There was a distinct lack of anything Final Fantasy at least year’s E3 (with the exception of Final Fantasy VII spin-offs), and it looks like Square-Enix wanted to make it up to us with the presence of no less than ten Final Fantasy games. Yes, ten.
Topping the list is, of course, the ever elusive Final Fantasy XII. Between E3 trailers and playable demos, we’ve come to learn a lot about the game over the years, so there really isn’t too much new to report. One very important facet of the game that we’ve finally been given the chance to sample is the game’s English voice acting. Some were better than others, but all were at least serviceable. To give some examples, the princess Ashe has an appropriately regal British accent, while the young hero Vaan sounds a bit whiny. But, whiny protagonists are something we’ve come to expect; so this shouldn’t surprise very many people.
The game’s interfaces and menus look finalized and complete. You can only have three people in your group at a time, but you can swap them in and out anytime from the main menu. The game also had full maps of each area, though it wasn’t clear if you’d have to “earn” maps in the actual release. The new style of limit breaks were revealed in the form of Mist attacks. As characters accrue Mist points, they can unleash these extremely powerful manuevers. Once initiated, you had a very short amount of time in which to swap between varying attacks that would devastate enemies.
Final Fantasy XII has been a long time coming, but North Americans can finally get their hands on the game this Fall.
Final Fantasy XII may have been the primary Final Fantasy game showcased, but it was hardly the last. The biggest surprise at Square-Enix this year was the revelation of Final Fantasy XIII for the PlayStation 3, already well in development. Not much was shown, but the game appears to showcase a female protagonist and has a definite sci-fi style, more so than any game previously. As for the game’s graphics, it looks better than XII, but not as much as one might expect.
The Final Fantasy XIII extravaganza doesn’t end there. A mobile phone game was briefly shown titled Final Fantasy Agito XIII. A very impressive FMV was also showcased of a young man, or possibly woman, walking out of an office building and withstanding full gunfire from an armed unit. This product, whatever it might be, was titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, also for PlayStation 3. All three apparently make up a set of sorts which was referred to as Final Fantasy XIII: Fabula Nova Crystallis which means something along the lines of Fabulous New Crystal. However this trio of games relate to each other will remain a mystery for now.
Not as mysterious is the long talked about Final Fantasy VII Compilation. Advent Children has already come out, which leaves Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core, and Before Crisis. I was finally able to get some hands-on playtime with Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation 2 and am sad to report I was fairly disappointed. A third person FPS of sorts, it was not a bad game overall, but doesn’t reach the high standards usually set by Square-Enix. Hopefully the storytelling makes up for the mediocre gameplay. We’ll all be able to find out soon as the game comes out this summer.
More information was finally released about Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII for the PSP. The game appears to star the SOLDIER member Zack and will primarily take place before the events of Final Fantasy VII. Actual gameplay footage was scant, but Square-Enix refers to it as an action-RPG. No release date was given.
Two mobile phone games were also discussed, Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII stars The Turks and Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode: Final Fantasy VII not only has the longest title of any Square-Enix game, but is also a mobile phone version of the PlayStation 2 game.
If you’re a rabid fan like me, the announcement of a North American release for Final Fantasy III for the DS should get you excited. As the last remaining game of the main series that has never had a NA release before, this will round out our collections. Originally a game for the old NES, this new 3D version of Final Fantasy III has gotten a significant overhaul. The gameplay and story remain virtually untouched, though there have been some cosmetic improvements. It’s still not clear how much has been changed about the Job System. This was the first game in the series to feature the system and they may have “improved” it. One disappointing, if minor, change is that the default Onion Kid job has been replaced by Freelancer. So some classic aspects have been altered.
To close things off, a Final Fantasy game was also announced for the Wii. The working title is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers. Aside from the fact that it looks a lot like it’s predecessor, at least visually, there is not much information on this one yet.