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91  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: June 08, 2011, 10:59:56 AM
Something interesting that was posted on SE Members blog:

Quote
I’ve had the chance to sit down and play some FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 recently and I wanted to let you know what I thought of it. Before we jump straight into the Hands-On report, however, here are a few key points I suspect you’ll all be interested in knowing.

While still a deeply story-driven game, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 has a higher emphasis on giving the player choices to make throughout the game. More branching paths, more hidden secrets, more exploration.
Level design sees you returning to unlocked environments to access hidden areas as the game progresses.
A self-contained story set after the events of FINAL FANTASY XIII. XIII-2’s story will be darker and more mysterious.
All-new playable characters (Serah and Noel), plus the return of fan favourites from FINAL FANTASY XIII.
The return of the much loved Moogle. A treasure hunter at heart, he will seek out hidden chests.
Recruit monsters who will aid you in battle, each with unique abilities.


For those of you who wanted more from FINAL FANTASY XIII, the sequel is the game for you. As a FINAL FANTASY fan I had some specific things in mind that I wanted to see from XIII-2 and the more I see of the game, the more excited I get about it..

As you can see from the list above, XIII-2 has seen improvements and expansions in many areas (and these are just features we’re allowed to talk about right now). The designers of the game have made giving more choice to the player a key focus of theirs. Even in the small demo being shown off at E3, the level design features plenty of forks in the road, leading to hidden chests and lurking monsters, as well as wide open areas.

The developers also want players to have more control over their character and a larger variety of experiences in the game, which explains the inclusion of a jump button (the first in the numbered FINAL FANTASY series’ long history), which can be used to find hidden chests. Abilities will be gained throughout the game which will further allow exploration, making you return to areas you’ve visited before to see if your new skills can give you access to hidden areas and items.

Environments are filled with people, many of whom can be engaged in dialogue. A little speech bubble floating above their head will let you know if they have anything interesting to say. All of this dialogue is fully voiced.

Your objectives won’t always be straight forward. Sometimes you will be given a choice of which direction to go to reach your goal or of which order to perform certain tasks in. The E3 demonstration includes the choice to fight a large golem (we’re talking massive - like 20 storeys) or to investigate a mysterious device which has appeared out of nowhere. Investigating the device will lower the golem’s defences, making him much easier to kill, but if you fancy the challenge you can go straight into battle.

Some battles may include interactive “cinematic action” sequences, which require you to press specific buttons at specific moments. On succesful button inputs, rewards are given, depending on the situation. For example, hitting buttons correctly in the first golem battle in the E3 demo results in your party members receiving temporary stat buffs, making the rest of the battle that little bit easier.

We’re not talking too much about the game’s story right now, but we have said that the game takes place a few years after the events of FINAL FANTASY XIII. Lightning has disappeared, presumed dead, and her sister Serah is trying to find out where she’s gone, with the help of the mysterious Noel. You will not need to have played or completed FINAL FANTASY XIII to understand the story of XIII-2. It will help to know some of the backstory, but it has been designed to be accessible to newcomers.

For those who are fans of the franchise, you may be surprised and delighted to learn that Moogles are making a return. One such creature befriends Serah and has vowed to follow her on her quest to find Lightning. He has a few tricks up his sleeves, such as being able to reveal secret chests and other secret abilities which we will be revealing in time.

Another new addition is the recruitment of monsters. They will join your party and each species of creature will have a unique ability. You will be able to switch them in and out on the fly by changing the party’s Paradigm. Yep, the Paradigm Shift system makes a return, with some improvements and refinements. We’re not going into much detail on all the enhancements yet, but we thought you’d like to know that they exist.

So hopefully this whets your appetite a bit and demonstrates just some of the enhancements and improvements FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 will feature. I’m personally very excited about this game and we’ve got much more to tell you about it in the coming months, so keep an eye out here on the Square Enix Members Blog.
92  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Merged Final Fantasy XIII-2 Thread on: June 08, 2011, 08:11:19 AM
Um guys, you know that FFX-2 Int had system which you could use Monsters right?

I like how in the fight with Titan, the whole party dies in one hit.  What a fantastic way to demo your game!

I also love how the dialogue is incredibly bad.  "Do I get overtime pay for this?"  Hahaha, oh Yuna Noel, you are such a wacky teenager!  Just what will she he say next?

Fuck this game.  Square doesn't have a clue.  I'm out.

I have a lot of issues FFXIII. but this a bit much.

First that isn't Titan, it's a new monster called Atlas and all shares with Titan is that he's big though not nearly so. Second you have choice on how to fight him much like FFXII's Garuda. You will probably be a beat him directly on New Game Plus" anyway. Third Noel likely isn't a teenager as the Japanese official site lists his age as "seinen" which can be anywhere from 20-50. Lastly while FFXIII like most FFs have awkward dialogue don't see what's bad about that line. For all we know Noel probably works for the Sanctum.

