SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 FOR EUROPE‏ / NORTH AMERICA

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LONDON (June 10, 2014) – 
Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories,today announces the forthcoming release of two highly anticipated SQUARE ENIX® titles: FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0™ and FINAL FANTASY AGITO™.

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Originally released in Japan in 2011 for the PlayStation®Portable handheld entertainment system, FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 will be coming to the West as an HD remaster for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. In addition, FINAL FANTASY AGITO, already available in Japan, is confirmed for a Western release on iOS and Android devices .

“The voice of our Western fans was instrumental in the development of FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0, and we’re very excited to release this title soon,” said Hajime Tabata, director of FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0. “The new PlayStation®4 system and Xbox One platforms have really helped to re-envision this dynamic and turbulent world of Orience.”

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The war-torn land of Orience is also the setting for FINAL FANTASY AGITO, where players on iOS and Android mobile devices take on the role of a cadet in the Dominion of Rubrum as they aim to become Agito, a prophesized saviour of Orience.

 

The First Concept from the Next Hitman Game – Won’t Make an Appearance at E3 2014

Io-Interactive has revealed the first concept art of their upcoming Hitman game! The location in the concept art is set in Central Europe and player will be able to explore the entire building you see in the image, inside and out. In their blog post, Io-Interactive stated that this building on its own is larger than any location in Hitman Absolution.

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As every year before E3, rumors about the next Hitman game’s possible appearance at the event have started to spread, but this time, Io-Interactive wanted to stop them to prevent fans experiencing  a disappointment.

We know the worst thing is to hope for something that doesn’t turn up; so we wanted to let you know that our next Hitman is going to be under wraps for a bit longer. We’re focusing all of our time and efforts into creating the best possible Hitman game. That’s our number one priority and we don’t want to divert valuable resources to show something before it’s ready.

You can read the whole blog post from here.

Gunslinger Stratos 2 Music Promotion Video Vol. 2: Behind The Scenes of Soundtrack Production

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Last year, Square Enix revealed a new sequel for “Gunslinger Stratos″, which was released this Spring. There has been lots of buzz going on around the game, mainly because of this epic
 Gunslinger Stratos 2 CGI trailer.

However, today we’re taking a closer look at the music promotion video vol. 2 which again takes us behind the scenes of the music production. The video gives a great preview of the soundtrack and how recording work is done.There are quite big artists working on the game’s soundtrack, for example, the world famous violist AYASA from “Sword of the Far East”, GARNiDELiA and Magnetic Fighter.  Watch the previous music production video from here.

Note that Gungslinger Stratos 2 is an arcade-only title which means it won’t be seen outside Japan, unless Square Enix gets a reason to port it for consoles.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Tops as the Best-Selling PS4 Game as It Launches in Japan

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The new-gen version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 last week. Media Create has shared the latest sale figures from last week, which show Final Fantasy XIV topped as the best-selling PS4 game as it launched on 14th April. Square Enix managed to sell over 31 000 copies of the game, which led to great increase in subscribes. Actually, when combined the Western and Japanese sales, the increase was that huge that the game managed to break a milestone of 2 000 000 active players.

The Western sale figures still remain unknown but below you can software sales from Japan:

Software Sales
 (followed by lifetime sales)

  1. [3DS] Yokai Watch (Level-5, 07/11/13) – 34,690 (754,910)
  2. [PS3] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku Hen (Bandai Namco, 04/10/14) – 31,724 (174,156)
  3. [PS4] Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Square Enix, 04/14/14) – 31,326 (New)
  4. [3DS] Ace Attorney 123: Wright Selection (04/17/14, Capcom) – 26,925 (New)
  5. [3DS] Mario Party: Island Tour (Nintendo, 03/20/14) – 18,848 (304,835)
  6. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku Hen (Bandai Namco, 04/10/14) – 17,755 (145,991)
  7. [3DS] Wagamama Fashion Girls Mode Yokubari Sengen! Tokimeki Up! (Nintendo, 04/17/14) – 12,315 (New)
  8. [PSP] Juusanshi Engi Engetsu Sangokuden 2 (Idea Factory, 04/17/14) – 8,499 (New)
  9. [3DS] Meitantei Conan: Phantom Kyoushikyoku (Bandai Namco, 04/17/14) – 8,336 (New)
  10. [PS3] Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Konami, 03/20/14) – 8,018 (198,054)

Also read: Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Won “Excellence” Awards at Famitsu Awards 2013

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Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Won “Excellence” Awards at Famitsu Awards 2013

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This week, the famous Japanese magazine Famitsu arranged their own “Famitsu Award 2013″ show where they rewarded the best games of 2013. It was no surprise Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn were both nominated alongside other successful titles such as The Last of Us and Monster Hunter 4.

