square enix

When the first Final Fantasy arrived on Windows Phone, all of its Achievements were secret and thus couldn’t be viewed by players. We quickly posted a Mini-Achievement Guide to help get players on-track.

Now Final Fantasy III has appeared on Windows Phone, once again with Xbox Achievements. This time, the Achievements aren’t secret. But they do require plenty of time and effort to unlock. You just might need a guide! And wouldn’t you know it? Windows Phone Central is proud to present our latest Achievement Guide, filled with tips and resources for dedicated RPG players and Achievement hunters.

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On the whole, it’s been a rough year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Most weeks go by without new releases, and several publishers like Gameloft have stopped publishing their games as Xbox titles. And yet, a couple of new Xbox releases have turned up in the last few weeks: Temple Run 2 and Rabbids Big Bang.

Today another Xbox Windows Phone game showed up out of the blue as something of a late Christmas present for Xbox fans: Final Fantasy III from Square-Enix. This makes the third Japanese role-playing game the publisher has released on Windows Phone, following the first Final Fantasy and Chaos Rings. Final Fantasy III runs on both Windows Phone 7 and 8, but it carries a hefty price tag… Check out our hands on video, impressions, and Store link after the break!

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Windows Phone Role-playing fans welcomed Square-Enix’s remake of the original Final Fantasy with open arms last year. At last, we had a lengthy and well-made RPG in the Xbox Windows Phone lineup. But the RPG genre has advanced dramatically since the first Final Fantasy dawned on 8-bit Nintendo consoles. The remake’s modest enhancements couldn’t prevent the game from feeling dated.

Thankfully Square-Enix did not choose the equally dated (but still good) Final Fantasy II as its next Windows Phone RPG. Instead, the publisher followed up with a port of Chaos Rings. Originally released on iOS in 2010, Chaos Rings is an original Japanese RPG (JRPG) designed exclusively for mobile devices. How does it stack up against modern RPG standards? Read on to find out!

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Square-Enix’s Chaos Rings is easily the cream of the single-player Role-Playing Game crop on Windows Phone. With an intricate storyline spanning alternate dimensions and timelines and four teams of playable characters, it’s also one of the vaster and most complex games in the Xbox Windows Phone lineup.

Windows Phone Central has spent countless hours exploring Chaos Rings’ every cranny and secret, and now we’ve got an exclusive Achievement Guide to share with you. Learn which team to start with, the best equipment and skills to use, where to find the hidden bosses, and lots more – after the break!

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We didn’t exactly get a new Xbox Windows Phone release this week, but Windows Phone 8 gamers DO get something new to play. Square Enix’s Chaos Rings, one of the highest profile games on the incompatibility list, is finally Windows Phone 8 compatible!

The game launched only for Windows Phone 7 back in March, hugely disappointing Windows Phone 8 RPG fans. Earlier this week it started showing up in the Store on Windows Phone 8 devices, but couldn’t actually be downloaded by most users. Just an hour or so ago, several of us managed to download it at last. The game's Store web page was down all week and just came back up as well. At last!

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This is GDC week, so you can count on some cool developer interviews and hands-on stories as the conference progresses. But it’s also just an exciting week for Windows Phone releases. First we had the release of Sims Medieval for Nokia devices, and now general users can look forward to two regular Xbox releases on Wednesday. We’re looking at one Windows Phone 7 game and one for Windows Phone 8. The former will also be the most expensive mobile Xbox game to date, but at least it’s a good one: Chaos Rings from Square-Enix!

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Last week, Gameloft kicked off their much anticipated wave of Xbox releases for Windows Phone 8 with Asphalt 7, a game I call the best racer on the platform in our review. They’ve followed up this week with the very strong The Amazing Spider-Man and the not-so-strong and highly skippable Real Soccer 2013. With at least 9 more games coming, including first-person shooters, action games, and even an MMORPG, it’s safe to say that Gameloft will keep Windows Phone gamers pretty busy this year.

Similarly, Electronics Arts and its subsidiaries Chillingo and PopCap have produced a ton of fine mobile Xbox games as Nokia exclusives within the past few months. All of the Nokia EA games are expected to become available to general Windows Phone audiences six months after release, so they really do benefit the platform as a whole.