I'm not saying that FFXIII-2 will be the greatest game ever, but a lot comments folks who have played demo as well as videos in generally seems to show that SE has listened to criticisms about the game and is addressing them.
93  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Square-Enix publishing Tactics Ogre remake for PSP! on: July 22, 2010, 08:36:07 PM
US site and Press Release are now up:



Quote
THE TRUE VISION IS FINALLY REALIZED; SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES
TACTICS OGRE: LET US CLING TOGETHER

Dream Team of Developers Reunites to Bring the Beloved Strategy RPG to the PSP System

LOS ANGELES (July 21, 2010) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in North America, announced today the upcoming release of TACTICS OGRE™: Let Us Cling Together™, a PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system reinvention of the strategy RPG. The timing of the release will be announced at a future date.

TACTICS OGRE is one of the most beloved strategy RPG titles of all time, with the game being the only one to place in the Japanese gaming magazine Weekly Famitsu’s “Top 20 games voted by readers” for 14 years running.

Having also worked on such hit titles as FINAL FANTASY TACTICS®, VAGRANT STORY® and FINAL FANTASY® XII, key members of the original TACTICS OGRE development team have reformed to deliver the ultimate version of this definitive strategy RPG experience. Hiroshi Minagawa (Director), Akihiko Yoshida (Character Design), Yasumi Matsuno (Game Design), Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata (Composers) are pleased to return to TACTICS OGRE and to revitalize their masterpiece for a new format and era – created with the simple idea – “how TACTICS OGRE would be if it was developed and played now.”

TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together, is being reborn from the ground up, with reworked visuals and effects, a re-arranged soundtrack by the original composers, new character growth mechanics and a new Wheel of Fortune system that adds even more replay value to the game.

For more information about TACTICS OGRE please visit the official website at http://www.tacticsogregame.com.

Story:

Long ago,
Power was everything.
It was a time called Xytegenia,
where metal, and evil that was enshrouded in darkness was in control.

Features:

• From the creators of FINAL FANTASY TACTICS, VAGRANT STORY and FINAL FANTASY XII. The original TACTICS OGRE development team reform to revitalize their iconic title.
• Tactical, turn-based battles are brought to life with stunning graphics, sounds and animation.
• New 3D maps that enhance the concept of height and improved battle engine, offering more compelling and realistic battles than ever before.
• Uncover the truth in a gripping tale of intrigue, betrayal and heroism.
• Near-endless customization and hundreds of abilities to choose from.
• New characters not included in the original game
• New Battle Skill ability, adds to the range of play beyond Magic and Special abilities
• New graphics, music, gameplay and much more make this the definitive version of TACTICS OGRE.
• New and improved visuals that create a TACTICS OGRE experience with more detail than ever before.
• Re-arranged soundtrack from the original composers including 15 new compositions.

About Square Enix, Inc.
Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S. based wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., a holding company leading Square Enix Group. Square Enix, Inc. publishes and distributes entertainment content under the Square Enix Group’s internationally renowned brands such as Square Enix, Eidos and Taito in the Americas. The Square Enix Group includes a global network of leading development studios located in North America, Europe and Japan. The Group boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and other well-established products and services.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.square-enix.com.


DRAGON QUEST, FINAL FANTASY, FINAL FANTASY TACTICS, SQUARE ENIX and the SQUARE ENIX logo are registered trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries. TACTICS OGRE and VAGRANT STORY are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd. Eidos and Tomb Raider are registered trademarks of Square Enix, Ltd. Taito is a registered trademark of Taito Corp. “PlayStation” and “PSP” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Japanese site is here too:
http://www.square-enix.co.jp/tacticsogre/

Famitsu sceens and Artwork:
http://www.famitsu.com/game/coming/1237859_1407.html

Some shots:
 


Deim, Kachua and Vice:


One of the new characters: Ravness Loxaerion

     

Detailed Interview:

Quote
Team Tactics Ogre Details PSP Remake
Minagawa and Matsuno discuss what's changed in the 15 years since the Super Famicom original.

▶Posted Jul 22, 2010 at 03:46, By Anoop Gantayat


Square Enix is readying a revival of classic Quest strategy title Tactics Ogre. In this week's Famitsu, the company shared first details on Tactics Ogre: Wheel of Fate, a remake of the Super Famicom original. The game is due for PSP release at an undisclosed date.

The original Tactics Ogre, fully "Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together" was a Japan-only strategy game that hit Super Famicom from Quest in 1995 (Quest was later bought out by Square Enix). The game was known for its rich world setting and advanced strategic gameplay, with such novelties as height-based play. PlayStation and Saturn ports were released in, respectively, 1996 and 1997, and a Game Boy Advance prequel followed in 2001.

The original staff has assembled for the PSP remake. The staff list includes Hiroshi Minagawa as director, Yasumi Matsuno as designer, Akihiko Yoshida and Tsubasa Masao as character designers and Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata on music.


