Tagged "Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age"

May 03
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Another long bank holiday weekend is upon us. If you’re fortunate enough not to be working, then you’re in luck – the UK Switch eShop is swarming with new games. No change there, then.

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age stands out as the week’s biggest releases. We were mildly concerned about the £44.99 price tag, but reviewers claim that this PS2 classic holds up remarkably well. The Metacritic currently stands at 85%, with Gaming Age dishing out full marks.

“In terms of the quality of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age on Switch this is a very worthy port. And in terms of value that’s up to how you want to look at the whole package because where it’s virtually double the cost of any previous Final Fantasy port yet you do have a load of added features and content that weren’t in the original PS2 version and even extras to the Switch and Xbox One since then which make this one the definitive and best way to play Final Fantasy XII,” they said, while addressing the game’s price.

The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse is currently one review shy of a Metacritic score, but all signs point to it being one of the higher scoring Switch games of late. It’s a roguelike that owes a lot to Zelda: A Link to the Past, boasting alluring 2D visuals.

Nintendo World Report opted for a lofty 9/10. “ The thrill of discovery, the joy of exploring, and the fun of the combat and puzzles help to make this an outstandingly great time,” was their verdict.

Shadows of Adam is a JRPG that has flown under the radar somewhat, featuring 16-bit style pixel art. Scores so far include an 8/10 from Nintendo Enthusiast – who praised the “satisfying, thoughtful combat system” – and a 7/10 from Nintendo Life, who referred to it as a bite-sized adventure due to a noticeably short runtime. That suits us just fine.

Mixing things up (pun intended), there’s VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, which is best described as part visual novel and part bartending sim. An odd mix, for sure, but one that works brilliantly. Not convinced? It has gained full marks from a trio of sites – God is a Geek, Digitally Downloaded, and Vooks.

Giga Wrecker Alt. – a physics puzzle/platformer with a distinct art style, from the creators of Pokemon – has arrived to a mixed reception, meanwhile, gaining everything from a 4.5/5 from Impulse Gamer to a middling 5/10 from The Metro. “Giga Wrecker is a game full of good ideas but the execution is absolutely awful, said The Metro before comparing it to a failed Kickstarter project. Ouch!

Lastly, there’s the arcade-like racer Table Top Racing: World Tour, which made its debut on PS4 many years ago. The general consensus is that it’s a fun, if throwaway, racer that provides an easy-going ride. Not spectacular but still worth a look, especially if you love Micro Machines or kart racers in general.

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May 01
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Square-Enix is on a roll with their Final Fantasy re-releases, with yet another – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age for Switch and Xbox One – on this week’s agenda.

While it’s great to see FF games on formats that never received them the first time around, Square-Enix seems hellbent on getting them out the door quickly – FFX/X-2 Remaster launched just two weeks ago. We’re jealous of anybody able to find the time to play through these 50+ hour JRPGs before the next arrives.

Other notable new releases are relatively few. From THQ Nordic there’s Fade to Silence, a wintery sandbox survival game that first launched on PC some time ago. Scores are mixed so far with sloppy combat and poorly explained mechanics to blame, although most critics agree that the dynamic weather patterns make good on the game’s promise.

Then from GameFreak, the house of Pokemon, comes Giga Wrecker Alt. on Xbox One and Switch – a physics-based puzzle/platformer with striking 2D visuals. Sadly, scores for this one aren’t sky high either with bizarre design choices at fault.

Speaking of which, Crashbots is an auto-runner with a load of content but a frustration factor that’s off the charts. Weirdly, the protagonist’s health and energy gauges are one and the same. So when you’re low on health you may not have enough juice to make it to the finishing line, and when you’re low on energy one hit can kill you instantly. In the words of Bart Simpson: “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

We awarded it 4/10 yesterday. Xbox Tavern awarded it a similar score – 38%. “Hardcore highscore enthusiasts will possibly enjoy the multiple challenges on offer for each stage, and if you’ve a very strong capacity for patience and forgiveness, there’s enough content included to keep you going for a while. That said, there’s just far too much frustration involved here for it to be considered fun on a casual level, and a vast amount of irritating issues, both technical and by design, further holding the whole thing back,” they said.

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection also makes it to Xbox One this week. We’ll be honest – we didn’t know an Xbox version was planned. This collection is light on stone cold classics, but that’s the precisely the point – it brings together a bunch of SNK’s earlier, lesser known, games that many won’t have even heard of before.

The PS4 version was reviewed by ourselves back in March, where we dished out praise for its slick presentation. The developers even went out of their way to include both US and Japanese ROMs of each title. Are you taking notes, Konami?

