noctis, know that this is actually the work of colossal baddy Ardyn Izunia. The player is reunited with a devastated and confused Prompto (in a new outfit, for some reason…) in the snowy terrain of Niflheim. The bulk of the story centers around a Magitek production plant, significant due to the major plot bomb that Prompto dropped in Chapter 13. He is a Magitek Trooper (MT), a genetically engineered warrior. Square kept with the trend of differentiating the character’s playstyles, a decision that I certainly appreciate. In Episode Gladio we got to play with the character's brute force, at one point even wielding freaking pillars as weapons. From the very start, Prompto's time to shine feels profoundly different from Episode Gladio. Instead of sheer power, the expansion plays as a third-person shooter with a surprising variety of weapons. While Episode Prompto's combat holds a peppering of frustrating moments and quirks, the overall experience manages to be good fun (simple descriptor intentional). Prompto storms into battle equipped with an infinite ammo pistol, melee weapon, and grenades. He can also scavenge a veritable arsenal of weapons found throughout the world. These include the Rapidus SMG, the Alea Bazooka, and a sniper called the Sagitta Rifle. Cool right? But instead of, oh, you know, reloading your guns - you will ditch these weapons when they run empty. A little annoying, but there are strangely plenty of them around to pick up, an almost a ridiculous amount. These minor annoyances don't really detract from the combat itself, they're more just odd design choices. Square Enix divided Prompto's gameplay between the shooter sequences in the facility and an "open world." I was initially super excited to learn about the inclusion of said open world, but upon closer inspection it was underwhelming. We were treated to snowmobile sequences - something that certainly seems thrilling on paper - but they were rough and seemed like they needed more time in development. Side quests appear within the DLC, too, which seem like another awesome opportunity. Unfortunately the lackluster execution of these quests from a technical perspective leave them severely lacking. Most were glitchy with AI problems galore. Umm hi, why aren't the MTs moving? Enjoyable combat aside, Episode Prompto's greatest strength can be found in its storytelling. Square took opportunities to use gameplay mechanics to unveil the story, something sorely missing in Gladio. As an example, one section has the player running as an MT in simple, but effective gameplay. Though this episode wasn’t radically longer than it’s predecessor, its pacing and tone were more appropriate and compelling. Prompto’s big revelation was kind of thrown into the main game and glossed over. Granted, I didn’t expect the guys to toss him aside, but I wanted more of an explanation. With this DLC, Square created a great opportunity to expand on his story organically versus what we saw with Gladio. These DLC releases habe many purposes for Square, but the main one is storytelling. There were many storytelling devices, flashbacks, audio logs etc., used to pack in as much exposition as possible. They exist to expand on the backstories for Noctis' support system. We saw plenty of Noctis in the core game, which makes sense, but so much of what made FFXV a great experience was getting to see the bond between the four characters. Though at times their in-game interactions were dry and unconvincing, the expanded universe was the chance to build these relationships further in a way that players could finally become fully invested. That’s what made Episode Gladio so disappointing. Instead of getting the chance to understand Gladio more we got a rinse and repeat stereotype with some generic metal music in the background. Episode Gladio devolved his character rather than the other way around. OK, enough rant, it's time for Aranea. Aranea and Prompto stumble upon each other in the facility during an intense moment. The gray-haired warrior helps Prompto out through combat assistance and some tough love, but she never lets him forget that he needs to pull his own weight. Essentially, the two form the team that the world never thought it needed. While players don't get to play as Aranea, she makes appearances and becomes a handy ally in combos and boss battles. Her powerful special attacks were pretty much a godsend for me and supplied an added a unique dynamic to combat. She also helps Prompto navigate through his funk, with full on Aranea attitude of course. As skeptical as I was, their chemistry strangely worked. I would love to see more Prompto-nea in the future (hint hint Square). Since release, a fan base has steadily grown around Aranea in the Final Fantasy XV community, so giving her more screen time in this expansion was a smart move on Square's part. And while I'll still argue that she needs her own DLC, including her in Episode Prompto was at least progress. There were so many characters underutilized in both the core game and the Kingsglaive film - using them here shows that Square is listening to its fans. Conclusion During the entirety of my playthrough of Episode Prompto, I had Episode Gladio on my mind. I'm sure that might have been obvious in reading this review, but it makes me wonder, did I enjoy Prompto's story because it was better than Gladio's? My standards going in were pretty low, actually, something to the effect of "this better be longer than Gladio." Overall, yes, this installment was way better in pretty much