Sunday
Aug312014

PAX PRIME 2014: Hands-On at Square-Enix

quare-Enix brought the goods this PAX for fans of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts alike. Both the upcoming Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix were available to play at the Square-Enix booth, and I got hands-on with both.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, the follow up to 2012's rhythm-music/RPG mashup Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, is pretty much everything you want in a sequel without changing much up. Basically, Curtain call gives you an absurd amount of music to play through with a play-list that is very greatly expanded from the original game – so much so that titles such as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Mystic Quest and even Romancing SaGa have entries. It all amounts to over 200 tunes, not counting DLC!

There is also a cornucopia of new characters joining the roster, including entries from offshoots like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy Type-0 and Mystic Quest.

Gameplay remains pretty much untouched on the whole, with every one of the inputs players from the first game are already familiar with at its core. Game modes like versus battle are a fun way to get competitive as well and it worked pretty well, except when the 3DS XL wireless connection cut out in the middle of battle. The Quest Medley mode from the iOS version is also being included in Curtain Call as well.

Theaterhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is set for release on September 16th.

Following in its predecessor's footsteps, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix once again collects a trove of Kingdom Hearts content and presents it in clear, sharp high definition on the Playstation 3. Consisting of Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix and the remastered visual retelling of Kingdom Hearts: Re:Coded, there is certainly a lot to do in this collection, just as in 2013's Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix.

Of the two main games, Kingdom Hearts II has always come off as the better of the two core titles, with seriously impressive visuals even on the far less powerful Playstation 2 . Birth By Sleep also sported seriously good visuals on the original PSP. So it's no real wonder that these games have transferred over to and upscaled on the Paystation 3 so well.

The controls in both titles are 100% faithful to the original games for the most part, so fans should be able to dive right in with no trouble whatsoever. In the case of Birth by Sleep though, the controls have been overhauled without feeling too far from its source material, thanks to the additional analog stick on the Dualshock 3; feeling identical to Kingdom Hearts II with the added analog camera support allows for player to better view their surroundings. The rotation was reversed though, but thankfully can be changed in the settings of the final game.

Better visuals are really the name of the game though, and both Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix and Birth By Sleep Final Mix deliver. Both sported crisp representations of each game's content, with Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix looking particularly impressive. Basically, if you've wanted to play Kingdom Hearts 2 or Birth By Sleep again or have always wanted to give them a shot, this is definitely the way to do it.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix will see release on December 2nd.  

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