Music Friday: Spoiler break

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That sounds like a cool theme name, eh? “Spoiler Break“.

Sadly, that’s not a theme. It’s me, telling you guys there won’t be a MF today. And no, it’s not a holiday here.

Yesterday, while browsing Youtube I found myself spoiled the identity of the final boss in Final Fantasy XV. Therefore, I am not going there until at least next week. And I wouldn’t want any of you to accidentally see a thumbnail that could spoil something important.

On the bright side, I had my suspicions on what the spoiler would be, so it’s more of a unpleasant surprise than a rage-inducing situation. Still sucks, man.

Music Friday: Stand Your Ground

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With today’s official “sampler” of Final Fantasy XV songs released by Squeenix we now know the official name of the battle music from the recent “Judgment Disc” demo: Stand Your Ground. It was previously circulated as “Careening Into Danger” but now we know the truth.

Final Fantasy XV apparently has battle themes per enemy type (just kidding… maybe) and this is, if Judgment is to be believed, the first one you’ll hear when fighting regular monsters on the early stages of the game. I don’t mind if it’s the default “monster” theme during the whole game. It’s *that* good.

I love when new Final Fantasy music uses motifs or references to old, classical Final Fantasy themes. This one is no exception. At 0:11 it plays a fast version of the Prelude, and the parts before and after that are reminiscent of the classical battle-intro theme, which features in old battle themes like I, IV, VI, IX (and is also present as a detail in themes like XIV’s Ominous Prognisticks). Afterward we get a dash of Kingdom He… I KID, I KID, but Shimomura’s style is clearly present and one can’t help to remember the Kingdom Hearts music, which is made by her.

Final Fantasy XV’s OST is going on sale mid-December. Will it be worth it? Too soon to call. Does it look like it’ll be worth it? HELL, YEAH.

In the meantime, all we can do is wait. Unless you live in Perú… in which case please do not post spoilers. I also hate you.

Music Friday: Double Boss Combo

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Have you noticed that I seem to have a preference for battle themes in Music Friday? No particular reason other than battle/boss music having the responsibility of inspiring a sense of urgency and danger that is crucial to set the mood of battle. Since last week I was on a holiday, I owe you a post, and thus bring today two neat boss themes from two fun games!

First up, “Eyes Up“, the theme of Aksis, Archon Prime and final boss in Wrath of the MachineDestiny‘s Rise of Iron raid. The mutilated Fallen overlord, connected only by SIVA to the complex itself has been defeated and you scarce have time to celebrate when he regains his consciousness and uses his platform as a spider-like vehicle, starting this cool theme.

I like how the theme clearly identifies the phases of the fight. At first the realization that he’s not down but is now a spider-like monster, then the early and basic fight’s mechanics. At 1:03 is when the true mechanics begin (cannons, servitors, charges), a frantic to-and-fro of combinations that must be performed to weaken the boss down. At 1:30 the boss starts dancing around the stage and you must stun and damage him a few times. At 2:35 Aksis unleashes his SIVA – a one-shot mechanic that must be avoided by all party members by standing in a certain position. At 2:50 is the final transition, a dps phase where only one will fall – your team or Aksis. For clarification, the theme’s sections can and will loop for the multiple repeats of phases.

Now for something much more colorful, yet not less dangerous:

Child of Light, despite being a colorful game, is about some pretty somber themes. It has three boss themes, and this is the first one. You immediately know this isn’t gonna be just another fight! Boss battles can be quite problematic unless you know what to do, but thankfully the combat system – which reminds me a bit of Final Fantasy X’s – allows you to have all your party members at your disposition to deal with anything that can come up.

Time to enjoy the weekend! Well, for you to enjoy the weekend. I work tomorrow. Preparing for late November and XVcember – I apologize in advance if December’s Music Fridays are dominated by Final Fantasy XV. As they say on the internet:

Sorry not sorry.

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Music Friday: Slam Shuffle

Halloween is upon us! Well, not yet but soon! So I was thinking of a spooky theme for the season and… didn’t quite recall anything too seasonal at the moment. But then it hit me: a spooky theme that borders on mischievous – Slam Shuffle!

Final Fantasy VI‘s Zozo is a town of thieves, wrongdoers, liars and general nasty people…. well, except for just one guy. Your party must go there to follow the trail of an important person who you believe is here, but in order to traverse its rainy streets and puzzles, you have to use your wits and pretty much do the opposite everybody tells you to do.

Except, of course, for that one guy.

This place is dangerous!

Music Friday: World of FF title

Have you tried World of Final Fantasy‘s demo? It’s up now on PS4 and PSVita (if you can actually access them due to the bloody DDOS attack that’s making the rounds today).

The game that at first made everyone cringe at its cuteness and announced right before the Final Fantasy VII remake (which obviously gathered all the attention), WoFF has slowly been catching the eyes of people due to its colorful world and characters, and a long forgotten sense of humor. The music seems to be a combination of cutesy-upbeat tracks and a few nods to old themes. The demo is a bit short and is mostly a bunch of random battles in a “dungeon”… but hey, that is old school Final Fantasy.

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It features cameos from Final Fantasy characters and monsters, so it’s bound to be at least a curiosity for Final Fantasy fans. Cloud, Lightning, Boko, Edgar and many more show up.

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Are you jumping in the WoFF bandwagon? I mean, you’d be missing this kind of fun:

The Nintendo Switch

Goodbye, Nintendo NX, we hardly knew you. Hello, Nintendo Switch

We… pretty much hardly know you, too.

The veil of secrecy is lifted. Nintendo‘s new console is called the Switch and is, at least in concept, a very cool idea. We had leaks, sure, but it’s always nice to see the actual thing working (in a PR video, at least). The concept of a portable console experience has been talked about for a long time. The Playstation Vita was pretty much an attempt at making a portable device with the power of a home console (and it is a pretty cool device at that). But Nintendo wants to break that barrier. No longer a portable with console aspirations… but rather a console that is straight up portable.

