Planet Surprise by Notre Game is a scratch and play, disposable game, much like scratch-off lottery tickets. I love playing scratch-off tickets, so I was intrigued, however, this one fell flat for me. Gianna and I tried this one and we both felt the same - it’s an interesting concept, but we didn’t feel it had any strategy involved or any real benefit to playing it against other people.
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In 2005, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a theatrical CGI film, and Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, a non-canon OVA, were released as part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Advent Children was animated by Visual Works, which helped the company create CG sequences for the games. The film, unlike The Spirits Within, gained mixed to positive reviews from critics and has become a commercial success. Last Order, on the other hand, was released in Japan in a special DVD bundle package with Advent Children. Last Order sold out quickly and was positively received by Western critics, though fan reaction was mixed over changes to established story scenes.
Magic is another common RPG element in the series. The method by which characters gain magic varies between installments, but is generally divided into classes organized by color: "White magic", which focuses on spells that assist teammates; "Black magic", which focuses on harming enemies; "Red magic", which is a combination of white and black magic, "Blue magic", which mimics enemy attacks; and "Green magic" which focuses on applying status effects to either allies or enemies. Other types of magic frequently appear such as "Time magic", focusing on the themes of time, space, and gravity; and "Summoning magic", which evokes legendary creatures to aid in battle and is a feature that has persisted since Final Fantasy III. Summoned creatures are often referred to by names like "Espers" or "Eidolons" and have been inspired by mythologies from Arabic, Hindu, Norse, and Greek cultures.
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For the original Final Fantasy, Sakaguchi required a larger production team than Square's previous games. He began crafting the game's story while experimenting with gameplay ideas. Once the gameplay system and game world size were established, Sakaguchi integrated his story ideas into the available resources. A different approach has been taken for subsequent games; the story is completed first and the game built around it. Designers have never been restricted by consistency, though most feel each game should have a minimum number of common elements. The development teams strive to create completely new worlds for each game, and avoid making new games too similar to previous ones. Game locations are conceptualized early in development and design details like building parts are fleshed out as a base for entire structures.
Nobuo Uematsu was the chief music composer of the Final Fantasy series until his resignation from Square Enix in November 2004. Other composers include Masashi Hamauzu, Hitoshi Sakimoto and Junya Nakano. Uematsu was allowed to create much of the music with little direction from the production staff. Sakaguchi, however, would request pieces to fit specific game scenes including battles and exploring different areas of the game world. Once a game's major scenarios were completed, Uematsu would begin writing the music based on the story, characters, and accompanying artwork. He started with a game's main theme, and developed other pieces to match its style. In creating character themes, Uematsu read the game's scenario to determine the characters' personality. He would also ask the scenario writer for more details to scenes he was unsure about. Technical limitations were prevalent in earlier games; Sakaguchi would sometimes instruct Uematsu to only use specific notes. It was not until Final Fantasy IV on the SNES that Uematsu was able to add more subtlety to the music.
The biggest game in the box belongs to Heroes Wanted by Action Phase Games. The game, for one to five players, has players making their heroes using a pair of cards, with strengths and weaknesses, as well as a unique quirk. Players then take on villains, minions and each other to become the hero with the most fame at the end of the game. The game features quite a few scenarios to try as well. Between the scenarios and the variety of heroes you can become, Heroes Wanted will offer quite a bit of replay.
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