Rather than "remake," Famitsu actually refers to Wheel of Fate as a "re-imagining" of the original. However, the game will see much of what one would expect of a remake, including a new visual engine, and new story and gameplay elements.

As this is a new version of Let Us Cling Together, the story and character basics remain unchanged. Famitsu introduces characters like Denim Powell, Catiua Powell and Vyce Bozeck, all of whom were in the original. The game will have new characters as well, though. One example is Ravness Loxaerion, a 23-year-old female Walstanian soldier. She's a playable character, appearing in the magazine's array of in-game battle screens.

In addition to the new character, the game will see some adjustments for the story, giving us a closer look at the emotional side of the characters along with added side stories and new stories for the newly added characters. This area of the game is being handled personally by Matsuno, who served as director, scenario writer and designer on the original.

The game will be seeing a great increase in text. This includes newly added descriptions for the various fields of play, and a great increase in the conversations that you encounter in battle. Some characters will have conversations exclusively with certain other characters. You'll also get to hear the emotional state of enemies via dialogue.

The battle system is also seeing some major changes, in terms of both gameplay and presentation. The maps are now fully 3D, allowing you to move the camera around and even view the action from above. The characters are sprite-based, giving the game a Final Fantasy Tactics visual impression. Visuals for enemy units and battle effects have been redone.

The screen layout has been reformed, with a character movement timeline at the bottom of the screen, and a single line text area at the top of the screen for detailing your currently selected unit.

The interface is also being sped up. Your characters will move more quickly. Additionally, the visual effects for magic and skill use are faster.

It looks like we can expect gameplay changes even beyond these areas. Famitsu shows a mysterious screenshot that looks somewhat like a flow chart. The caption for this screen reads "What if you'd made a different choice at that point? Will there be a system that realizes the 'what if?'." Famitsu is usually informed for such speculative statements, so we can probably expect something along this line.

DEVELOPER INTERVIEW

Minagawa, Matsuno and Yoshida appear in the magazine this week for an interview. The interview was conducted by Enterbrain CEO Hirokazu Hamamura who was given a chance to play an early build of the game during the discussion. (If you manage to get your hands on Famitsu, you'll also see a picture of the three developers with a cake. This was apparently readied to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the series.)

Hamamura provided a few impressions as he played. After viewing the game's opening, he selected "New Game" and commented jokingly that the "hand mark" is very nice. As he viewed the opening proper for the start of the new game, he commented that the text has become prettier and easier to read. Minagawa noted here that this is because the resolution has been upped due to the game being on PSP.

Hamamura's initial impression, apparently after just seeing the opening areas of the game, was that the game retains much of the look and feel of the Super Famicom version. Matsuno pointed out that a lot has actually changed from the original. For example, the Super Famicom version did not have the shadows that the PSP version has. Because of this, the game has an overall brighter, fresher look.

One of the goals for the team, said Minagawa, was to recreate the look of the original, while adding in the beautifications players make in their minds due to nostalgia. They're purposely keeping the Super Famicom qualities of the visuals in place. Matsuno joked that it would be praise for them if someone who played the game would say, even with contempt, "This is just like the original!"

There's a lot going on in the background, though, noted Matsuno. For example, they're taking great care to make sure that the sprite visuals for the characters will not be out of synch with the 3D maps.

Hamamura suggested that they should have perhaps remade even the sprite visuals. This was under consideration at the start of development, replied Minagawa. However, they felt that there'd be no need for the original staff to be making the game if they went with that approach, and so decided on the current direction. More intriguingly, Matsuno said that if they were to go the full dynamic 3D route, they might as well make a brand new title. Hamamura joked that he'd like to see this.

While the character sprite visuals are being carried over from the original Super Famicom version, the character illustrations -- the artwork -- is all new. Working on the illustrations is Tsubasa Masao, who previously worked on Final Fantasy Gaiden: Four Warriors of Light.

Matsuno detailed some of the changes are that are being made for the other areas of the game. The game's text will be more readable -- this is both for the font itself, and also for the textual content, with Matsuno himself working to fix what he describes as "my amateurish writing from 15 years back." Players will find a number of areas that have been brushed up.

On the gameplay side of things, Minagawa said that the basic format of the game will remain unchanged. That is, you'll get into battle at points in the story, and you'll have to clear these battles in order to progress. During the turn-based battles, you'll need to make use of your units to defeat enemy armies.

Atop the basic game systems, the staff is working in a number of new features. Minagawa describes the battles as being "greatly changed," although he promises that the essence of the original, including the height mechanics for the maps and the ability to send arrows flying greater distance by shooting from above, will remain in place.

New features mentioned by Minagawa include the addition of "skills," and additional classes. Some of the current systems are being changed. For example, they're removing the difference between male and female versions of a class, a change that will allow players to freely change class without thinking about gender.

