Square-Enix had potential to really bring the press conference phase of E3 to a show-stopping conclusion with the reveal of Marvel’s Avengers, as well as giving us more Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and other franchises from years gone by than we could ever want. So did they give us a Marvel-lous conclusion? Or did it end on a Thor note? Like sore note. But Thor. It was really clever trust me and so was starting the presentation with…

Final Fantasy VII Remake

This is what we have been waiting four years for – a long fairly in-depth look on how the remake will play. Final Fantasy VII is a precious game to me, it was one of the first PlayStation games I ever played and it has stuck with me ever since. I was admittedly a little sceptical about the remake especially after not hearing anything about it for what felt like years.

I am not worried anymore, Final Fantasy VII Remake looks immense. The gameplay is completely different to the original and honestly that is fine – the original is still widely available it is not going anywhere when the Remake comes out so offering something a little new is perfectly fine. It does seem to be a hybrid between the Active Time Battle system of VII and the free roaming combat of XV. Pressing Square will make Cloud swing his sword which helps fill up the ATB meter, which has multiple bars. When a bar is filled up, you enter an extremely slowed down version of the game while you make your way through menus to select an ability, a spell or an item to use. Spells are determined by what materia you have equipped like in the original game.

You can seamlessly change which character you are controlling so if an enemy is far away you can control Barret and his gun arm to shoot them from a distance and then switch back to Cloud for a more close range attack. It seems to work well and the combat looks smooth, fast paced but with that option to slow down time in order to allow you to think about what move to use.

We then see a large portion of the first boss battle of the game against the Guard Scorpion which really shows off the two different characters and their styles. The boss seems to take a lot of punishment to bring down and it is a spectacle with the battle arena getting torn to pieces by the end of the fight. Cloud and Barret have a lot of banter during the fight and some of it is to tell the player sorta what to do and some of it is just entertaining dialogue. The Scorpion has many new tricks as opposed to his original counterpart as well meaning this game will be a totally new experience for people who played the original.

Another trailer was shown after this that finally shows off Tifa and her kick-assery in battles. So, Cloud has a sword. Cool. Tifa doesn’t need a sword, SHE’S GOT MARTIAL ARTS. Tifa looks cool and I think a lot of people were excited to see her in action at long last. We also see a little glimpse of Aerith in combat but not to a substantial degree like the others.

We do see some snippets of various parts of Midgar including the boss fight in the sewer, the lobby of the Shinra building, Tifa’s bar and there was even a section where Cloud is on a motorbike swinging his sword about though it did not look like the escape from the Shinra building (and it looked like Jessie was on the bike too).

It seems like they are selling the various episodes of FFVII:R as their own standalone games which I hope does not mean each episode will be £50/$60 but it does mean they can add a lot of new content into the game. They said that the game will be on two Blu-Ray discs so it promises to be massive even if it is just a slice of FFVII.

Yeah, I am firmly on the hype train for this it looks really good. It was a solid twenty minutes of Final Fantasy VII and it is so much of what I was looking for. The combat looks fun, graphically it looks stunning and I am genuinely, for the first time since I freaked out at its reveal four years ago, excited for this game. It could be my game of the show so far. 3rd of March 2020. 03 03 2020, what a good date. I cannot wait.

Trailer Section

So there was not too many actual presentations at the conference so there ended up being prolonged sections that were nothing but trailers for upcoming and already released games.

They followed this up with a trailer for Life is Strange 2 that features various streamers reacting to the game which I felt kinda took away from the actual game a little. It was a nice trailer otherwise.

This was followed by Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the remaster of which is hitting PS4 and Switch in the Winter this year. FF CC was a game built around Co-Op play when it first came out on the Gamecube so it is perfect for online co-op play which is what it is getting. It is also getting a release on iOs and Android but nothing announced if it will support cross play – though that will make it a 100% purchase in my books. I got a Gamecube because of Crystal Chronicles and I never got into it, primarily because I always felt like it would be better with pals and I only had one GC controller (and even less pals).

Trailer for Octopath Traveller which is now out for PC. I’ve played a little of it and it’s fun so far.

The Last Remnant Remaster is coming to Nintendo Switch…TONIGHT. I love announcements like that. I picked it up for the PS4 not long ago but it never immediately clicked with me so I need to give it another shot at some point.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

There was an extended trailer for Dragon Quest Builders 2 and it honestly looks super charming. It is an Action-JRPG meets Minecraft, what more can you want? The trailer was narrated by a dude who was trying so hard to sell you on this game that it added to the charm. It looks cute, the co-op nature of the game looks like it could be a lot of fun and if nothing else, being able to build stuff yourself in a JRPG setting could be neat. I was interested in the first game but I just never picked it up so I am looking at this game with a lot of interest.

They also showed off some more information on the Switch port of Dragon Quest 11 which is also on my wishlist. I never played any Dragon Quest games so this would be my introduction to the series but it looks like it will be right up my alley. My alley is RPGs.

The Square Enix Collective 

It starts with a video of some of the games they have released since starting the Collective – essentially a service they provide indie developers to help publish their games. I have not played any of these games but I hear really good things about The Turing Test which was one of the first games released by the Collective.

After this it cuts to a video featuring three game developers surrounded by some nice cars and they are making Circuit Superstars – an old school top down racing game with a modern lick of paint. They say it will have more involved physics so it will likely be less arcadey than the games that influenced it. It could be a really fun game, especially if there is some tuning options or if it takes time to master the physics involved. I’m keeping an eye on it. I think I’ve kept a dozen eyes on games so far it is a miracle I can still see.

