Tag Archives: Square-Enix

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Bravely Default – Story Trailer

As much as I loved the recent demo for Bravely Default - and I loved it a lot, sinking almost a dozen hours into its content - I was less enthusiastic about its story, and more interested in its battle system, various jobs and abilities, and its slick StreetPass features.

Since the demo did such a shoddy job of revealing any background details about the four heroes of the game, check out this new story-based trailer, which reveals slightly more about the cast in the full version of Bravely Default.

Bravely Default will finally be available February 7.

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Bravely Default – Early Reviews From Europe

For those lucky enough to live in Europe, Square-Enix’s 3DS-exclusive RPG, Bravely Default, is just over a week away from launch. I feel like I have been waiting for this Final Fantasy “reboot” for ages; I was absolutely thrilled when it was confirmed for western regions earlier this year.

Although Bravely Default still isn’t coming to North America until February 2014, it looks like the extensive wait might be worth it all along: early reviews from across the pond are particularly positive, with impressive scores to match the raving critiques. Continue reading after the break for some of the early impressions and the first European review scores published on the ‘net.

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Bravely Default – New Off-Screen Footage

Bravely Default was playable at a recent European gaming event, and someone was kind enough to capture 14 minutes of off-screen gameplay footage. Check out the video below:

 

Apparently, the official subtitle is “Where the Fairy Flies”, which is at least a little better than “Flying Fairy” or “For the Sequel”. I still prefer calling the game Bravely Default, without any ridiculous-sounding subtitles.

Anyway, this one comes out in Europe in December, and North America in early 2014.

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Bravely Default – New Trailer, December Release in Europe

Another Nintendo Direct update; Square-Enix’s Bravely Default has been confirmed for a December 6 release in Europe, with a Q1 2014 release in North America. Check out the latest trailer of the game below:

 

Many are calling Bravely Default a reboot of the Final Fantasy series; I have personally been looking forward to this one for quite some time, so be sure to come back for any updates I can find between now and the western release of the game.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Confirmed, First Details Revealed

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Square-Enix recently hinted about a sequel for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, the rhythm-based 3DS game originally released in summer 2012.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call - 3Now, the first details about the sequel (officially titled Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call) have been revealed:

- Includes all 90 songs from the first game
- Over 200 songs included in the full track list
- Includes tracks from all the numbered Final Fantasy games
- Also includes music from spin-offs such as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and even Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
- Over 60 characters to choose from
- More than 40 different enemies
- Includes button controls as well as touch screen controls
- Versus Mode, StreetPass functionality confirmed

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call - 1Songs have been confirmed for the following games:

Final Fantasy I – XIV
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Dissidia Final Fantasy
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy Type-0
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Source

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Bravely Default: For the Sequel – First Footage, Comprehensive List of Changes and Additions

Square-Enix recently revealed Bravely Default: For the Sequel, an enhanced version of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy that features nearly 100 changes and additions to the original JRPG. It was also confirmed that For the Sequel will be the version of the game that is released in North America sometime next year.

Keep reading after the break for a detailed list of the enhancements featured in For the Sequel, as well as the first footage of the game in action.

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Square-Enix Trademarks “Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call”

Could there be an updated version of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy in the making? Square-Enix just trademarked Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call in North America, hinting strongly towards a re-release or additional entry in the music-based title, originally released in 2012.

If there is indeed another Theatrhythm Final FantasyI hope that it consists of something more than all the DLC that was released for the game on the 3DS – although the extent of its DLC was impressive, particularly as the first 3DS game to feature any substantial DLC.

Check back for more as we learn exactly what Curtain Call is all about.

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Bravely Default: For the Sequel Announced, Confirmed as Western Release

Square-Enix launched the official Japanese website for Bravely Default: For the Sequel, a newly-announced and updated version of the original Bravely Default: Flying Fairy.

Apparently, For the Sequel will be the version of the game that will be released in North America sometime next year, according to a tweet by Square-Enix. The updated version will feature over 100 improvements, including the following (via Gematsu):

