Archives for posts with tag: 3DS

Square-Enix’s rhythm-action 3DS title Theatrhythm Final Fantasy releases on Nintendo’s stereoscopic handheld this Friday, and to celebrate, the first batch of additional songs will also be going up on the 3DS store.

There will be eight new tracks on the store, each costing 90p, and those tracks are:

  • Battle Theme I (Final Fantasy II – BMS)
  • The Final Battle (Final Fantasy IV – BMS)
  • In Search of Light (Final Fantasy V – FMS)
  • Cosmo Canyon (Final Fantasy VII – FMS)
  • Ride On (Final Fantasy VIII – FMS)
  • A Fleeting Dream (Final Fantasy X – FMS)
  • Fighters of the Crystal (Final Fantasy XI – BMS)
  • Fighting Fate (Final Fantasy XIII – BMS)

(BMS denotes ‘Battle Music Stage’ in-game, FMS denotes ‘Field Music Stage’)

Of these tracks, I’m mostly looking forward to Final Fantasy X and XIII‘s entries. ‘A Fleeting Dream’ plays during the party’s trip through the Zanarkand Ruins, and is uninterrupted by encounters, playing straight through battles.

Final Fantasy XIII‘s typically epic ‘Fighting Fate’ plays during the typically epic confrontations with the fal’Cie Barthandelus. Being very chorus-led, it will be interesting to see how it will be incorporated into a rhythm-action game.

And as soon as I express that sentiment, I’ve found a Japanese trailer for the content on youtube that seems to suggest it’ll merely stick to the beat. You can also see Cagnazzo turn up in the footage of FFIV‘s ‘The Final Battle’!

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is set to be the first 3DS game to support paid downloadable content, and there are apparently more than fifty extra tracks set to appear for the game. If they’re all going to be priced at 90p a track and released at a steady rate, then I can see myself downloading the lot!

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If you’ve read this blog before, it will be apparent that I’m a massive Final Fantasy fan. I’ve also mentioned that I’m frothing at the mouth while waiting for the Western release of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Square-Enix’s FF-themed rhythm-action prod-and-swipe-’em-up, and there’s now a demo available to try out on the store.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is that the demo is limited to thirty uses. Quite why Nintendo feels the need to do this I don’t know, but there you have it. When you get into the demo proper, you’ll find two songs available to try out, one each across two different modes. These two modes are Battle Music Stage (BMS) and Field Music Stage (FMS).

In BMS mode, your party of four chibi Final Fantasy heroes, standing on the right of the screen as is customary, do battle against a succession of iconic enemies from across the Final Fantasy series. Your enemy appears on the left of the screen, and so far I’ve seen Tonberries, Behemoths, and even the scorpion-like Manasvin Warmech from the early hours of Final Fantasy XIII.

Each of your characters has a note lane, upon which certain ‘triggers’ (notes) fly toward your heroes. There are three different types of trigger, and despite the lanes, it doesn’t matter where on the screen you tap to activate them. The first trigger is simply called a ‘touch trigger’, and it’s activation is pretty self-explanatory – simply tap in time as it arrives at the circle in front of the character. The second type is the ‘slide trigger’. These triggers have an arrow in their centre, and must be activated by swiping your stylus in the desired direction when it reaches the circle. You’ll often find these combined with the third type, ‘hold triggers’. As the name suggests, for these you must tap at the first note, and hold until the second, releasing the stylus if it’s a normal trigger, or swiping off if it’s a slide trigger.

In BMS, hitting these notes results in an attack upon the enemy, who will be defeated and replaced by the next if you’re doing well. Miss, and the enemy will lash out and deal damage to your HP bar, residing in the upper-right corner. Lose all HP and you’ll fail the stage. The piece of music offered in battle mode is ‘The Man with the Machine Gun’, which fans will recognise as Laguna’s battle theme in Final Fantasy VIII, and it’s certainly the more difficult of the two songs on offer, owing mainly to its tempo. There are three difficulty modes on offer – Basic, Expert and Ultimate. Expert took me two attempts to get through. Ultimate destroyed me in under ten seconds. I’m yet to manage an S-rank on either stage, so there’s plenty of scope for replayability.

