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Final Fantasy VII: so they’re remaking it at last

FF7 and I have a complex relationship. Back in my teens, I adored the game and played it endlessly, unlocking everything I could find, setting myself challenges such as beating Sephiroth without any materia equipped, and even scribbling in my Brady Games strategy guide in an attempt to make it more accurate and complete. Then in my twenties, I became bitter and cynical, and could only focus on all the frustrating and imperfect aspects of the game that made the reality fall short of the rose-tinted memories. Now, in my thirties, I have forgiven FF7 somewhat, because whilst it is far from perfect, it still brought me a lot of fun over the years.

It’s with both excitement and trepidation that I, like many others, await the remake that Square-Enix always claimed they wouldn’t make, even when it was inevitable that one day they would cave in and do just that. Earlier games in the series have benefited from remakes that brought them back into circulation and introduced them to a new generation. And certainly FF7 has always been a bit lacking in some areas, what with its simplistic 3D graphics and error-ridden English translation. But can a remake do the game justice? Will all the parts we love, or at least love to hate, be as we remember them? Can this game really be remade without turning it into a pile of trash not unlike the painfully bad FF13? All of these things remain to be seen, but rather than focussing on the major aspects of the game here, in this article, I’ll be looking at the little things that gave FF7 its distinct personality. They’re random, obscure, and wouldn’t be missed by casual players, but for good or ill, FF7 wouldn’t be the same game without them.

Read more »

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Revisited

Part One: Anton’s Final Letter

At the end of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, the hard-working farmer Anton tragically lost his life. As the residents of Forget-Me-Not Valley sorted through his effects, they found this letter, written shortly before his death.

Dear Celia,

If you are reading this, then it means the worst has happened, and I have passed away. Read more »



Since time immemorial, the balance of light and dark has been protected by the Lumen Sages and the Umbra Witches. But in the modern era, all the witches have been hunted down and killed – all, that is, except the beautiful and enigmatic Bayonetta. Lacking her memories, all Bayonetta can do is search for answers whilst fighting off the servants of Heaven sent to hunt her down.

In a deliberate reversal to the demon hunting action of the Devil May Cry series, director Hideki Kamiya brings us an action game in which angels are the enemy, and the protagonist is a sexy, curvaceous witch. From combat to cut scenes, the game is ludicrously over the top at every turn, but just how much entertainment does it provide? Read more »

Persona 4 fanfic: At the Stroke of Midnight

Inspired by Persona 4, with a little artistic licence taken. Were the main characters the only people to encounter the Midnight Channel?

“Hey, have you heard about the Midnight Channel?”

I put down my book and sighed. School hadn’t even started yet and already Mizuki was babbling on about another of her stupid rumours.

“Of course I’ve heard about it, Mizuki. You were talking about it just last week. A magical TV channel that broadcasts every time it’s raining at midnight. Honestly, of all the stupid rumours you’ve come up with, this one is the worst.” Read more »

Odin Sphere

odin-sphereWar rages over possession of the Crystallisation Cauldron, an artefact so powerful that it once brought an entire kingdom to ruin. As conflict ensues between the Demon Lord Odin of Ragnanival and the fairy queen Elfaria of Ringford, five destined individuals are drawn into the conflict. Armed with magical Psypher weapons, these heroes must carve out their own stories in the annals of history.

An action RPG from the always excellent Vanillaware, Odin Sphere is truly a masterwork of a game, an immersive experience that looks gorgeous, sounds pleasant and is absorbingly addictive to play. A leading name in its genre, it remains one of my favourite games for PS2. Read more »

Muramasa: the Demon Blade


Japan, the Genroku era. As a power struggle unfolds over possession of the legendary Demon Blades, two warriors come to the forefront: Kisuke, a ninja with no memory of his past, and Momohime, a girl possessed by the spirit of murderous swordsman Jinkuro. As both go in pursuit of the power of the Demon Blades, they find themselves pursued by forces both human and supernatural.

Having been won over by the superb Odin Sphere (which I will review in the near future), I was eager to get my hands on more Vanillaware titles, with Muramasa being the obvious next choice. The third entry in an ever-increasing library of action RPGs with sumptuous artwork, Muramasa is an enjoyable experience, if lacking in the longevity of its predecessor. Read more »

Saya no Uta


Ever since the accident that killed his parents, nothing has been the same for Sakisaka Fuminori. The experimental neurosurgery that saved his life also altered his perception of the world, making it appear to be a hideous rotting hell peopled by vile monsters. Repulsed by the very people he once called his friends, Fuminori turns to the one person who looks normal – a beautiful young girl named Saya. But who – or what – exactly is Saya anyway?

The latest Nitroplus game to be translated into English by the excellent JAST USA, Saya no Uta was a much anticipated addition to my collection. The only question was, would it really be able to deliver on the hype, or would all the build up just lead to a disappointing anticlimax? Read more »

Final Fantasy XIII-2


Three years ago, Lightning Farron led a mission to save the world of Cocoon, and then vanished. As far as most people are concerned, she sacrificed her life in the final battle, but her sister Serah knows differently – she remembers Lightning returning alive. Now living a new life on the surface of Pulse, Serah continues to dream of Lightning, but has no idea how to go about finding her – at least until the day a boy named Noel turns up. Claiming to be from the future, Noel has a message from Lightning, one that will prompt Serah and Lightning to travel through time in an attempt to safeguard the future of Pulse and Cocoon, and bring Lightning home once again.

After the pain of Final Fantasy XIII, it might seem that only a masochist could possibly want to play a sequel, but as someone who hails from a generation conditioned to at least try everything labelled “Final Fantasy”, it was inevitable that I would have to try this one. As it turned out, FFXIII had set the bar so low that it was very easy for this game to do better. Read more »

Luminous Arc 2


For years, the alliance between the Kingdom of Carnava and the witches of the Rev Magic Association has made the world a peaceful place to live, but all that changed with the arrival of the vicious Beast Fiends. Now, Fatima the Shadow Frost Witch has betrayed her compatriots to advance some dark goal; can young knight Roland unite the remaining elemental witches and put a stop to Fatima’s nefarious plans? Read more »



Which girl would you choose?

32-year-old Vincent Brooks is content with his life. He’s got a decent job, a steady girlfriend by the name of Katherine, and really, he’d be happy enough if things never changed. So it’s no wonder he’s uncomfortable when Katherine starts talking about getting married and raising family – but is that any excuse for a one night stand with the engimatic and beautiful Catherine? As nightmares take over his nights, and resolving his cheating ways occupy his days, can Vincent hope to find a way out of his predicament?

From Atlus, creators of the popular Shin Megami Tensei, comes Catherine, a quirky and unique game that combines elements of two different genres – the visual novel and the block puzzle. It’s an unusual marriage of styles, and yet one that provides an addictive and compelling experience. Read more »