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Metal Final Gear Fantasy Solid

Has anyone else gotten a chance to watch that latest FF15 gameplay video? You know, this one:

It looks cool as shit… but I’m trying to imagine an alternate scenario in which it was just an untitled mystery video. And there wasn’t that demo released last year. Would anyone have believed it was the next Final Fantasy game?

Or perhaps more to the point: does it even need to be a Final Fantasy game?

I stopped playing the series after FFX-2 – not because of FFX-2, but simply because I transitioned away from console gaming in general – so perhaps it’s a natural evolution post-FF13 or whatever. I seem to remember FF12 having some kind of real-time combat system where characters basically attacked by themselves or something? Never played that one more than a hot minute, myself.

Ah well. We’re getting a FF7 remake, so Square can do what it wants.

PAX Day Two: Lined

Went to two major panels on Saturday, one after the other. First was FF15 and the second was Pillars of Eternity.

In regards to FF15, I actually haven’t been following the already-released information close enough to tell what was breaking news. The panelists mainly drove home the “road trip” and “Buddies” aspect of the game. Which, if I’m honest, probably wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting if I were not hearing their passion in person.

There was a moment while watching the gameplay that I asked myself “is this a Final Fantasy game at all?” I never really played 12 or the 13 series, so I’m not sure if there’s a huge precedent for the sort of Action RPG gameplay I watched on-screen – especially the bit where he hook-shotted up a telephone tower to wait for his MP to regen. The panelists did sort of address this subtly as they mentioned the kind of themes common throughout the series, such as the hero never being alone.

It’s not that seeing the party run down a highway avoiding traffic or that the lack of an ATB gauge is throwing me off; FF7 and 8 had a number of similar high-tech elements, and they are amongst my favorites. Honestly, it could just be that the last Final Fantasy game I completed was FFX-2. This series went from being the single most important thing in my gaming life – I jumped on the original Playstation precisely because I was following Squaresoft – to something I pick up on Steam sales, like everything else. And so “Final Fantasy” to me is/was a game that defines a particular gaming epoch, or it isn’t one at all.

Baggage aside, the game looks great, the road trip thing could be interesting, party banter is always welcome, and the remixed music was pure nostalgia.

The Pillars of Eternity panel was pretty much the devs just playing the game for about twenty minutes. Which certainly isn’t the worst kind of panel, and there wasn’t much they needed to sell for me to be onboard in the first place. They even had an Oprah moment with the whole “check under your chair for a prize.” Everyone got a free upgrade to the Champion edition, assuming you purchase the base game, and a few got upgrades to the highest tier.

While Pillars is a guaranteed purchase by me at some price-point, the pause-based tactical combat really hit home how much I prefer the FFT or other Tactics game type. It’s fun queuing up that initial volley of attacks in these sort of CRPGs, but things quickly end up coming down to micromanaging one or two characters, at best, and hoping that a third character is actually going to finish their attack animation and drink a potion before they die. The devs mentioned that there wasn’t going to be anything much in the way of AI, so you are kinda left with the worst of both worlds.

One day to go.