Release Chat – 8 / 3 / 10

Final Fantasy XIII, out on both Xbox and PS3, is the highly anticipated next instalment of the never-ending Japanese role playing franchise. Love them or hate them, the Final Fantasy games are undeniably peerless within the genre. Endlessly imitated, but never bettered.

They’re playing this one for keeps.  So much so that it’s even got its own ‘universe’ planned around it. The series, Fabula Nova Crystallis, will feature a number of games, all set in the Final Fantasy XIII world.

The combat system sounds like a mix between the free-form ‘in world’ enemies from the previous game and the turn-based nature of the series’ roots.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this anyway. You’ve already decided in your head whether you’re going to be playing this or not – and nothing I can say is going to change that. If you’ve never played a FF game before, it’s something you have to discover for yourself.

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Yakuza 3, out on PS3, is a disarmingly deep open-city fighting game. Play the demo and you might find yourself genuinely shocked at the visceral and raw nature of the violence – and the simple yet effortlessly playable combat system. More than anything though, you’ll remember the attention to detail of the immersive world around you.  Whether you spend your time eating Sashimi in a dirty back-street diner, singing karaoke with a call girl, or smashing heads against the curb.

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In cinemas this week, there is much buzz about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s based on a Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson, who died in 2004 leaving three unpublished books in what he called his Millennium Trilogy. This is the film adaptation of the first of the three.  The other two are waiting for a release date here, having already been filmed – and released in other countries. It’s a disturbing conspiracy thriller which centres around a journalist and a young female hacker who attempt to solve a 40 year old murder. Critics are going wild for it!

Stew (@chicknstu)