every respect, but of course, it could be better. It's my hope that going forward Square will only try to improve upon the experience and create a more complete story rather than rushing out content for content's sake, which unfortunately seems to be the trend for the extended universe. Episode Prompto was a step in the right direction. Fans of Final Fantasy XV looking for additional canonical story for Prompto should absolutely play this episode. Though it had some bugs and camera issues, combat stands out as enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace within the Final Fantasy universe. It shows how these expansions can be done right, and it sets my hopes high for the upcoming Episode Ignis. Final Fantasy XV - Episode Prompto was reviewed on Xbox One and is now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One View full article
  20. Naomi N. Lugo

    Review: Final Fantasy XV - Episode Prompto

    I'm back in Final Fantasy XV for the fourth time. The first two forays into its world were playthroughs of the main story with the third being the bitterly disappointing Episode Gladio. This time I've returned for Episode Prompto, which presents an opportunity for Square Enix to redeem Final Fantasy XV's downloadable expansions. Episode Prompto released June 27 as the latest installment in the FFXV extended universe. As the name implies, it is all about the lighthearted goofball of the group, Prompto Argentum. Before going any further I should note that there will be no spoilers for the DLC here, but there are MAJOR spoilers if you have not yet beaten the main game. You have been warned! The events of the DLC take place with Prompto in a bit of an emotional limbo. Noctis has seemingly tried to kill him, and left him behind. Of course the player, and eventually Noctis, know that this is actually the work of colossal baddy Ardyn Izunia. The player is reunited with a devastated and confused Prompto (in a new outfit, for some reason…) in the snowy terrain of Niflheim. The bulk of the story centers around a Magitek production plant, significant due to the major plot bomb that Prompto dropped in Chapter 13. He is a Magitek Trooper (MT), a genetically engineered warrior. Square kept with the trend of differentiating the character’s playstyles, a decision that I certainly appreciate. In Episode Gladio we got to play with the character's brute force, at one point even wielding freaking pillars as weapons. From the very start, Prompto's time to shine feels profoundly different from Episode Gladio. Instead of sheer power, the expansion plays as a third-person shooter with a surprising variety of weapons. While Episode Prompto's combat holds a peppering of frustrating moments and quirks, the overall experience manages to be good fun (simple descriptor intentional). Prompto storms into battle equipped with an infinite ammo pistol, melee weapon, and grenades. He can also scavenge a veritable arsenal of weapons found throughout the world. These include the Rapidus SMG, the Alea Bazooka, and a sniper called the Sagitta Rifle. Cool right? But instead of, oh, you know, reloading your guns - you will ditch these weapons when they run empty. A little annoying, but there are strangely plenty of them around to pick up, an almost a ridiculous amount. These minor annoyances don't really detract from the combat itself, they're more just odd design choices. Square Enix divided Prompto's gameplay between the shooter sequences in the facility and an "open world." I was initially super excited to learn about the inclusion of said open world, but upon closer inspection it was underwhelming. We were treated to snowmobile sequences - something that certainly seems thrilling on paper - but they were rough and seemed like they needed more time in development. Side quests appear within the DLC, too, which seem like another awesome opportunity. Unfortunately the lackluster execution of these quests from a technical perspective leave them severely lacking. Most were glitchy with AI problems galore. Umm hi, why aren't the MTs moving? Enjoyable combat aside, Episode Prompto's greatest strength can be found in its storytelling. Square took opportunities to use gameplay mechanics to unveil the story, something sorely missing in Gladio. As an example, one section has the player running as an MT in simple, but effective gameplay. Though this episode wasn’t radically longer than it’s predecessor, its pacing and tone were more appropriate and compelling. Prompto’s big revelation was kind of thrown into the main game and glossed over. Granted, I didn’t expect the guys to toss him aside, but I wanted more of an explanation. With this DLC, Square created a great opportunity to expand on his story organically versus what we saw with Gladio. These DLC releases habe many purposes for Square, but the main one is storytelling. There were many storytelling devices, flashbacks, audio logs etc., used to pack in as much exposition as possible. They exist to expand on the backstories for Noctis' support system. We saw plenty of Noctis in the core game, which makes sense, but so much of what made FFXV a great experience was getting to see the bond between the four characters. Though at times their in-game interactions were dry and unconvincing, the expanded universe was the chance to build these relationships further in a way that players could finally become fully invested. That’s what made Episode Gladio so disappointing. Instead of getting the chance to understand Gladio more we got a rinse and repeat