While Monster Hunter 4 managed to snatch the game of the year award, both Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn received “Excellence” awards from the “general” category. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn also won an additional “Excellence” rewards from PC/Mobile category, making it the best PC game of the year, according to Famitsu.

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It’s rather crazy and amazing to see such a great recognition given to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. We aren’t only talking about these awards, but the good reception it received from the fans and critics in general. And the fact, the very first version of Final Fantasy XIV was pretty much a huge failure, makes this even more awesome. It’s great to see that fans’ feedback really hit Square Enix, who decided to rebuild the game from the very beginning and release it again. That’s something insane and nearly impossible, not all game companies would be ready to do or could even deliver.

As we saw last Fall, Final Fantasy XIV was revived in style and rise like a phoenix from the ashes by gaining great sales and good review scores. And the success of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn continues as Square Enix just announced the game has over 2 000 000 subscribers / players worldwide! This is a great example and lesson in life that after a failure you shouldn’t immediately give up even though others may doubt you. Listening to feedback, believing in yourself and focusing on things you are good at, can lead to amazing results.

Don’t you think that it’s a good time to jump in one of the coolest MMOs around, and experience how a true Final Fantasy multiplayer game feels like? Especially, when you can use PS4′s party chat to communicate with your friends during the gameplay!

Happy Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 Day! The Launch Trailer Is Out Now!

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Happy Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 Launch Day! Square Enix Japan has uploaded the Japanese launch trailer to celebrate the release of the game! Are you ready to step in the world of Eorzea and face new challenges!?

Remember if you own the PS3 version of the game, you can update it for free to the PS4 version. Here is our guide how it happens.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – Free PS4 Open Beta Trailer

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released on 14th April for PlayStation 4. The Beta Phase 2 will be starting this week!

The Open Beta of Final Fantasy XIV has started today! All PlayStation 4 users can download the beta client for free from the PS Store. Note that BETA 2 client works for EARLY ACCESS and LAUNCH as well, so there’s no need to download the game after this anymore! Players will be able to keep their progress and carry characters in to the launch version of the PS4 game. You can also play the beta with the existing character. The beta will be ending on 7th April.  

Early access (for those that pre-order the game) starts April 11-13th. The download size is 12GB.

DOWNLOAD FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN OPEN BETA [PS4] FROM  THE PLAYSTATION STORE EUROPE
DOWNLOAD FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN OPEN BETA [PS4] FROM THE PLAYSTATION STORE NORTH AMERICA. 

Square Enix Releases Four Incredible Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Artworks | Wallpapers Available

Square Enix Releases Four New Incredible Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Wallpapers

The Patch 2.2 “Through Maelstrom” for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is out now. To celebrate this, Square Enix has released their 8th Final Fantasy XIV fan kit containing four brand new artworks. The new art pieces can be downloaded as wallpapers from here or below.

Remember that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 beta will be starting this week! Read everything you need to know about the open beta from here!

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Open Beta Phase 2 Starts This Week | Download Beta Client Today

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released on 14th April for PlayStation 4. The Beta Phase 2 will be starting this week!

The Open Beta of Final Fantasy XIV will be starting on 4th April! All PlayStation 4 users can download the beta client for free from the PS Store. Note that BETA 2 client works for EARLY ACCESS and LAUNCH as well, so there’s no need to download the game after this anymore! Players will be able to keep their progress and carry characters in to the launch version of the PS4 game. You can also play the beta with the existing character. The beta will be ending on 7th April.  

NOTE: The Open Beta Client will be available on the PS Store today, once it’s is update. Early access (for those that pre-order the game) starts April 11-13th. The download size is 12GB.

DOWNLOAD FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN OPEN BETA [PS4] FROM  THE PLAYSTATION STORE EUROPE
DOWNLOAD FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN OPEN BETA [PS4] FROM THE PLAYSTATION STORE NORTH AMERICA.

