Square Enix’s flagship Final Fantasy series has undergone many evolutions in the last 20 years, but there are still some hallmarks expected from a game in the core franchise. Final Fantasy XV does have some of these familiar elements: dudes with hair reaching varying degrees of spikyness; a grand, high-stakes story involving a prince undertaking an epic journey; there’s even a grumpy old man named Cid. But these familiar details are juxtaposed with some pretty big departures from the formula. That’s not necessary a bad thing, as I discovered during my hands-on session with FFXV earlier this week. If anything, the demo showed me that the long-awaited next entry in the series is a lot of fun if you’re willing to let go of nostalgia and embrace the new.
Turn-based battles. Straight-up dungeons. Random encounters. For decades, these were the calling cards of the Final Fantasy series, making it one of the most prolific and beloved RPG franchises of all time. In recent years, however, Square Enix has strayed from its origins, using more real-time, action-based fighting sequences set on wide-open maps. Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely dependent on your perspective, but one thing’s for sure: there’s still plenty of room in the modern gaming world for the turn-based RPG, and World of Final Fantasy scratches that itch in the cutest possible way.
Few role-playing games have as much staying power as Square’s Chrono Trigger. With star talents such as Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, and Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama behind the wheel...
It was on this day in 1990 that North America invited the original Final Fantasy onto its shelves and gave us the first taste of what would be a long and bountiful series.
Hitman is shaping up to be the hit that no one saw coming. Despite the controversial decision to break the game into an episodic format, especially so close to its release, the format has served it well. If even just the few maps that have been released so far were released all at once, it would feel overwhelming. The time in between each batch of content is ample for digging into each of the incredibly dense environments and explore all of their nooks and crannies. Case in point, Marrakesh, the latest expansion for Hitman. This map is easily the most detailed and tightly packed so far.
The Hitman series has always been a series of duality. It’s a place where you can be as messy or as clean as you desire in your operation of the man known only as Agent 47.
Today we celebrate the release of the game that not only established the renowned Dragon Quest series, but also the JRPG as a beloved genre.
Hitman’s first episode took place in Paris, but it really didn’t show much of the actual city as most of the action took place indoors. Not that it had to, since just hearing the name Paris inspires all types of mental imagery and the fashion show featured in the first Hitman episode really captured that modern high-fashion feeling. This episode takes place in Sapienza, Italy and unless you’re familiar with some of the lesser known towns in Italy this name doesn’t evoke the same icons that Paris does. Despite that, this episode’s mission features a beautiful and more fully realized environment than its predecessor.
Square Enix fans often complain about seemingly contradictory things when it comes to their favorite RPG company. "Square Enix experiments too much," say some fans, "they redesign each Final Fantasy game so much that each one barely resembles the last." Other fans complain that Square Enix's other big RPG series, Dragon Warrior, doesn't experiment enough, and that its latest entries are still far too similar to the NES games of decades past. When Bravely Default arrived in 2012, it satisfied both camps thanks to its bold, yet familiar, RPG framework. Bravely Second continues in the footsteps of its predecessor, trying again to find that magic oasis of fun which balances out the old and the new.
When we talk about brand crossovers in any sort of media, it’s always a sketchy question of licensing issues, getting the material correct, and presenting it in a way that’s new and enjoyable. Disney hadn’t been any stranger to video games for better and for worse, but when Square-Enix Final Fantasy character Tetsuya Nomura and producer Shinji Hashimoto reached out to Disney to create an action RPG themed around Disney characters and worlds, Kingdom Hearts was born and it became a match made in heaven. The game came out to critical acclaim and had a great spinoff follow it with Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, but for the next core entry in the series, they needed to once again turn heads in a way that never had. Lucky for all of the series’ fans, they were up to the task. In 2006, the United States was about to fall in love all over again with Kingdom Hearts 2.