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E3 2007: Square Enix Impressions and Interviews - DS Games
E3 2007: Square Enix Impressions and Interviews - DS Games
by John McCarroll - 07/18/07
DS Games PSP Games Front Mission Interview Final Fantasy XI Interview


Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
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Final Fantasy has had a few jaunts into the world of strategy, but Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings marks the first time that the series transforms itself into an RTS/RPG hybrid. Affectionately reffered to as "My First Final Fantasy" by a Square Enix employee, Revenant Wings was released in Japan on April 26, 2007 and was the best-selling game its week of release. With its stylus controls and easier difficulty than its PS2 counterpart, Revenant Wings was set to appeal to the more casual crowd of Nintendo DS owners.

That same Square Enix employee, however, was quick to assure us that the difficulty level in Revenant Wings has been changed significantly for the US release. Players will still control tens of characters via the stylus in an RTS style, though the game will still keep its simple control scheme and retain the gambit system seen in its big brother for the PS2. There are three types of units, melee, ranged, and airborne, all of which counter each other in a rock-paper-scissors style. Melee beats Ranged, Ranged beats Airborne, and Airborne beats Melee. It's a fairly simple system that's not entirely uncommon in RTS titles, though it works well in Revenant Wings.

We were unable to look at much of the plot or summoning in Revenant Wings, nor were we able to see the synthesizing systems. However, American gamers will be able to enjoy Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings when it is released November 20, 2007.


Front Mission
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I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the Front Mission games. While I'm unhappy about Square Enix's decision to skip over Front Mission 5 for North American release, I'm still happy that American gamers will be able to play another iteration in this series. Front Mission, called Front Mission: The First in Japan, is the DS remake of the Super Famicom title that spawned the rest of the series. The DS iteration features both standard and touch-screen controls, as well as the ability to play out the USN side of the Huffman Conflict, not just the OCU side of the original.

For those unfamiliar with the Front Mission series, it follows an alternate future where most warfare is done using state of the art mecha called Wanzers. These Wanzers are controlled via a standard RTS inferface, though instead of a simple HP pool, both the left and right arms, the torso, and the legs have an individual HP rating. These parts can be destroyed individually, crippling the Wanzer, though destroying the torso will eliminate the mech. These parts are all customizable, though players will have to balance between speed, power, weight, and accuracy to create a Wanzer squad that will succeed.

Front Mission for the DS is slated for North American release on October 23, 2007. For more information, check out our interview with Front Mission DS producer Koichiro Sakamoto on the top nav bar of this article!


Heroes of Mana
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While Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings merges RTS and RPG evenly, eliminating many classical RTS features like resource gathering, Heroes of Mana is a hybrid that focuses more on the standard RTS formula than its RPG portions. The game is viewed from the RTS standard isometric view, and players will control both resource-gathering and attack units. Unlike games like StarCraft or Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War, however, Heroes of Mana keeps all of a character's buildings inside of a spaceship that functions as the player's base of operations.

All of the unit control in Heroes of Mana is stylus based, done by tapping a unit and then assigning it orders. If players want to assign multiple units, they can drag the stylus along an area to select more than one unit to give orders to. Heroes of Mana also features Wi-Fi capabilities, though it was unclear at the E3 demo whether or not this was a full-fledged Wi-Fi deathmatch mode. Interestingly enough, the story of Heroes of Mana is linked most closely to Seiken Densetsu 3, the unreleased Super Famicom title in the Mana series.

US RPG fans will have a chance to take Heroes of Mana for a spin on August 14, 2007.


Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
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The title most interesting in Square Enix's DS lineup at E3 was most definitely Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. A merger of a collect-'em-all Pokémon title and a more classic-styled RPG, DQM: Joker features the art of Akira Toriyama, the same as the main branch of the Dragon Quest series. Players will be able to have up to three monsters in their party at once, issuing turn-based commands similar to those in Dragon Quest VIII, from which it shares its graphical engine, although re-tooled for the Nintendo DS. Players will also be able to set their monsters to an AI profile, allowing them to attack at will.

One of the best parts of DQM: Joker is that players will be able to breed their monsters, and even two players who have similar monsters breeding will see different monsters emerge, although Square Enix wouldn't go into detail on what comprised the breeding system. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker was the game furthest from release in Square Enix's setup, slated for a Q4 2007 release. Keep watch to RPGFan for more information on this DS title.




©2007 Square Enix. All Rights Reserved.




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