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.
When mash-ups endeavor to become something bigger than simple art, it will often go one of two ways. Either things fit together and complement one another or they don’t. Even then, to go about making a mash-up idea into an enjoyable product is a much more arduous process than simply slapping one enjoyable brand together with another. It’s certainly been the source of both good and, at best, mediocre products over the last few decades. That said, who would have thought that back in 1996 around this time, one of the biggest success stories of one of these mash-ups would have come from applying the Final Fantasy RPG formula to the Super Mario universe?
It's been fifteen years since we first wrapped up that iconic garrote wire and choked someone out as Agent 47 in his first stealth adventure, Hitman: Codename 47. In order to celebrate Hitman hitting the mid-teens, it's time we look back at one of our favorite stealth/assassination franchises. While Thief, Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Metal Gear Solid and the Batman: Arkham series have all gone toe-to-toe with Agent 47, we still prefer Hitman when it comes to good old fashioned wetwork.
Fifteen years ago, Square released its ninth Final Fantasy game in North America. It's time we look back at this stellar and criminally overlooked classic of the franchise. Square may have developed Final Fantasy IX alongside Final Fantasy VIII, but the two were quite different. While the emo Squall, Quistis and the rest of the time-travelling SeeDs had more realistic designs, the characters and world of Final Fantasy IX stayed in line with the more traditional art style of Final Fantasy's disproportionate body types. Sure, Squall's crew was more realistic-looking than the blocky, deformed models in Zidane and Cloud's posses, but that doesn't mean that Final Fantasy VIII or even Final Fantasy XII were better games just because their characters were "normal"-looking.