The PlayStation era was arguably when Square Enix were at their creative peak. After the release of Final Fantasy VII, Squaresoft received a large amount of profit from the game and decided to use the money to finance a series of innovative projects unlike any other video game released at the time. This involved the company dabbling in genres that they had never been a part of before, and in most cases, redefining the genre. To list a few example; Bushido Blade is one of the rare fighting games to change the Tekken/Virtua Fighter engine through limb targeted attacks that adds a layer of strategy that is not present in any other fighting game (other than it’s sequel, Bushido Blade 2), Einhander took the R-Type model and transformed it into one of only two SHmups that incorporate a well told story into in gameplay to give an added incentive to see how the plot unfolds (the other being Radiant Silvergun). Despite other experiments such as Brave Fencer Musashi, Tobal 1&2, Front Mission and so on, Squaresoft were still contributing to the RPG genre through continuations to their ongoing series like Final Fantasy VIII and IX, Legend of Mana and Chrono Cross, Square will also willing to release new IP’s that later went on to become cult classics (Xenogears anyone?). It is also during this period that Squaresoft provided the Final Fantasy Tactics director Yasumi Matsuno enough money to create his dream project: Vagrant Story: One of the greatest RPGs ever made.
In my Panzer Dragoon Saga retrospective, I described the battle system as “cinematic”. This seems like a very vague term but its message is simple: to demonstrate exciting action in a way to excite the player. Video games have been trying to accomplish this for decades through general absurdity of the situation (Bionic Commando), interjecting huge exposition dumps to make the game more atmospheric (Metal Gear Solid) or even going as far as to creating levels which replicate those found in adventure movies (the Uncharted series). Even though this trend has been omnipresent ever since the original Donkey Kong, Squaresoft has long been considered the pioneers of this tend with Final Fantasy 7 being described as the first video game that make this type of narrative choice into a possible reality (whether this is true or not is debatable). The biggest advocate of this trend were Squaresoft themselves, who used the Playstation’s processing power to tell narratives ranging from love stories (FFVIII), light-hearted escapades (FFIX) to bizarre FanFiction! (Kingdom Hearts). While some claim that Squaresoft has sold out their company from making beloved heart warming games back in the SNES era to cut scene heavy boredom simulators (FFXIII), they shall forever be remembered as creating the most cinematic video game of all time: Einhander: Or how I learnt to stop worrying and have more tracking shots than an Antonioni film.
The recent throwback to last-generation games got me thinking of other games I loved in my childhood while I was growing up. Then I remembered my first game that was in 3D, as in you could move in three dimensions. Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time – it’s time to jump back in to see if time has served the game well.
North America, are you sad? You should be. You’re not getting Xenoblade. What? You’re saying that isn’t The Last Story? Hush you. You want Xenoblade and you know it. Too bad, you’re not getting it. What North America does have that those silly Europeans don’t is Xenogears! Released in 1998 by Square-Enix, Xenogears was developed by those who eventually moved on to form Monolith Software, the developers of Xenoblade. While these titles have nothing in common outside of the developers and its name, now would the perfect time to talk about the original PlayStation classic.
At Develop Conference 2011, Phil Rodgers – Sony’s European R&D Manager – gave some details on what we can expect the Vita to be capable of when it launches.
First off is Near, eerily similar to the 3DS’ Spotpass. However the gifts that you can obtain follow the system around, rather than exist in one place. Users can create their own little gifts, but can not exceed more than 100kb – these may be things like weapons, rare stuff and even challenges in games such as Wipeout.
Party is a borrowed concept from the 360, that allows up to four users to chat via voice and text no matter what they are playing or doing on the system. However, this won’t be shoehorned into games for the Vita, with Rodgers stating that “game can choose not to” include the system, however with a push of a button, people in your party can join the game you’re playing.
Finally the LiveArea, which is where you go when the system is booted up. It’s a bit of mixture of the current PS3 menu as well as Facebook, as you can comment on other player’s progress and achievements, with automatic updates given. LiveArea is also a way for developers and publishers to give out more news about the game as well as DLC and updates.
They certainly seem promising, even if they are taking the best elements from different consoles – no official release date as yet, but the rumoured date is still sitting at November 4th of this year.
(Source: Eurogamer )
Great news for our friends in Europe!
Sony has finally finished the first version of their app for the iPhone and Android mobile hand-helds. The functions of the Playstation App are as follows:
- Check out your PlayStation Network trophies and keep up to date with your friends’ games and online status.
- Discover all the latest games, news and hardware for your PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation 2.
- Read all the announcements on the European PlayStation.Blog.
- Share your favourite products or news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.
US users will have to wait a while, sadly. Currently, the app is only available for UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands. You can snag the app here.
Although the necessity of this product is questionable, it’s a slow news day. DON’T JUDGE ME.
Source: Euro Playstation Blog
If the Playstation Phone hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, this just about does it. Yesterday, a two minute Youtube video showing off footage for the phone was leaked. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t have any sound, but it’s still cool nonetheless.
The device is reportedly code-named the “Zeus Z1,”and is shown to be running the next incremental update to Google’s Android operating system, v2.3 (“Gingerbread”). All kinds of currently-available Google applications — including Maps and YouTube — are installed on the phone, along with an app simply named “PlayStation.”
It’s not exactly thin (in fact, it looks to be quite bulky) but it will most likely be able to play both PSP and Android games, so it’s not like the expectations that it would be really thin were that high anyway.
Getting to the pitch a tad early, Gamestop is pulling out a really nice marketing scheme for gamers everywhere. With the purchase of a new, used or refurbished Playstation 3, gamers will net themselves a free copy of the hit game God of War III. Seeing that the game is a high dollar value, and if you’re in the market for a PS3, it’s not a bad deal in the least!
The current Gamestop PS3 pricetags are as follows:
Playstation 3: 80 GB – $349.99
Playstation 3: 60 GB – $269.99
Playstation 3: 40 GB -249.99
Playstation 3: 20 GB – 299.99
Maybe a good time for some early Christmas marketing of your own?
Heavy Rain, a recently released Playstiation 3 title, is getting revamped for the Playstation Move and will be avaialble for all gamers on September 22, 2010. If you’re not certain if the game is worth your time there will be a free playable demo available via the Playstation Network on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
The game is said to have increased levels of immersion, with the gameplay feeling more like the actual person playing it, rather than a robot getting controlled with a mere controller. Use of the regular Playstation 3 controller is still an option, however.
So try it out for yourselves! Or not!
Source: Playstation Blog