The scale and speed of battle will also be seeing adjustments. Minagawa said that he's placing importance on the tempo of battle. Regarding scale, the original featured 10 vs 10 battles. For the remake, players will be able to have 12 members on their party facing off against 18 enemies, making for 30 characters on screen.

One point of note that Matsuno brought up himself was the original's difficulty. In short, it was quite difficult. Minagawa believes that keeping the game as is would be tough, especially for portable gamers. To address this issue, they've added such things as the expected mid battle save feature. There will be other features as well, including something related to the "Wheel of Fate" subtitle. This "Wheel of Fate" element is deeply related to the battle system, and it's something that players will be able to use or not use as they like. For specifics, we'll have to wait until a followup report, but Minagawa said that hints can be found in the screenshots included in the magazine.

Throughout the interview, Minagawa and Matsuno both downplayed the use of the term "remake" or "directors cut" to describe Tactics Ogre Wheel of Fate. Said Minagawa, "The goal of this game is not to make a 'Tactics Ogre Complete Version.' It's to remake Tactics Ogre again for the current generation." Said Matsuno, "It's not just a remake or directors cut. You could call it a 're-imagination.'"

Re-imagination or remake, Tactics Ogre is at last being revived for modern gamers. While Famitsu lists the game as release date TBA, the fact that Hamamura was able to demo it seems like a good indication that we'll get our hands on the game in the not-so-distant future.

Today is a GOOD day. :D
94  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 18, 2009, 07:23:05 PM
Best impression on the game by far from duckroll at NeoGAF:

Quote
Okay, I've clocked over 10 hours of the game now and have a good handle on most of the systems in the game. Time to write up some impressions.

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW, I'M ONLY 10 HOURS INTO THE GAME.

FFXIII is a really interesting game. No doubt it is the HD successor to the FFX/FFX-2 school of design in terms of many things, but what is surprising is that it doesn't really throw away the concepts pushed forward by FFXII. At the same time, the game itself is a whole new beast. There has never been a FF like this before, and it is a very bold new step for the series. Some fans will almost certainly like it more than others, depending on what your stake in the series is, and what is important to you in a RPG. Either way, I think it is very refreshing to have a game which breaks down barriers while erecting other new boundaries in defining what constitutes a "Final Fantasy" mainline game.

The first thing I noticed about the game was how uncompromising it was in letting the narrative dictate the entire direction of the game. Right from the start, the game starts with a bang. There has never been a FF game or a RPG as cinematic driven as FFXIII. I don't mean it uses a ton of cutscenes (lots of games do) during the game, but rather the entire experience feels like you are playing a part in a film instead of a game which uses a lot of cinematic sequences to tell the story. The best comparison would be with action games, where not only are the levels linear, but everything is designed around the narrative itself which you play through. The game doesn't consider the player's needs or wants in relation to what they want out of a RPG, but instead strives to deliver a very specific experience.

Now that could be pretty bad if the story and characters are terrible and no one cares. Thankfully, I think this is one of the strongest FF games in terms of narrative and characters. It's definitely up there with FFVI. The style of the scenario is such that the player is thrown into the world at a crucial period, and experiences several events unfold which don't quite make complete sense immediately. The game also throws the characters all out at once, without wasting time with detailed introductions or the standard form of character building.

Instead, you learn what each character is like and what they're each about as you play, and as you see them react to situations and discuss their own desires, fears, dreams and experiences. Much of what they have done in the days leading up to the game are vital to developing their characteristics and for the player to understand them, and these events are slowly unraveled through flashbacks as you play the game. This method of narrative means the game pretty much never slows down. The characters are always on the move, and with their lives all in peril there is no time to waste. Yet it also allows the game to slow down for some short moments along the way to build up on the characters and to let their various layers unfold.

All in all the narrative is very strong, the characters are extremely likable, and the plot keeps pushing players forward with the motivation to learn more about everything - the world, the characters, and the crux of what is happening in the world that allowed the events at the start of the game to occur. The sense of mystery is a high point of the storyline, and definitely a driving force for players to keep playing.

Gameplay-wise, the game is also very different from anything before. The battles are faster than ever before, but also more different than ever before. The Optima system is often mistaken for a sort of Job system, and a passive option in battles which allow you to change your Roles. It couldn't be further from the truth. The Optima system is in fact simply another way to input commands.
Because of the speed of the battles, even if the game gave the player the option of inputting commands for each character separately, and toggling using L1/R1, it would be unplayable. No human player would be able to keep up with the battles and to select AND input commands for different characters at the same time.

What the Optima and Role system does is to define 6 very specific type of roles, and limit what each role can do down to their core usage. Hence by changing the Optima of the party in battle, you are essentially specifically changing the commands each party member can make, and hence giving them near-specific orders until you change the Optima again. It is not a passive command, it is something you will have to use in almost every battle.

