E3 06: Square Enix booth is RPG gamers' fantasy

Final Fantasy games hog the limelight at Square Enix's E3 booth--but trio of Final Fantasy XIII games stays under wraps.

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Square Enix has a prime chunk of real estate here on the E3 show floor, across from the booths of Namco Bandai Games and Capcom and a hop, skip, and a jump from Ubisoft. The booth features shiny white partitions--studded with demo kiosks on both sides--that radiate out from a central reception/information counter. One partition near the back of the booth has a long display case chock-full of merchandise: mainly high-end figurines, with a few wild cards like lighters and card cases.

A monster screen suspended from the ceiling features game trailers for upcoming Square Enix games, and a staircase in a corner of the booth leads up to a second-story theater where hardcore Square Enix fans can watch an extended video presentation.

The booth features playable demos of almost all of the company's upcoming games. The key exceptions are the three Final Fantasy XIII games, none of which are displayed on the show floor, not even in the form of nonplayable videos. Final Fantasy XI and XII are playable, though, and one section of the booth is set aside for PC demos of FF XI--the only PC game in Square Enix's lineup.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is playing on quite a few demo kiosks, and the game is attracting a pretty good crowd, while FF III for the DS draws a few retro-gamers to its section of the booth. Also playable on the DS are the too-cute-for words Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime and Children of Mana.

There's just one PSP game in the booth: Valkyrie Profile Lenneth, shown side by side with its PS2 sibling, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria.

Like many Japanese game firms, Square Enix is also making a strong effort to bring its products to cell phone gamers. Visitors to the company's E3 booth can try out a number of these games, such as Before Crisis: FF VIII, Seikan Densetsu: FF Adventure, and Brave Shot 2.

Getting the most from its recent acquisition of Taito, Square Enix also has remixed a few classic Taito titles for cell phones, including Space Invaders and Elevator Action, and the shiny new 3D versions are now playable on the show floor.

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