TowerFall: Ascension Review – Arrow in the Knee?

Last summer, TowerFall was released exclusively for Ouya and received quite a positive reception. This March, the game debuted on PlayStation 4 as a definitive version renamed “TowerFall: Ascension“.  When I got my hands on it, I was excited to see what makes this game appeal to so many people, and does it live up to the hype.

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Gameplay

In TowerFall, the player takes control of archers whose mission is to survive from multiple enemy hordes in order to unlock new maps and characters. The idea is to master your archery skills and avoid getting killed by various monsters. The game provides a great amount of challenge, since shooting and aiming right way demands skills from the player. Especially, if you want to kill as many enemies as possible at once to create massive combos. The more enemies you hit, the more points you will gain.

Mastering archery takes longer than one would expect but I would have wanted more variation from the gameplay. The problem is that it starts to feel slightly repetitive after a few hours.  Even though there are four different characters to choose from, they don’t have any special abilities or anything else than a different skin. By looting treasure chests, player may unlock power ups: wings that let him fly around the stage, additional arrows which may be even deadly than the ordinary ones, or a magnificent shield which protects from coming enemy attacks. This is the only way TowerFall creates a nice element of surprise to the survival and changes the direction of the battle.  Nonetheless, I wish the developers would have added more character-specific abilities to bring some longevity to the gameplay. It may have demanded more effort on balancing the game but this way everyone would have found a character fitting to their style.

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Game Modes

There are three game modes in TowerFall: Ascension: Quests, Trials and Versus.On Trials Mode, the player’s mission is to destroy targets as fast as possible to break time records. These maps are unique for the trials mode and each of them have own records to be broken. Once you master your skills and complete all stages ASAP, you will be greatly rewarded.

TowerFall: Ascension is being promoted for its multiplayer. Be aware that all multiplayer features/modes are local only, and they demand multiple controllers. This may be a deal breaker for players who don’t have additional controllers or even worse – no friends to play with. This is what I had to face and thus I didn’t get a chance to experience the multiplayer. This made me wonder: Why a game which main focus is multiplayer doesn’t provide any online modes? We’re living in 2014, after all.

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New in Ascension is the 1- or 2-player co-op Quest mode. Players work together to survive from enemy hordes and nemesis archers across the land of TowerFall. As promising as it sounds, it is disappointing because it doesn’t have any kind of story, and the co-op is limited to local multiplayer.

Art Direction

TowerFall’s art direction relies on classic retro stylized appearance. Honestly, it’s starting to feel a bit cliché when it is coming from an indie game. I’ve always wondered why do indie games tend to rely on old-school looks so often? Anyway, sprites and environments are quite well done, and it’s enjoyable to follow the gameplay.  The art direction works but doesn’t provide a unique approach.

Music

Surprisingly, music was one of my favorite things about TowerFall. It has this nice medieval yet modern touch to it. Feeling the influence from the past games is inevitable but it was great to hear the composer combining normal instruments and old synch together. It simply fits perfectly to the mood. Altogether, the original soundtrack provides a journey from the darker times to brighter days.

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In Conclusion

TowerFall: Ascension may be a great game for people who have enough controllers and friends to arrange a party. This way it’s possible to experience all multiplayer features the game has to provide.  But for single players, TowerFall: Ascension will likely remain a disappointment. Not because the game is bad but because they don’t get access to enjoy all content.The fact is the multiplayer is the core of the game but also its Achilles tendon since multiplayer features are limited to local only. The lack of online multiplayer feels quite weird in 2014 and it means all players can’t experience the whole game without investing in another controller. Thus, the contents remain quite flat, and in my opinion it won’t provide enough for a single player to justify the €13.95 price tag. For local multiplayers? Perhaps.

European Limited Edition for Murdered: Soul Suspect Revealed

Square Enix has revealed a limited edition for Murdered: Soul Suspect! The limited edition includes a secret journal from the game with unseen files about the murders and free access to a digital strategy map.

The Limited Edition will include a copy of the journal used by Ronan and Joy to hunt down the killer and features written and visual clues about the murders terrorizing Salem. It will also include free access to an Interactive Digital Strategy Map. With the aid of the map, you will be able to seek out hundreds of collectibles, detect side quests and find all of Salem’s haunting landmarks. The map will be accessible via computer or tablet.

