My first appointment for E3 was with Square Enix and it was great to see ole Charlie Sinhaseni again. He was one of the best writers for our site and an overall great guy. It's great to see him move on to bigger and better things and it was great to catch up with him along with having him show me around the Square Enix area.
More after the jump.
A side story to Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings sees Vaughn becoming a sky pirate and he's hooked up with his old crew when they discover an island that floats above him. It's another game in the Ivalice Alliance saga. The game utilizes the DS touchscreen as the main way to control this hybrid RTS RPG. Before each mission you can set up your party and see what the enemies are like. Based on what the enemies' strengths and weaknesses are you can setup your party through group and individual settings to counteract the enemies. A lot of the popular summons show up including Leviathan and Ultima. The graphics consists of 3D environments with 2D sprites. When playing the game, you use the D-Pad to move around the battlefield and just point to the enemies you want to attack. You can cycle through the units you have or choose them all. The units are grouped by the leader so you can quickly cycle through the groups of units by pressing a button. It's a nice little title for RTS fans with some RPG elements due out in November.
Front Mission was the next game I checked out. It's the origins game for the North America and it's the first time it's available for the audience. It's a turn based strategy game and of course uses the touch screen to control most everything. The game takes advantage of the dual screen by moving the battles to the top while keeping the strategy portion on the bottom of the screen reducing the clutter. No online play but there's multiplayer aspect by trading mechs to your friends to help them out. A new story was also added by letting you play the OCU side as well. The game is due out in October.
One game that I checked out that I think I'll definitely try is Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. It's a cell shaded RPG where you hunt monsters in the Dragon Quest world and train them to be on your team. You maneuver through the world through a third person view and I was really impressed at the cell shaded graphics of the game. It's a game that pushes the capabilities of the DS and one that's really nice to look at. So when you meet up with some monsters you get them on your team by trying to impress them. You'll see a percentage of success rise on each try. Fail and they get really angry. Succeed and you'll be able to use them as one of the three individuals in your group or save them in storage for later use. Attacking is based on orders so yo don't control them correctly. Once you have a few monsters in your stable, you can try to breed them to generate new ones. Three results will display from the merger and they are unique to everyone and different each time. You can trade and battle with others. It's so popular at the Square offices that employees will put their DS on sleep waiting on challenges from others walking by.
Final Fantasy Tactics is back and on the PSP Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a remake of the PSOne game with new CGI and redone for the PSP. It's 16x9 and they redid the localization including fixing up mistakes that were apparent on the PSOne game. A few new characters and a multiplayer mode was added including a co-op mode so that you and a friend can take on the computer.
Finally, Square Enix's is going to be opening up their online store so you can pick up some really cool looking figures at a great price. There's no markup and the all the figures are highly detailed. The Cloud and Sephiroth figure in the Sculpture Art series depicting scenes from the Advant Children movie were one I was really impressed one. For weapon fans, there's some great recreations of the Gunblade and Kingdom Hearts keyblades. Females can pick up some nice jewelry for their collection. The figures for Kingdom Hearts were so good that Disney commissioned them to make Pixar figures such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo figures just for them.
Overall, Square Enix has a strong lineup for the portable system with a great variety of games for the DS and the PSP. The merchandise also look top notch and fans of their IP will not be disappointed.