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Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward – Soaring Highs Tempered By Tedious Tasks

Square Enix’s first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is a mixed bag. While it supplies a ton of new content, including some great endgame challenges, new jobs, and a smattering of other fun ways to spend time after you hit the updated level 60 cap, the journey there leaves much to be desired.

Almost everything of substance related to Heavensward is gated behind the story from Final Fantasy XIV, meaning new players must complete a copious amount of story content in order to begin exploring level 50-plus zones, unlocking flying, and taking on new trials and dungeons. I don’t have a problem with that, as it makes sense that new players should catch up on what’s going on first and be the correct level before diving in to new content. What’s puzzling to me is the three new jobs are also gated – you won’t be able to swap to a machinist, dark knight, or astrologian unless you’ve gained access to the new Heavensward areas.

The new zones look great and have a nice mix of monsters, with most of them featuring vertical exploration to take advantage of the fact that players can now take to the sky in Heavensward zones. The catch is that you have to tag a multitude of aether currents and complete some quests in each zone before you unlock the ability. Flight is essential to have in order to unlock endgame dungeons or to complete Heavensward hunts. This wouldn’t be so bad by itself, but having to track down these locations combined with the questing options leave much to be desired in the high level game.

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Fates, which are random events players engage in for experience and other rewards, were a popular way to level up new jobs in pre-expansion content. Sadly on release, Fates in the new zones are being ignored by the player base because the reward yield was vastly inferior to almost any other activity. The rote quests that make up the leveling fare from 50-60 range from bland to absurdly annoying, sometimes going so far as to just have the player walk from points A to B a multitude of times to talk to the same characters. Maybe you need to find moogles playing hide-and-seek. Whatever the task on the standard quest front, you’re probably not having a good time. Trudging through this busy work is frustrating.

In stark contrast, the dungeon, trial, and story content is the most interesting in available in Final Fantasy XIV. Square includes some excellent nods for old-school Final Fantasy fans to explore, from Matoya’s Cave filled with curious brooms to an awesome library dungeon clearly inspired by the Library of the Ancients in Final Fantasy V. The endgame content is robust and interesting, and you’ll have plenty to do even with current offerings – two level cap dungeons, two EX (Harder versions) trials, crafting, gathering, a meaty Alexander raid, and hunts for seals to upgrade your gear to prepare for even more content down the line. 

The roulette system offers endgame currency on a daily basis for players willing to dive into random content from within the entire game. This is a great way to keep things fresh for level 60 players and ensures that low-level players have people to party with as they come up through story dungeons and trials.

Heavensward offers a ton of content for existing players and has many fun and engaging things to do – once you’re at cap. Until then, get ready to run around looking for lost moogles and, if you’re new, working through a ton of existing content before taking to the skies on your warking chocobo.

Impressions were generated by taking an existing story-complete character as a new job (machinist) through expansion content to level cap (currently item level 168). Gameplay was experienced on PC.

You can check out some gameplay in our Test Chamber or listen/watch us chat about Heavensward in a recent podcast!

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Production Of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Begins

Production has begun on the latest – and final – entry in Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil film franchise. With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, lead actress Milla Jovovich plays Alice for the last time. Yesterday, the actress posted a behind-the-scenes look at her upcoming movie, as the effects crew began work on her face cast.

Check out the original post here. As mentioned in her Instagram, Jovovich will be flying to South Africa to begin shooting, suggesting plans have changed since she announced filming would start in August.

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Production Of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Begins

Production has begun on the latest – and final – entry in Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil film franchise. With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, lead actress Milla Jovovich plays Alice for the last time. Yesterday, the actress posted a behind-the-scenes look at her upcoming movie, as the effects crew began work on her face cast.

Check out the original post here. As mentioned in her Instagram, Jovovich will be flying to South Africa to begin shooting, suggesting plans have changed since she announced filming would start in August.

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Learn How American Football Inspired Final Fantasy’s Combat System

In the latest episode of Did You Know Gaming, the series looks at Final Fantasy, its odd localized naming conventions, and how American football has influenced the game's combat.

The core of the influence comes from the way the player faces their opponent in a line-up, and the ability to plan plays, so to speak. You can check out the video below to learn a whole lot more about the series.

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You can check out other videos from the Did You Know Gaming channel covering Tetris, Monster Hunter, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, more Halo, The Last of Us, Pokémon, more Pokémon, Assassin's Creed, Mario, Jet Set Radio, Mega Man, Fire Emblem, Donkey Kong, Killer Instinct, Rayman, Mass Effect, Dragon Quest, Castlevania, Star Fox, Punch-Out, Metroid, Zelda, more Zelda, Final Fight, Doom, Dragon Ball Z, multiple Super Smash Bros. videos, Team Fortress 2, Harvest Moon, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the history of the NES, Genesis, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo 64, the DS, the PlayStation, PlayStation 3, and two covering the Game Boy by hitting the links.