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More info about Murdered Soul Suspect!

Murdered: Soul Suspect™ challenges gamers to solve the hardest case of all… their own murder. Ronan O’Connor, a detective with the Salem police, has his life brought to a brutal end by a masked killer.

Caught in the purgatorial world of Dusk he must combine his investigative skills with powerful supernatural abilities to uncover the shocking link between his own death and a series of killings terrifying the town of Salem. This supernatural detective thriller will be available June 5th in Sweden, June 6th in Norway, Finland, Denmark and rest of the world for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 games and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems and Windows PC.

 

 

inFamous: Second Son Review – Third Time’s A Charm?

infamous: Second Son was one of the very first titles revealed for PlayStation 4, and it’s also the third installment in the series. Now about a year after the reveal, I finally got my hands on the game itself, and prepared to see is Delsin Rowe capable to fill Cole’s big boots as the king of the open-world superhero games. Is Sucker Punch’s new release a full-fledged next-gen title or a rushed tech demo?
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The Story

inFamous: Second Son throws you in Delsin’s pants. He is a misunderstood punk who tends to be quite artistic – in his own unique way. One day, during a road accident, bioterrorists manage to escape from a police car. Delsin encounters one of these humans with special powers, and everything goes absolutely wrong. Soon he wakes up as the number one enemy of the state with powers only his kind can match – Delsin is now one of the bioterrorists. He and his brother, Reggie, start a journey to find a cure to free Delsin from this curse.

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The life as a superhuman isn’t as easy as you may think. Delsin starts a new chapter in his life as unaccepted and persecuted by others – “the normal people”. It’s true that very often, we people tend to be scared about things we know nothing about like immigrants, other cultures even sexual minorities. It’s easier to close your eyes and act like the problem never existed but when it suddenly touches your own life and family, something needs to be done. These themes play a big part of the psychology in Second Son.

The main characters’ fates aren’t the most charming ones. A loser, a drug addict and a victim of bullying. Now these people, whose lives have been ruined by others, want to help and fix the society to build a bit brighter future for their kind. The super powers are great equipments when trying to change the world in a “good” or “evil” way.

Overall, the game delivers a surprisingly good story. It has nearly ditched the previous dark and cold atmosphere but it still feels like “inFamous”. As the themes remain serious, the developer team has given a new colorful and more lighthearted touch to the story. The tongue-in-cheek writing provides awesome over-the-top and funny moments at times. It was a positive surprise to see a story with such diverse scene planning from an inFamous game.

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Gameplay

The gameplay continues the traditional inFamous experience. This time everything is just smoother, more versatile and polished. Brand new abilities and beautiful effects powered by the next-gen hardware create an illusion of freshness and newness.

At the beginning, Delsin’s main power is “smoke”, but don’t worry, he acquires even more powers during the story. Each power works its own unique way and they all play a bit differently on the battlefield. This allows players to try different kinds of strategies and approaches which makes the gameplay feel less repetitive.  For example, smoke power focuses on confusing the enemies and dealing damage, when neon power is far more stylish and demands more aiming skills.

Seattle is a large town with a lot to explore. That’s why moving around might be quite slow when starting your journey. But once the amazing neon power is unlocked, player can run around with the speed of light – even up the walls!

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Skill upgrading is crucial if you’re planning to slay the enemies and be a hero or an absolute bitch. The upgrading happens by collecting “power shards” from the enemy checkpoints or by destroying flying monitor bots. Once you have collected enough,  you can unlock brand new abilities and improve the older ones. The more efforts you put on seaching these shining things, the more powerful you’ll become. And the world will bow down in front of you.

How could you save the world if there was nobody trying to stop you? The enemy design is a great improvement from the previous titles. This time your usual enemies are normal soldiers and their commanders. Some of the high ranking ones have an ability to use their leader’s concrete powers during the fights. These enemies brings a nice feeling of threat and chaos in the battles. At times the enemies can be quite heavenly and satanic at the same time.

Missions

Before starting my journey with inFamous: Second Son, I was worried about quests since open-world games tend to become quite repetitive towards the end. As the main quests provide more diverse gameplay experiences and story bits, they are the salt that keeps the game entertaining. By completing side quests, you can take down the D.U.P and slowly tear down their domination. This way, players are one step ahead from freeing the city of a bioterrorists chasing group which is funded by the government itself.

