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One of Final Fantasy VIII’s biggest ‘issues’ is fixed in the re-release

Or did they ruin it? Maybe they ruined it. Yes, they totally ruined it, actually.

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Or did they ruin it? Maybe they ruined it. Yes, they totally ruined it, actually.

The HD re-releases of the Final Fantasy series – specifically the PSOne era, that’s seven through nine – have been a bit of a mixed bag in quality terms. The games themselves are classics, but they’re built from the generally inferior PC ports because most (if not all) of the original code and assets are gone. Lost in time. Like tears, in rain.

Then there are questionable design choices. Final Fantasy IX’s “modern” font is an abomination, compared to the original, hand-built pixel font, for instance.

And finally, there are bugs. Most irritating is the overworld music bug, that causes the main theme – in both Final Fantasy VII and IX – restart from scratch every time you get into a random encounter. Every. Single. Time. It seemed unfathomable that these bugs made their way into these HD re-releases, but Square Enix is finally starting to patch these out.

For Final Fantasy VIII, there are numerous issues that will be remedied by the quality of life enhancements “booster” present in these HD re-releases. A fast-forward mode will make drawing magic from enemies less tedious, for instance, while knowing that playing Triple Triad is a big old waste of time in advance will stop anyone, you know, playing Triple Triad.

But there’s one… issue with Final Fantasy VIII that has become a source of much mirth. Twenty years on, it’s somehow an internet meme. It’s hilarious. May we present, for your amusement, “you’re the best looking guy here”:

best looking guy here

But in a tweet on the official Final Fantasy Twitter account, that scene looks a little… different:

https://twitter.com/FinalFantasy/status/1161261369456517122

And to be honest, we don’t know how we feel about it. Yes, it looks a lot better, but it smacks a little of George Lucas and his constant digital airbrushing with the Star Wars franchise. “Better” feels “wrong” in this context.

Will Final Fantasy VIII be the same without Squall the bridge troll, the best looking guy at the party? Who can say for sure? We’ll let future generations be the judge of that.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (April 6-10, 2020)

Final Fantasy VII Remake headlines next week’s lineup of new PS Store releases for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Final Fantasy VII Remake headlines next week’s lineup of new PS Store releases for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PS VR.

A classic franchise returns to PlayStation 4 next week. Yup, it’s the long-awaited release of Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. Granzella’s game has a long, storied history, beginning life as a PS3 title in 2011 before real-world events caused its postponement. The game’s western release comes at an equally difficult time, but patient fans of the series should be satisfied.

Speaking of patience, this week’s actual big release, Final Fantasy VII Remake, will hopefully be everything fans have been waiting for. We loved what we played back at E3 2019, and also enjoyed the recent demo. Early reports point to a game that is both modern and respectful to the original. Final Fantasy VII Remake is officially out on Friday, but is shipping early in some regions.

Meanwhile, PS VR owners might not be able to play Half-Life: Alyx, but they do get to experience the rush and thrill of Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm. Other new PS4 releases include Null Drifter, Troubleshooter, and Rush Rover.

Here is the full lineup of new PlayStation Store games for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita. We’ll update this post with any late additions throughout the week.

New PlayStation 4 releases – April 6-10, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories
  • Form
  • Galaxy of Pen & Paper +1 Edition
  • Null Drifter
  • Rush Rover (and PS Vita)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike
  • A Room Where Art Conceals
  • Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • Troubleshooter

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Three nice enough games are free on Xbox this weekend

ICYMI, here’s news of three more games that are currently free to play on Xbox One.

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Xbox One - Elder Scrolls Online
Bethesda / Microsofts / Thumbsticks

In case you missed it, here’s news of three more games that are currently free to play on Xbox One.

“Nice.”

My English teacher used to say that you should never use the word “nice” to describe something. But sometimes, it just fits. Xbox Live Gold members and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members have three new games to enjoy this weekend as part of the latest Free Play Days promotion. The lineup is unlikely to get anyone truly excited – outside of fans of each series – but free is free.

WWE 2K20 would normally headline the list, but the latest edition of the long-running wrestling franchise is notoriously rough and was widely panned on release. Nonetheless, if you’re stuck at home with family, the game could be a good bet for some local multiplayer. It will likely make you smile, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Monster Energy Supercross 3 lets players recreate the 2019 AMA Supercross season with a suite of gameplay modes and a robust track creation tool. And if you want to lose yourself in some faraway lands, The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited offers a wealth of adventures to embark on.

WWE 2K20 and Monster Energy Supercross 3 are available to play until midnight on April 5. The Elder Scrolls Online is free to play until April 13.

As always, game progress and achievements can be carried over to purchased copies. And there are some discounts available to tempt you into that purchase.

Free Play Days Discounts

WWE 2K20

  • Standard Edition –  67% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 67% off
  • Originals: Bump in the Night – 35% off
  • Backstage Pass – 35% off

The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited

  • Standard Edition – 60% off

Monster Energy Supercross 3

  • Standard Edition – 30% off
  • Special Edition – 30% off

Nice enough.


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Indie adventure Windbound looks like Breath of the Wind Waker

Take the mechanics of Breath of the Wild and splice it together with the heart of Wind Waker, and you’ve got something close to Windbound.

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Windbound
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Take the mechanics of Breath of the Wild and splice it together with the heart of Wind Waker, and you’ve got something close to Windbound.

At the time, with its cartoon cel-shading and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld version of Hyrule, people sneered at The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Sandwiched between the darker Majora’s Mask on the N64 and Twilight Princess on the Wii, Wind Waker was critically acclaimed, but not terribly well-received by fans.

