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Square Enix dropped the demo for the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 1 with no warning on Monday. Several members of the EFG staff dove in right away (because we couldn’t help ourselves).

Our impressions are below:

Stephen Duetzmann

Michael Melkonian – CardboardConsole.com

“It keeps everything that worked in Final Fantasy XV, and dumps everything that didn’t. This may be the best hybrid of action and menu-based combat I’ve seen in an RPG.”

Jeffrey Walker – Community Manager

The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo pulled right at my nostalgia heartstrings as the title screen plays the Final Fantasy Theme.

The opening cinematic is beautiful. I have not played Final Fantasy VII all the way through, but I have played the opening of the game. The combat is nice and fluid. Going from battle to exploration took no time away and everything you need to know about character upgrades, items, and gil are posted on the side of the screen without a pause in playing. Switching from attacks to spells freezes the combat so that you can think about your selection.

One thing I really enjoyed is that you have to watch your surroundings. For example, I used a fire spell, but there was a pillar between the enemy and me. The fire ended up hitting the pillar instead of the enemy. The game is a bit difficult. It took all of my resources (phoenix downs, potions, and cure) to defeat the first boss and I only beat him with a lucky limit break at the right time. Overall, this game looks like it will be amazing and I cannot wait until it is released on April 10th.

Michael Duetzmann – Contributor

Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, The Album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac…

Final Fantasy 7

There are some things that just resonate when the opening beats play or the opening lines are spoken.

Final Fantasy 7 was a hand me down experience for me, I played a copy with the green [Playstation Hits] stripe along the cover. Somehow Square Enix has taken that experience I first felt in 1998 and made it better.

The demo expands the story of Final Fantasy 7’s opening scene: The bombing of Mako Reactor One. In both perspective, as the game is presented in real time and a full 3-d environment, and narratively as it features new dialogue, events, and a dynamic score.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 1’s nostalgic power comes from filling in the gaps from the original game. The PS1 featured beautiful backgrounds locked in place and loading times between battle and exploration that reset the pace at every switch. The remake is full of gorgeous 3d backgrounds and smoothly animated characters.

The best way I could describe the game flow was they replaced the start and stop flow of turn based game play with a tidal flow: real time action builds up a gauge that can be spent for powerful actions.

The game offers a “Classic Mode” that features a more turn based feel, and it puts the real time action under AI control. This is intended to cater to players could turn out to be a very powerful accessibility tool

The music shifts in and out of combat and creates a single continuous score instead of separate tracks. Every expected track is accounted for a supporting character Barret hums the tune of Fanfare after a well fought battle. Do yourself a favor and Listen to the opening theme before starting the demo before starting it up.

I could talk about this game for hours, but the best thing YOU can do is play it yourself. It was a 45 minute experience after a quick 15 minute download. What are you waiting for? GO!


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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The Square Enix team brought Final Fantasy XV onto the Xbox E3 2016 media briefing stage. They didn’t just come to say hello though. They brought a giant gameplay demo that featured a battle with the Eidolon Titan.

The demo was over almost before it started, but it featured Noctis, the main character, caught in a three way battle between Titan and a number of imperial soldiers. We had never really seen the speed of combat before so it was interesting to see.

Noctis is an agile combatant, and is able to switch between multiple weapons during combat. This demo forced the player to deal with unequal forces competing to be the side to take him down. This meant he had to navigate and avoid the larger (and slower) titan while dealing damage to and eliminating the smaller foes.

The demo started with Noctis being alone, but the player only needed to survive a little while until Noctis’s friends arrive. That was when the demo really came to life. All four of the heroes work together to deal damage to the Titan and heal each other with items and spells. The best part of the demo was listening to the four friends bro out and throw context appropriate wise cracks at each other throughout the combat. Final Fantasy XV will launch on September 30th and is easily my most anticipated game of the year. Keep your eyes on Pixelkin.org for further  updates as the release comes closer.

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I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the Playstation 3 beta for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn over the holiday weekend. I have been a lifetime Final Fantasy fan, so it was like Christmas in July. I spent about a dozen hours playing through the beta on various characters over the weekend and I wanted to share some important information.

#1: Playing an MMO with a controller is hard

There are a lot of people who will say that playing MMOs in general is hard. But, it took a lot of adjustment to be able to make basic combat commands work. The keyboard and mouse functions are far more intuitive because they involve clicking on a guy and pushing a number key. The bottom line is that unless your child can easily handle using the trigger buttons on the PS3 controller then it might be best to stick with the PC release.

#2: The game is stunning

I know we come to expect that games produced for current generation consoles are beautiful, but MMOs are a unique case. They often have to give up a lot when it comes to visuals in order to make the game run smoothly. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn bucks that trend. The animations are smooth. The textures are incredible. Even the spell animations were neat to look at.

#3: The Lalafell race may just be the cutest thing in the history of video games

Look. Some people like to pretend to be big strong superheroes when they play video games. I was one of them. But, then I realized that I could create a digital person that both looks like my four year old son AND can manipulate the elements. I was instantly converted.

I see this as something that might have a lot of appeal for younger kids. I know my youngest got a lot of enjoyment from watching himself run around on the screen.

 

#4: The introduction and tutorial is LONG

I’ll admit that I might be looking back on my previous MMO experiences with rose colored glasses, but the introduction was very long and pretty dry. I am afraid that some kids will have difficulty sticking with it. The good news it that they don’t have to share every single experience that the game has to offer so many of us can just slog through the opening on our own after they head to bed.

 

#5: For all its beauty, it is still an online game

There is no way around it. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is still on online role playing game. As a result, there was still no shortage of borderline inappropriate names and obnoxious chatter over the chat channels. These are the kinds of problems are baked into online play. You just can’t separate yourself from them. They are less of an issue for kids who can’t read, but you are in a different world once those symbols on the screen start to hold meaning.

There is another round of beta testing beginning this weekend. I’ll post again if anything significant changes.

Have you or someone you know been in the beta? What were your thoughts? Post them in the comments! I’d love to hear them!

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