The second mode available in the demo, Field Music Stage, is essentially your world map traversal. One character at a time takes turn in walking across a location (rather charmingly swinging their sword as they go), and the gameplay is essentially the same, with one slight difference; hold triggers here aren’t straight lines but wavy, with extra notes along the curves which you have to slide your stylus up and down to hit. Missing triggers here causes your hero to stumble and fall, chipping away at your HP until another character takes their place. The stage and music for FMS is FFXIII’s Sunleth Waterscape, and it’s a bit more sedate than Laguna’s battle music – I even managed to get through it on Ultimate.

There’s one more feature to mention which appears in both modes, though with a different effect in each. From time to time, a string of silver triggers will appear, and this is called the Feature Zone. Hitting all notes in these sequences will result in something that helps you out; for instance, a summon attack in BMS or a golden chocobo to speed you along in FMS. The full game will also have a third mode, called Event Music Stage, which consists of a cutscene with trigger commands overlaid – we’ve previously seen the ballroom scene from Final Fantasy VIII in a trailer, and it should serve as a nice new way to enjoy those iconic scenes.

The demo is beautifully presented throughout, and while not a technical triumph, it’s a gorgeous-looking game. The super-deformed heroes are adorable, and the recreation of the Sunleth Waterscape is very nice indeed, with a pleasing amount of depth in the scrolling background with 3D engaged. The game does of course suffer from the same issue as similar games though, meaning you can’t really appreciate the backgrounds and character actions as you’re so focused on your note chart. This is a minor gripe however.

Another nice touch is the nonsensical, though generally humourous sentences concocted by your party before stages.

The full game is out in less than two weeks, and promises to feature over 70 songs from across the Final Fantasy canon to get to grips with. I’ve had my pre-order in place for quite some time, and now I’m looking forward to it even more. Something tells me I’ll be going through those 30 demo activations in a matter of days!

If you’ve seen little of this game and passed it off as some bizarre Japanese-focused curio, make sure to at least check out the demo. After all, it’s free. If you’re a fan of both Final Fantasy and rhythm-action games, well, it’s a no-brainer.


Those of you hoping for a 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask may be in luck, as Shigeru Miyamoto has named it as one of the titles he is considering for a release on Nintendo’s stereoscopic handheld.

Speaking to IGN, the man behind Mario indicated he was weighing up whether to get to work on Majora’s Mask or an even more cherished title. “We haven’t quite decided yet, whether we’re going to do A Link to the Past, because there’s also the possibility of doing a remake of Majora’s Mask,” he said. “This is something we’ve certainly been talking about and doing a little bit of experimenting with, to figure out which way we’re going to go.”

This, of course, begs the question of what form such a re-release might take; for Majora’s Mask we’ll obviously see a remaster in the vein of last year’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but what of A Link to the Past? Will we see a stereoscopic port of the Super Nintendo classic or a full-fledged 3D remake?

Given the fantastic work done by Grezzo on Ocarina 3D, and the close relationship between the original and its direct sequel, you’d think Majora’s Mask would be quicker to bring to market. Miyamoto, however, said fans will need to be patient: “We have so many goals right now. We’re always looking at expanding our audience and giving people the opportunity to get their hands on 3DS and see what kind of fun gaming experiences they can have. And now, we’re also tasked with pushing the Wii U. So we have lots of good opportunities in terms of thinking about which Zelda game is going to be best for which purpose.”

Strangely, this is at odds with words spoken by series overseer Eiji Aonuma last November, when he told Portuguese site MyGames.pt that a new Zelda title was his priority. “But recently we released The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D as a remake. We are considering the idea, but it didn’t seem right to launch a remake one after another, so the next Zelda game on 3DS will be original.”, he said. It makes you wonder if perhaps Miyamoto stepped in and overruled him. I’m sure he can be very persuasive…

As to which of the two Zelda classics I’d like to see on 3DS? Well, both eventually. But if A Link to the Past turned out to be nothing more than a stereoscopic version of the original, I’d much rather have a remastered Majora’s Mask on my shelf. And this kind of brings me around to another point; why aren’t there any SNES classics on the 3DS store? I get that Nintendo want previous generations of handheld games on handhelds and home console games on home consoles. I get that. I don’t at all understand it, though. After playing through Metroid Fusion on my 3DS (yes, I’m an ‘ambassador’), it made me desperate for the opportunity to play Super Metroid on my handheld.