It’s funny how often fan opinions age badly, isn’t it? Wind Waker is now widely regarded as one of the highlights of the series. It also spawned two direct sequels – The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks – which is a rarity for the series, and its meandering open-world clearly formed part of the blueprint for 2017’s Breath of the Wild.

Announced today by developer 5 Lives Studios – the team behind Satellite Reign – and publisher Deep Silver, indie adventure Windbound clearly carries the spirit of both Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild in its DNA. (With a touch of Rime’s puzzling and The Flame in the Flood’s survival thrown in for good measure.)

The accompanying press release reads:

“Created by Australian developer 5 Lives Studios, Windbound is a beautiful rogue-like 3rd-person survival adventure, fuelled by hunting, exploration and crafting. The player assumes the role of Kara who has been shipwrecked on an unknown land and must learn to adapt and survive, while solving the mysteries of a series of forgotten islands.

Windbound takes the survival genre in a new direction, focusing on nomadic hunting and exploration, together with custom boat building and an immersive tactile sailing experience. The game provides endless replayability options thanks to the procedural world, dynamic wildlife and modular boat crafting.”

Windbound will release for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on August 28, 2020. That’s a smart move by 5 Lives Studios and Deep Silver – if you get the news of the Switch version out of the way early, it’ll stop people begging for it incessantly.


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The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again

Bad news from the Naughty Dogs: The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again. (And this time there’s no new release date pencilled in.)

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The Last of Us Part II delayed
Naughty Dog / Thumbsticks

Bad news from the Naughty Dogs: The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again. (And this time there’s no new release date pencilled in.)

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc with the video game industry. From event cancellations to production shortages to store closures game delays, it seems nothing is safe from the knock-on effects of the worst crisis the world has seen in years.

(And while you could argue that video games are trivial in the wake of the human cost of COVID-19 – and you’d be absolutely right – it’s worth remembering that they’re still important in their own small way. In addition to being an enormous employer, of a job that can mostly be done from home, they offer entertainment and escapism at a time where we’re all stuck in isolation.)

But this next piece of COVID-19 cancellation news really stings: The Last of Us Part II has been delayed. Again.

In a statement, developer Naughty Dog said:

“As you’ve likely just seen, the release of The Last of Us Part II has been delayed. We’re sure this news is just as disappointing to you as it is to us. We wanted to reach out to all of you in our community to give you a little more information.

The good news is, we’re nearly done with development of The Last of Us Part II. We are in the midst of fixing our final bugs.

However, even with us finishing the game, we were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn’t launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction. We want to make sure everyone gets to play The Last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues.

We were bummed about this decision but ultimately understood it’s what’s best and fair to all of our players. We’re hoping that this won’t be a long delay and we’ll update you as soon as we have new information to share.

We wish you all, your families, and your friends the best of health. Thank you for being amazing fans and your continued support.” – Naughty Dog

The key takeaway here is that The Last of Us Part II now doesn’t have a release date. That means it’s effectively delayed indefinitely, but the game is nearly complete, so when pandemic-related logistical issues subside it sounds like Naughty Dog and Sony will be able to get the game out fairly sharpish.

Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world that a game about the terrifyingly violent breakdown of human society in the wake of a global pandemic won’t release smack in the middle of a terrifying global pandemic.

(But it’s still a damn shame.)


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Save up to 80% in the Nintendo eShop Spring Sale

Over 300 games are discounted in the new Nintendo Switch eShop Spring sale.

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Nintendo eShop Spring Sale
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Over 300 games, including The Witcher 3, Sonic Mania, and Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection, are discounted in the new Nintendo Switch eShop Spring sale.

Following on from this week’s new PlayStation Store sale and Xbox savings, Nintendo Switch owners can now enjoy some tempting game discounts. The big Nintendo eShop Spring sale includes over 300 games, with some recent big-hitters getting decent price cuts.

Top of the list is a 30% price cut for CD Projekt Red’s impressive port of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Ubisoft’s excellent Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection is also reduced by 30%, and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is chopped by 75%. Alien: Isolation, Gris, and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger are also games we liked.

Other recommendations include the wonderful Sonic Mania, Playtonic’s much-improved second game, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, and Larien’s engrossing RPG, Divinity: Original Sin 2. Add in a huge number of indie bargains, and there’s plenty to enjoy.

The sale runs in Europe until April 19, 2020. A batch of first-party Nintendo games will be added to the lineup on April 9 including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Kirby Star Allies.

In the meantime, here are some more sale highlights. Visit the Nintendo eShop in your country for the full list of discounts.

Nintendo eShop Spring Sale Highlights

  • Assassin’s Creed 3: Remastered – 63% off
  • Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection – 30% off
  • Axiom Verge – 50% off
  • Bastion – 80% off
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – 49% off
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection – 48% off
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition – 40% off
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition – 30% off
  • Gris – 50% off
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – 50% off
  • Iconoclasts – 30% off
  • Just Dance 2020 – 60% off
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – 75% off
  • Metro 2033 Redux – 30% off
  • Metro: Last Light Redux – 30% off
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – 30% off
  • Sonic Mania – 30% off
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy – 49% off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete Edition – 30% off
  • Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince – 50% off
  • Torchlight II – 30 off
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair – 33% off

More from Thumbsticks

For this week’s new Nintendo Switch games, read our eShop release roundup. And for more video games sales and savings, follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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