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It’s hard to explain how it works unless you have seen the leaks, or the introduction video above. But the Switch is basically a small tablet with the power of a console, that uses two small controllers as input. These controllers can be used on their own (or docked in a controller-like shell as seen in the GIF), but they can be inserted into the Switch and it suddenly becomes like a Vita.

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And now you can game with your console… on the go.

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Rest in peace, Playstation Vita (just kidding, I still love you).

The video presents a machine that, if working as advertised, could be a very cool device. The controllers (called “Joy-Cons“) can work on their own, without the need for the dock seen in the top gif) and can even work separately as independent inputs to play multiplayer games:

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But we know almost nothing beyond what’s presented. The dock is apparently just a cool looking “microUSB to HDMI” adapter. Every gameplay shown is defined by Nintendo as “representative” – a target, if you will; at this point in time, however, Nintendo would be foolish to not at least be on pair with other consoles graphically. A peek at the “representative” gameplay of the new Mario game:

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It would even seem multiple Switches can play together in co-op or competitive games via Wifi… or maybe Ad-hoc? At least these guys seem to be playing against each other…

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There’s a more traditional controller option (called the “Pro”) which will likely be sold separately.

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Perhaps the coolest tidbit:

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Back to cartridges! It had been rumored for quite a while but also confirmed is that the Switch will use carts instead of discs, like the Vita or 3DS. Loading speeds are bound to be very fast, and as today’s cards can hold insane amounts of data it shouldn’t be much of a problem for developers. Speaking of which, there’s a *lot* of third party developers that are working on Switch right now. Big names like Bethesda (we saw Skyrim in the video), Square Enix, Capcom, EA, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, Take Two and *gulp* From Software.

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Let’s not forget, however, that as cool as our Skyrims, Bravely Defaults and Sonics are… what Nintendo consoles always have in spades are Nintendo first-party exclusives, and those are usually always worth a look. Mario and Zelda are definitely coming. Dare I hope for a new Metroid?

All this is nice and cool. A great concept, innovative stuff, etc. But there are important questions up in the air…

This is essentially a portable console… what about battery life and (why not?) heat (I don’t want exploding Switchs being banned from air travel!)? It’s powered by a custom Nvidia Tegra processor and “an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards” (source) so that’s gonna require a lot of power! Will it match current consoles graphical power-wise? And that’s for the console… what about the controllers? Will they use AAA batteries? On another topic, what about the OS? The console’s online capabilities? PRICE? All we know is it’s launching in March 2017.

And finally, my #1 question: is the Switch the successor to the Wii U AND the 3DS? It’s a portable console as well! Not to confuse with a new console having backwards compatibility with both consoles, but rather the next step… a single console that will become the focus of Nintendo, leaving behind the console and portable mentality to fuse it all in a “one device” future? It’s not secret the Wii U is not what many expected, and it’s a console I gladly ignored. The 3DS, however, it’s a machine that has a lot of great games. Big names! Basically it has the library I wish the Vita had.

If the Switch has a libraby comprised of the best the Wii U can offer and the best the 3DS can offer as well, becoming the de facto Nintendo console… it could very well become a true must buy.

Only time will tell, though. For now, we have to wait for more info, but what we have been shown is interesting. I remain cautiously optimistic.

Stormblood

We will take a break from our regular Music Friday to talk about the biggest news of the day: Final Fantasy XIV has revealed some details about the next expansion coming in early summer 2017: Stormblood.

Stormblood will see us take the fight to the Empire by helping the Resistance in taking back the city-state of Ala Mhigo, under Garlean rule for years. The events that lead us to this started in the latest live patch (3.4, Soul Surrender) but will still be further explained in the next one (3.5). There’s little we know of the lore happening in these new lands, but we do know that we’ll get new jobs, new zones, new enemies and some system changes.

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While no new jobs were formally introduced, FanFest attendees had a tease in the form of the t-shirt Yoshida was wearing (a similar thing happened in the previous 2014 FanFest). Wearing a Scarlet Witch t-shirt pretty much guarantees that we will get Red Mage as one of the new jobs – a long awaited job.

As for zones, we’ll go around Ala Mhigo, likely Gyr Abania. The new hub town, which is said to be the place where the trailer takes place, is called Rhalgr’s Reach. A “new kind” of exploratory mission will take place in “Eureka”, a name that should be familiar to Final Fantasy fans. Speaking of which, there were quite a few mentions that future areas and raids (both 8man and 24man) would be “very Final Fantasy“.

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We also got a glimpse at one of the main villains of the expansion: Zenos Yae Galvus, commander of the XIIth Legion of the Garlean Empire, currently in charge of Ala Mhigo. His motivations are an important part of the expansion so there’s a lot of mystery regarding him.

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Speaking of mysteries: who is the young red monk parrying with the Derplander in the intro? Their fight is more a parrying session than a battle, and they seem to know each other very well. Blonde… with blue eyes… related to Ala Mhigo? Hmmmm… I wonder who could she be? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm Could we know her from before… perhaps with a different attire? “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” indeed…

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On the systems side, an increase in inventory space was revealed, as well as new minimum requirements for the Windows versions. One of the most cheered announcements was the drop of support for the PS3 version of the game – for the longest time people have speculated that some limitations of the game come from having to support the fading console, and letting it go could open the doors to new visual and technical things. One such thing was mentioned in a new lightning model.

Upcoming FanFests (in Japan and Europe) will bring further reveals and more info, but the stage is set. Ala Mhigo will be the theater where the adventures of the Warrior (Monk?) of Light will take place. Let’s look forward to it.

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