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Square Enix Impressions - PAX East 2017
03.13.2017

MICHAEL APPS
Q&A HOST


Square Enix

Square Enix brought a number of its upcoming titles to PAX East in Boston. I got a chance to spend an hour with three of them while at the show: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, and Dragon Quest Heroes II.

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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Sitting down with this updated version of Final Fantasy XII was like riding a bike. All the familiar controls and options were in place, now with nicely updated graphics. It's really hard to say more than that, but this is a good thing. This seems like a game completely at home on the modern PlayStation hardware, and those unfamiliar with the game would be hard pressed to tell that it originally appeared on the PlayStation 2. The fast-forward option was a bit comical with how quicly characters moved, but did nicely speed things up when trying to quickly run through areas or power through easy battles. I didn't get to see the license boards originally from the Japan-only International Zodiac Job System version of the game, but I did get to hear bits of the orchestrated version of the soundtrack, which were very nice. I was able to quickly go through the demo area and left my time eager to play the full version. It's looking like fans of the orignal will be quite pleased with this update, and those new to the game will have the definitive edition to play.

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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX

With it set to release at the end of the month, the entire collection was open to try out. I decided to go right to Birth By Sleep, since its status as a PSP game means it is the most in need of an update. The game looked great and played at a nice crisp sixty frames per second. There were some occasional ugly or overly simple textures in places, but on the whole it was a silky smooth experience that made it difficult to tell its origins on the PSP. Still, I couldn't help but leave with the impression that very little was done to the games other than bundle them together on a single disc. This is fine, given the quality of most of the games included, but it did feel like a bit of a missed oppurtunity to add some extra polish to these classics. Those happy with their PS3 versions will be unlikely to find much of a need to upgrade, but it at least seems to provides a nice way for others to pick up these titles.

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Dragon Quest Heroes II

The full version of Dragon Quest Heroes II was also available to play. I opted to open a save that was already on the PS4, rather than going through the opening sequences. The localization of the game is chock full of British voice acting, which seems to fit the series. The voice actors for Maribel and Gabo were especially entertaining, as was Torneko. Gameplay wise, it was nice to an overworld of sorts to wonder through, even if it wasn't a perfect match mixed with Dynasty Warriors-style combat. The primary battles played quite nicely, and switching between all four party members on the fly gives it a different feel from other Warriors titels. Sadly, like the original title, it still feel like it's a bit lacking in comparison to Hyrule Warriors, but at least it feels more integrated with the franchise as a whole than the previous title. If nothing else, another game featuring Torneko is aces in my book.



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