However large and prolific they might be, publishers Gameloft and Electronic Arts can’t keep the Xbox Windows Phone lineup afloat all by themselves. The world of smartphone gaming is vast indeed. iOS and Android thrive thanks to many game developers and publishers, both great and small. Today we continue our ‘How Microsoft can save Xbox Games for Windows Phone’ editorial series with a look at the game makers that our platform needs in order to thrive.

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KooZac Review: Add it up in this unique puzzle game.

Xbox Windows Phone has absolutely no shortage of puzzle games and physics puzzlers. These types of games are easy to create and easy to port, plus they work well in short play sessions on the go. I don’t blame avid mobile gamers for tiring of puzzlers as a whole, as our platform certainly needs a wider variety of games. Still, puzzle games inarguably have their place on smartphones, so we can’t expect them to stop coming along.

Of course KooZac is a puzzle game, but it’s noteworthy for several reasons. First, it comes Square Enix, the prolific Japanese developer responsible or Final Fantasy and many other mobile RPGs. Square-Enix’s continued support can only be good for Windows Phone. Two: KooZac might look like a standard falling block puzzle game, but it actually plays unlike its brethren thanks to the inclusion of my most bitter enemy: math. Also, Facebook integration!

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You could be forgiven for not expecting a new Xbox release this week. After Skulls of the Shogun’s long-awaited debut last week, there really aren’t too many upcoming Xbox Windows Phone games that we actually know about. But Microsoft told us the release drought would probably end this month, and it looks like they were right. A shiny new game has popped up for all Windows Phone 7 and 8 users today: the oddly named KooZac.

Almost as exciting as receiving a new release at all these days, KooZac comes from one of our favorite mobile publishers – Square Enix, makers of Final Fantasy. We actually heard whispers of this game coming to Windows Phone at E3 last year, but the representative was so noncommittal about it that we didn’t bother to get our hopes up. Looks like Square Enix hasn’t given up on Windows Phone yet!

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Final Fantasy: Xbox Windows Phone Review

For more than a year, the Xbox Live lineup on Windows Phone languished without the presence of a single traditional RPG. Thankfully Japanese publishing giant Square Enix has finally tossed their hat into the Windows Phone arena with Final Fantasy, a remake of the original NES classic that vaulted their company to stardom. The first Final Fantasy may not have some of the finer trappings of its sequels, but it remains a vast and remarkable adventure that mobile gamers shouldn’t miss.

Head past the break for our extremely detailed review!

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Final Fantasy is finally available, and we’ve already provided some beginner tips and resources to help players get started. Even advanced players will need help with the game’s Achievements, though. Why? They’re all secret, meaning players can’t view them in-game or through Xbox Live prior to earning them. This led many to speculate that the Achievements would all be story-related. As it turns out, that did not prove to be the case.

We know this because Achievement hunter-extraordinaire Zebrasqual managed to uncover Final Fantasy’s full Achievement list. Windows Phone Central then broke those Achievements down into categories for your convenience. Not only that, we’ve got tips and resources for the more challenging ones that will set you on the right track. It won't be easy though, so prepare for a lengthy journey!

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Final Fantasy, one of the most-anticipated Windows Phone games ever, is now on the Marketplace! Why so popular? First off, it’s the only straight-up RPG (or JRPG) in the mobile Xbox Live library. Besides, while the Final Fantasy series is extremely popular the world over, Final Fantasy (part I) is only the third entry for Microsoft platforms, the first two being Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 on Xbox 360 (if we count the online-only XI, that makes a total of four). Windows Phone gamers finally have a chance to experience the series’ origin.

While the first Final Fantasy initially appeared on the 8-bit NES system, the mobile version is based on 2007’s enhanced Playstation Portable remake. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the surprisingly unhelpful Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Mainstay RPG elements like grinding for experience and money to purchase new equipment and a huge danger-filled world to explore promise hours of entertainment.

When we revealed the first screenshots of the Windows Phone version, we were slightly disappointed that the game still runs in the same aspect ratio as the iPhone game it was ported from as opposed to the wider ratio of the PSP and Windows Phone screens. The screen remains off-center, a seemingly odd decision – until you notice the clock occupying the black space. Tap that area and the phone’s battery life, wireless, and cellular signals appear as well. Considering the length and addictive nature of Final Fantasy, having instant access to the time and your phone’s battery life is actually quite useful.