I’m a big fan of playing older games on handhelds. I can’t bear to play them blown up to enormous proportions on modern televisions, but on handhelds, they can be transformed, and a decent part of my handheld gaming time is spent on playing older games that I missed or wish to revisit. Handhelds are the perfect platform for that. Or is it just me?

Well, that’s enough of an off-topic rant. Which Zelda game do you want to see make a re-appearance on 3DS? And a wider question: Which older games would you like to see come to handheld formats in general?

As I wait for the August launch of Tales of Graces f, I’ve been thinking back to my time with Tales of the Abyss. Often, some of the in-town music will pop into my head and rattle around for a few days, reminding me of the wonderful time I spent in the game’s company, and it’s also made me consider the way music is used in games; specifically in Tales of the Abyss to create a separation between the towns and world map, and the feeling of entering a town to rest and gain some respite from the larger conflict.

Have a listen to this piece, which plays on the world map after a story milestone:

It’s dramatic, hinting at an epic confrontation to come, and it has a real driving feel that helps to communicate that you’re pushing on to your next objective in your goal of saving the world.

Now listen to this in-town piece that plays when you enter the snowy wonderland of Keterburg:

This piece of music is pretty representative of the rest of the game’s in-town music. It’s disarmingly cheerful, despite the conflict that is ravaging the world outside of the town. In an RPG, you enter a town to rest and recharge, stock up, and maybe seek out a handful of sidequests, and it’s this aspect that often feels a little incongruous; why am I helping someone find their missing sheep while outside the walls the world is burning? Of course, a large part of gaming is the suspension of disbelief, but for me, this separation in musical themes and moods often helps me to actually forget the main quest exists for a short while while I potter about doing random things in a new town.

I’ve often seen the Tales of series referred to as ‘jRPG comfort food’, and given their traditional nature, it’s hard to argue. And I think the music can often play a large part in this feeling of comfort, subconsciously allowing you time off from the pressing engagement of saving the world.

E3 is almost upon us, so today, in lieu of the usual ‘Sunday Soapbox’ piece, I’ve decided to list some of the things I’ll be looking forward to or blindly hoping for. Because everybody loves a good list, don’t they?

The 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo starts on Tuesday June 5th at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, though Microsoft will be jumping ahead of the competition by having their press conference the day before. Yup, that means tomorrow!

So what am I looking forward to? I’ll try and group my thoughts by publisher or developer, so read on to find out, and then leave a comment to let me know what you’re looking forward to.

Microsoft
Seeing as they’re first off the blocks, I’ll get straight onto the Xbox 360 manufacturer, and the obvious starting point is Halo 4.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a massive, massive Halo fanboy, so I’m predictably overexcited about the prospect of seeing some single-player footage, learning more about the setting and figuring out just what in the name of Sergeant Johnson is going on. I’ve read a few previews that have all described the beginning of the game (which unfortunately doesn’t answer any of the above questions), and I have a feeling that this is what we’ll be seeing as an on-stage demo. Not that this would disappoint me of course – I really want to see what 343i have achieved with their first entry into the franchise.

It’ll also be interesting to see what the devs have to say about multiplayer; fans have been worrying that Halo 4 seems to be going the Call of Duty route, with perks and other xp-based unlockables. Halo has always been an open playing field – if you win, it’s because you’re better than the opposition, not because you have better equipment. Hopefully 343 will be on-hand to allay fans’ fears.

The new Gears of War game, titled Judgment, will also be a big draw for Microsoft’s conference, and again, I’m looking forward to find out what’s going on. It appears to be a prequel, given the existence of Locust forces and the fact that Cole looks very young, and it’ll also be interesting to see how deep Bulletstorm creator People Can Fly’s involvement goes. Essentially nothing is known about this title yet, so hopefully a full reveal will help to ground it somewhere in the existing Gears canon.

I’m also wondering whether we’ll see more of Crytek’s Kinect action game Ryse this year. It’s been awfully quiet of late regarding the former Codename: Kingdoms, so perhaps E3 is the perfect time to show it off. Sticking with the Kinect theme, I’m hoping to get a good long look at Yukio Futatsugi’s Crimson Dragon. As a big, big fan of Sega’s Panzer Dragoon (all four games still proudly grace my shelf), the spiritual successor to that series is one of my most highly anticipated games this year. An on-stage demo would be great, as would a release date.

