Repost: E3 2010: Square Enix

While my Square Enix booth appointment was the last day of E3, I had chances between meetings to play some of the titles on the show floor before. Square Enix looks to have a solid line-up for the Fall and their release-a-month plan keeps them in the news consistently. With their acquisition of Eidos, Square Enix increases their releases significantly and that showed this year.

The first title I saw was Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep on PSP. Some people may remember the CG trailer behind Kingdom Hearts 2, showing off three keyblade warriors going against a sorcerer who used a tornado of keyblades to attack the trio. In effect, Birth By Sleep is a prequel to the Kingdow Hearts featuring three keyblade warriors following the story up to the beginning of Kingdom Hearts.

The PSP title features a lot of touches that are more impressive than the original two titles. Featuring more Disney Worlds than either previous installments and three paralleling stories to follow and an evolution/streamlining of the combat system.

Releasing at the end of the Summer, the title looks like another great entry into the series.

I played Front Mission Evolved a bit while eating time before an appointment. With the Wanzers now being controlled in a third person perspective, effective making the title a robot third person shooter, I did find the controls a little too loose. The demo didn’t outfit the Wanzer with much more than a standard rifle, though missile were found later in the demo. The damage that the Wanzer receives is body specific, meaning each part of the body is damaged and can be destroyed with the Wanzer still functioning.

In the demo, it just felt a little difficult to precisely aim, and boosting into enemies and punching them seemed the easiest thing to do even though I ate a lot of damage. I’m not too sure about the title and how well it works, but the loose nature of aiming was a concern.

I also ventured to Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days playing both a single player and multiplayer demo. The single player was the same as I saw during my preview a while back, but I came to realize that the cover system is very important for the title because enemies do not play fair, more often they will try to flank and overwhelm positions that I was taking. It aiming works decently well, but constantly moving proved to be the best way to stay alive. In the multiplayer demo, the title feels a little strange.

The multiplayer works in function, but felt a little sparse. Meaning it was difficult to find enemies once I died and respawned. Otherwise the title looks great with the hand-camera feel and combat keeps things tense. Though if players get motion sickness easily, the sprinting in the title will not help that whatsoever. The bouncing of the camera is a little difficult to stand during long runs.

I also saw Final Fantasy 4: Heroes of Light. Developed by the same team who worked on previous DS remakes, FF4 was created more for the casual player, using action points rather than turn-based combat. The job system is still in the title and I was assured that while it is marketed for casual players, the title is still a Final Fantasy in story and scope.

The last title I saw I wasn’t even scheduled for, but was able to attend. Square Enix was showing a behind-closed-doors demo of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

The focus of the title is on four things: Combat, Stealth, Hacking, and Social. Taking place in 2027 in a cyberpunk world, which oddly reminded me of a cleaner looking Blade Runner, it focuses on Adam Jensen who is working for a Security Corporation. When his employer is attacked, he is tasked with finding out the reason why.

The hands-off preview took place about six hours in, and while the visuals were pre-alpha, it looks pretty staggeringly impressive. For the demo, there was no HUD and Jensen was given unlimited health and ammunition. Taking place in Shanghai, the environments looked amazing. The scale and depth of the world even at the early level was breathtaking in how alive the city felt.

NPCs are not bystanders or area placeholders, they all have dialogue and can either help Jensen in his missions or just pass the time. Since Deus Ex is an action RPG, there is branching dialogue, shown when Jensen was searching for a Triad boss and talking to a bartender who didn’t exactly want to divulge any information.

In the demo, we were told that the entire title can be completed without killing anyone, but after watching the combat, which took place while trying to sneak into a dock, sneaking and all-out gunfights looks much more fun. Jensen features augmentations for his abilities like invisibility, all of which will be upgradable in the title. I didn’t take too many notes because I spent more time being astonished at what I was watching on the screen.

Square Enix’s upcoming line-up has a lot of impressive titles and they did have some of the best titles of the show. Unfortunately, some of the titles have Winter or 2011 releases dates, so the wait is going to be a long one.