Square Enix Press Conference 2006 - Console Games
Square Enix Press Conference 2006 - Console Games
by John McCarroll - 05/08/06
Console Games Handheld Games Mobile Fabula Nova Crystallis The Missing

Valkrie Profile 2: Silmeria
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Square had quite a few games in the playable games area, so I had to make a choice at what to gawk at first. My obvious choice? No, not Final Fantasy XII, I sat down and played around with the newest tri-Ace title, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. Silmeria, which is headed for a September release in North America holds true to its roots. While the game's environments and characters are all rendered in full polygonal 3D, the towns are all on 2D planes. While this sounds odd at first, it's done quite well, comparably. *cough cough, Radiata Stories* The towns themselves are complex, as you're able to travel back to another street or inside of homes.

Silmeria follows the story of Alisha, hundreds of years before the events in Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. Alisha is a reincarnation of Silmeria, a Valkyrie whom was sealed away after a conflict with Odin. A body that holds two souls, one supposed to be sealed, is something that Odin can't ignore for long. This means Alisha often ends up having conversations with herself, not something you usually expect from a game's heroine. Story sequences are fully voiced, and well based on what we heard.

Graphically, Valkyrie Profile 2 is gorgeous. The game sports not only fully polygonal characters and environments, but an entirely new lighting model, which provides real time shadows. In battle, the game keeps its graphical sheen. The combat itself is pretty complicated, though it's possible to win battles without going incredibly in depth, leaving the game to still be accessable. Combat is on a fully 3D field, similar to Star Ocean or Radiata Stories. Players are able to split up their four characters and position them around enemies to maximize damage with pincer attacks and other tactics. In many battles, there are leaders for the enemies, much as you would see for party members in many RPGs. Just like how you'd bite the dust in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne if the main character bit the dust, so does the enemy party fall if you take out their leader. Watch out, however, as if you don't take down the little baddies, you won't get their experience.

Dungeons feature the Photon Action System, which increases the amount of puzzles found inside the dank depths. Players are able to freeze enemies and use them as stepping stones, or freeze them and swap positions with them to get to inaccessable areas. We were told that the soundtrack would be done by the 'regular tri-Ace folks', so expect Sakuraba's to again take up his Casio and defend the sound in Silmeria. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is set for a September release, and has not yet recieved an MSRP or rating by the ESRB.

Final Fantasy XII
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"Final Fantasy XII," said one Square Enix representative, "shouldn't be called Twelve. It should simply be called Final Fantasy as it embodies what the series should be." While we're not sure yet as none of us have taken the entire game down, the twelfth game to bear a numeral for Final Fantasy certainly is shaping up to be one of the best titles of this year.

People have drawn parallels between Final Fantasy XI: Online's battle system and Final Fantasy XII's Active Dimension Battle system. While they certainly appear similar on the surface, the ability to move between combat and exploration without a single loading time is certainly welcome. The combat is not so different from the previous ATB systems, either, in fact, it can be described quite concisely: "Backwards ATB with Free Movement." In combat, players will actively control only one member of the party, but will be able to set Gambits for characters outside of battle. Based on certain actions or conditions, a character in the party will perform specific actions.

Final Fantasy XII is slated for release in October 2006.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)
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Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII was recieved with open arms by Japanese consumers; the game flew off game store shelves. The described Gun-RPG is finding its way to North America this year, and it's far from untouched. In fact, Vincent Valentine's newest adventure will find extra content on its trek to this side of the Pacific. The Action-RPG features gameplay from both first person shooters and third person action titles as Vincent takes out a group that was long hidden under Midgar. With both controller and keyboard-and-mouse support, Dirge should appeal to both the hardcore and the casual. Players will be able to modify Vincent's gun in several ways to increase the rate of fire, range, attack power, and several other features. Vincent is also able to use his transformations to slay his enemies without remorse.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII will be released on August 22, 2006.

Dawn of Mana (PS2)
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Dawn of Mana was only shown in video form at the conference, but the first 3D game in The World of Mana seems to be shaping up well. Combat was similar to Children of Mana, in that moving objects and creatures were important to dealing damage or keeping enemies outside of battle. Other than that, however, Dawn of Mana was in short form at the show.

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and The Tower of Mirrios (Wii)
I wish I could tell you great things about Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors for Nintendo's Wii, but we saw, at tops, ten seconds of gaming footage. What we do know is that it will use the motion sensitivity of the Wiimote to simulate slashing attacks. Other than that, however, the Wii launch title was mainly left to our imagination.

Codename: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (Wii)
Even scarcer than information on Dragon Quest Swords was information on Codename: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. While we had a chance to see some of the game's impressive FMV, there was no live footage of the game itself, nor a release window for the title. If there's more about the game on the show floor, we'll keep you posted.

©2006 Square Enix. All Rights Reserved.

Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, September 16
Wild ARMs 5 • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Star Ocean: Till The End of Time • 3:00pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Wild ARMs 2 • 5:30pm 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Wild ARMs 2 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts - Re:Chain of Memories • 2:30pm PDT/5:30pm EDT
Wild ARMs 2 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Final Fantasy IX • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Friday Super Variety Night • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Week in Review: Live Edition • 11am PDT/2pm EDT
Wild ARMs 2 • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

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