Battalion 1944 is available now in Early Access on Steam is a first person shooter set in WWII that seems to be in the mould of a more arcadey Call of Duty it looks like? You shoot people and you get points. It’s got capture the flag and deathmatch modes. Yeah, you can imagine what this game looks like.

This is followed by an advert for the Final Fantasy soundtracks now being on music streaming services which admittedly got a little chuckle out of me not going to lie.

Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC is coming out this winter, the trailer was weird but it’s Kingdom Hearts so what else would I expect? I really enjoyed KHIII so I am automatically interested in seeing where this DLC goes – it seems to revolve around Xigbar and Luxord while it looks like you can play as a few other Keyblade masters like Riku and Aqua. Hopefully it’s good.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

The very popular MMO is getting a new expansion real soon in Shadowbringers. They showed off a lot of story tidbits to whet people’s appetites for the expansion’s launch at the end of the month. I have not played XIV so for the sake of those interested here’s the trailer:

FFXIV is a game I have been meaning to get into for a long time and maybe with the launch of this expansion it could be a good time to delve into it. It seems like it has become a love letter to the entire series while maintaining it’s own separate lore. Not bad for a game that is technically a relaunch of a disaster product that was the original FFXIV.

There is some Dying Light 2 footage followed by an announcement of two games that never made their way to the West finally getting a localisation. Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace are coming out on PS4, Switch, PC and Smartphones soon – with RS3 also getting an Xbox One and PS Vita (!) launch as well.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is getting a spin off game called War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. It will revolve around five warring nations each with their own identities and ideals. It looks like a Tactical RPG which fits in with the war theme of the story.

Outriders

What happens when the creators of Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgement leave Epic and form their own studio? Why, People Can Fly of course! And they have brought their new IP to Square-Enix with Outriders. There was a nice looking cinematic trailer where people fired guns and the female character fired fire from her hands. It will be a co-op shooter that promises to have an engaging story. No gameplay was shown but this got the full presentation deal so it might be one to look out for in the future though it won’t release until next year.

Following on was a new hack and slash RPG IP Oninaki. It is a game where you play as a Watcher, who are a group of people who travel between the realms of the living and dead to save lost souls. It is the next RPG from the creators of Lost Sphear and I Am Setsuna and it looks gorgeous. It will be out August 22nd for PS4, Switch and PC.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered

OH LORD YES, I have been waiting for this day since they brought IX out on the PS4. Final Fantasy VIII is getting remastered and released on modern consoles so it can enjoy a new lease of life until the internet decides it hates it again. It was a weird omission to the games getting ported this year – while VII, IX and X were all making their debuts on the Switch it just felt like there was a big giant hole missing. Now they have filled it in.

It is not a straight port either, the models have clearly been touched up a little to make them look good in an HD resolution. I will have so much more to say about Final Fantasy VIII when the remaster is near release but I am so excited to play this again. I can already here the Triple Triad theme playing in the distance. A glorious surprise.

Marvel’s Avengers

Well Final Fantasy VIII woke me right up just in time for the reveal of Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers game. We see a cinematic of the Avengers celebrating A-Day – a celebration of the Avengers on the day they open their West Coast headquarters in San Francisco when the Golden Gate Bridge is attacked. We see Iron Man and Thor fly over to the bridge while Bruce Banner jumps out of the helicarrier to become The Hulk to smash his way through the attacking force. While they, along with Black Widow of course, are busy on the bridge, Captain America is attacked on the ship which crashes and seemingly kills Captain America.

This causes the Avengers to be outlawed as they are blamed for the attack. We see a scene from a few years later where a dishevelled Tony Stark argues with Bruce Banner before we see little snippets of the Avengers back in action.

From what I can tell from the initial trailer is that each Avenger will play in a slightly different way as you would probably expect. Iron Man attacks from long range and can hover, Thor has area of effect damage with Mjolnir, Hulk smashes, Captain America is a brawler and I guess Black Widow would have quick takedowns and guns we do not see too much of her.

What we do see is the voice actors for the main five Avengers in the game including some familiar voices in the form of Troy Baker as Bruce Banner, Laura Bailey as Black Widow and Nolan North as Tony Stark which works pretty well. They have a little sit down discussion over what it means to voice these iconic characters.

The initial presenters do not do a good job at really selling the game too well but the presentation gets better when they actually start talking about what the game will entail.

It seems like Marvel’s Avengers will be a live game with constantly updating content and characters being added to it for no extra cost which is a nice idea. They also promised no random loot boxes or pay to win features, which in its own way suggests there might be extra cosmetic details you might be able to purchase should you want to. Each character has a lot of potential costumes they could put in to make you part with some of that sweet, sweet cash.

Also they showed a video revealing one of these post-release characters – Hank Pym aka the original Ant-Man. But he’s youngish here. This is not based on the cinematic universe but is instead its own standalone universe which is probably a good thing.

The game will support up to four player co-op but can be beaten solo if you are that way inclined. It will be released on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Stadia on May 15th 2020 – three days after my birthday. How kind. However, PS4 players will get earlier access to the Beta as well as some “awesome surprises” exclusive to the Playstation brand. I wonder what that could mean…

So that was it for Square Enix. The Avengers presentation was a little messy but it still was enough to make me interested to see where they take the game, there’s still eleven months until release day after all. Final Fantasy VIII getting a remaster is simply wonderful news for me but the star here for me is Final Fantasy VII which is looking mighty fine. It’s not the game we knew from 22 years ago but honestly that is not at all a knock against it – being different means it can stand on it’s own two feet alongside it’s father.

So tomorrow (later today…) we will have coverage of Nintendo’s E3 Direct and then I can sleep. It’s been four days. I don’t even know what reality is anymore. See you then!

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