Episode #54: Jeffp Free

Posted by jeffp2662 on January 01, 2012 in Episodes tagged with

Final Fantasy 13-2 To Feature FF13 Save Unlocks, New Game+ Mode
Final Fantasy 13-2 is headed our way at the end of January, a little more than a month after the game’s December 15 release in Japan. The past few months have been filled with info about the game’s features, and how it differs from the disappointing FF13. There’s still more coming too, even though the game will be in gamers’ hands in little more than a week from now.

Producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama sat down for a chat recently with Dengeki PlayStation (via Andriasang) in which they revealed a number of new facts about the game. Those who put time in on FF13 ought to be pleased to hear that save data from the previous game — you don’t have to have beaten the game, just played it — will unlock “special monster decorations” and improve your success rates in the game’s gambling area.

There’s also some sort of New Game+ mode that opens up after you’ve completed the game once. It’s not clear how the feature works, though a second playthrough will give players the opportunity to pick up various items that couldn’t be gotten the first time through.

FF13-2 will also feature an auto save system in addition to its save anywhere option. Coolest of all for time-sensitive gamers is the fact that each of the game’s episodes top off at no more than three hours, which ought to help split the play time up into easily digestible chunks.

As a longtime fan of the series, I’m still feeling the pain of having to push through FF13 for a review last year. I’m willing to give 13-2 a chance though, since it seems to be returning to some of the mechanics and features that have traditionally been associated with the FF series (and RPGs in general).

Fan takes a crack at Final Fantasy VII remake
It’s possible that we’ll never see a Final Fantasy VII remake. And if Square Enix eventually does decide to take on the challenge, it could be awhile before it happens. Very recently, Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase indicated that remaking the title could “take three times, four times, even ten times longer” to create compared to the original.

While an official remake is probably out of the question, a fan has created an unofficial project. The demo, which is available for download now, was made with the Unreal Engine. It’s already up and running (see the site for a download link), though you best be quick if you’d like to experience the demo. Square Enix could be looking to take down the unofficial remake soon.

You can find the remake’s site here and some footage here.

Skyrim Update 1.3 now on Steam
Update 1.3.10 Notes (PC)

  • Support for 4-Gigabyte Tuning (Large Address Aware)
  • Fixed issue with accented characters not displaying properly at the end of a line

Update 1.3 Notes (all platforms unless specified)

  • General stability improvements
  • Optimize performance for Core 2 Duo CPUs (PC)
  • Fixed Radiant Story incorrectly filling certain roles
  • Fixed magic resistances not calculating properly
  • Fixed issue with placing books on bookshelves inside player purchased homes
  • Fixed dragon animation issues with saving and loading
  • Fixed Y-look input to scale correctly with framerate

Star Wars: The Old Republic beta test attracts 2 million players
It’s no secret that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most highly anticipated MMORPGs in recent memory, and the game’s recently concluded public testing phase confirms the hype. The game’s publisher, EA, announced that the SWTOR test phase drew in over 2 million players, and of those 2 million, 750,000 unique players jumped into the game over the Thanksgiving weekend alone.

EA also shared some interesting statistics about the game’s test players. Over the holiday weekend, players averaged about 12 hours of game time each for a grand total of over 9 million hours of playtime across the playerbase. If you didn’t get a chance to try the beta, or if you simply couldn’t get enough, you don’t have much longer to wait. The game launches in about two weeks on December 20th, with pre-order head start beginning on the 15th.

South Park RPG in the works
The announcement was made via Game Informer magazine, which reported South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are writing the script, performing the dialogue and overseeing development of the title.

Obsidian, the developer behind ‘Fallout: New Vegas’, will helm the project alongside publisher THQ. The game is expected to be released sometime next year.

The South Park licence was previously held by Acclaim, which produced several titles when the foul-mouthed cartoon series was at the peak of its popularity in the early noughties.

ePawn Arena: Bringing Back the “Board” in Digital Board Games
As you can tell from reading my posts, I’m more of a board gamer than a video gamer. Don’t get me wrong; I really do enjoy playing video games (and you can’t take my iPad from me), but I still prefer sitting around a table with a bunch of people and moving physical bits around. (As Daniel Solis put it, “My favorite game console is a table and chairs.”) That said, I also love the ability to play games like Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Ascension against opponents from not just around the country but around the world.

Nearly two years ago I wrote about some experiments to simulate OLED screens in board game tiles, and then at the beginning of this year I reflected some more on the future of board games taking into consideration technologies like the iPad and the Microsoft Surface table. I think that as board game companies have been finding ways to make the transition to digital games, it’s been interesting to see what clicks and what doesn’t — what feels like playing a board game. It’s great when the digital version is able to track things that are cumbersome to manage physically, but there’s also a tradeoff when you lose the physicality of the bits and pieces. And even though the iPad’s larger screen certainly feels closer to playing a board game than a tiny smartphone screen, you’re rarely going to have four people crowded around an iPad on the table, playing a board game together.

Those are, as it turns out, the same issues that inspired Christophe Duteil and Valentin Lefevre to form ePawn and create a new digital game peripheral, the ePawn Arena. The Paris-based ePawn was formed last fall for the purpose of developing the Arena, which is a display screen that incorporates real-time motion-tracking technology, allowing you to move physical pawns and pieces on the surface of a screen as part of a digital game.


Fishing For Chips: Syndicate’s Tech Wars
Last time out, Syndicate was showing off its guns and I don’t remember seeing a single flamethrower, which made me grumble in a manner befitting a madman denied the ability to burn the flesh off his enemies. The latest piece of video advertainment is all about the power of technology, which allows agents to persuade their opponents to commit suicide and attack their allies, among other ethically questionable activities. It’s certainly far more interesting than the guns. The removal of chips from peoples’ skulls to gain experience is described as a “critical mission objective”, which is something the same mad part of me that wants a flamethrower approves of heartily. Watch between the tiny gaps in your cybernetically augmented HUD below.

 

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