At first the side missions are entertaining and there even are some things Sucker Punch hadn’t done before with the series. But as I got nearer to the end, they started to feel slightly repetitive. I wished they would have surprised me and brought something we hadn’t seen during the first hours of gameplay. Sadly they didn’t: all side quests were focused on secret agent hunting, file searching, camera and objective eliminating and, of course, spraying the walls! (Loved this one!)

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Good & Evil

inFamous has always played around with “Good & Evil” themes, and players actions and choices affect to his skills and the story. Second Son isn’t an exception. This time your choices matter even with the main cutscenes since they are slightly different for good and evil players. There are also evil/good mission and players need to choose between them. Wanna be the savior like Lightning? Or the hell on the earth? It’s all up to you.

However, during the gameplay I felt like the story of the game was meant to be played as “Good” since good things felt more natural to Delsin’s character. It may be hard to write and create a neutral character which makes all choices look equal. Still, I always felt that evil acts weren’t the right option. Perhaps this is just related to my own kindness. Anyway, good and evil feature brings more replay value since their stories differ from each other. I wonder what happens when you mix them?

Visuals

inFamous: Second Son won’t let down people who are looking for eye-candy. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, especially during wet conditions. Seeing light glowing from puddles and wet surfaces is truly impressive, as small detail as it is. It doesn’t matter when you visit the beautifully detailed Seattle, it still somehow amazes you.

Alongside Killzone, inFamous Second Son is one of those next-gen games that dishes the infamous gray  and cold realism and makes the world more colorful and enjoyable. The game also features stylish animated artful cutscenes which have been a thing for the inFamous series since the beginning.

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In Conclusion

PlayStation 4 has had strong launch but its game library is slightly lacking interesting titles outside the shooter scene. But now inFamous: Second Son comes and saves the day – like a real hero –  by providing a great story with impressive visuals and fun gameplay. If the first playthrough hooked you up, the Good and Evil setting will be making sure there is enough replay value for the second playthrough. Honestly, I never was that fond of the previous titles of the series, but third time’s a charm when it comes to inFamous: Second Son.

inFamous Second: Son will be out for PlayStation 4 on March 21st!

Square Portal wants to thank Nordisk Film and PlayStation Finland for providing an early access to inFamous: Second Son.

 

Killzone: Shadow Fall Review – A PlayStation Blockbuster Takes a Step to a Better Direction

In the future, Square Portal will be streaming and providing reviews of non-SE games to give a deeper and wider look at the game industry. We also feel it’s a great addition for gamers who are interested in other games as well. This allows us to create more content for the site as well, and you to get an image how a fan similar to you enjoys different kinds of games.

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This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Killzone series which was first introduced on PS2 in November 2004. Since the release Guerrilla Games franchise has become one of the most important PlayStation blockbusters, and has received two sequels. Now we are taking a closer look to Killzone: Shadow Fall, which takes place about three decades after the events of the last game.

THE STORY

The planet of Vekta is being shared half by the Helghast and humanity. The conflicts are inevitable and both sides are tirelessly planning to take each other down – Whatever the cost. Terrorism and other “accidents” are threatening citizens. Still, there are people on both sides looking for hope in wanting to live in symbiosis with their enemy. The story of Shadow Fall takes a nice psychological view to the human brains and in general how fear can take the control. Both these civilizations are being ruled by a few men who are too proud and making their people scared about things that don’t really exists in the first place. That propaganda is common in our own world as well.

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Sadly, during the gameplay we don’t get to know much about the Helghast and its people, and how similar they are to us. There were moments during the story, I felt like not shooting the enemy but I had no choice. This is why the story and characters end up feeling a bit flat and I feel the story had far more potential. I would love to see more of the daily life of people and their struggle. Altogether, the game sure had epic moments but the lack of personality in characters leaves me a bit disappointed. Lucas is just another soldier trained to eliminate the objectives.

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THE GAMEPLAY

In Shadow Fall,  the player takes control of Lucas Kellan. The game won’t reinvent the shooter genre but provides a nice traditional experience with AI which doesn’t provide much challenge. It would have been nicer to do more strategic planning before starting to kill the enemies but the simply “charging in and gun blazing” worked just well. But there’s always an exemption with everything: some mechas demand more planning and effort to be taken down.

