Final Fantasy XIII

The entire world doesn’t even have the 12th installment of Square-Enix’s massively popular franchise, but that hasn’t stopped the company from hyping the (un)lucky 13th iteration at this year’s E3. Before I go any further, I need to mention that Final Fantasy XIII is only the primary name of what is going to be a compilation of 3 games: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3), Final Fantasy Agito XIII (Mobile), and Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3). All three games together are called the “Fabula Nova Crystallis”.
I’m still not clear on the relationship between the games, as the trailer was only about 10 minutes long and didn’t provide much in terms of exposition. What is known is that the world FF13 takes place in is heavily influenced by the Crystals, mystical artifacts that grant power and technological advancement to those who tap into them. In Final Fantasy XIII, we are introduced to a sprawling world with a high-tech train system, suspended thousands of feet above the earth in a tube-like rail system. One particular train comes under attack, and the soldiers guarding it suddenly find themselves being assaulted by a beautiful and deadly woman who wields a machine gun that also folds up into a wicked looking short-sword. This woman also happens to be exceptionally gymnastic, as she flips and deals death in short order. Most of the trailer depicts this carnage, ending with a close-up of the woman’s face and the words “Final Fantasy XIII”.

In Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the story is a completely different one. A young king (or possibly prince) sleeps lazily in his throne while we are informed that his kingdom is not only isolated, but one of the last remaining kingdoms int he world who hasn’t tapped into the technological power of the Crystals. Waking suddenly, the young man gets up and walks out of the room; in fact he walkks out of the castle entirely, to the front steps, where he is greeted by a massive army from a neighboring kingdom. This kingdom, with their newfound wisdom from the Crystals, has come to invade. Their soldiers are dressed in traditional plate mail, but wield machine guns. As the young man slowly descends the steps, they begin to fire upon him. The young man, however, has a shield protecting him, and once the bullets stop, he transforms the shield into a whirlwind of bladed weapons, finally grabbing one out of the air, ready to confront the attackers. This ends the presentation of FF13, leaving more questions than answers. but one thing is abundantly clear: the graphics are an absolute force. Everything is clear and crisp; polygon edges are non-existant. The textures on surfaces are so detailed, they look like reality. For example, the leather gloves that the young man of royal blood wears in FF Versus 13 are so detailed, you can actually make out the creases and wrinkles in the leather itself, and those minute imperfections have depth to them. Square-Enix has some of the best CG artists in the gaming industry, and they showcased their talents on the powerful PS3 system at this year’s E3. If nothing else, Fabula Nova Crystallis will be beautiful. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Square-Enix’s next-generation RPG project. -UE

For more on-site E3 coverage, check my daily convention journal over at the General Discussion boards of ocremix.org

Gears of War: Halo killer?

It wasn’t until the final hours of the 2nd day of E3 that I managed to find out about the private gameplay demo of Gears of War, Epic Games’ beautiful and hyped shooter for the XBOX 360. I had many questions about the game, most of all “was it as good as everyone had been saying?”. The answer is a resounding yes. Do I think it will be the next Halo? It very possibly could be.
I won’t go out on a limb and say yes, as it’s not perfect. But the wow factor certainly took my breath away. This test drive was located on the second floor of Microsoft’s massive booth at the rear of the South Hall, in a secret room filled with 16 360 systems and copies of the multiplayer build of Gears of War. The entire showing was media only, and had to be scheduled by appointment; for comparison, the closest that normal showgoers got to Gears of War was the 15 minute trailer on the show floor.

We were herded by Microsoft PR staff into the room and seated in front of flat panel displays and a 360 controller. After the development team showed us the basics of gameplay, they turned us loose into a 4 on 4 deathmatch against each other. One faction played as the Locus (the alien enemy faction of the game) and the Cogs (the human soldiers, also called Gears). Being a 3rd person shooter, the camera is pulled in tight over your character’s shoulder.

There are several mechanics in the game for fighting. One is the “roadie run”, which is a sprint maneuver that makes your character crouch and run, keeping his head down for cover. The other is the cover feature, which is a lot like the “stick to walls” found in games like Winback or Metal Gear Solid. Essentially, your character, with a quick press of a button, will assume a protective stance behind objects to avoid fire. It’s possible to roll or jump across gaps to other spaces of cover, or to tuck into a roll and come up firing. it’s all very smooth and impressive. Once the shooting begins, you have the ability to zoom in on the crosshairs of your selected weapon to get a better aim on your oppnent. One criticism of the system, however, was that opponents had far too much life, and taking them down was often quite difficult. There was also a melee attack that, when pressed and held, caused your character to whip out a chainsaw and cut your target to pieces.

