Welcome to part two of my preview look of games from PAX West 2016. With everything still fresh in my mind, let’s dive right back in.
In my surprisingly long, two hour, media sit down with Square-Enix, I got to demo three of their up-and-coming games: World of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest Builders, and Final Fantasy XV.
The first game I played was World of Final Fantasy. Imagine a world populated only by chibi-style characters. Now drop in two jiants who look like they walked out of Kingdom Hearts. This is the art style for World of Final Fantasy. You adventure as the two jiants, Lann and Reynn. They both have lost their memories and are searching the lands of Grymoire to find them. In order to blend in they have the power to shrink down to chibi size.
The gameplay is a throwback to the classic Final Fantasy turn-based adventures with a little bit of monster collecting and battling thrown in. Above all else, it was cute and easy to pick up and play.
Next up was Dragon Quest Builders. Sadly, even though I had a long time slot, I did not get enough time with this game. It has the classic Dragon Quest art style with gameplay falling somewhere in the middle of Dragon Quest, Minecraft, and Dark Cloud. It really grabbed my curiosity and I look forward to spending more time with it when it’s released.
Last up is what I like to jokingly refer to as the "boy band road trip" and I mean that in the best way. Final Fantasy XV looks to breath some fresh air into the long-running franchise. At its heart it is an action role-playing game (RPG), but what sets it apart is its setting and story.
I think the setting is what really has me intrigued. Unlike most fantasy games that are set in an alien or fantasy world, FFXV is set in modern times. Cars, cell phones, diners, and even Coleman camping equipment gives it a feel of the familiar.
It starts out with Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum and his friends Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto starting a journey to the kingdom of Niflheim. There the prince is to be married to Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae in order to bring peace to their kingdoms. An adventure wouldn’t be an adventure if something didn’t go awry, so of course on the way the Prince’s car breaks down. The boys spend all of the money they have on hand to get it repaired. To earn some money for food and room they take on odd jobs around town eliminating creatures that have been playing havoc around small town.
In combat, although you play as Noctis, you have the ability to call on your friends. Calling on your friends allows you to create combos that strengthen your attacks. Noctis has a warp/blink power that I didn't quite get the hang of before my time was up. If he uses it to get above the battlefield he can hang from his sword and heal. While hanging he can target a creature and warp in hitting it with a strong solid attack. I may have missed something about this move because I had problems warping to any of the high points. Occasionally I would manage it, but it seemed few and far between.
This new world in Final Fantasy XV, especially the modern setting, really hooked me. I’m excited about the release.
For more information on Square-Enix games see their official website.
Kalypso two big offerings at this year’s PAX were Vikings: Wolves of Midgard and Urban Empire. After sitting down with both games, I’ve now added them to my watch list. Hopefully I’ll get to dig into both in the future.
Vikings: Wolves of Midgard has you playing a Viking who comes upon a decimated village. The blacksmith asks you to enter the village and rescue any survivors. Once you clear the village of pillagers, the survivors make you their new chieftain. The village now acts as your hub of operations. From here you go out on quests to help the village.
One of the interesting gameplay mechanics was the exposure meter. It is the coldest winter ever and if you are outside too long you start to slow down and take damage from the cold. Lucky for you there are warming fires scattered throughout the lands; you just need to get to them and clear them of hostiles.
While I didn’t get as far as one of the bosses, I did watch another player fight against a frost giant. The battle not only had you fighting the frost giant and his summoned minions, but the exposure mechanic was full in play.
Urban Empire takes the city building gameplay of Sim City and adds a twist of reality. No longer can you willy-nilly enact legislation or raise and lower taxes as you see fit. No. Now as mayor, you have a city council to win over. The council is made up of three political parties: conservative, liberal, and independent. Provided you have enough private funding there are some things you will be able to build on your own, but not all. For those things that you need the council's help, you will need to woo or demand their votes with possible consequences in the future. It is an interesting take on the city building genre of games I have not seen before.
For more information on games from Kalypso see their official website.
In addition to all the game demos I was also able to test out some new hardware from HyperX. They brought in two headphone sets, the HyperX Stinger and the HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War, as well as their first foray into gaming keyboards, the HyperX Alloy.
Briefly, the HyperX Stinger is their new lower end headset, made for those on a budget, with it's target price estimated to be in $49.99 range. For a budget headset, it has some higher end touches. They also showed off the Alloy, named so because the main plate is an alloy with much of the rest being plastic. It has Cherry MX Blue keys with the single color red LEDs. The lighting can be adjusted into different modes: all on, wave, “breathing,” lights on as you type, and all off.
The last headset they showed off was the HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War headset. This is a limited edition headset that will be sold exclusively at GameStop. It has everything you'd expect with a Gears Of War design; an overall red and black color scheme, the Crimson Omen Gear on the ear cups, a luxurious brown leather headband with Gears of War branding. The headband and the ear cups have nice soft memory foam for comfort during long periods of gaming.
In an effort to not completely overload you with information, I will be doing more in-depth reviews of the HyperX Stinger and the HyperX Alloy when they come out later this year. Because of the HyperX CloudX Revolver Gears of War headset limited availability I probably will not have a review of it.
For more information on HyperX products see their official website.