Nier is possibly one of Square Enix’s most misunderstood games.
Released to a rather lukewarm critical response back in 2010, this Cavia-developed PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 action RPG, directed by Taro Yoko, is actually a fascinating game that is well worth your time and attention — so long as you have a bit of patience to deal with its idiosyncrasies.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular Swords and Zippers column on JRPGs. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From the Archives: Birds Suddenly Appear Every Time You Are Nier
One of my favourite additions to Final Fantasy XIV over time has been the randomly generated dungeon Palace of the Dead.
I actually like it specifically because it’s one of the few pieces of content in the game that can legitimately be run solo while it’s still “relevant” to you. Other dungeons and Trials in the game only really become soloable once they are so far beneath your character and item level that the only reason to run them is “for fun” or for the sake of their story, but Palace of the Dead is pretty much always useful for something or other, be it levelling an alt class or simply obtaining some endgame tomestones.
The other nice thing about Palace of the Dead is that it’s been specifically designed with soloing in mind, since it even has its own leaderboard for solo adventurers.
Continue reading Eorzean Diary: Lonely Explorer
When I first started playing Final Fantasy XIV in A Realm Reborn’s open beta, I was keen to experience everything the game had to offer as soon as new things became available.
There’s a benefit to this approach, of course: coming into new things “blind” when no-one else knows what to do either allows the community as a whole to work together and figure things out for themselves, developing established strategies that simply become “the way things are done” from thereon.
But this also puts an undue amount of pressure on people, particularly in more “casual-friendly” content such as dungeons, non-Extreme Trials and even 24-player raids to an extent. If you weren’t there on that first day, expect to be admonished if you haven’t read up on an encounter beforehand; expect to be told to “watch a video”; and don’t expect any help. (Sometimes people will pleasantly surprise you, particularly in levelling content, but at level 60, this is unfortunately true for the most part.)
All that said, there is sometimes a benefit to being behind the curve, particularly when we come to the twilight hours of an expansion and await the next full installment in the game’s overarching storyline.
Continue reading Eorzean Diary: The Benefits of Being Left Behind
One of the biggest challenges you’ll encounter as an MMO player is the prospect of planning out your time effectively so that you can do everything you want to do.
I’m not just talking about in the MMO itself, either; if you’re anything like me, you don’t want just one game to take over every waking moment of your existence — you probably want to continue enjoying other stuff, too.
This is something I’ve been struggling with for some time now with regard to Square Enix’s wonderful MMO Final Fantasy XIV. After some reflection and some discussion with other people who are or have been in a similar situation themselves, I’ve come up with a set of effective tips to juggle your career in Eorzea (or equivalents) with a rich, fulfilling and varied diet of other games and media.
Continue reading Eorzean Diary: Tips for Being a Filthy FFXIV Casual
Final Fantasy XV drew some raised eyebrows from certain quarters for its focus on an all-male cast, but this was a specific decision made in order to support the overall tone and character of the story.
Despite what this might sound like, however, Final Fantasy XV does not make any particular effort to explore concepts such as traditional (or indeed “toxic”) masculinity and the like. In fact, at numerous points over the course of its narrative, it subverts expectations through the interactions between its main cast and the supporting characters.
Not only that, unlike most previous Final Fantasy titles, the experience is not intended purely to be judged on its main scenario. Instead, as we explored last time, much like other Japanese attempts at open-world games such as the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the intention is clearly to build up a comprehensive picture of how the game world as a whole works, supporting the main scenario with numerous intertwining side stories and background lore to create a setting that feels well-crafted and truly alive.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
Final Fantasy XV’s predecessor Final Fantasy XIII, despite attaining widespread plaudits on its original release, has become fashionable to bash in recent years.
The main justification for this is pretty much always the “20 hour tutorial” argument, criticising the fact that the game gradually introduces its various character classes and other gameplay concepts over the course of a very linear, narrative-heavy section that lasts approximately 20 hours.
Once this part of the game is complete, the experience opens up into a much more freeform affair with sidequests and optional battles aplenty, and at the same time the progression system also removes all restrictions, allowing you to develop all of the game’s playable characters as you see fit.
Apparently aware of this increasingly frequent criticism, Square Enix opted to make Final Fantasy XV the complete opposite of Final Fantasy XIII in terms of structure, in the process completely turning the standard JRPG formula on its head.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: Inverting the Formula
As we discussed last time, the Final Fantasy series is one that has rarely stood still or grown complacent.
Each new installment has represented a reinvention of the basic formula to one degree or another, with some offering a more radical new take than others.
Latest installment Final Fantasy XV is arguably the most significant and noticeable reinvention of the series since X abandoned the Active Time Battle mechanic the series had used between its fourth and ninth installments. And it’s an effective new approach that offers a blend of spectacular real-time action and the strategy of more traditional, conventional role-playing games.
Let’s delve into Final Fantasy XV’s battle mechanics in depth.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: The Latest Reinvention