stereotype with some generic metal music in the background. Episode Gladio devolved his character rather than the other way around. OK, enough rant, it's time for Aranea. Aranea and Prompto stumble upon each other in the facility during an intense moment. The gray-haired warrior helps Prompto out through combat assistance and some tough love, but she never lets him forget that he needs to pull his own weight. Essentially, the two form the team that the world never thought it needed. While players don't get to play as Aranea, she makes appearances and becomes a handy ally in combos and boss battles. Her powerful special attacks were pretty much a godsend for me and supplied an added a unique dynamic to combat. She also helps Prompto navigate through his funk, with full on Aranea attitude of course. As skeptical as I was, their chemistry strangely worked. I would love to see more Prompto-nea in the future (hint hint Square). Since release, a fan base has steadily grown around Aranea in the Final Fantasy XV community, so giving her more screen time in this expansion was a smart move on Square's part. And while I'll still argue that she needs her own DLC, including her in Episode Prompto was at least progress. There were so many characters underutilized in both the core game and the Kingsglaive film - using them here shows that Square is listening to its fans. Conclusion During the entirety of my playthrough of Episode Prompto, I had Episode Gladio on my mind. I'm sure that might have been obvious in reading this review, but it makes me wonder, did I enjoy Prompto's story because it was better than Gladio's? My standards going in were pretty low, actually, something to the effect of "this better be longer than Gladio." Overall, yes, this installment was way better in pretty much every respect, but of course, it could be better. It's my hope that going forward Square will only try to improve upon the experience and create a more complete story rather than rushing out content for content's sake, which unfortunately seems to be the trend for the extended universe. Episode Prompto was a step in the right direction. Fans of Final Fantasy XV looking for additional canonical story for Prompto should absolutely play this episode. Though it had some bugs and camera issues, combat stands out as enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace within the Final Fantasy universe. It shows how these expansions can be done right, and it sets my hopes high for the upcoming Episode Ignis. Final Fantasy XV - Episode Prompto was reviewed on Xbox One and is now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
  21. Dubbed a "completely new game" by the RPG developer/publisher, Antique Carnevale was unveiled to the public in a new trailer aimed at the Japanese market. What kind of a name is Antique Carnevale? What does it mean? No one knows! Very few details have been revealed about the real game that is really titled Antique Carnevale, quite possibly the most JRPG-ish title of all time. A Japanese language site has been set up that provides a few tantalizing details and promises more information in the coming weeks. The site currently contains information describing the game's prologue and a description of a character named Bernhard. Below you can find both of those sections as translated by Gematsu: Prologue Have you thought about the differences between “things” and “living things”? Or the differences between “dolls” and “people”? If you ask, people will easily answer as such: dolls are “not able to move on their own,” right? However, that is an invitation to the labyrinth. Is a person unable to move by their own will not a “doll”? Is a doll able to move by its own will not a “person”? The explorers who wander around in search of an exit will find themselves deeply lost… And then, one boy visits that labyrinth by himself… He will listen. To the cries left behind by the “people” that have decayed in the labyrinth. He will understand. The desires of the “dolls” captured in the labyrinth. To that young man who stands in the space between people and dolls… I pray. May the blessings of the people of origin be with him. Bernhard (voiced by Natsuki Hanae) The personification of the summons beast Wyvern. He regularly guards the town as the young commanding knight of the Valamion. He has a strong sense of justice, but hates rushing to conclusions, and is often censured by those around him. Under the orders of the president, he is currently searching for the strongest masters of the next generation. The Antique Carnevale site teases more information releases for characters on July 7, 10, 12, and 14. Square Enix plans to unveil additional information, likely platforms and release date/window, on July 18. What do you think about this new IP? From the brief trailer and the strangely subdued fanfare of the announcement it seems like this might be an IP headed to smartphones, 3DS, or Vita rather than a AAA release for consoles. Any theories as to what this game might be about from the cryptic information provided by the prologue description? View full article