You have never seen graphics like this, believe me. Every strand of hair on the head of a human is visible close in; the reptilian scales of the Locus have minute wrinkles and textures. Even the teeth of the characters are visible from afar, complete with discoloring and shape distortion. Armor, buildings, and weapons look equally phenomenal, and little touches such as the camera shaking when your character runs, or blood spattering on the screen make the whole experience very immersive. Once the chainsaw hits a target, it leaves a crevasse in the character’s face through which you can see bone, brains and a whole lot more.

The game’s multiplayer aspect will definitely lend itself perfectly to team tactics. Players can run and duck and cover each other in such dynamic ways, it will never be the same twice. Once the public gets its hands on Gears of War, we are undoubtedly going to have a new standard set for console shooters. It may very well do for the 360 what Halo did for the XBOX.

-UE

DUCK HUNT coming to the Wii!

IGN Wii has learned that Nintendo is planning to showcase a Wii sequel
to its classic shooter series Duck Hunt at its E3 2006 booth on
Wednesday. The title will be playable. No other details about the
project have yet been revealed, but we will of course serve up a full
hands-on impressions when the time is right.
Duck Hunt arms players with a virtual shotgun and lets them blast away
at a series of flying ducks. Given the precision aiming needed in the
classic title, which worked with a light gun, it is all but certain
that the Wii-mote will act as the weapon this time around.

Stay tuned for more from the show floor on Wednesday.

Source: IGN

Hellven, DoD updates

So, um, hi guys! My name is MagiNinjA. I’m an old admin here and I’ve been inactive for a while (according to Rama, a million years), and when I come back, I’ll some guides and tha shizzle (haha, that should be a rapping compo for tha sauce XD). As an admin, I mainly report stuff, write/edit guides, and suggest stuff. Basically, I track the details. I also have stuff in the works to help you out you musicians and power users.
Now! Tha News! Unfortunately, some of our more distant relatives of ThaSauce released an album! LAST YEAR!! As far as I know, this was not posted, but was mentioned on Larry’s Saucy Year-In Review.

DWELLING OF DUELSAmerican Adventure Games Month 2006 (April)
#1 – virt – Day of the Tentacle + Monkey Island – Look Behind You!
#2 (tie) Danimal Cannon: King’s Quest V – A Willow that Weeps
#2 (tie) Ryan8bit: King’s Quest V – The Wizards’ Accord
#3 Chunkstyle: The Neverhood – Willie Guitar

May 2006 is a Free Month. GET TO IT 😀

—–
Also, a buddy of mine nicknamed CarboHydroM released some shizzle. Songs, drawings, photos, etc. There is also a new layout if that wasn’t reported. Looks beautiful and very Unsealed-esque. He also organized the whole lot of songs. Very nicely done.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Phantom Hourglass

Big news from the world of Nintendo!

On launch day for the Nintendo Wii, there will be two Twilight Princess releases. First, the Wii’s version, obviously a souped up version to test the limits of their graphics processors. AND!!!! A GCN version for those who wish to play it without having to shell out cash for the Wii.
Its gonna be HUGE!

Also, a new upcoming title, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS!

There are 27 titles so far for the Wii’s Launch Day, which remains a mystery as of right now. For now, here’s a short list of whats coming from Nintendo…

Red Steel (features gun battles and sword battles)
Project H.A.M.M.E.R.
Super Mario Galaxy
Metroid Prime 3: Coruption (very much anticipated)
Disaster: Day of Crisis (little is known about this)

More are on-the-way. But this is just a taste to whet your appetite.

Stay tuned!

For a good source of info, check out GameDaily.

Memories EP released April 25th

So Xerol posts his album, I figure I’d post mine. Last month I released a short ambient EP [an EP is basically a short album, 20 minutes or less, or in oldschool terms a 7″ vinyl]. So far I’ve recieved nothing but positive feedback, which I guess is a good thing, so if you like ambient you might like this. It’s basically 4 tracks and 16 minutes of music. Click “Read more” for the links.

Direct link [17.3 MB]

OCR thread

VGMix thread

My DeviantArt page for the album art

TOTALLY SHILLING RIGHT NOW

My upcoming projects are a chiptune disk for Anime ReMix and a “spiritual sequel” of SoundTempest called The Fifth Garden. I will also likely create another album for Auld Lang Sine 4, whenever Ubik decides to announce that.

No VGDJ This Week

zircon writes in this post:

Hey, just so you all know, both pixietricks and myself have a lot of real life stuff to attend to over the next few days and so it doesn’t look like we’re going have a show for you this week. However, we’ll be back on track next week – thanks for your support! 😀