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Thank god, Shadow Fall has thrown away the dated dude bro action and this time player won’t be getting much help from fabulous yet muscular and stubborn men. But hey, Lucas isn’t alone! The all mighty buddy droid is here to help him by shooting and shocking enemies, hacking computers, being a shield and helping him to move around the area by turning into a robe. Everything is being controlled by the touch pad which feels nicely natural. A true companion who will even help you when struck down by the enemies. (You can even buy a pink skin for your droid!)

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When it comes to the map and chapter designing, it is hit and miss. Some part make you hold your breath when other parts are just another generic dark corridor. I was really happy to see there were bright and colorful areas and mission completed during day time. A very welcome addition!

Sometimes a confusing map design may have caused problems but I made it through them. However, I never was a huge fan of these huge rooms where enemy waves arrive to be killed by the player. It’s boring and isn’t the most diverse or entertaining game designing choice.

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TECH & ART

When it comes to graphics, Killzone: Shadow Fall is absolutely gorgeous. Alongside the look, the FPS is very stable during the campaign and multiplayer. We experienced just a few drops here and there. The subtitles were quite small and in a game like this I would have hoped for a bit bigger font size.

The new approach is very welcome addition to the Killzone series which is always known from its dark and realistic-like art direction. The lighting and color usage make the game feel fresh and look beautiful. There create a surprisingly bright yet realistic touch to the game in general. I never understood why games should look dark and have monotonic colors to be realistic when the nature and everything are so colorful in real life. Killzone truly shows how next-gen games can look and makes me excited to see how much better they will be looking when the hardware is pushed to its limits in the coming years.

SOUNDTRACK

Honestly, after I heard nice comments on Killzone: Shadow Fall soundtrack, I was pretty excited to hear it since I love game soundtracks. But Shadow Fall left me a bit cold. It’s true it has some interesting moody and atmospheric tracks but I would have wanted even more futuristic, melodic and perhaps aggressive tunes. Another thing I experienced during the gameplay was the lack of music. It didn’t play loud enough to be completely hearable and was often covered by shooting sounds and such. When it comes to the music, Killzone plays it safe.

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THE MULTIPLAYER

Multiplayers are the heart of shooter games and key to their success and longevity.  First of all, all future additional map packs will be completely free for Killzone: Shadow Fall players. That’s quite a huge deal! In the future DLC, I hope more maps are based on outside environments because they are truly the ones where this game shines the brightest.

The multiplayer has the most traditional game modes such as team deathmatch and capture the flag. There are actually more game types like Warzone mode which combines different game types such as search and destroy and team deathmatch into one match. Game modes can be created by the community as well and settings are widely editable. A maximum of 24 players can be participating in the match.

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Before stepping into the real battlefield, the game gives players a chance to play on recruit servers which is really nice for the newcomers. Who would like to face an ultimate slayage during the first match in multiplayer? I just hope the game would have allowed me to play a few more match with other recruits because I didn’t get familiar with all maps. When feeling lost, the player has a possibility to train his map knowledge and shooter skills on the botzone.

Once you get into the multiplayer, the gameplay will feel great. Unlike in many other shooter games where you need to unlock stuff by leveling up, in Killzone all weapons are available at the start and you won’t feel like a beginner. Just a few equipments gain levels and attachments are being unlocked for the weapons of your choice.

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Besides the customization, the multiplayer feels like a unique Killzone experience you won’t be experiencing in other shooters. The futuristic feeling is something that makes the game stand out from the mainstream shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Using turrets, buddy and huge flying droids makes the gameplay really feel diverse. Each class has its own abilities such as teleporting, invisibility, healing and many others. This gives the game a nice unique touch. The best part of it is that any of the abilities nor weapons feel overpowered. It’s all about the way how you play.

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IN CONCLUSION

Overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a good launch title for PlayStation 4 since it showcases well the graphical potential the console is hiding under its plastic cover. It may lack contents if you are not fond of the (flat) campaign or multiplayer since there are no coop (DLC) or other game modes. But for people who are tired with shooters set in the present and looking for a new fresh experience, it’s a good choice. Not to mention all the upcoming map packs are completely free.
The new colorful and brighter approach is a step to a better direction for the series and I would like to see another Killzone like this in the future as well.