  • New System - Following the Brave & Default style of battle offered in the original game, this game is equipped with a new battle system from the sequel currently in development.
  • Updated User Interface - A complete UI overhaul. Compatibility between jobs and equipped items can be seen on the equip screen, for example.
  • Enhanced Battle Tempo - Thanks to minute adjustments made to motion and effect, the speed of battles has increased. With replay available at up to four times normal speed, the pace of battle has dramatically increased. Once the auto input function is activated, commands that you entered during your previous turn will repeat automatically. Leveling up and battling foes with higher levels is now easier than ever.
  • Event Viewer - Scenes that have already taken place can be replayed any time during the game.
  • Multiple Language Options - Voices in Japanese and English, and text in Japanese, English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
  • Bravely Default Data Compatibility – Import your data from the original game. Choose to transfer your level, jobs, job level, money, items, Genome abilities, and D-Notebook.
  • More Save Slots - The original game only had one save slot. For the Sequeloffers three.
  • More Configuration - Configure more options, such as difficulty settings and enemy counter rate.
  • Better Town Graphics - In order to give the player a better feel for the character and charm of towns, town maps have been redrawn.
  • Improved Party Chat - Characters who lacked variety in the original game now have facial expressions. Designed to match the flow of conversation, characters will reveal their emotions.
  • Chapters 7 and 8 Revisions - The episodes and battle events about the Asterisk holders have been expanded.

Thoughts? I’m pretty excited about Bravely Default, I like the new subtitle a lot more than Flying Fairy - though I’m still not sure if For the Sequel will be the official subtitle when the game launches in America. To save some confusion, they should really just call it Bravely Default, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for more about this exciting new RPG as more details emerge.

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Blog – Thanks For All The Role-Playing, 3DS

3DStination.com discusses how the role-playing genre has flourished and become one of the stronger points for the Nintendo 3DS; particularly in 2013, where the latest RPGs have arguably established themselves as some of the best 3DS games to date. Continue reading
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Bravely Default Going Digital Tomorrow…in Japan

Square-Enix’s Bravely Default: Flying Fairy will be available for digital download on the Nintendo eShop starting tomorrow…in the Japanese region, that is.

Lo and behold, the highly-anticipated JRPG hasn’t been confirmed for North America, but the surprisingly high sales numbers in the early weeks of its release seem to be making Sqaure-Enix pretty happy. Perhaps we’ll see a western release of Bravely Default after all?

Anyway, Bravely Default will cost roughly $5 less to download, which isn’t a bad deal – the game originally came out in Japan just a few weeks ago, on October 11.

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Review – Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop DistanceGeneral Information
  • Developed and Published by Square-Enix
  • Released on July 31, 2012
  • Price: $39.99 (MSRP), $34.99 (Pre-Owned @ GameStop.com)
Summary

I decided to opt out of writing my full Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance review until finishing the entire game. As a result, it has taken me over two full (and very busy) months to get around to publishing this.

The worlds of Disney & Square-Enix meet yet again in “Dream Drop Distance”, the latest installment of the Kingdom Hearts series, available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.

That being said, Square-Enix’s action/RPG was one of my most-anticipated games of 2012, 3DS or otherwise. I admit, I wasn’t exactly expecting brilliance, but I hoped that the Kingdom Hearts franchise might pick up some momentum after this new installment. Fortunately, this happens to be the case – at least, as far as I’m concerned. Without further adieu, here is my summarized review of KH3D, including the parts that I liked and didn’t like so much about the long-awaited 3DS title:

I Liked:

The Console-Quality Production Values

I should just get it out of the way and say that Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is one of the best-looking, best-sounding games ever released on the Nintendo 3DS. To say that it reaches “console quality” does it little justice; in addition to the beautifully-rendered character models, highly-detailed environments and silky-smooth animation, KH3D benefits from some of the greatest 3D effects on the 3DS to date.

The story still doesn’t make a lot of sense, but any interaction with the cast of “The World Ends With You” is welcome, as far as I’m concerned.

The soundtrack is utterly fantastic; it goes without saying that the Fantasia stage is as much of a treat to the ears as it is to the eyes. Equally impressive is the voice acting, featuring a wide cast of Disney characters such as those from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tron: Legacy, and Pinnochio. Finally, I really enjoyed the cameos from the cast of The World Ends With You…Neku & Co. have never looked better. Take a look at the footage below and see for yourself just how great the game looks; then think of how much cooler it would be if it was in 3D:

The New & Improved Mechanics (FlowMotion & Reality Shift)

Compared to past Kingdom Hearts games, Dream Drop Distance plays like a dream – this is largely due to the new game mechanics, such as the “FlowMotion” movement system and the “Reality Shift”attacks.

Sora tries his hand at parkour in Dream Drop Distance.

FlowMotion is probably my favorite of the two; basically it allows for slick, acrobatic movement through the environment with the simple press of a button. This feature allows you to swing from vertical poles, “grind” handrails, and more…not only does it look cool, it’s highly practical for traversing each of the stages in the game. Finally, it really opens up the real-time combat system, making some of the aerial battles more exciting than ever before. Moving on, the Reality Shifts are more useful for puzzle-solving or dispatching enemies…each stage features its own unique use of the function, my favorite being the one from Tron: Legacy, where you de-code various bits of text to perform different actions in the game.