The game is NOT being played by "AI" so much as command input being aided by AI, and instructed by the player. Due to how battles are designed, and what the player is required to do to win battles, the emphasis is still on strategy and tactics determined by the player. Anyone who claims that the AI party members in the game are "auto play", is probably a person who has previously complained that the Gambit system is "auto play" and so we can know to safely ignore them.

Outside of the battle system, the game actually features some pretty interesting forms of character customization. Gone are character levels, just like in FFX. Instead, in it's place are various systems which break the core meaning of "leveling up" down into different bite pieces to make the player more proactive in considering how to strengthen any given character. Each character starts off with access to a limited selection of Roles. Each character's Crystarium (think simplified Sphere Grid or License Board) for each Role is different. So even between say Lightning as a Blaster and Snow as a Blaster, the abilities they can learn and the stat boosts they can gain from putting in CP is different.

Aside from stats and abilities gained from Crystarium, the game also features a pretty interesting Weapon and Accessory system. Fans of weapons will be happy to learn that unlike FFX, the weapons in FFXIII have stats again. Each weapon has a Physical Attack and Magical Attack stat, and some weapons have an ability attached. Weapons also have levels, which starts at level 1. Using materials gained from defeating enemies, you can pump them into weapons to give the weapon experience, and level it up. Each weapon has a different sort of balance for the stats, so leveling up the initial weapon is just as viable as changing to a new weapon each time you can buy or find a better one, and leveling that up for a little bit before the next one.

In some cases, specializing on a certain weapon and leveling it up over and over might be a much better option, depending on how you plan on using the character it's equipped on. Different weapons gain different amounts of exp from different materials, and using a bunch of materials which give a small bit of exp might sometimes trigger an exp bonus chain for the next set of materials you put in. There's a bit a experimentation involved, although with how limited some materials are earlier in the game, it might be wise not to waste too many on trial on error too soon.

Accessories also have levels, and each accessory has an ability tied to it. By leveling it up, you increase the effectiveness of the accessory. For example, a Silver Bangle Lvl1 would give HP+100, and putting in enough materials to get it to Lvl2 will change it to HP+116 instead. What I've also noticed is that there are synergy abilities as well. Hope had a weapon which had no abilities on its own, but when equipped with that weapon AND a certain accessory, it gave him an ability which boosted Physical damage. The ability is not listed on either accessory, and is essentially hidden. As such, it reasons that there are many more of this sort of secret combinations of weapon+accessory which when equipped grant bonuses.
95  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 09, 2009, 02:39:41 PM
I'm curious how the game loses linearity.  I'm hoping its much less than "you get to travel more".

Aren't FFIV-X like this? In fact it sound a like FFVI's progression.

@CFDN: The first one is fake.
96  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 08, 2009, 08:40:31 PM
A better translated review from Aokage at NeoGAF:
Quote
10: "Although the game is linear until the midway point, the story is substantial, like no FF before it, with its own distinctive appeal. The battles based around changing characters' roles are fresh and highly strategic. The tempo is speedy and you get very excited when fighting strong enemies. Being able to restart battles is a user-friendly feature I'm happy about.

9: "Unquestionably the highest echelon of event and movie scenes. Moreover, changing Optimas on a dime, the varied abilities and being able to use multiple magics at once bring real exhilaration to the battles. That high quality is unfortunately offset by a story that stays linear until the midway point. The lack of gimmicks during the middle of the game also worried me."

10: "The overwhelming graphics expressing every nook and cranny of this unique world, along with the praiseworthy direction, moved me!! The battle system is applicable both to beginners and micro-managers. The fights progress quickly, and have ratings, so you never grow tired and can always battle with a feeling of urgency. The melancholic story is also so dramatic, you can't tear your eyes away from it."

10: "I doff my hat to the overwhelming graphics and story. Since the game's various systems become denser as the story progresses, you find yourself pulled ever deeper into the experience. The summon battles take careful planning and strategy, so I was frustrated a few times, but the feeling of achievement when you win is something special. You'll be sorry if you don't play this!"
97  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: December 04, 2009, 03:19:54 AM
Lots of nice information screens here:

http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2009/12/04/ffxiii_update/
http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2009/12/02/ffxiii_update/
98  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Famitsu announces a new Lufia (Estpolis) game on: November 20, 2009, 05:44:14 AM
Oh geez, they gave Maxim a metrosexual look right out of Persona:

http://www.true-gaming.net/tgupload/images2/09111920456cd4ed0e378d3009.jpg

Got this from NeoGAF:


Quote

Some excerpts from the interview that I guess are notable:

