We've tried all of Square Enix's upcoming titles, from Final Fantasy to other great classics

We've tried all of Square Enix's upcoming titles, from Final Fantasy to other great classics

We've tried all of Square Enix's upcoming titles

When it comes to Japanese RPG video games (i.e. role-playing games), the first name that comes to mind for fans is Square Enix. The company was formed in 2003 from the merger of two giants of the Japanese videogame world: Squaresoft, creator of the Final Fantasy saga, and Enix, creator of Dragon Quest. These two are the best-loved and best-selling sagas in the world, with Final Fantasy being more famous in the West, while in Japan Dragon Quest is almost a religion. Both were born in the 1980s and have won millions of fans around the world thanks to dozens of games released, including official chapters and countless spin-offs. However, Square Enix does not owe its reputation as a great RPG creator to these two titles alone, in fact over the years it has given birth to many successful series, such as Kingdom Hearts, Nier or Star Ocean.

L However, the last decade has seen Square Enix's role as queen of Japanese RPGs fail, both due to the abandonment of many historical IPs, left in oblivion, and for several not very successful projects, for example chapters XIII and XV of Final Fantasy, which neither the public nor the critics liked. To save the company from many failures was Final Fantasy XIV, the MMORPG that is currently the most played in the world, with over 40 million active players. Apparently, however, it seems that now the downward phase is over, given that since last year Square Enix has started to release numerous new RPGs, also taking up some of its great classics, both with remastered versions and with real ones. own new chapters.

Among the various titles recently released there have been several small pearls which, despite being considered minor projects, have met with great success both from critics and audiences for their excellent quality. An example is the strategic RPG for Switch Triangle Strategy, followed by Live a Live, a graphic remake of an old title for Super Nintendo, then never outside the borders of Japan, which has sold 500,000 copies worldwide, a totally unexpected result for such a niche title.

But that's not all, because for the last months of 2022, Square Enix is ​​planning the arrival of a dozen very varied and interesting role-playing games, as if it wanted to prove that it is back what it is. fans loved it many years ago. For the occasion we flew to London, to attend the Square Enix Plays event, where we were able to preview a large part of the catalog of role-playing games coming soon.

Crisis Core: the return of the Final Fantasy VII prequel

The flagship game of the event was undoubtedly Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a remake of the original title released in 2007 for PSP. The story is set seven years before the original Final Fantasy VII and features Zack Fair, a very important and significant character for the events of the seventh chapter. The story of Zack is in fact closely linked to that of Cloud, moreover the prequel shows us unedited sides of some characters much loved by fans, such as Aerith and Sephiroth.

We got to play the prologue and the first chapter, which confirmed that the story hasn't been touched compared to the PSP version. The improvements are clearly visible on a graphic level, with the character models totally revised, so as to make them more similar to those of Final Fantasy VII Remake and, obviously, much more detailed.

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The other totally revolutionized aspect is the combat system: if in the original this was a mixture between an action and the classic RPG control system, now the scales tends more towards hard and pure action. In fact, we will be able to move Zack at will, making him attack, dodge and parry with great fluidity, and we will also be able, with the press of a button, to cast spells and powerful Limit Breaks. These will be linked to a sort of slot machine, already present in the original game, which will activate only when you get the alignment of three identical characters. The slot system works randomly, but there will be modifiers that will greatly increase the probability of getting an upgrade for our Zack.

At the moment, therefore, it seemed like a more modern version of the classic for PSP (without being a real remake like the one made for Final Fantasy VII) in which the spirit of the original title remains intact. Probably, if there will be any variations in the story, they will be related to the final part, so as to link up with the possible plot changes of the future trilogy started with Final Fantasy VII Remake. To find out, we will have to wait until December 13th, the date on which this chapter will be released for all major consoles and for PC.

Two great returns

Among the titles present at the event there were also two big returns: Star Ocean: The Divine Force and Valkyrie Elysium. These are the new chapters of two historical RPG sagas, absent for a long time from the videogame landscape. The first to come out will be Valkyrie Elysium, on September 29th on PS4, PS5 and PC, while Star Ocean: The Divine Force will arrive on October 27th on PS5, PS4, Xbox One and Series S / X and PC. For those wishing to try them out, the demos of both games are already available, even with the possibility of importing the saves into the full game.

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Valkyrie Elysium is a new chapter in the saga that began in 1999 with Valkyrie Profile, a role-playing game inspired by Nordic mythology. At the time the title was a great success, especially for some of its very original elements, such as the possibility of recruiting heroes to be sent, once upgraded, to Valhalla to face Ragnarok. This new Elysium, as stated by the developers, should represent a new beginning for the saga, although, from what is seen in the trailers, there may still be several links with its past.

The thing that surprised us most about Valkyrie Elysium is its very action combat system with lots of attack options, including different weapons to use, spells to cast and the ability to summon Einherjar to our aid, spirits of valiant warriors who will help us in battle. The fight is very well done and manages to entertain a lot, a pity only for the technical department a bit backward, a sign that the title unfortunately did not enjoy a big budget in development.

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This same issue also applies to Star Ocean: The Divine Force. However, beyond the graphics and structure typical of old RPGs, it also has a good combat and exploration system on its side, based on a drone called D.U.M.A. which for short distances will allow the characters to fly at high speed. The result is that in explorations you will be able to move quickly towards the goal without major wastes of time, while during the fight it will be possible to load the enemies and go around them in order to make them more vulnerable. In addition, there will be a customizable combo system in which we will decide the sequences of attacks made by our characters.

The story goes back a lot to that of the classic Star Ocean, where science fiction and fantasy come together . In this title, a vessel captain, after being attacked by another spaceship, makes an emergency landing on an unknown planet. Here he will find himself in an underdeveloped and clearly fantasy world. Thus begins an epic, set between this fantasy world and other planets scattered across a sci-fi space, which will aim to combine the best of both genres.

Role-playing games for all tastes

To close the series of RPGs featured at the event, we have five titles for all tastes. Let's start with Nier Automata and its version for Switch, the only console on which at the moment this great action RPG was missing. The Switch version, albeit a bit scaled down in terms of graphics, moves with exceptional fluidity even in portable mode, doing justice to the spectacular battles of the title, which will be available on the Nintendo console from October 6.

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