Long have gamers waited for this day. When Final Fantasy VII first arrived on Western shores in 1997, few could have foreseen the extent to which it would change the gaming landscape. It turned an entire generation onto JRPGs starring spiky-haired heroes and started Square Enix (back then, simply “Square”) down the path to becoming a global superpublisher. Yet even after countless sequels and spinoffs, many of the series’s fans would argue that nothing has come close to recapturing the magic they experienced when they played Final Fantasy VII for the first time. For years, the fans pleaded with Square Enix for a remake.
Now, in 2011, they’ve delivered:is finally available for the PlayStation 3 after years in development. Similar to the PS3 tech demo first shown on the back in 2005, Reunion HD reunites players with Cloud Strife and the world of Final Fantasy VII, this time with the same imaginative environments rendered in real-time in 1080p and Nobuo Uematsu’s classic score, reorchestrated and presented in 7.1 surround. You’re also sure to run into all your favorite characters (and maybe a few new ones) along the way.
Before the release of Half-Life in 1998, people saw FPS games like Quake and that other game as a venue for shooting their friends. Now it’s impossible to read about a new FPS without hearing about the unprecedented levels of immersion, the advanced enemy AI, and the enthralling storyline. With each new Half-Life game, developer Valve has managed to push the boundaries of first-person shooters a little farther, and the results have been unequivocably brilliant.
This week’sis no different. (SPOILER WARNING) While it’s already been leaked that the game jumps ahead a bit and begins with Gordon Freeman and company already struggling over what to do with the experiment from the recovered Borealis vessel, where the story goes from there is anyone’s guess. Expect to see other players’ influence on your own trip through the campaign thanks to Valve’s new “enhanced singleplayer” philosophy, and keep an eye out for a surprise cameo from a popular Portal character. (No, it’s not who you think. No, not her, either.) Episode Three is available now in stores and, of course, via Steam.
Originally announced back in 1997, Duke Nukem Forever promised to be a wise-cracking, alien-blasting follow-up to the surprise hit, Duke Nukem 3D. During its comically long stint in development, we’ve seen entire series like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty rise up and conquer the industry. Gearbox Software, the developer who rescued the game from the husk of 3D Realms, is betting that Duke still has what it takes to win over a generation of gamers who probably never even played Duke 3D.
Early reviews paint a grim picture of a clunky first-person shooter that’s been muddled thanks to a decade of redesigns and developer departures, but let’s be realistic: There’s little chance any game could survive 14 years in development and come out intact, let alone live up to its hyperbolic expectations. Any well-informed gamer starting up DNF has hopefully tempered theirs and will understand what they’re getting: an artifact of a bygone era of gaming that’s been dragged into a new one via a near endless chain of questionable decisions. It’s here more as a formality—for our observation and for closure instead for entertainment—but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s finally here.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever is out today.