New release showcase:

Fade to Silence

7/10 – GameSpew: “Its unique setting makes you want to go out and discover its secrets. Its camp building elements reward you for seeking out other survivors and building bonds with them. And the survival aspects give the game depth and added challenge. It isn’t just a bog-standard adventure game with a frosty backdrop; in Fade to Silence, the weather is your biggest foe. Whether you’re a fan of action-adventure or survival games, Fade to Silence is well worth checking out”

6.5 – PSU: “Lackluster combat and poorly explained mechanics aside undermine the fact that Fade to Silence is an often decently crafted survival sandbox effort that neatly dovetails Lovecraftian themes into its design to often surprising effect”

5/10 – Push Square: “Fade to Silence is an amalgamation of mechanics and systems that only work some of the time. Extensive survival procedures and dynamic weather patterns provide the potential for a memorable experience, but nothing takes advantage of that. Controls frustrate, crafting is lacklustre, and combat is missing any sort of depth. Keen survivalists will find something to like here, but those with only a passing interest should probably steer clear”

2.5/5 – Screen Rant: “Fade to Silence’s survival mechanics are mostly a success and, combined with its truly punishing blizzard system, creates moments of gleeful suspense. If the game had eliminated the monster threat and the dull combat mechanics, instead focusing on shoring up the survival elements, it would perhaps be one of the best survival titles of the year. As it is now, it’s still a worthwhile experience with an absorbing premise and fun moments sprinkled throughout, but it’s far too plodding in so many areas to be considered something truly great”

41% – New Game Network: “Fade to Silence is an unremarkable and slow slog for survival through a wintry post-apocalypse. Technical problems, underdeveloped gameplay systems, and a confused tone erode away most of the enjoyment in a setting that showed potential”

Giga Wrecker Alt.

70% – Xbox Achievements: “A cool and unique physics-based puzzle platformer from the house of Pokémon, Giga Wrecker Alt. has some nice twists and mechanics. It’s found a perfect home on console”

6.5 – Xbox Tavern: “Giga Wrecker Alt. has all the markings of a stellar platform puzzler, but sadly doesn’t quite manage to achieve greatness due to its lackluster boss encounters, its at times frustrating design choices, and its somewhat floaty handling. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a hell of a lot to like about the journey at hand, from its intriguing story through to its several interesting mechanics, but the fun is religiously interrupted by the game’s aforementioned drawbacks”

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age

A – Gaming Age: “In terms of the quality of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age on Switch this is a very worthy port. And in terms of value that’s up to how you want to look at the whole package because where it’s virtually double the cost of any previous Final Fantasy port yet you do have a load of added features and content that weren’t in the original PS2 version and even extras to the Switch and Xbox One since then which make this one the definitive and best way to play Final Fantasy XII”

8/10 – RPG Site: “That being said if you already own The Zodiac Age, I would still suggest getting the Nintendo Switch version purely for the new additions, which are also available in the Xbox One version. The ability to switch jobs is an invaluable one, and the New Game + feature creates a new level of replayability and grinding opportunities for Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode. If you haven’t yet had the chance to play Final Fantasy XII, I would argue that this is one of the best versions of the game yet”
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Jul 17
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

PS4 exclusive Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the UK’s new number one, ergo Square-Enix’s first chart topper since 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

This ends Crash Bandicoot’s two-week run – the box breaking marsupial is now at #3, with Activision’s own Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare rising from #8 to #2.

This resurgence can be pinned on Amazon Prime Day, as half-a-dozen other games also temporarily reduced on Amazon have shot back up the chart.

Forza Horizon 3 is up from #14 to #6, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition rises from #22 to #7, and WipEout: Omega Collection is back in the top ten at #8, up all the way from #28.

To make room for all these re-entries, Micro Machines World Series, FIFA 17, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Battlefield 1 and Rocket League all depart the top ten. Now that’s a shake-up.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was the only new entry in the top 40, meaning Cars 3: Driven to Win didn’t get a look in.

The best the movie tie-in could manage was #5 in the Switch chart.

Jul 13
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

This week’s biggest new release is easy to pinpoint. Off the back of the success of last year’s FF XV, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is turning the heads of even those who never experienced the original.

This remaster of the PS2 classic includes the International Zodiac Job System, which once formed part of an enhanced version of FF XII that never left Japan. Critics claim that FF XII holds up remarkably well, with scores including an 8.5 from GearNuke, an 8.8 from IGN, and a lofty 93/100 from Venture Beat.

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age

It also gained Eurogamer’s ‘recommended’ badge. “Final Fantasy’s weirdest, most wonderful curio is a bright reminder of the power of crisp invention in high-risk blockbuster development” was their verdict.

Square-Enix are also responsible for Black the Fall. This dystopian puzzle-platformer has gained comparisons to last year’s Inside, and it’s easy to see why. ‘Good but not great’ is the consensus, with the likes of The Metro and GameSpew handing out 7/10s.

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