-It was a request by SE
-It's in no way a port
-It's different from a remake; the story, characters, and world-view have been reconstructed
-The Wave Device is (a) key, the world is different from the SNES version
-It's still like a Lufia game
-The bottom screen is only used for changing characters
-The D-Pad is more central than the stylus
-It's programmed so bosses take up both screens
-While the bosses are difficult, a guide isn't needed (I think that's what he said...)
-Action game players will be satisfied, but it's fine for those who aren't good at action games as well
-The elements are a growth of the RPG (you'll be hurt if you waste time)
-The scenario is based on II, and there are parts where the lines are the same as II's, but it's basically been completely rewritten
-The number of places like towns that will be in the game is different from I and II
-There are also elements we tried to add for the fans of the series so far
-You can figure out hidden setups within the puzzles
-They're bringing back music from I and II
-The sound quality has been improved without tampering with the melody line
-The main staff from the original version are making it
-They're keeping things like "xxx of Magic" and "Magical xxx" as they are since back then (I think they're talking about treasures/items or something?)
99  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: October 30, 2009, 08:03:58 PM
Official site has been updated with Fang, Bahamut, Brunhildr and 4 new music tracks which really sound good.

http://www.square-enix.co.jp/fabula/ff13/

Note: These aren't the actual names.

"Resistance"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMacrDEwwsU

"Lightning's Theme"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke281MBhpDg

"Valiant" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoDVPgkdqEs

"Chocobo Theme"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDwAN90MKTo
100  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: September 28, 2009, 11:42:01 AM
Another link here:
http://www.gametrailers.com/video/tgs-09-final-fantasy/56839
101  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: September 25, 2009, 07:12:34 PM
This is impression came from Sonsaru on the GameFAQs and is by far most detailed info on the demo at this point.

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Okay, so I got to play both the Lightening and Snow versions of the demo. By the end of the day there wasn't even a line, Thursday business day is good stuff.

I'm also well up on the latest info from the last few Famitsu, which from some of the conversations I've seen on the board a lot of people aren't. Having said that, I'm not following the board or what information has made it into English so some stuff in here may double up.

I'll start with some points I found interesting. Note I only know the Japanese names for everything. Text in " " are paraphrased from developer info in Famitsu.

* TP is used to cast Libra as well as perform summons. Ally AI will change tactics (improve) according to the information recieved from Libra, and using it multiple times on the same enemy gives further info. This info can be viewed at any time during battle and looked pretty comprehensive.

* TGS demo difficulty is reduced over the finished game. "The battles will be tuned so that you have you have to change Optimas to win."

* When on the map presssing one of the left triggers opens a small side menu from which you can instantly use field items without having to open the main menu. These can be used to recover TP or give the party pre-battle boosts before the next battle starts. "These items are to help beginners, so the lower your rank for winning battle the more likely you are to recieve them as rewards. On the other hand, higher rank means you are more likely to get rare items."

* I'm sure you've seen / will see this in vids soon but the full screen, short FMV clip of each character that plays when you open theri stats in the menu was really cool.

* Characters make a lot of comments as they walk around. A subtitle appears at the bottom of the screen but the game doesn't stop, they just talk a bit as they walk along.

* Optimas : Only really felt the how the system will really work when fighting the boss with Snow. I bascially *had* to use Snow as an attacker and then two Blasters in order to get a break and start doing actual damage.

* The demo suffered from mid-point RPG demo effect, just as the PS3 demo suffered from being the very start of the game (and was just lacking overall compared to this demo anyway). The TGS demo gave you a load of skills and things you can play around with and not enough time to get accustomed to it all, so the battles tended to come down to just selecting the auto attack option and then watching the fireworks.

* Took Driving Time for a spin with Odin and Shiva. Luckily I read up on the system in Famitsu first so I was able to make the most of it - basic flow is to build up the Driving meter before transforming by chaining attacks with your summon. The amount of guage you accumilate then turns into a number after transformation, and each attack requires a certain number of these points to be performed, with a final big attack that uses up all the points you have left. The TP guage seemed to fill up fairly quickly; "in principle the TP guage only increases according to the results of each battle, but there are also items that can recover it." The demo was nice enough to give you one of these so I used the summon twice each time I played the demo.

* Story Time Line - something I was wondering about, covered a bit in the new Famitsu although there are still some holes.
* Thireteen days before the game starts a lot of incidents start to happen. Some of these will be covered in the middle of the game, others in the short stories that are going to go up on the Japanese site.
* Sara is the first person on Cocoon to become a Pulse Lushi.
* The fireworks / bike scene is after Sara has become a Lushi - so this is not distant past.
* Sara then gets absorbed by the Falushi and the Falushi is taken to Hanged Edge. Snow and the others are selected for the Purge.
* This links in to the start of the PS3 demo, and explains why both Lightening and Snow are looking for the Falushi there.

System stuff aside, I loved it. Almost all of the characters seem to have one they get along with and then hate everyone else, which is going to spark a lot of drama, not least of which is Hope blowing Snow up. Battle system was fast, loading times were fast, graphics were great. The character animation seemed to flit a little between "wow this looks like it is mocapped for this scene" and "slightly wooden 'now I'm emoting' stock animation" but the quality of even the second type was high.