Yukio Futatsugi’s Crimson Dragon.

Sony
What I really want to see from Sony at this year’s E3 is massive support for their new handheld. I absolutely love my Vita (I’m currently making my way through Resistance: Burning Skies), but most wouldn’t argue the point that it’s floundering in the marketplace at the moment. Some big new franchise announcements specifically for the Vita would certainly help alleviate the perception that it has no games. Seeing Ken Levine walk on-stage to demo BioShock Vita would certainly be a good start, and perhaps we’ll hear more about Killzone and Call of Duty. Aside from shooters, I’m hoping we’ll hear about some good RPGs coming to the handheld in the next year.

Besides the Vita, some gameplay footage of The Last of Us would be great to see. The trailers so far have got mouths watering, but we know nothing of how the game will play. Will it be a post-apocalyptic Uncharted, or will Naughty Dog pull out all the stops and head in a completely new direction? I can’t wait to find out.

Joel and Ellie, wondering what they’ll be doing for the next ten hours.

Square-Enix
The Tokyo-based company recently announced their list of games they will be showcasing at E3, and all I can say is I hope they’re planning to hit us with a load of surprises. On the list were Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Heroes of Ruin and Kingdom Hearts 3D for the 3DS. The rest are mostly mobile phone games.

Seriously Square-Enix? It’s Final Fantasy‘s 25th anniversary! Come on! They have to have something up their sleeves, don’t they? Final Fantasy Versus XIII is apparently not being shown at E3, although recent rumours have claimed it’ll be renamed Final Fantasy XV and will in fact be unveiled at the trade show… I’m taking that one with a barge-full of salt, but I am blindly hoping for some kind of big FF news at the Expo, considering the 25-year milestone. At the very least I want to see the PS3/PSV re-release of Final Fantasy X that we’ve heard absolutely nothing about in God knows how long. If Square-Enix’s conference holds no surprises, I’ll be very disappointed.

Nintendo
The house of Mario are expected to unveil their final Wii U hardware and, more than anything, I’m hoping to see a gorgeous HD Metroid adventure (hopefully from Retro Studios please!). Despite last year’s HD Zelda demonstration, I don’t expect to be seeing anything from Link and friends this year, though I imagine we’ll get a proper glimpse of a new Mario game. I think Nintendo will keep Wii U game reveals to a minimum and focus on the console and tablet and what they can do together, allowing third parties to take up the slack, as they did with their E3 2011 showreel.

Hopefully we’ll see some great new 3DS titles announced (perhaps a new handheld Zelda?) as well as get a good look at New Super Mario Bros 2, and I’d love to see more of Luigi’s Mansion 2.

Namco-Bandai
Having recently watched a Namco-Bandai presentation (at last week’s London Expo), I’m not foaming at the mouth (quite as much) to see Ni No Kuni and Tales of Graces f, though more on both would certainly be welcome. I’d love to get confirmation of a European release date for Tales of Xillia though, and I’d imagine we’ll be seeing more of the recently-announced Xillia 2. Tying into my earlier words about Vita games, I’m also hoping we’ll get a Western release announcement for the handheld’s version of Tales of Innocence R, too.

Others
Electronic Arts will no doubt have a strong presence at the show, and I’m looking forward to a full-on Dead Space 3 reveal, though I am worried about how far co-op will permeate the core experience of the game; let’s hope it’s entirely optional, though I’d prefer it if co-op was a separate side-story entirely. Crysis 3 will most likely also be a focus for EA, and I’ll be hoping it’s more like the first than the second, with large, open environments with flowing objectives and tactical options that allow you to feel like the Predator.

I’m hoping to get a good look at both Zone of the Enders HD Collection and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance from Konami, and it seems they’ll also be tearing the veil from two new Castlevania games – a direct sequel to 2010’s Lords of Shadow and a 3DS spin-off.

Ubisoft are expected to show off tropical shooter Far Cry 3 and colonial stab-’em-up Assassin’s Creed 3, and I’ll be looking to THQ to show us how Metro: Last Light is coming along. Last but by absolutely no means least, I’m hoping for a solid release date for Jet Set Radio HD. And while you’re at it Sega, how about some Shenmue news?

Yeah, I’ll keep dreaming…