Happy VD everybody! Valentine's Day, that is, not the...erm...other thing. As we discovered earlier in the week, this industry has not exactly covered itself in glory at times when it comes to coupling, with forced romantic storylines often proving alienating, immersion-breaking, and sometimes downright disturbing (*cough* Sonic!). But interactive entertainment has also offered us some absolutely fantastic moments of such romantic bliss that it almost brings a tear to the eye just reminiscing.
So we gathered up the team and put together a little list of our favourite romantic moments in video games...
If you heard the recent PWNCAST in which we discussed romance in games, you would have already seen my choice coming a mile off, but for those of you who didn’t listen (BOO-urns to you) I will helpfully clarify my most touching moment for you - Jack finally opening up to Shepard in Mass Effect 2.
Starting out as possibly the angriest person in the galaxy (with good reason) Jack slowly began to confide in my Shepard over the course of the game, leading to me helping her destroy her childhood memories with a nuke (which I think you’ll agree is one hell of a first date.) Slowly getting to know the girl who had faced the worst the galaxy could dish out her entire life, topped off with her frequent use of profanity, provided what I felt was some the best storytelling in the game. However, the scene that took place before the suicide mission, when Jack turns up in Shepard’s cabin, is the one that gets me every time.
With her emotions finally on show, the psychotic biotic had finally found something worth taking a risk on, and I got to see Jack in a moment of peace and happiness. The end result of not giving up on her was a tender scene between two people who had been to hell and back, and because I was projecting my own feelings through my version of Shepard it made the moment resonate even more.
Sure, she would end up punching me in Mass Effect 3 upon our reunion, but it was worth it. Jack was always worth it.Click here to read more...
Thanks to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, I've been merrily floating through 25 years of classic music from Square Enix' epic franchise, each song wrenching buried memories out of the darkest recesses of my mind. Listening to Aeris' Theme forced me to relive her passing. Final Fantasy II's The Rebel Army brought me back to one of the darkest, most mature RPG plots of all time. Beloved characters who were once close friends and pivotal events that rocked my world became relevant again, causing a rollercoaster of conflicting emotions to smash my summer apathy.
And then I remembered Final Fantasy IX: a game that I literally haven't thought about in years, but absolutely rated at the time. Though the main protagonist Zidane was a bit limp, FFIX was full of classic adventuring, excellent mechanics and support characters that are serially underrated when it comes to top tens and nostalgia sessions. I was therefore determined to write about one of these overshadowed heroes... but who?
No, not Vivi. The little Black Mage is definitely one of our favourite ever franchise characters, but he gets his dues on a fairly regular basis. Freya, perhaps, deserves some attention; her tale of lost love and heartbreaking rejection was incredibly raw. As I continued to play through Final Fantasy IX's soundtrack, however, I realised that one character unquestionably deserves his time in the sun: a stalwart warrior, fierce friend and zealous defender who touches the entire cast and provides some of the game's standout moments. This, dear reader, is why we love Adelbert Steiner.Click here to read more...
Square Enix Producer Shinji Hashimoto has announced that development is now complete for the Final Fantasy IX's PSN version. The conversion of Zidane and Rose's classic adventure was only unveiled earlier this month, so it would appear that only a small amount of intensive emulation work was necessary to ready the original playstation title for a new downloadable lease of life.
However, FFIX still needs to be put through rigorous testing before it hits PSN's Game Archives. Hashimoto has promised us an update next week- and we fully expect the release date to be announced right along with it. Whilst the super-deformed anime style put off some players, FFIX delivered a cast of memorable characters, solid battle system and a cracking story. I'm looking forward to teaming up Vivi and Steiner for some serious ice sword action in the near future. [Andriasang]
Bioware has been pumping out downloadable content f0r Mass Effect 2 in an effort to populate EA's Cerberus Network, as well as to make a few quick bucks from Kasumi's underwhelming and short piece of premium DLC. Apparently we still haven't seen ME2's last slice of extra content, as Bioware has hinted that more is on the way.
First, make sure to tune in early next week for some exciting news about upcoming DLC! - ME2 Website News
It's difficult to get too excited about this. Most ME2 fans (myself included) have already clocked the game at least once- and whilst the Cerberus Network brings "free" DLC to new buyers, nothing short of a full expansion pack will really entice us to play it through yet again. Kasumi's Stolen Memory only delivered a short mission and a thoroughly boring new character who didn't gel into the experience in any significant way- though we'll be sure to keep you posted when Bioware make their announcement. [Bioware]
Ace Combat X is one of the best games (if not the best game IMO) on the PSP- but I bet most of you haven't played it. It's a fully-featured and intuitive combat flight sim with a huge number of unlockable planes, loadouts and missions... and a new trailer (see below) has now blown the lid off the sequel.
The video reveals a new 4-player cooperative mode, where four pilots can team up to take down Ace Combat's trademark humongous flying fortresses and fleets of enemy fighters. The groundwork for a complex and introspective storyline has been laid along with a cast of shady characters... basically, we can expect more of the same. However, casual gamers and AfterBurner fans will be delighted at the addition of a basic control scheme that turns the experience into an arcade-style rail shooter!
No word on a European release yet, but we'll keep you updated by the wire. [Classy Gamer]