THIEF REVIEW – When Everything Is Part of One Big Puzzle

thief

Thief

The wait for a new Thief game has been long. The latest installment in the series was released in 2004 so there has been over ten years gap since Garrett’s last adventure. Without experience of the past games, we took a challenge to get into the world of Thief and steal everything we can. This meant spending a week as the master thief Garrett.

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Playing as a master thief, you must know how to move in the area without getting detected by the enemies. Unlike in other games, in Thief shadows and darkness are you allies and light your worst enemy. Moving around is smooth and miss controls barely happen.

But when it comes to the combat, it’s very lacking. That’s why enemy encounters are quite frustrating even though with a few ability upgrades you can ease the fight against them. Still when facing an enemy group, only way is to escape – other way you are a goner. It’s a bit weird that a master thief doesn’t move that smoothly during fights or when evading. Still, it’s a stealth game after all but I wish it would have provided a smoother combat system. Since if you get detected, you are going to die rather easily, and at the worst case the game throws you a bit too far back in the mission.

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As a victim of roller coaster video game experiences, my approach to the situations may have been too aggressive but I think it’s the gold of the game. You can play it in different ways and I’m looking forward to see how others solve the different situations.

Searching treasures from the areas is surprisingly fun and additive. There are lots of treasures to loot in the maps and I didn’t even find most of them! There will be lots of replay value for people who like to snatch and loot everything. After each chapter there will be a completed screen with stat which you can compare to your friends’ on leaderboards.

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Exploring the World

In the world of Thief, The City is the players’ playground for exploring, and committing burglaries. There are houses waiting for the player to break in and find the hidden treasures which are waiting for their taker – in this case – stealer.  When exploring The City, it’s quite easy to get lost since the map designing can be confusing at times. For example, in situations where you’re in need to refill your inventory at the market you may face problems finding the right way.  You can check the map but it isn’t helping much since there is no information about the locations. You can’t highlight the location you want to go either – only mission objectives. Unclear maps can cause frustration, if you plan to avoid enemies other ways and you find yourself in the corner and start to wonder where to go.

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Soundtrack

When it comes to music,  it’s meant to create tension and give a dark touch to the atmosphere. But this also means you won’t be hearing much of it during the gameplay and the few tracks you are going to hear aren’t exactly the most rememberable. Since it’s a stealth game, silence and environmental sounds play a bigger part during the gameplay.

Technical Execution

Now we’re experiencing a trend of cross-gen releases and Thief isn’t an exception. This also means it’s not completely a true next-gen game. Sure it has its moments to impress player  but there are still some last-gen coldness in character animations and movements. Also the game experiences dramatical FPS drops, not in gameplay, but during cutscenes which is quite surprising. Other flaw I experienced was repeating dialogue glitch where NPC just continuously repeated the same. Designing choice or not – it wasn’t pleasing. Another sign of cross-gen game were the rather long loading times between some areas.

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The Story

Thief may cause a disappointment for players who are looking forward to the story since it’s not revolutionary. The player is thrown in the setting where Garrett is experiencing some sort of insomnia due to the events happened in the beginning of the game. Soon Garrett finds himself trying to find information about himself and his lost friend. This leads to the different kinds of events  in the world of The City where people are starting a revolution while a mysterious disease is threatening them.  The events, setting and storyline reminded me a lot of Uncharted games which makes it feel a bit generic. But the story isn’t the main point of the game – it’s the stealth gameplay and solving huge puzzles.

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In Conclusion

Thief is a great game for players who are looking for an escape from shooter dominated next-gen market since it’s very slow phased gaming experience. Even though the  game lacks a good combat system, it executes stealth action well which is its main focus. Every situation feels like one big puzzle where all players decisions count.  Thief may suffer a few technical issues but it still is a welcome addition to the game library.  Garrett may stumble but he still manages to snatch the treasure.  I’m looking forward to see the first true next-gen Thief game.

Thank you, Namco Bandai, for the review code.

Square Portal Plays: Watch Thief Gameplay a Day Before The Release [LIVE]

We’re happy to announce that we will be live streaming THIEF gameplay today – A  day before the actual European release!

