Double Dragon 4 review

‘Keep your politics out of our games.’ Behind the fretful plea (one which has recently become something of a placard slogan, waved at game developers by those who want games to offer only retreat from the real world, not a reflection of it), is the belief that a video game can stand apart from the context in which it is created. The argument collapses when you consider the myriad ways in which time and culture infuse every aspect of a video game’s design from a technological standpoint.

Take the Double Dragon series’ trajectory through the years. Its debut, which features American twin martial artists, Billy and Jimmy Lee, mowing their way through oncoming ranks of shuffling street thugs, appeared in arcades in 1987. The game’s design and challenge was a result of this specific context: a two-player (designed to physically fit a two-player cabinet) beat ’em up which ramped up the difficulty after the first stage or two in order to maximise the machine’s profits – albeit while letting players feel as though, with time, effort and enough financial investment, mastery was within reach.

Sequels followed, each one blossoming with yet greater numbers of colours, sprites and animations, as the underlying technology grew deeper and more fertile. In 1994, as the scrolling beat ’em up genre’s popularity began to wane, the fifth game in the series, Double Dragon 5: The Shadow Falls, became a one-on-one fighter — an attempt to mimic the success of Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 (closely followed by another one-on-one fighter for the Neo Geo). At each step, the series was being nudged, not by an artist’s vision, but by the external influence of market force and fashion. By the time of the 3D revolution in video games, some believed that the scrolling beat ’em up was due its first nostalgic revival. Technos, however, had gone out of business, leaving other companies to test the theory (as Square Enix discovered, with its lavishly produced The Bouncer, the appetite was mild).

At least we have art for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Every time I hear Square Enix talk about the Final Fantasy 7 Remake – announced to gasps and sweaty excitement during Sony’s E3 2015 press conference – the game seems further away.

This week, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the role-playing game series, Square Enix released a single, solitary piece of key art for the remake. The image, below, shows Cloud holding his Buster Sword set to the background of Midgar, base of the Shinra Electric Power Company. And who’s that in the background? Yep, it’s a giant, towering Sephiroth, complete with angel wings.

The Final Fantasy 7 remake was announced a year-and-a-half ago, but it sounds like it’s still in the early stages of production. Famitsu magazine recently interviewed producer Yoshinori Kitase about the timed PlayStation 4 exclusive, and, according to translation work by , gave a progress update.

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age gets July release on PS4

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age will launch for PlayStation 4 on 11th July in Europe.

North America will get the game on the same date, publisher Square Enix has announced, while Japan will see it slightly later, on 13th July.

The Zodiac Age is a remastered version of FF12, which originally launched back in 2006 on PlayStation 2. It includes new music, Trophies and the whole thing runs smoother, as you’d expect.

Don’t expect another big Deus Ex game anytime soon

There won’t be another big Deus Ex game in the foreseeable future.

Square Enix’s shift in focus to its , combined with underwhelming sales of last year’s Mankind Divided, mean the Deus Ex franchise has been placed on hiatus, Eurogamer understands.

This, despite Mankind Divided leaving the series with a number of hanging story threads. These plot points were intended to be resolved in a third game, which would also complete the trilogy of Deus Ex titles begun by predecessor Human Revolution.

Final Fantasy 15’s new update is dumb, shallow and kind of brilliant

For all its pomp and grandeur, Final Fantasy is so often at its best when it’s being a little bit dumb. And it doesn’t really get much dumber than the Moogle Chocobo carnival that’s just launched as a free update to Final Fantasy 15. A standalone of sorts that’s unlocked once players have reached Altissia, the carnival repurposes the Venetian city as a colourful parade of mini-games that offer enough diversions to while away an hour or two.

Square Enix has certainly put the elbow grease in to make it worthwhile, and there’s a surprising amount to see and do here. Is any of it actually that good? I’m not wholly convinced – the Chocobo racing is cute but throwaway, a shooting range and Cactaur-themed game of whackamole are equally slight and the only activities that last more than a couple of minutes are extended treasure hunts that are as torturous as they are titillating – but I’ve had a lovely time in the carnival nevertheless.

As the owner of two moogle plushies and someone who’s constantly scouring Etsy for a moogle outfit for my nine month old daughter, I was always likely to be a pushover, but there’s a goofiness to the whole thing that I think anyone can get onboard with. Within seconds of entering the carnival I was dancing alongside a man in a moogle suit; shortly after, I was warping from point to point in pursuit of a child’s rogue balloons.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s second expansion, A Criminal Past, is due next month

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s second story DLC, A Criminal Past, is due 23rd February on all platforms, publisher Square Enix has announced.

Set prior to the events of Mankind Divided, A Criminal Past follows Jensen’s first mission for TF29. The expansion transpires in an all-aug high-security prison, where ungrateful cyborg Adam Jensen has to pose as an inmate to track down an undercover agent.

A Criminal Past is included in Mankind Divided’s Season Pass and will be the game’s first add-on in five months since System Rift launched in September.

Square Enix trumpets 6m Final Fantasy 15 copies shipped and downloaded

Final Fantasy 15 has now shipped and digitally sold 6m copies, publisher Square Enix announced today. It sounds like a lot – but how well is it doing?

That total refers to sold digital copies but only shipped physical editions – meaning those which have been produced and sold to retailers, but not necessarily sold to the public.

Japanese sales are currently down around 1m copies when compared to Final Fantasy 13 – although some of this can be blamed on the country’s shrinking home console market.

NieR: Automata’s PS4 demo draws nier

NieR: Automata, Platinum Games’ sequel to Square Enix’s delightfully bonkers action-adventure Nier, is getting a PS4 demo on 22nd December.

The demo will be set in an abandoned factory as android 2B and their companions seek to destroy a massive weapon within. My guess is that it will be the robot boss battle revealed from the .

Square Enix also revealed the game’s fancy , which includes a figurine of 2B, hardback artbook, original soundtrack, code for bonus DLC, and a steelbook case, all housed within a sleek black Collector’s Edition box.