  22. Dubbed a "completely new game" by the RPG developer/publisher, Antique Carnevale was unveiled to the public in a new trailer aimed at the Japanese market. What kind of a name is Antique Carnevale? What does it mean? No one knows! Very few details have been revealed about the real game that is really titled Antique Carnevale, quite possibly the most JRPG-ish title of all time. A Japanese language site has been set up that provides a few tantalizing details and promises more information in the coming weeks. The site currently contains information describing the game's prologue and a description of a character named Bernhard. Below you can find both of those sections as translated by Gematsu: Prologue Have you thought about the differences between “things” and “living things”? Or the differences between “dolls” and “people”? If you ask, people will easily answer as such: dolls are “not able to move on their own,” right? However, that is an invitation to the labyrinth. Is a person unable to move by their own will not a “doll”? Is a doll able to move by its own will not a “person”? The explorers who wander around in search of an exit will find themselves deeply lost… And then, one boy visits that labyrinth by himself… He will listen. To the cries left behind by the “people” that have decayed in the labyrinth. He will understand. The desires of the “dolls” captured in the labyrinth. To that young man who stands in the space between people and dolls… I pray. May the blessings of the people of origin be with him. Bernhard (voiced by Natsuki Hanae) The personification of the summons beast Wyvern. He regularly guards the town as the young commanding knight of the Valamion. He has a strong sense of justice, but hates rushing to conclusions, and is often censured by those around him. Under the orders of the president, he is currently searching for the strongest masters of the next generation. The Antique Carnevale site teases more information releases for characters on July 7, 10, 12, and 14. Square Enix plans to unveil additional information, likely platforms and release date/window, on July 18. What do you think about this new IP? From the brief trailer and the strangely subdued fanfare of the announcement it seems like this might be an IP headed to smartphones, 3DS, or Vita rather than a AAA release for consoles. Any theories as to what this game might be about from the cryptic information provided by the prologue description?
  23. Ever been curious about how the shops in RPG’s obtain their wares? Moonlighter aims to answer that burning question. The game stars Will, a shopkeeper with big dreams of becoming a hero. When he’s not running his business during the day, he “moonlights” as an adventurer, exploring caves, fighting monsters, and collecting treasure. Moonlighter’s design reflects Will’s double-life, dividing its gameplay into two disparate halves: top-down, action-adventure and market simulator. So far, it seems that developer Digital Sun has managed to weave both ideas together in a harmonious and fun way. The dungeon crawling sections sport elements of roguelites, with procedurally generated room arrangements and the loss of your loot upon death. Will wields two weapon types, which can include swords, spears, and bows, to hack and slash his way through monsters in search of treasure. Traps litter certain rooms, and others house special portals that teleport players to different, more challenging levels. While moment-to-moment gameplay features little out of the ordinary for genre enthusiasts, the various systems around it help Moonlighter stand out. Inventory management features a lot more than just shoving stuff into a bag. Multiple rows can hold items, but only stuff stored in the top row (representing Will’s pockets) will stick with him should he fall in battle. Thus, keeping your most valuable stock up top is highly recommended. Warping out of dungeons requires players to sell a certain amount treasures on the spot. You’re giving up some loot, but the hefty cost of death might make a speedy escape worth the cost, especially if you’re sitting on a good haul. Like a good businessperson, you’ve got to spend money to make money. My favorite menu element are special “cursed” items that come with various effects and create a near meta-game out of inventory. Some stipulations are relatively minor, like object that can only be kept in the bag’s bottom row. Others can be very useful, such as a curse that transforms itself into 10 duplicates of a nearby material. Curses can even work in conjunction with each other. One curse masks an item’s identity until you exit the dungeon. Another curse can dispel the ability of another, adjacent cursed object. When I moved a hidden item near a curse-remover, its identity was revealed, saving me from having to make the trip outside. Not since playing inventory Tetris in the Resident Evil series has dinking around my baggage felt this engaging. After getting my feet wet with combat in the brief prologue, Moonlighter began teaching me the ins and outs of running a storefront. Collected loot can be put up for sale at whatever price you deem appropriate. However, a product’s worth won’t be determined until customers scrutinize your inventory, so determining prices creates an initial guessing game. Cute emoticons express whether customers feel something is too cheap, too expensive, or priced reasonably. My personal favorite emote is a sort of pouty face indicating that an item’s expensive but they’ll begrudgingly buy it anyway. If a patron turns their nose up at something, you’ll need to lower the price. If someone bites the bullet on a big ticket item, you can continue charging that fee since you know people will drop the dough on it. I got a real kick out of seeing patrons open their wallets to my sometimes hilariously lofty prices. Once a sale has been made, a helpful ledger records the values for sold merchandise for future reference, eliminating that early