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At Last: Final Fantasy XIII

March 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Today we witness the release of one of the most highly anticipated games of the decade; Final Fantasy XIII. This title was actually first teased at way back in 2006, so the long road to release has been staggering. Well, that wait is finally over and we can all sit down to what will surely be the gaming event of the year.

Released in December over in Japan, Final Fantasy XIII has actually amassed a little controversy since its unveling, and the reviews received for the game haven't quite been the straight aces developers Square Enix were hoping for. The main reason for this is that Final Fantasy XIII has quite drastically revised the fundamental gameplay associated with the franchise, and indeed the RPG genre as a whole. Gone are NPCs, interactive towns and an instantly open world.


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Instead, Final Fantasy XIII is a lot more linear and story driven. Players follow quite a tightly set path for the first 25 hours or so of play. Following this, the gameplay opens up and players are free to follow their own choices a little more. This has been a major gripe amongst some, whereas others welcome the more focussed and cinematic approach. It really does depend on your preference.

One element which has been universally applauded is the combat system, which is made up of an innovative mesh of X and XII. Players are now able to 'stack' actions, and the more you can stack increases as you level up. Furthermore, in Final Fantasy XIII there are various different roles your characters can play, such as healer and tank, and gamers are free to shift these roles during fights.

It goes without saying that the graphics in this title are breathtaking. Presentation has always been Square Enix's strongpoint, and the franchise has always offered top range visuals. Being the first of the franchise to hit the next gen consoles, Final Fantasy XIII is, without a doubt, the best looking videogame ever. The cut scenes are so detailed and beautiful you'll want to stare at them all day, and the in-game graphics are good enough to rival the FMVs of lesser games.

Throw in an undoubtedly epic storyline, and you have the biggest game of the year. It may be a little different to what you're used to, but overall Final Fantasy XIII is just what everyone's been waiting for. Masterful combat, achingly beautiful visuals and a guartenteed 60+ hours of gameplay mean Final Fantasy is back with a vengeance. Let the adventure begin.

Go To Hell: Dante’s Inferno Videogame

March 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Released just a few weeks ago, the Dante's Inferno videogame has caused quite a stir in the gaming community. The subject matter, which is very loosely based on the titular poem, has been met with scorn by some and certain countries even refused to advertise it. However, this kind of notoriety is often a good thing, as it gets audiences interested in what could be causing such an outcry.

The story follows Dante as he journeys through the various circles of hell on a quest to rescue his beloved Beatrice. But as he ventures deeper into the Inferno, darker secrets are revealed and the truth about his quest comes to light. Dante must battle his way through using Death's scythe, which he took from the spectre having defeated him in single combat!

Now, let's get this out of the way early- the Dante's Inferno video game has been accused of being a rip off of the God of War series, to the point at which the combat system is supposedly almost identical. Well, this is really dependent on your point of view. God of War certainly didn't begin the hack and slash genre, it just does it best, and thus all subsequent games will be measured against it. If a game can come close to emulating God of War, surely that's a good thing?

And the Dante's Inferno videogame is doubtless its own master. The combat system is actually an intricately fashioned tree of possibilities as you employ Dante's two methods of attack; his scythe and holy cross. These weapons can both be levelled up as you progress through hell. Dante will come across lost souls in both combat and non-combat situations, and the player can choose to either punish or absolve them. This will level up either weapon correspondingly.

Hell itself has been nicely designed, and there are definitely echoes of EA's earlier horror offering- Dead Space. The landscape is teeming with writhing damned, impaled prisoners and rivers of blood, whilst the different circles will offer their own slant on things. Journeying through Lust will unveil mutated phallic symbols and darkly seductive enemies, whilst Greed will display unfortunates encased in gold.


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Dante's Inferno has had a rough ride at the hands of all the God of War fanboys, but is definitely a great game in its own right. Sure, there are a couple of drawbacks- the game is a little too short and some of the environments begin to look over familiar, but these gripes are cancelled out by an empowering combat system and imaginative boss battles and imagery. The Dante's Inferno videogame should be recognised as a great effort from EA, and I urge you to try it out.

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