By Madeline Ricchiuto
I had the ability to demo a few games by Square Enix a few weeks ago, including the newest installment of the Final Fantasy franchise and a few others.
The usual Final Fantasy game uses turn-based gameplay, often with a lot of menus. Final Fantasy Type-O HD is, in that way, a rather huge departure from the usual FF dynamic. Fighting is all done in real time, with instant-kills if you time your attacks right, and no real menus in sight. The game's combat system is essentially a stripped down version of the one found in each Kingdom Hearts game. For gamers who have always avoided Final Fantasy titles because of the ubiquitous menus and turn-based gameplay, Type-O should be a great introduction to the franchise.
For long-time FF enthusiasts, Type-O brings a fresh take on a favorite franchise. The story and art are all very Final Fantasy (you control a group of students at an elite academy who help their country wage war against an invading force), so it's only the combat that has changed. All the other familiar aspects are there- from a 14 playable character roster, to the familiar curaga spells.
As always, each character has a different skill set, and having a balanced party is to your benefit. I was able to play as 3 of the 14: REM, Seven, and Ace. REM is your usual dagger-using close-combat type, however, she is arguably one of the top magic users in the game and striking that balance between knife-fighting and magic is a lot of fun. Seven uses a whip-sword, and is great for crowd control, being the mid-range combat character in the demo. Ace, almost predictably, is a long-range fighter who flings charged playing cards at his enemies- much like Marvel's Gambit. Having a variety of different skill types in your party is necessary to complete each mission.
Type-O comes out in mid March 2015 for next-gen consoles only.
Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix is another collected edition of the game, which includes Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth by Sleep, and re:Coded. Some of the re:Coded gameplay is going to be new to the US and Canada, as the content wasn't included in the first release of the game in North America. It will debut in early December of 2014 for the PS3.
The new Tomb Raider game, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, is a four-person co-op, and uses an "isometric" view, so it is pretty much a big throw-back. But the demo falls short on that promise, and that really upsets me. Local co-op gameplay is something we haven't seen much of in recent years, Temple of Osiris's own predecessor Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was one of the few to be released in recent years to much acclaim.
Temple of Osiris will be released in early December 2014 on PC, and next gen consoles.
Madeline Ricchiuto is a freelance writer and editor with a fondness for comics, movies, and video games. She writes for TheBlot, examiner.com, and sometimes even print magazines.