The first installment of the series was released in Japan on December 18, 1987. Subsequent games are numbered and given a story unrelated to previous games, so the numbers refer to volumes rather than to sequels. Many Final Fantasy games have been localized for markets in North America, Europe, and Australia on numerous video game consoles, personal computers (PC), and mobile phones. Future installments will appear on seventh and eighth generation consoles. As of November 2016, the series includes the main installments from Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy XV, as well as direct sequels and spin-offs, both released and confirmed as being in development. Most of the older games have been remade or re-released on multiple platforms.
Taking a temporary divergence, Final Fantasy XI used the PlayStation 2's online capabilities as an MMORPG. Initially released for the PlayStation 2 with a PC port arriving six months later, Final Fantasy XI was also released on the Xbox 360 nearly four years after its original release in Japan. This was the first Final Fantasy game to use a free rotating camera. Final Fantasy XII was released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and uses only half as many polygons as Final Fantasy X, in exchange for more advanced textures and lighting. It also retains the freely rotating camera from Final Fantasy XI. Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV both make use of Crystal Tools, a middleware engine developed by Square Enix.
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In 1995, Square showed an interactive SGI technical demonstration of Final Fantasy VI for the then next generation of consoles. The demonstration used Silicon Graphics's prototype Nintendo 64 workstations to create 3D graphics. Fans believed the demo was of a new Final Fantasy game for the Nintendo 64 console; however, 1997 saw the release of Final Fantasy VII for the Sony PlayStation. The switch was due to a dispute with Nintendo over its use of faster but more expensive cartridges, as opposed to the slower and cheaper, but much higher capacity Compact Discs used on rival systems. Final Fantasy VII introduced 3D graphics with fully pre-rendered backgrounds. It was because of this switch to 3D that a CD-ROM format was chosen over a cartridge format. The switch also led to increased production costs and a greater subdivision of the creative staff for Final Fantasy VII and subsequent 3D games in the series.
I decided not to sub to Bento because of the fact they just blindly send you something. Subscribed to Game Box Monthly instead since Brian actually tries to find something you don't have. I have a prepaid 6 month sub there. My husband also got me AwesomePack for my birthday. After 6 boxes, I'll cancel if they haven't proven to be good fits for us (especially since I got GBM on sale @ 50% discount).
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However, the series has garnered some criticism. IGN has commented that the menu system used by the games is a major detractor for many and is a "significant reason why they haven't touched the series." The site has also heavily criticized the use of random encounters in the series' battle systems. IGN further stated the various attempts to bring the series into film and animation have either been unsuccessful, unremarkable, or did not live up to the standards of the games. In 2007, Edge criticized the series for a number of related games that include the phrase "Final Fantasy" in their titles, which are considered inferior to previous games. It also commented that with the departure of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the series might be in danger of growing stale.
In Final Fantasy games, players command a party of characters as they progress through the game's story by exploring the game world and defeating opponents. Enemies are typically encountered randomly through exploring, a trend which changed in Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII. The player issues combat orders—like "Fight", "Magic", and "Item"—to individual characters via a menu-driven interface while engaging in battles. Throughout the series, the games have used different battle systems. Prior to Final Fantasy XI, battles were turn-based with the protagonists and antagonists on different sides of the battlefield. Final Fantasy IV introduced the "Active Time Battle" (ATB) system that augmented the turn-based nature with a perpetual time-keeping system. Designed by Hiroyuki Ito, it injected urgency and excitement into combat by requiring the player to act before an enemy attacks, and was used until Final Fantasy X, which implemented the "Conditional Turn-Based" (CTB) system. This new system returned to the previous turn-based system, but added nuances to offer players more challenge. Final Fantasy XI adopted a real-time battle system where characters continuously act depending on the issued command. Final Fantasy XII continued this gameplay with the "Active Dimension Battle" system. Final Fantasy XIII's combat system, designed by the same man who worked on X, was meant to have an action-oriented feel, emulating the cinematic battles in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The latest installment to the franchise, Final Fantasy XV, introduces a new "Open Combat" system. Unlike previous battle systems in the franchise, the "Open Combat" system (OCS) allows players to take on a fully active battle scenario, allowing for free range attacks and movement, giving a much more fluid feel of combat. This system also incorporates a "Tactical" Option during battle, which pauses active battle to allow use of items.
Wrath of Ashardalon is a fun game. Wrath of Ashardalon is the second d and d adventure system board game.The theme is more classic fantasy than Castle Ravenloft. The game is a bit easier too. Wrath has a campaign mode where you can complete multiple quests and carry over your characters. This is a neat addition. It plays much like Ravenloft, fun, fast, d and d light. The characters from each adventure system game can be used in all adventure system games and that is awesome.