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Gaming: Vader Immortal drops surprise new episode; FFVII box art; more
The second episode of Vader Immortal got a nice tease for Oculus VR owners at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but developer ILMxLAB left fans hanging with no firm word on a release date. So when Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series - Episode II was announced this week as a ready-to-play download, it came as an uncharacteristically pleasant surprise — considering we’re talking about the galaxy’s most fearsome Sith Lord.
The second installment in the VR series for Oculus Rift and Quest owners introduces new Force powers into your fighting arsenal, alongside an upgraded version of the lightsaber dojo that hones your Jedi skills for even more immersive swoosh-swoosh combat. Episode II continues the storyline from the first episode that landed back in June, delving farther into Vader’s Mustafar fortress and, as director Ben Snow says, uncovering the dark lair’s own “powerful crystals” and even gifting players with “a powerful and ancient weapon” — the protosaber.“In Episode II we discover that Mustafar has its own powerful crystals that powered their technology,” Snow explains at StarWars.com. “The Bright Star is one of those, but [it was] so exceptionally powerful that it was revered as a holy relic by the Mustafarian tribe we meet in Vader Immortal. Its power had attracted the attention of Lady Corvax, with disastrous results, and legend has it that she locked it away deep in the fortress.”
While the first episode was all too brief (as VR experiences generally tend to be), it arguably wasn’t all too easy — and it gratifyingly puts you at the virtual center of a believable Star Wars experience, in the good graces of one of the movie world’s greatest and most powerful villains. Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series - Episode II is available now for $9.99 for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift.
Hoo boy. Square Enix has just taken the wraps off the box art for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and it’s set to seriously trigger the nostalgic feels for anyone who still gets goosebumps at the sight of the cover of the original PS1 game.
Essentially a straight modernization of the white-background cover art that graced the 1997 classic, the box features Cloud Strife and his trusty Buster Sword, staring toward the distant looming headquarters of his target: the Shinra Electric Power Company. Check it out below, along with a new trailer that features five minutes of new gameplay footage:
Yep, if the new footage is anything to go by, previous indications that character switching will be a thing in the FFVII remake seem to be right on point. Aerith and Tifa both get their turns with Cloud at taking down the massive sewer beast named Abzu (who, by the way, looks far and away more ferocious than any blocky PS1-era polygons ever could have managed).
The battle is epic, the graphics and art style bring Midgar to life in a dystopian cyberpunk way that the first game did a better job of telling than showing, and a freshly updated FFVII battle theme is along for the ride the whole way through. Shut up and take our Materia! — Final Fantasy VII Remake is set to arrive on the PlayStation 4 on March 3 of next year.
Sony and Naughty Dog dropped a new trailer for the hugely-anticipated sequel to The Last of Us during this week’s State of Play event, along with news that the game now has a definite release date. But they’re wasting no time following that up with even more cool previews, sharing a trove of new screen shots and even a look at the blinged-out “Ellie Edition,” which comes with an insane amount of extras goodies (check out the backpack) and is already up for pre-order on the game’s official web page.In addition to offering close-up looks at Joel (yes, he’s alive and kicking), as well as tense fights, new enemies, environments and more, game director Neil Druckmann also offered up a handful of additional thoughts about the game via the official PlayStation Blog.
“It’s a highly emotional story with complex themes that befit the world of The Last of Us,” Druckmann wrote. “What we realized pretty early on is that we were putting together Naughty Dog’s most ambitious and longest game in our 35-year history. To tell this kind of story the game needed to be massive,” he added, pledging that the brief glimpse we got from the trailer “just scratches the surface of what the game has in store.”
In other words, it sounds like Naughty Dog is pulling no emotional punches, which likely comes as welcome news to anyone who made it through the first game with an unashamed tear or two in their eye along the way. The Last of Us Part II arrives for PlayStation 4 on Feb. 21 of next year.