Kingdom Hearts

Catch Up On the Entire Series with Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far

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Square Enix wants to make sure you’ve had as many chances as possible to catch up on Kingdom Hearts. They announced the biggest compilation bundle yet for PlayStation 4, Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far.

The Story So Far packs together three previously released bundles into one super bundle. It’s available October 30 for $39.99.

Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far is notable for including last year’s Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix bundle, as well as the one piece missing from that bundle – Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

Unpacking the various bundles reveals the following games (or cutscenes, where noted) included in The Story So Far.

  • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
  • Kingdom Hearts 368/2 Days (cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage
  • Kingdom Hearts X Back cover (movie)

The last three entries were specifically included from the 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which launched last year.

Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far is available to pre-order now. The Kingdom Hearts series is rated E10+. The very long awaited, highly anticipated sequel Kingdom Hearts III is due to launch on January 25, 2019.

dragon quest xi

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Review

Posted by | PC, PlayStation 4, Reviews | No Comments

Available On: PC, PlayStation 4

It’s easy to get jaded about the RPG genre, specifically Japanese RPGs. Every trope has been well-worn, every character archetype has been fully exploited. Dating back to the 1980s the Dragon Quest series is one of the most egregious examples of many tiresome gameplay elements and story beats.

Yet each new Dragon Quest game proves why the series remains beloved and resilient. With an irresistible charm, modern design conveniences, and excellent writing, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a wonderful RPG for newcomers and a delightful return for series veterans.

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the legend of heroes

The Legend of Heroes Coming to PlayStation 4 Early Next Year

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A pair of well-regarded JRPGs from last generation are getting a fancy new physical edition releases for PlayStation 4. The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II will be available in limited retail editions for PS4 in early 2019. Pre-orders will be available soon.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Decisive Edition includes a physical copy of the game with a SteelBook case, a replica Collector’s Coin, and a CD soundtrack featuring 21 tracks.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II Relentless Edition has the physical copy with SteelBook, an Ouroboros Emblem Pin, and a 23-track soundtrack CD.

Each edition will retail for $49.99.

As a special perk, the new PS4 editions will include the full Japanese voice acting for both games, in addition to the English dub that was introduced in the PC version. The English voice acting features over 5,000 lines of dialogue per game. The dual voiceover is a first in series history. PC players will receive the Japanese voices as a free update in an upcoming patch.

Both RPGs originally released on PlayStation 3 in Japan, followed by PS3, PS Vita, and PC releases in the US in 2015 and 2016. The series is developed by Nihon Falcom and localized by XSEED Games.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 1 and 2 are rated T for Teen. They’re currently available on Steam, Vita, and PS3, and coming early next year to PS4.

dragon quest 11

Dragon Quest 11 First Impressions

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I’m about a dozen hours into Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age and the smile has rarely left my face. Dragon Quest is one of the most resilient RPG franchises in video game history. The latest installment proves why it’s such a winning formula by embracing its classic roots while sprinkling in many welcoming improvements and features.

If you’re a newcomer to the series, Dragon Quest is a bit like Final Fantasy. It’s a classic 50+ hour Japanese RPG with each entry a standalone adventure (save DQ 10, which was an MMO).

The series has been around since the 1980s. Many classic RPG genre conventions and tropes can trace their roots back to those early games, including young protagonists, destroyed villages, character classes and skills, turn-based battles, and lots of side quests and dungeon crawls.

Dragon Quest 11 doesn’t try to change or alter that basic formula at all. You play as a silent, unnamed young orphan boy. You’ve grown up in a quaint village and upon coming of age, discover that you are the chosen one and set off on a heroic journey. I’ve checked off several major JRPG boxes right there. Yet DQ 11 doesn’t feel trite or tiresome. It embraces its tropes and character archetypes proudly and earnestly. It helps that the production values are the best of any Dragon Quest game to date, including full voice acting in all of the numerous cutscenes.

dragon quest 11

Akira Toriyama’s instantly recognizable character and monster art has been beloved for decades, and looks amazing when blown up in all its colorful, charming glory. Battle screens play out like an action-packed Saturday Morning Cartoon, yet still operate exactly like a classic turn-based console RPG. You can move your characters around just for funzies, which is a nice touch without altering the formula of attacking, casting spells, activating character-specific abilities, and engaging in souped up Pep Powers.

The Pep Powers are a new element in battle. Occasionally characters will enter a Pep state that grants increased stats for a few turns. If multiple characters get Pep’d, they can unleash awesome combo attacks with various effects. I do wish there was an actual visible bar or meter for how close Pep is to activating. But retaining Pep though multiple battles is a nice feature.

Crafting with the Fun-Size Forge is also new to the series, and it’s one of the better crafting minigames I’ve seen. Acquire recipes from quest rewards, chests, and bookshelves and gather materials from slain monsters to make new equipment. New weapons, items, and accessories must be hammered out on the forge by hitting target areas using different abilities. Hitting the right spots grants better stats on the crafted equipment. The more you craft, the more abilities and stamina you unlock, making the entire system very rewarding and satisfying.

dragon quest 11

Crafting can be done at any campsite out in the world, which is another fantastic addition. No longer do you have to huff it back to town (or use the handy Zoom spell) to rest up and save your game. In every field or area there’s a campsite with a merchant, a save point, and a forge. You can rest to heal up as well as change the time of day, which alters which monsters are in the field. And speaking of healing, simply opening the menu screen and pressing a single button will heal your entire party as efficiently as possible, using healing spells, then healing items, so you can jump right back into the action.

The story is still getting started, and I’ve only recently acquired the fourth party member. These are very long RPGs – in fact DQ 11 has the audacity to play the opening movie and title screen after a certain event several hours into the game. The early game is a bit slow and battles have been fairly simple, but the deeper I get the more satisfied I am with the world, characters, skill system, and combat.

Given the length I can’t yet comment on how well the whole thing holds together. But my early impressions leave me very impressed. I’m a relative late-comer to the series, having first played Dragon Quest 9 on the DS back in 2009, before enjoying the 3DS remakes of DQ 7 and DQ 8. Dragon Quest 11 is probably most similar to DQ 8, and I mean that with all the praise that entails as DQ 8 is widely considered the hallmark of the series.

Dragon Quest 11 may just be the best Dragon Quest game to date. Even if you don’t know your Metal Slimes from your Healing Slimes, RPG fans are in for a treat.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is rated T for Teen.