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Ezio And Cobra Commander Lead Final Two Toy Soldiers: War Chest Armies

Ezio and Cobra Commander are taking to the battlefield when Toy Soldiers: War Chest arrives later this summer. The Assassins and COBRA round out the licensed roster that includes G.I. Joe and He-Man.

You’ll be able to get these four armies (doubling the game’s playable forces) as part of the Toy Soldiers: War Chest Hall of Fame edition for $ 29.99. For those who just want the base four armies, the standard edition will run $ 14.99.

The individual Hall of Fame armies will be sold a la carte for $ 4.99 or in a $ 14.99 bundle if you decide to upgrade later. Toy Soldiers: War Chest is due out this summer for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Test Chamber – Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

The Final Fantasy XIV expansion has been out for a few weeks now, and players are chugging through new content, new zones, flying, jobs, trials, and dungeons, along with the new Alexander encounter that was added this week.

There's a whole lot to see and do in the new zones, and plenty of endgame content to explore in the form of dungeons, trials, hunts, crafting, gathering, or even just a relaxing game or 100 of Triple Triad. Join Andrew Reiner and Daniel Tack as they play through a trial encounter in Heavensward as one of the 3 new jobs available in the expansion, the machinist!

(I'm level 60 and have been participating in endgame content for a bit now, can't wait to tackle Alexander. For more on my thoughts on this expansion, expect our review soon and be sure to check out the Game Informer Show later today for a deeper dive into what i liked – and didn't like – about this massive content pack)

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For more Test Chamber, click the banner below, or check out our hub.

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GI Show – Tacoma, Final Fantasy XIV, Her Story, Dissecting Batman: Arkham Knight

The slow release dredges of summer are upon us, but our heads are still overflowing with things to talk about. Final Fantasy XIV's Heavensward expansion is out, several us have become infatuated with the mysterious Her Story, and Fullbright's space-station exploration game Tacoma graces the latest cover of Game Informer. This week we also see the return of listener emails and have an in-depth conversation about Batman: Arkham Knight's gripping ending (saved for the post-credits of the show so you don't have to worry about spoilers).

Your co-hosts Ben Hanson and Tim Turi are joined by the adventure game-lovin' Kim Wallace and calculatedly cunning Dan Tack for the general game chat and email answering segments. Ben and Tim hit our studio's version of the Batmobile's ejection seat button when it comes time for the Batman: Arkham Knight conversation, however. Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, Jeff Cork, and Bryan Vore invade the podcast for a post-credits spoilery conversation that's perfect for listeners/viewers who'd want to hear some great talk about the game's dramatic conclusion or don't intend to finish it.

There's plenty of fun to be had this episode, so watch the video below or subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes.

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To jump to a particular segment of the podcast, check out the timestamps below…

3:18 – Our Tacoma cover story

16:35 – Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

29:10 – Rocket League

33:12 – Her Story

45:40 – Portal Stories: Mel

51:00 – Tales from the Borderlands

58:00 – Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode

1:00:47 – Listener e-mails

1:30:52 – Spoiling all of Batman: Arkham Knight


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A comprehensive look at Valve’s final Steam Controller

“The new Steam Controller has positioned itself as the most universal controller out there, able to work with all of your games to some degree or another.” …


Gamasutra News

Take On Alexander In Final Fantasy’s Heavensward

Soon you'll be able to face off with the enigmatic giant robot cathedral that is the Final Fantasy franchise's Alexander. Joe Juba penned a riveting piece exploring the history of this summon, but now we'll actually be squaring off against it (and, if the preview is any indicator, inside it) this week with a Heavensward content update.

This is the first significant content update since Heavensward's launch. The battle will be an 8-person ordeal for level 60 characters (and I would expect some kind of pretty hefty gear requirements), and is not a 24-person "raid raid"(we can expect that a bit further down the line, but not too far away).

I'm fairly excited to square off against this boss and I do hope he drops a Triple Triad card! Check out the video for a preview of the encounter.

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Reader Discussion: What Do You Want From The Final Fantasy VII Remake?

Final Fantasy VII is an old game that's getting a modern makeover, but does it need more than just a visual update? Would it be sacrilegious to change the game's combat system? How many changes are too many, and when does it stop being a remake?

Yesterday, our very own Joe Juba made some controversial opinions about Sqaure-Enix's upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, saying that the updated game should change some of FF VII's familiar combat system, story beats, and mini games, among other things. What do you think about this? Does Final Fantasy VII need more than just a facelift? Do you think the original combat system is still fun? Does the game's story still match the new art design? Director Tetsuya Nomura has already said that the remake could deviate from the original, but what exactly would you want to see changed in the Final Fantasy reboot?

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