guess work. Additionally, the book orders inventory by price, giving you a clear idea of the values of stock compared with each other. My immediate concern with shop gameplay was that it would eventually grow repetitive once the values of most goods were established, but the developers assured me that Will’s business, as well as consumer demands, evolve over time. As profits increase, the store can expand, allowing for a larger stock of merchandise as well as letting more customers visit. You can even decorate to create an atmosphere of fanciness, which might allow you to charge higher prices (the team cited the presentation of Apple stores as a humorous comparison). As customer tastes change, a once-hot commodity may not fetch a passing glance. Conversely, a cheap material could suddenly skyrocket in demand, justifying a price hike. Furthermore, some customers may even ask Will to carry certain goods, creating sidequests. It remains to be seen if these scenarios occur often enough to shopkeeping interesting in the long run, but it’s reassuring to know the same motions won’t be repeated ad nauseam. Will’s business isn’t the only game in town. The town of Rynoka is home to a blacksmith that sells and improves armor/weapons, as well an “overpriced” item store. A witch’s shop is the only business that remains open at night, selling potions, weapon enchantments, and holds nightly sales. Certain materials are better left off the show floor and used to trade at these stores. The devs stated some players even use the inventory of merchants as a point of comparison when determining how to price your own stock. I was definitely amused by the idea of intentionally undercutting the expensive item shop, for example. After business concluded for the day and I dove back into a dungeon. Moonlighter’s primary loop became clear: explore labyrinths, gather treasure, sell said treasure, purchase better equipment/upgrades, visit tougher levels, repeat. More difficult floors open up after several runs with richer rewards. But you’ll need superior gear to survive, but new equipment generally sports high price tags, providing incentive to maximize profits at the store. I realized Moonlighter’s hooks were digging in when I entered a typical combat room in which clearing its enemies would normally cause treasure to appear. However, nothing did, but instead of feeling slighted, the materials left behind by the slain foes was reward enough. I excitedly thought “Oh cool, I can sell these in my shop!” As a Zelda fan, it doesn’t take much to get me on board with similarly designed experiences. Engaging in the doldrums of managing a business, however, was a different story. When I learned Moonlighter was as about selling goods as it was exploring dungeons, my initial enthusiasm dropped a bit. Setting prices, waiting around for customers–it all sounded rather dull. By the end of my hour-long session, my tune changed. Moonlighter has the potential an engrossing and enjoyable spin on the action/RPG. The shop mechanic is a neat angle that’s backed by solid roguelite gameplay, all wrapped in a charming pixel art presentation. I look forward to opening up shop when Moonlighter arrives later this year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. View full article
  24. Ever been curious about how the shops in RPG’s obtain their wares? Moonlighter aims to answer that burning question. The game stars Will, a shopkeeper with big dreams of becoming a hero. When he’s not running his business during the day, he “moonlights” as an adventurer, exploring caves, fighting monsters, and collecting treasure. Moonlighter’s design reflects Will’s double-life, dividing its gameplay into two disparate halves: top-down, action-adventure and market simulator. So far, it seems that developer Digital Sun has managed to weave both ideas together in a harmonious and fun way. The dungeon crawling sections sport elements of roguelites, with procedurally generated room arrangements and the loss of your loot upon death. Will wields two weapon types, which can include swords, spears, and bows, to hack and slash his way through monsters in search of treasure. Traps litter certain rooms, and others house special portals that teleport players to different, more challenging levels. While moment-to-moment gameplay features little out of the ordinary for genre enthusiasts, the various systems around it help Moonlighter stand out. Inventory management features a lot more than just shoving stuff into a bag. Multiple rows can hold items, but only stuff stored in the top row (representing Will’s pockets) will stick with him should he fall in battle. Thus, keeping your most valuable stock up top is highly recommended. Warping out of dungeons requires players to sell a certain amount treasures on the spot. You’re giving up some loot, but the hefty cost of death might make a speedy escape worth the cost, especially if you’re sitting on a good haul. Like a good businessperson, you’ve got to spend money to make money. My favorite menu element are special “cursed” items that come with various effects and create a near meta-game out of inventory. Some stipulations are relatively minor, like object that can only be kept in the bag’s bottom row. Others can be very useful, such as a curse that transforms itself into 10 duplicates of a nearby material. Curses can even work in conjunction with each other. One curse masks an item’s identity until you exit the dungeon. Another curse can dispel the ability of another, adjacent cursed object. When