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A Trio of Square Enix Impressions - TGS 2014


Square Enix

At this year's TGS, Square Enix actually has a decent number of fully playable demos to try out (unlike previous years where we were lucky to see more than two footage reels). Here's what I played today:

Final Fantasy Explorers

The line for this game was significantly longer than the time I got to play it. I barely took down Ifrit, the boss of the special TGS quest, but that was enough for me to pin down where I'd felt this game's particular brand of style before. It's a Monster Hunter clone with job classes, really. The quest had a time limit, a running clock that haunted the upper-left corner of the screen as I hack-and-slashed through two identical caves to arrive in Ifrit's lair. My staunch allies were a chocobo and a goblin, both of whom got fried multiple times as I tried and failed to aim my monk's power blast attack in a way that actually benefited me.

The interface really needed some work. Basic movement with the analog stick worked well, but the game forces you to use the direction pad if a change of camera angle is needed. This makes it really difficult to change views and run at the same time, which can be crucial when a ten-ton flame giant is trying to play hopscotch on your skull. Special skill combos are tied to the right shoulder button, and are actually pretty convenient aside from the issues with aiming them right in the first place.

This game was definitely made with co-op play in mind, and this is made abundantly clear in the promotional footage playing on screens all around the S-E booth. If that's your thing, great. I'll just be leaving this one alone in the future, though.

Final Fantasy: Type-0

The screens in front of the Type-0 area featured actual action from the game, as it was being played by people currently in the demo zone. So everyone behind me in line got to witness me do a fair job up until the end where a squad of magitek armor caught me with no MP left and proceeded to dogpile on me so hard that my lead character didn't have a chance to get to her feet until after the Revive spell kicked in. It didn't help that the camera chose that moment to be singularly unhelpful.

If I decide to try it again, that's definitely something to keep in mind, that while hit points regenerate fairly quickly, magic points must be ripped from the fallen bodies of your enemies. It's an awfully bloody lesson to learn from a game that features militarized schoolgirl attire, but there you have it.

The HD rendering makes this game look nice, though. The masonry of the fortress I was assaulting, the bristled ridges on the backs of the coeurls I was curb-stomping with my knife-slasher teen, and my lord! the level ???? Golem was amazing. If it weren't for the aforementioned issues with the pushy magitek armor and a complete lack of MP with which to zap 'em, I'd call this demo an unqualified success.

Bravely Second

The last demo I played at the S-E booth today was the oddly (and memorably) named Bravely Second, which wasted no time in introducing the Three Musketeers of the Orthodoxy and Magnolia the Devil Buster as the party for the day. The Grand Matriarch Agnes Oblige sends this fearsome foursome in search of a missing child who was last seen in the forest to the north. And this is how they end up confronting Amy Matchlock, holder of the Tomahawk Asterisk and leader of an imperial strikeforce.

The Tomahawk class wasn't the only one on show today, however. Yuu Zeneorica, who likes to compare himself to the swooping falcon, was rocking the new Wizard class. This set of skills allows the wielder to take spells learned through other jobs, as well as its own innate spell list, and match them with attack templates such as Dart, Hammer, Blast, or Mist. These mix-and-match spells have different effects depending on the combination. For example, the Mist template appears to create a lingering damage effect over the entire enemy group, while the Hammer effect deals blunt elemental force damage.

Still, while the game's graphics and design look to be an upgrade from its predecessor, it's still very much the same style of gameplay as Bravely Default. I've made my views on the game clear, even if mostly in gest for April Fools Day. I will note that in this installment, all attacks take one BP to use, even regular ones, so that may balance some of the issues in battle, even if it never speeds up the pace.

I did manage to get on camera while playing this, which was odd. Good thing I was wearing my hat. You can never be a hero in Bravely Default without the proper hat on, after all.

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