The live stream will be starting on 6PM / 18: 00 [GMT +2].  The video player will be included in this post. We highly recommend you to follow us on Twitch and watch the stream on our official Twitch channel. Log/sign in Twitch to chat with us and other gamers who are following the stream.

Remember the internet etiquette when chatting with others. This way we all can have a great chat and stream session!

Click here to access on our official Twitch channel or watch the stream from video player below.

Interview: Final Fantasy XV is Highly Prioritized and Far into Development – Kingdom Hearts III Follows

In the latest interview with VideoGamer.com, Yoshinori Kitase, the producer of the series, has revealed new information about the state of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III.

At E3 2013, both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III were revealed for next-gen consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. After that both titles have been keeping quite a low profile but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing well in the development. Actually, Kitase suggests that Final Fantasy XV is quite far into development  and Square Enix has given it a very high priority.

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“We can’t give too much information but certainly looking at Final Fantasy XV, it’s not as if it’s in competition with Kingdom Hearts 3 for resources or anything like that,” Kitase said when asked for an update on the two games earlier this week. “It’s quite far into development now and it is being given a very high priority within the company itself, but that doesn’t mean Kingdom Hearts isn’t.”

This means the development of both games are doing great. There are two different teams working on Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, which means they are not taking resources from each other. However, Kingdom Hearts III is a bit newer title and that’s why it is following Final Fantasy XV.

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As earlier stated, Final Fantasy XV is still connected with the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology just like Final Fantasy XIII games even though “Versus XIII” has been dropped away from its name.

“Right from the start when we first it announced it as Versus XIII, the game itself was backed up by the same Crystal legend: the Fabulla Nova Crystallis mythology that underpins the whole of the XIII series,” adds Kitase.

“So even though it’s not necessarily the same universe or the same game, they’re all linked and underpinned by the backdrop of that legend. Now it’s moved on – obviously the title’s been changed to Final Fantasy XV – but that hasn’t actually changed. The story and the world is still going to be linked and backed up by that. So yes, there is the link between XIII and XV, and they both share that mythology as a backdrop and a starting point.”

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And of course, when we are talking about next-gen titles, Kitase also wanted to talk about the hardware of next-gen consoles and what kind of things it makes possible.

“We are quite aware of [PS4 & Xbox One's] capabilities and certainly one thing that’s going to come up is having battles with a lot more participants involved,” he continued. “Having a lot more characters, a lot more things happening, that’s one of the things that the new hardware does really well, so to maybe make a battle system for a Final Fantasy game or a future game that fits with that, I think it would be quite good to have more characters for the player to control and more participants in the battle.”

xv34As with every new Final Fantasy title, music, art, graphics, story and the world play big part of the whole. The most of gameplay time is spent with the battle system, and Kitase revealed how could Final Fantasy XV could from the past titles.

“In a way there is stuff from the past that we’ve done in previous Final Fantasies that may come in handy, that we may adapt or reuse or recreate for a future [title],” Kitase continued.

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“In the first two of the XIII series you had the Paradigm Shift system with AI controlled teammates which lends itself very well to having lots of characters. Or maybe having even deeper customisation, something that harks back to say the Gambit System in Final Fantasy XII. All those kind of ideas, it doesn’t necessarily [mean] that something that we’ve used before is now invalid and can’t be used, there’s certainly a possibility of taking it and bringing it back. But I think it’s going to be those kind of changes that the technology allows that we’re going to have to maybe think and adapt for.”

Quotes are from Videogamer.com. Thank you for the interview.

Murdered: Soul Suspect – “Every Lead” Trailer – Coming for PS4 & Xbox One in June 2014

Starting the hunt for his killer, slain detective, Ronan O’Connor, discovers that he was not the first to die and is unlikely to be the last. Watch this latest trailer for Murdered: Soul Suspect™ to find out what other secrets are buried in Salem.

Murdered: Soul Suspect™ challenges gamers to solve the hardest case of all… their own murder. The game will take players into a whole new realm of mystery where the case is personal and the clues just out of reach. This supernatural detective thriller will be available June 2014 for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 games and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems and Windows PC

For more information about the game, visit:
• Community site: http://murdered.com
• Facebook page: https://facebook.com/Murdered
• Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/Murdered
• Official forum: http://forums.murdered.com