From the PS3 demo Iwe were still left waiting to see what the actual game would be like. Having actually seen a proper slice of it, and only going on ultimately what you can tell from a short demo like this, it is going to fit nicely among the ranks of other FF titles. Anyway...

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You can use up your stocked attacks earlier by pressing Tirangle. I guess it is only really worth it if you know the enemy is going to die or you desepartely need to keep the combo going right away.

I think the movie shown inside the booth was a little different from the version they were showing outside, because I'm sure the rather attractive new brunette Luchi who is working with the military had another line of dialogue in that video. Anyway, also in that vid there is a shot of the party running across the outside field with a *massive* dino like monster roaming in the background. In Famitsu they said really hard monsters are going to be mixed in with the weak ones (like Last Remnant, actually) but they won't really come for you; you have to take the fight to them if you want to.

There is also a battle "do-over" command, although I forgot to check if it was in the TGS demo. At any point during a battle you can choose to start it again from the beginning, or even leave the battle and look for another route around it outside. If you die you continue from before the battle anyway, and there are no healing or MP recovery items involved, and so once you consider these points this system makes total sense.

The direction they seem to have take this time is to make each battle an interesting challenge that requires some thought and Optima changing to get through. I loving what I'm hearing about the system and I'm loving what I saw in the demo.

One the staff in Famitsu said "Most of the cast don't really get along with each other until they resolve certain issues." There's gonna be all sorts of drama at the start of this one. In regard to Sera being a party character, I know in English they have said no, but all it says in Famitsu in Japanese was "That's... a secret."


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Optima These are the "strageties" used in battle. You can set them yourself, and do not really seem to be limited to a certain number - or if there is one, it isn't low. Pressing L1 in battle opens the Optima menu from where you can change your Optima at any time, from a pre-set selection created by you in the field main menu. The name of the Optima is derived from the Roles selected for each character. Which brings me to...

Roles These provide the meat of the Optima system. Think of them as extreme versions of jobs that can be changed on the fly. When I say extreme, I mean it - the Healer role *cannot attack*. That's right, it cannot attack at all. Here are the roles currently known about -
Attacker - Initaites attacks on enemy. Offers attack % up not only to attacker but also party members.
Defender - Has skills like taunt that are used to protect other party members.
Healer - Has healing magic. No attacks of any kind.
Enhancer - Deals with buffs and debuffs. I don't know if this one can attack or not.
Blaster - Concentrates on chaining, that is following up other characters attacks against the same target.
Note that "Black Wizard" etc. do not appear to exist. Attacker has access to attack magic.
Each character is more suited to some roles than others, but after passing a certain point in the story you can set any character to any role. Just to make this point totally clear when in each role a character only has access to skills for that role. It doesn't matter if they have the ultimate attack spell in another role, they can't use it if they are a Healer.
Also, each role levels up, and the skills learnt for each character are not identical. Man, there is some character growth fun going on right there!

How Optima Work One in reason for these extreme job types is AI control. You need to be healed, but in other games with AI allies can you always rely on them to do so? Here, change to an Optima with a Healer in it and *all they can do is heal you.* You are going to get healed. But they can't attack, so you can't afford to keep an Optima with a Healer in it in play all the time. You need to bring the Healer in when needed, then change back again once healed. That is what you are doing in FFXIII combat, making those decisions, not clicking through menus to actually acviate the spell yourself.

To really understand the point of Optima in an attacking sense, you need to fully understand the Break system. This is in the PS3 demo but I'll spell it out again here. As you attack an enemy a gauge at the top of the screen fills up, and a % increases. If another attack is performed on the same enemy before the guage runs out then a "chain" starts. So long as more attacks are performed before the guage runs out the chain will continue and the % will increase futher. When this % reaches a certain value (different from each enemy) the enemy will go into Break. This is when they can be lifted into the air, and attacks cause massive damage during Break compared to other times.

A great example of this is when I was fighting the boss in the Snow part of the TGS demo. I just wasn't really doing any damage. Eventually I changed to Snow = Attacker and Sahz and Vanille both as Blasters. The time guage increases more with physcial attacks and the % increases more with magic. Snow put in physcial attacks to keep the guage up and as Blasters my two comrades kept the chain going and puishing the boss to 200%. It still had maybe 1/3, at least, of its life left... and Snow's next physcial attack killed it.

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The Pudding Soliders (Flans) in the Lightening part of the demo are also meant to be a good example of needing to change Optima... or they would have been if I didn't use the HORSE TRANSFORMATON! to drive right over them. How can I think Driving Mode is a better name that Gestalht Mode? Because that's what they do! DRIVE! Especially Sahz.

Anyway , when fighting lots of weaker enemies at once you don't need to worry about Breaking as much; fighting with 3 attackers who all take on different targets and thin out the pack might be better. But against a boss three attackers is pointless, because you are only going to be doing big damage after breaking and you'll have a tough time getting there without Blasters. That, at least, is the basic theory behind the battle system this time out.

