Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

November 16, 2005

Demo-lition Mastery and FFXII HaXxor!

You're just not a hardcore gamer if Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King doesn't interest you. Not only does it fill the pre-requisite of having more words than non-nerds can handle a single title, it fully taps the power of RPG fan service. People wanted a 3D DQ game with that latest tech generation appeal. Akira Toriyama is probably one of the most renowned pencil guys in Japan, and his work is distinguishable from all other forms of manga, and Square Enix brought him on board to sketch the googley eyed disposition of the DQ8 cast. This title is hot in Japan, I can't even tell you how hot, since merely mentioning the hotness will melt the skin off of our faces. What I can tell you, is that it's sold a whopping 4 million units in Japan, and is still casually flying off shelves. Dragon Quest to those Nihonmaniacs is what FF is to us Cannuckle Patriots (ie: North Americans). Sure, FF is wildly popular in Japan, moreso than here in the west, but Dragon Quest is by far the more popular option overseas. We chose McDonalds, they chose Ramen, and occasionally we all eat both.

Saving impressions of the game until review time, DQ8 in North America has come bundled with the english demo of Final Fantasy XII. The game that's been in development for almost 4 years now - a teaser poster with the FFXII logo was leaked only weeks before FFX-2 released in NA during Christmas 2001 - it's about god damned time we get a demo. Trailer after trailer after trailer...one man can only be tempted so long. What a thinker: Square Enix being aware that DQ is a vastly under sold and under appreciated series here, releases the demo of a game most of us have wanted and pined for exclusively with this title. Sneaky? Yes, absolutely. But at what cost? Is it really so sneaky when the game the demo is packed with is freaking fantastic? Konami pulled a similar stunt when they released the godly Metal Gear Solid 2 demo with the low key Zone of the Enders. Zone of the Enders, to this day, was a huge hit with fans, and not because of the tantalizing and manipulative MGS2 demo. The game on it's own merits was friggin' unbelievable. It was a sleeper hit that only Metal Gear Solid fans really nurtured in their collective bosom. ZOE2 hits shelves a little later, and it sells like 10 copies - obvious hyperbole - and the amount of people who bought that game could probably congregate in a 10 feet x 10 feet room. Why? No high profile demo of course. Which is a shame, since ZOE2 is easily one of the best games of this generation past. It was innovative, remarkably original, and was of course a Kojima production (whose name alone sparks interest, due to his unparalleled talent at creating great videogames).

Back to the topic on hand, if the FFXII bundle hadn't come prepackaged with Dragon Quest VIII Journey of the Cursed King - a name I say in full proudly and repeatedly to reaffirm my nerdness - the game wouldn't sell, and would go unappreciated again. It would be another fabulous title in the stinker, simply because people were too distracted by a billion dollar advertising campaing for Xbox 360, instead of looking at the sheer volume of high quality titles available for still viable current-gen platforms. So while sneaky, it's for the best. There is no wrong in tricking people into doing something, so long as it's something they will enjoy (they just don't know it yet).

On a more important note, the demo of FFXII has been u83R HaX'D! It would appear that summoning the esper Hashmal as Vaan in the Phon Coast stage of the demo, allows your newly summoned creature to "pwn" the enemies with his "Roxxor" attack. I shit you not. This attack is real, and it really does own. Is this a humourous jab at internet leet-speak or is it a genuine attempt by Square Enix to be original? I can't even tell, the demo is such a serious venture that it almost seems inappropriate for it to be a humourous jab. Then again, never put it past Square to load a game to the brim with pop-culture homages and esoteric references.


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