SEATTLE - Square Enix is getting back to basics; that’s what its PAX West 2017 lineup suggests, anyway. Between revisiting old favorites and making new games inspired by some of its most beloved hits, the fan-favorite publisher is doing what it’s always done best: Churning out charming Japanese role-playing games, sometimes shaking up the formula, but mostly just not fixing what isn’t broken. I got to go hands-on with some of Square Enix’s upcoming titles, and they’re well worth a look for JRPG fans.
Final Fantasy XV (PC)
Final Fantasy XV delighted PS4 and Xbox One fans when it debuted in 2016, earning accolades as one of the best games of the year. There was only one problem: it was totally inaccessible to PC gamers. Square Enixx has heard PC gamers’ pleas, and Final Fantasy XV will soon be available on high-end computers, letting users ratchet up the graphics to full 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. The game will also come complete with all available downloadable content, as well as full support for mice and keyboards.
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Much like Square Enix’s earler throwback title I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear channels the classic RPGs of yore (particularly Chrono Trigger) to create something wholly new. Three young friends – Kanata, Lumina and Locke – set out to restore their world, which has fallen prey to a threat that can steal memories and make entire regions fade out of existence. In addition to its isometric, watercolor art style, the game’s big draw is its turn-based combat, which still relies on real-time movement and positioning.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
The Dissidia Final Fantasy series became something of a cult classic on its native PSP, but it never had the reach of a full console title. That may change with the arrival of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, the first full-fledged PS4 entry in the series. This squad-based fighting game lets you choose three Final Fantasy heroes and villains, then square off against other teams. If you’ve always wondered whether Squall would win against Cloud, or how Zidane might fare against Terra, this fast-paced spinoff might just do the trick.
Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana was arguably one of the most underrated titles on the Super Nintendo, never quite measuring up to classics like Final Fantasy III or Chrono Trigger. The cult classic will soon get a second chance (or third, if you also count its upcoming re-release on the Super Nintendo Classic mini-console). With full 3D graphics and a fully voice acted script, Secret of Mana feels like a hybrid of old-school gameplay and modern production values, and the real-time combat with a variety of different weapons still holds up well.