As for items in battle... I'm not sure. I don't think there are healing items; remember magic is "free," they want to force you to change Optima to use the Healer and your HP recovers fully after every battle. I'm pretty sure I saw a Phenoix Down. I did see someone else use an item during battle, actually, so it is possible, but not sure on the rules around it.

It will hopefully be very much like Last Remnant in that the next battle could kill you, you could just die right there, and that is something you have to overcome to proceed, but not necessarily by eating a load of stressful Game Overs. The start over option can be used to just improve your ranking, too, if you think the battle isn't going that well. And yes, one of the development team said "What might normally be considered simple, boring spells like Libra and Protes are going to be very important this time." The fact that Libra costs TP, the only other thing you can use these for at the moment being summons, highlights how important is it.
102  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New Information about Final Fantasy XIII on: August 20, 2009, 04:05:53 PM
Another new character has been shown in SJ:

http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2009/08/19/another-final-fantasy-xiii-character-named-jill-nabato.html

She seems likely to be the main antagonist.
103  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy XIII Demo on: April 16, 2009, 07:40:52 PM
Thus my only concern is the difficulty. Maybe Demon's Souls has ruined me for JRPG's...

The Director confirmed in EDGE that demo intentinally made easy to to have players get use to the combat. The retail version according to him is going to be much harder because your party automantic recover HP after every battle in inexchange increased diffculty. The demo is also old code from last year and only 30% of the full Battle System is in it.

EDIT: Forgot to add that the Director also said that you will able to control the entre party in the reatil version of the game.
104  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Dissidia: Final Fantasy - fighting game? on: December 21, 2008, 04:39:19 AM
Well, the game has been out in Japan for three days now, and has gotten tons of praise from importers and Japanese fan. Great thing about the game apparently is has quite alot depth while still being flashy thanks to the "Brave System".

Here's a bit of a rundown on all the characters so far and what they speciallize in.

FFI
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - I

FFII
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - II

FFIII:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - III

FFIV:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - IV

FFV:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - V

FFVI:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - VI

FFVII:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - VII

FFVIII:
Dissidia Countdown - VIII

FFIX:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - IX]http://community.livejournal.com/ffchaoticcosmos/25490.html#cutid1]ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - IX

FFX:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - X

FFXI's Shantotto and XII's Gabrath are confirmed as secret characters. There some onfo Shantotto, but not on Gabranth. He was introduced on Gaming show special in Japan however.

Shantotto=Cosmos side character.
Gabranth=Chaos side character.

FFXI:
ffchaoticcosmos: Dissidia Countdown - XI

The Dissidia feature RPGlike mechniacs, like a Leveling System that increases you characters stats, gaining new Attacks, and Support abilities like Air Dash. Stuff like Items, Weapons, Armor Summons etc have a part quite good role on how Characters do in a fight. Ad-hoc for PvP support is confirmed.

Now for vids! BTW, for higher quality type "&fmt=18" at the end of the Youtube links.

Opening:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tfKcfNkoZjI

Tidus vs Squall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTyRB-qCf_Q

Jecht vs Tidus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBPCymJALlc

Bartz vs Cloud
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUjRVVvzRho&fmt=6

Exdeath vs WoL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkjuthUukcU

Shantotto Gameplay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ORycaWsxIA

Gabranth Ex-Burst.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSHkZm5U8wQ

Gabranth's Moves (bare in mind he's only at Lv.1 at the moment)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G42uSHK-fO0

WoL vs Jecht
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr1sw70_llA&fmt=18

Onion Knight vs Zidane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd-_kL_y5NE&fmt=18

Firion vs WoL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3oPTMxcJJE

Cecil vs. Sephiroth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ePAtayV0Lk&feature=channel_page

Kuja vs Zidane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTK5ssXkwEs&fmt=18
 
Terra vs Bartz
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqbQjW1kbJE&fmt=18

Golbez vs Firion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IktM6paT08s

WoL vs. The Emperor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbhbktzDDew&feature=channel_page

Zidane vs. Kefka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHUtE1QNeVg

Bartz vs Terra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqCE83HAFSA&fmt=18

Cloud vs Jecht
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX6kfcbnIk&feature=related

Tidus vs Zidane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rMHdbXGyhQ&fmt=18

Lvl 100 Firion vs. Lvl 100 ExDeath (Lvl 9 AI) For some reason Exdeath AI screws up at the end.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZv3zTxdJxg

Squall vs Golbez, this probably the best Player versus CPU match so far:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB6C66LhxBs

Good stuff.

105  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Last Remnant on: October 11, 2008, 09:42:02 PM
Gamersyde has ripped the Tutorial Trailer from the Official Japanese TLR website, which shows some new game elements like summoning.

The video is here:
http://gamersyde.com/news_7219_en.html
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