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E3 2010: Square Enix (Impressions)

Posted by: Tina at 6/29/2010 6:02 PM
After an epic demonstration of action/RPG Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I hit the E3 floor to view a couple other games being put out by Square Enix.

Mindjack

Announced for the first time at E3 itself, Mindjack is Square Enix’s new third person action-adventure/shooter being developed by Feelplus. The unique aspect of this game is that the single player experience can actually translate into a multiplayer one.

Set in the year of 2031 AD, the game’s plot is about a corporation that has invented a technology to allow telekinetic control over your devices. TV remote too far? Telekinetic control will turn that on for you. Unfortunately, the hacker community thought of more sinister uses for this new technology, which has forced a battle to be waged between your team of rogue agents and the corporations that have been corrupted.

The host starts the game as a single player experience, but can be joined by other players on the fly. The online community is able to jump into your game as allies or adversaries in this single player story. In my demonstration, I was set up as an enemy tasked with stopping the host and his allies in a red team versus blue team scenario. You can hack in and out to control the minds of civilians, soldiers, and even robots and vehicles. You can cheat death because of this, but you’ll have to wait for the recharge meter to be able to hack in to someone again. As the host, you have the advantage of slave hacking computer controlled enemies to work for you.

As the host, the goal is to eliminate all soldiers (who either run off AI or an online player). As you build your experience you’re able to hack into higher level combatants as well as apply upgrades to your hacking abilities (even being able to prevent someone else from hacking). In terms of actual combat, the typical cover and melee system is in full use, my favorite of which is being able to take people hostage (including other players).

Mindjack is expected to release in October of this year on the 360 and PS3.

Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light

Every once in awhile a game will be announced that I know will not be for me. Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light for the DS is one of those games.

4 Heroes of Light is being created as a unique Final Fantasy title with an entirely new combat system and art direction. Although Akihiko Yoshida returns as art director for the title, they decided to go a more cute route in terms of character depictions.

The story centers on Brandt, a 14 year old boy who is sent to the King to present himself in a sort of coming of age tradition. This time, however, the King has a special request of you: his daughter has been captures by the Witch of the North and he needs you to go rescue her.

As you go about your travels to find and help Princess Carino, you’ll come upon various hats that are used in combat. There are over two dozen hats in the game, each with a specific attribute or ability to loan its wearer. These range from physical damage, to ones that are useful for casters or healers. Choosing to wear a particular hat will adjust your statistics according to the perk that the hat offers. Gems dropped by monsters can be used to adorn the hat and unlock new abilities up to three levels.

As for spells, there are books that can be used to equip them. Anyone can use the books, and the will not lock to the character you’ve given it to meaning you can recycle books amongst your crew. Combat in 4 Heroes of Light is also dependent on Action Points, which many RPG players will likely be familiar with. Action Points are required to make any sort of move in a combat, including using an item, and they replace the concept of magic/mana points. Oftentimes it is beneficial to boost your Action Points with a boost mechanic, although you will gain one point at the beginning of every round while regenerating one at the end of the round. The boost mechanic is a defensive route in combat strategy.

The game is made with the basic idea of making it more easily accessible to an RPG player who may not want a more hardcore experience. With this in mind, the developers at Matrix Software decided to opt for a maximum of six items that you can hold. This keeps you limited to items that you use on a consistent basis or know that you need. Another step in the route of accessibility is that of multiplayer. Local multiplayer of up to four players allows you to transfer all of your successes including dropped items over to your singleplayer game, with the exception of story progression. Therefore all of the experience points, money, items, weapons, armor, and even gems that drop are yours to keep. I myself would find it a nuisance to have to complete quests over again (even with strengthened experience from multiplayer sessions) and I would be most likely to spend time on the singleplayer mode.

Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light will be out October 5th exclusive to the Nintendo DS.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Kingdom Hearts boasts a long line of iterations from its roots in 2002, and now spans platforms of all shapes and sizes including the PSP and DS.

This newest chapter in the series, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, stands as a prequel to the initial Kingdom Hearts game. Three characters features from Kingdom Hearts II - Terra, Aqua and Ventus - are now portrayed as the main protagonists giving you insight into pieces of the storyline that were only briefly mentioned in titles of the past. In order to get the entirety of the history fulfilled, however, you’ll have to play as all three main characters as their stories are experienced in drastically differing ways. This increases the replay value of the game, as well as the intrigue for wanting to replay it to begin with.

Heading over to a PSP that was already set for battle, I noticed how incredibly fluid it was for an RPG title. Using the Focus combat system, I was constantly spraying enemies with all of my spells. I threw up a vortex that sucked them in, and then hit them with my other spells while going in for a sword attack. Combat almost makes me forget I’m playing and RPG, and feels rather like a fighting game (with the same urge to button mash).

Kingdom Hearts is the first title with multiplayer involving fighting against enemies as well as a versus mode. You can race each other in Rumble Racing, or even partake in some Command Board to battle it out board game style. Playing the multiplayer modes grants players the opportunity to acquire some of the more rare items of the game as an extra bonus.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep will be out September 7th of this year on the PSP.