Strategy

Since many of you are new to this installment of Final Fantasy, we’ve got a few tips to get you started. The first decision you make upon starting a new game, that of which character classes to take along, is very important as you’re stuck with those for the rest of the game. Choose poorly and you’ll face a much greater challenge. The default selection (Fighter, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage) is actually one of the best parties to go with. At any rate, you absolutely must have a single White Mage or Red mage on hand to heal the rest of the party.

Saving is another important area to wrap your head around. Whenever you exit to the title screen, press the Home button, etcetera, that creates a temporary save file. To start back where you left off, simply pick Resume from the title screen. The file is temporary though, as resuming, choosing to Continue a permanent file, or starting a New Game will overwrite it. To create permanent saves, simply enter the menu by tapping the names of your party in the lower-right corner of the screen while outside of battle. Then choose the Save option at the bottom of the screen. (Thanks to Cadwr for the correction!)

One last thing - pressing and holding on the party status indicator in the lower-right corner of the screen while outside of battle brings up the overworld map. You'll need it!

For more Final Fantasy tips, check out the following resources:

Now that you're prepared...

Final Fantasy costs $6.99 and there is a free trial. It clocks in at a whopping 91 MB. If you love RPGs, don’t wait for a sale. Head over here to the Marketplace and start adventuring!

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Battling the Kraken

The mobile Xbox Live lineup is getting better and better lately. This week we got Battleship, the first Live game with true online multiplayer, and next week’s game… Wait for it… Final Fantasy I from Square Enix! Why Microsoft chose not to demo the game at E3, we’ll never know.

Final Fantasy will be the first traditional RPG in the Windows Phone lineup. A direct port of the iPhone game which was a port of the PSP game which was a remake of the original Famicom version – it’s like seven degrees of Kevin Bacon but with black mages and imps. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the dastardly Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Numerous hours of role-playing goodness will ensue.

Windows Phone Central received these exclusive first screenshots of the mobile Xbox Live version of Final Fantasy I in action. You might be wondering about the black bars on the sides of the screens... It seems that Square Enix simply increased the lower resolution iPhone version of the game to match Windows Phone 7's vertical resolution without tweaking the the aspect ratio or UI elements for a wider display (I even did some resolution tests to confirm this). In other words, the original game ran at 480 x 320. The Windows Phone game's display has been resized to 720 x 480, leaving 80 pixels of dead space. Let's hope the screen will at least be centered in the final build - we'll find out in less than a week.

Final Fantasy I launches on Wednesday, June 13th and will cost $6.99 (two dollars less than on iPhone).

Garland the rogue knight has kidnapped princess Sarah.

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Just a week ago, we looked at a number of Xbox Live games whose Achievements were discovered by avid French gamer Zebrasqual: Mirror’s Edge, Battleship, and Fling. I daresay Mr. Squal’s sleuthing rivals my own, as he has uncovered two more future games’ Achievement lists. Both titles will surely appeal to console gamers: Final Fantasy and Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition.

Head past the break for full details on both upcoming games.

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All right you Final Fantasy nerds, if we know one thing, we know the following video footage will get you all giddy.

Somehow, someway, Final Fantasy VII is evidently running on Windows Phone 7.

When we look back at those 50 Xbox launch titles, we don't recall seeing anything from Square Enix, so we're thining "Homebrew" here. Then again, what's with those official looking Windows Phone logos? What is even more exciting is the tease at the end of the video where it says "Rejoice. It's coming. And maybe not only this one PSOne Classic" obviously alluding to other major titles. Odd timing too, what with that utterly craptastic Playstation Phone becoming more of a reality tonight. The poster does say this:

This is some footage of the current progress of "FFWP7". In this version it still looks like the timeless classic for the PlayStation 1, but maybe there'll be a graphical upgrade.There's a lot of power in a WP7-Device and so the highly-anticipated remake of FF7 could be the result :)

Could this be some awesome, side loaded emulator? Or is it the real-deal? We'll leave that to you. Discuss.

Thanks, Diablo, for the link

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