Jeff Bridges’ cameo doesn’t hurt, either.

The New “Spirits” System

Another one of the new ideas that I really enjoyed was the “Spirits” system; basically you can create your own versions of the “Dream Eater” opponents that you encounter throughout the game, put them into your party with either Sora or Riku, and earn special experience points to earn new abilities and skills. It’s almost like Pokemon combined with the Sphere Grid (Final Fantasy X) and the License Board (Final Fantasy XII).

Your Spirits accumulate “Link Points”, which can be used to unlock new skills, abilities, and status buffers for Sora/Riku.

The Spirits ultimately replace Sora’s previous companions, Goofy & Donald, but I enjoyed being able to customize my own party and interact with the spirits through the “Spirits Menu”. This part of the game makes use of the AR camera (you can take snapshots of your creatures within your real-life settings…sweet!), adds a lot of depth, and extends the replay value by giving you an incentive to “collect ‘em all”. For a Pokemon fan such as myself, this entire concept is pretty great.

You can take snapshots of your Spirits with the AR camera; there are also mini-games for “feeding” and training them.

The Game Keeps Giving

If you haven’t already gathered that KH3D is a content-rich experience, believe me – it is. It took me roughly 35 hours to play through my first time on the standard difficulty setting; a lot of those hours were admittedly spent toying around with Spirits or the AR camera function. However, the majority of time was invested into exploring each of the stages, clearing the “Reports” and charting data for all of the Dream Eaters, finding the hidden treasure in each stage with Sora and Riku, unlocking the special “Trophies” for certain milestones, and reading the descriptions of the countless characters and locations featured in the various worlds.

Those who strive for 100% completion will be delighted to find that Dream Drop Distance offers plenty to keep you working for a while; I didn’t spend any time checking out the special battle system between Spirits, which supports multiplayer…I also didn’t check out the “New Game+” option after I finished playing the first time. Ultimately, there is a lot of contentto be found here, and all of it takes advantage of the hardware in impressive form.

I Didn’t Like:

The New & Improved Counter-Intuitive Mechanics (Drop Gauge & Command Deck)

Unfortunately, not all of the newer concepts that were explored in Dream Drop Distance make the “best of Kingdom Hearts” list; I would like to focus specifically on the “Drop Gauge” and the “Command Deck”. While neither of these mechanics make KH3D a lesser game, they certainly present additional obstacles to work around. Ultimately these seem like pointless obstructions, where other new concepts (FlowMotion, Spirits,etc.) fit very smoothly and feel like intuitive components of the overall design.

The “Drop Gauge” is where the “Drop” part of Dream Drop Distance comes from; this new concept essentially puts a limit on your play time with either Sora or Riku. When the meter is fully depleted, the action comes to a halt as you’re abruptly “shifted” to the other character, put right back into the same point of the game you played when you last “dropped”. Basically, this is makes it an incentive to focus equally on Sora and Riku, but it ultimately means that you must play through roughly the same parts of the game with both characters.

You can use items called Drop-Me-Nots that replenish your Drop Gauge, but getting too far ahead with one character just means that you’ll have to catch up with the other – the result is that Dream Drop Distance occasionally feels like less of a “parallel adventure” and more of an exercise in repetition and patience.

Unfortunately, the Drop Gauge is only a fraction of the pain-in-the-ass that is KH3D’s “Command Deck” system; outside of basic attacks and movement abilities, Sora and Riku are required to equip their skills through the Command Deck. The deck is split into “slots”, with stronger skills requiring more slots than weaker ones.

This whole system would work just fine if the Command Decks were expanded a bit more; unfortunately you’re limited to just a small handful of slots for the early parts of the game, which really puts a restriction on the amount of things you can do in combat.

Sora and Riku have “Attack” and “Magic” stats that dictate the strength of their abilities, including special attack skills and magic spells…unfortunately, due to the way the Command Deck works, it’s pretty tough to take advantage of magic, simply because you spend so much time waiting for your commands to “re-charge”after they are used in battle. The game ends up feeling more one-sided than it really should, favoring attack more than magic.

Forgetting to equip a healing command such as “Curaga” could be a big mistake if you’ve “Dropped” into a boss battle.