I moved a hidden item near a curse-remover, its identity was revealed, saving me from having to make the trip outside. Not since playing inventory Tetris in the Resident Evil series has dinking around my baggage felt this engaging. After getting my feet wet with combat in the brief prologue, Moonlighter began teaching me the ins and outs of running a storefront. Collected loot can be put up for sale at whatever price you deem appropriate. However, a product’s worth won’t be determined until customers scrutinize your inventory, so determining prices creates an initial guessing game. Cute emoticons express whether customers feel something is too cheap, too expensive, or priced reasonably. My personal favorite emote is a sort of pouty face indicating that an item’s expensive but they’ll begrudgingly buy it anyway. If a patron turns their nose up at something, you’ll need to lower the price. If someone bites the bullet on a big ticket item, you can continue charging that fee since you know people will drop the dough on it. I got a real kick out of seeing patrons open their wallets to my sometimes hilariously lofty prices. Once a sale has been made, a helpful ledger records the values for sold merchandise for future reference, eliminating that early guess work. Additionally, the book orders inventory by price, giving you a clear idea of the values of stock compared with each other. My immediate concern with shop gameplay was that it would eventually grow repetitive once the values of most goods were established, but the developers assured me that Will’s business, as well as consumer demands, evolve over time. As profits increase, the store can expand, allowing for a larger stock of merchandise as well as letting more customers visit. You can even decorate to create an atmosphere of fanciness, which might allow you to charge higher prices (the team cited the presentation of Apple stores as a humorous comparison). As customer tastes change, a once-hot commodity may not fetch a passing glance. Conversely, a cheap material could suddenly skyrocket in demand, justifying a price hike. Furthermore, some customers may even ask Will to carry certain goods, creating sidequests. It remains to be seen if these scenarios occur often enough to shopkeeping interesting in the long run, but it’s reassuring to know the same motions won’t be repeated ad nauseam. Will’s business isn’t the only game in town. The town of Rynoka is home to a blacksmith that sells and improves armor/weapons, as well an “overpriced” item store. A witch’s shop is the only business that remains open at night, selling potions, weapon enchantments, and holds nightly sales. Certain materials are better left off the show floor and used to trade at these stores. The devs stated some players even use the inventory of merchants as a point of comparison when determining how to price your own stock. I was definitely amused by the idea of intentionally undercutting the expensive item shop, for example. After business concluded for the day and I dove back into a dungeon. Moonlighter’s primary loop became clear: explore labyrinths, gather treasure, sell said treasure, purchase better equipment/upgrades, visit tougher levels, repeat. More difficult floors open up after several runs with richer rewards. But you’ll need superior gear to survive, but new equipment generally sports high price tags, providing incentive to maximize profits at the store. I realized Moonlighter’s hooks were digging in when I entered a typical combat room in which clearing its enemies would normally cause treasure to appear. However, nothing did, but instead of feeling slighted, the materials left behind by the slain foes was reward enough. I excitedly thought “Oh cool, I can sell these in my shop!” As a Zelda fan, it doesn’t take much to get me on board with similarly designed experiences. Engaging in the doldrums of managing a business, however, was a different story. When I learned Moonlighter was as about selling goods as it was exploring dungeons, my initial enthusiasm dropped a bit. Setting prices, waiting around for customers–it all sounded rather dull. By the end of my hour-long session, my tune changed. Moonlighter has the potential an engrossing and enjoyable spin on the action/RPG. The shop mechanic is a neat angle that’s backed by solid roguelite gameplay, all wrapped in a charming pixel art presentation. I look forward to opening up shop when Moonlighter arrives later this year for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.
  25. On the eve of the release of the latest story DLC, Episode Prompto, Final Fantasy XV received its June update. Among other things, the update includes the addition of a new vehicle customization the off-roading Regalia Type-D. To get the upgrade for the ol' girl all you'll have to do is take her to Cindy who will propose a "doozy of an idea." The new Regalia stands taller than even Gladio and apparently is a gas guzzler. With the update, all of the guys have new ridiculous things to say and noises as they are jostled around of course. The Type-D was made for off-roading and takes the in-game driving from on-rails to fully manual. There's also a "big jump" function with jumps scored based on distance, landing stability and midair impact. Be warned though, too big of a jump can lead to a game over. Oh, and you're not immune to trees or rocks... The update itself was pretty massive and included compatibility for Episode Prompto. View full article
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