We’ve all been very cutting edge this week! Oscar flew to Hamburg to get hands-on with Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood early, which you can read about in detail in its own article soon, and we also took early looks at Tekken 7 and ARMS! On top of that, Fire Emblem Echoes is still fresh, and will take some time to polish off!
ARMS Test Punch — Mitch
It’s been a busy week, so I didn’t get to play as much as I’d have liked, but I did get to partake in the public ARMS beta. And you know what? I’ll be doing it again this weekend! I’d played it before but playing it again has only reinforced my faith in the game, and I’m incredibly excited for it. Responsive motion controls and various control options lets you play ARMS any way you like, and its aesthetic and characters are joyful and colourful. The opening theme (ooooh oh oooooooh!) is also stuck in my head.
ARMS is one of my most anticipated games of the year, and you should give the beta a go this weekend if you get the chance.
Tekken 7 — Peter
Our press copies arrived this week and I have had my sweaty fingers all over Tekken 7 ever since, only barely stopping to half-assedly look like I’m doing some work while actually going over new strategies for my characters.
I’ve not properly gotten stuck in to the Tekken 7 story mode yet, as my first instinct was to customize my characters to wear really offensive purple and gold outfits and then body some fools, but with the high quality cutscenes that transition seamlessly into fights, it certainly continues the new trend of well-developed and legit cool story modes in fighting games.
The new gameplay additions — power crush, rage arts and screw attack combo extenders — put some new wrinkles in the Tekken formula and serve to make things much more interesting. Have you come across the age-old Tekken problem of having someone mash on buttons on you and you’re not sure how to get through it? Power crush that shit – yeah that’s right, get fucked Eddy.
Are you wrecking your opponent for free? Watch out because they’re in rage now and the rage art can turn things around in a second, the comeback factor is real, and getting the kill can be nerve-wracking.
And then there’s the end-of-round slow-motion events that trigger when exchanging blows that might kill. This might just be the single most hype feature in any fighting game and is bound to create some classic moments in tournament play.
I’ve also had a chance to play online a bit pre-release and have found the netcode to be fantastic, smooth as butter all around.
Tekken Project seems to have done everything right here, Tekken 7 is pretty much everything I wanted it to be. The only let-down I’ve had so far was that the normal arcade mode is missing individual character stories and the fancy CGI endings so often associated with Tekken.
Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood — Oscar
I got the chance to fly to Hamburg to get hands on with Final Fantasy XIV‘s latest expansion, the long-awaited Stormblood. You can read my full in-depth preview of the content I was allowed to preview shortly, and my interview with Yoshida-san here! I’ve played Final Fantasy XIV on and off for a while now, and have always thoroughly enjoyed it while never getting all that deep into the hardcore multiplayer stuff. For me, one of the biggest appeals of the game is just the lovely Final Fantasy vibes. Playing Stormblood gave me the itch to dive back into Final Fantasy XIV, but the tweaks to the expansion are substantial enough that it also makes me want to not play it until the expansion comes out. Of course, I will be playing XIV while I wait for Stormblood regardless.
The new areas were huge and beautiful, and I got to play around with the new Samurai and Red Mage jobs. Both are DPS jobs, but end up feeling pretty different to one another. Red Mage is the trickiest to get the hang of — combining not only white and black magic, but also long ranged and short ranged attacks. Samurai was a lot easier to feel competent at, while also having a rotation that felt really fun. You’ll be seeing a lot of players picking these up when the expansion drops, and with good cause. The just seems to be the tip of the iceberg, and to list all the changes Stormblood is making would take an age. But it’s safe to say not only will veterans be pretty pleased with the new stuff, but that this will be the most welcoming XIV has ever been to new players.
Fire Emblem Echoes — Holly
A little late to the party, but I’m well and truly under the spell of Fire Emblem Echoes. It’s a beautiful, beautiful game and I would love to see more titles from the series remade in the same fashion. The differences in game mechanics aren’t as noticeable as I’d expected and they don’t provide too much of a hindrance either. Even the dungeons, while unusual, are quite enjoyable. I still don’t like the world map system though. I’m currently telling myself that the world map is entirely to blame for why my progress is going so slowly – not potentially being under-levelled, and certainly not my own questionable strategy.
Fire Emblem Echoes is really a very good game, and I still have a lot to go. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it every step of the way though! I’ll be crossing my fingers for another Echoes-style remake announcement for sure.