Worst of all; the Command Deck cannot be changed in the middle of a battle. KH3D doesn’t let you access the basic menu when you’re in combat; you’re only allowed to pause or quit the game. Say you’ve accidentally stumbled into a boss battle without equipping a cure spell or healing item; this is an inconvenience – no doubt. Sadly, the problem only gets worse if your Drop Gauge is running low, and you’re about to “drop” to the next character – it means you’ll be forced to drop right back into the same boss fight the next time, without any chance to change your skills. This problem happened to me several times, and as a result there were bosses that I had to really grind through just to avoid re-loading older save data.

The Other Small Nags & Gripes

Without meaning to sound too hard on KH3D, I have just a few more complaints that came up during my trip through the adventure. Fortunately, these issues weren’t game-breaking by any means – just certainly worth mentioning. For example…

  • The camera is clumsy and the “lock-on” targeting system is even more cumbersome. Basically, you can rotate the camera with the L/R triggers…this works fine, although the camera seems to go absolutely nuts whenever you’re in any of the slightly cramped or crowded areas of the game. Also, controlling the camera is an additional distraction when you’re busy trying to fight off a bunch of Dream Eaters, or avoid attacks from a boss character…near the end of the game, half of my failed attempts to finish boss fights could have been blamed on spending time to struggle with the camera rather than using a healing command. Additionally, the target lock is activated when you hold both triggers – this feels awkward and is sometimes difficult to do when you’re trying to navigate the battle area. Even worse, holding both triggers and pressing one of the face buttons acts as a shortcut to your “Link” abilities with your Spirits; I ended up linking with my Spirits countless times throughout the game on accident, wasting their link gauges when I was simply trying to lock onto a target.

 

  • The levels feel more linear and “closed-off” than in any Kingdom Hearts game to date. Again, each world is full of detail and treasures to discover, but each of them feels very limited – almost like you’ve been cut off and barred access from a lot of the space within each area. Combined with the abruptness of the “Drop Gauge” system, the linear level design makes certain parts of KH3D feel like they were designed to be rushed through, not savored or enjoyed.
  • The lack of a “quick save” function really hurts. In general, this may sound redundant, but it summarizes the issue perfectly: Kingdom Hearts 3D is a fantastic game for a handheld system…but it’s not the greatest portable game, at least not where “portability” is concerned. You see, the save points scattered throughout the worlds are not particularly rare, but the fact that you can’t just quickly pause and save the game for any reason makes KH3D less “handheld-friendly” than other 3DS games. For example, New Super Mario Bros. 2 has a Quick Save feature that forces you to resume from the exact point you quit when you re-start the game, deleting the quick save data once it’s loaded. Why not utilize a similar function for a meaty game like Dream Drop Distance? You can always close the 3DS to put it into sleep mode, but what if you need to turn the power off? What if you need to access the Home menu, but can’t locate a save point? These are issues that I encountered in my time with the game – again, not game-breaking, but certainly annoying to deal with.
Recommendation/Conclusion: Buy It.

While it doesn’t come away without a handful of flaws, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance really doesn’t suffer very much as a result: the console-quality production values, slick new gameplay mechanics, and surprising amount of depth hold it together. The result is one of Square-Enix’s greatest efforts in this beloved franchise; KH3D doesn’t sacrifice anything to bring its charm to the portable platform, and it stands as one of the finest titles in the 3DS’s library to date.

If you’re not a big fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, you may not enjoy Dream Drop Distance quite as much – regardless, I think the game offers enough content and such a high level of quality that it makes the purchase justifiable for any fan of RPGs or action games.

Scores ~

Design/Concept: (9.5/10)
Presentation: (10/10)
Functionality: (9/10)
Replay Value: (9.5/10)

Final Score: 9.5/10
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Bravely Default – Over 20 Minutes of Gameplay

Check it out; I found this on GoNintendo.com: over 20 minutes of gameplay footage for Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, including battle scenes, story scenes, spoken dialogue and more. If you weren’t impressed by the Square-Enix RPG before, you should be now:

I really dig the art style and the battle system; apparently Bravely Default plays a lot like Final Fantasy V, and the visuals really reflect the old-school RPGs of the Super Nintendo. The video is in 2D, but it is easy to see how the 3D effect would really bring out the 3D models in battle. Also, I REALLY love the fast-forward in battle…it’s one of those things I want in every RPG, after playing an emulated version of Pokemon and Final Fantasy.

Perhaps we will see this one someday in North America; for now it’s a Japanese 3DS exclusive.

…one last thing; I really don’t think I’ve ever seen prettier cut-scenes than this game. I LOVE the subtle cel-shading; it reminds me of the PSP re-make of Final Fantasy Tactics. I also enjoy the design of the environments, the game reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy IX – one of the areas shown looks like a portable re-creation of Lindblum.