Square Enix, Where Are The Gems?

on October 14, 2009 12:31 PM

I’m one of those people that’s played enough games to make the lot of you cry. If I’m not pounding away on the keyboard on some code for the thousandth database application I work tirelessly on, I’m abusing my console ferociously with long hours of playtime. Gaming has become therapeutic, in some forms. I definitely enjoy going old-school and playing old RPG’s from the era of SNES and PSX – when RPG’s had stories that put movies and books to shame. As I sit there and play these relics, I am constantly baffled at how some games never received the attention they deserved.

Have you ever played a game that was so good, that you constantly regurgitate the thought of a sequel, or prequel, being made? Hell, I see people creating petitions online for games that have become cult classics. The s*** that people would do to see their favorite game(s) spawn a new chapter in a game that has, in some way, touched them.

There are games that, without a doubt, are well overdue for a sequel(s), prequel(s), or even a god damn remake in order to taste the story once again with a more appealing facade. Of course, I’m going to have some feeble-minded douche-bag perpetuate thoughts of negativity for even mentioning the chance of a continuation of whatever title, simply because they don’t understand how some games just deserve the resources that others don’t. I’m going to make a short list of games that, I think, deserve more attentiveness and that has created enormous fanbases only to be pole-fucked in the ass by their very own developers and publishers – Square Enix

Some of you might disagree with my choices and/or might have your own (which I am more than willing to hear out) games that you would like to list. I encourage you all to send me to hell and give me your very own thoughts and opinions.

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Xenogears (PS1)

By far the greatest RPG that I have ever played. It was the fifth part of a six part series developed by Square (now Square Enix) and was never again pursued (which caused the development team to retract from Square and create their own studio – Monolith Soft – the creators of the Xenosaga series). Xenogears focuses heavily on the principles and philosophies of men such as Friedrich Neitzsche and Sigmund Freud, and follows the story of 18 year old Fei Fong Wong, who suffers from memory loss, and his friends as they struggle to survive in a world torn apart by war between two nations.

Besides having a captivating battle system and the ability to ride giant mechs (known as Gears that had a major effect on the war and have basically replaced the need for human infantry), the story is, without a doubt, the most gripping aspect of the game. Aside from presenting various religious themes, the game itself revolves around the nature of human memory – a major theme of the game. Many of those who have played it can easily identify it as one of the greatest stories in gaming. Development was never mentioned for the other five installments.
Why Square decided to be a bunch of assholes and not continue the game is beyond my realm of understanding. My theory? More Final Fantasy games needed to be made.

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Vagrant Story (PS1)

Vagrant Story came from the depths of the unknown. It came from nowhere only to be idolized as one of the greatest games on the PS1. The game takes place in the kingdom of Valendia and the ruined city of Lea Monde. The story revolves around protagonist Ashely Riot, an elite agent known as a Riskbreaker, who travels to Lea Monde to investigate the link between a cult leader and a Valendian Parliament member.

Vagrant Story is unique in its own ways because it is the only RPG that I have played that features no player interaction or shops. Rather, the game focuses heavily on the creation of weapons and weapon modification. Without a doubt, a revolutionary change in the RPG world, Vagrant Story is easily considered on of the most underrated games in terms of publicity. For those of you who haven’t played this yet, I would recommend you get your asses on Amazon and get it. Although it’s two generations old, the game itself spanks next-gen games beyond belief.

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– Chrono Trigger (PS1)

Whatever happened to our red-headed friend Crono? You remember him, right? The kick-ass silent protagonist from Chrono Trigger? Oh well, for those of you who have yet to touch Chrono Trigger, you need to seriously step your game up (pun intended). It is one of the greatest RPG’s to grace consoles.

Chrono Trigger is set around 1000 A.D., where playable characters Crono and Marle sample their friend Lucca’s teleportation device at a local festival. Marle volunteers to test out the device but ends up disappearing through a strange portal when the machine reacts to her pendant. Like the hero he is, Crono asks to be sent through the machine in order to find her, and gets sent back 400 years. Later in the game, you’re introduced to the badass that is plotting to destroy the world, Lavos. Lucca, Crono and Marle later discover that their world would soon be destroyed by Lavos in the distant future, and set out on their journey to stop him in an adventure with more time travel than Back to the Future.

Although the story might seem somewhat short, it is extremely interesting and keeps the player entertained. If you haven’t played this, it’s definitely something you should consider trying out if you’re a fan of RPGs. The graphics might not look appealing, but, for that time, it was amazing.

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Brave Fencer Musashi (PS1)

Most of you might recall the young, short-tempered and impatient fencer, Musashi. He kind of resembled Rikomaru from Samurai Showdown except he was much shorter. The game was funny as hell and brought a good sense of entertainment.

Musashi, a boy summoned to the Allucaneet Kingdom by Princess Fillet (sounds kind of like Zelda games, huh?), to save it from the Thirstquencher Empire. Fillet wanted to summon the legendary Brave Fencer Musashi – who had saved the kingdom from a monster hundreds of years before; to her surprise, little Musashi shows up brave as ever. Musashi is then give the blade Fusion, and given the responsibility of obtaining Brave Fencer Musashi’s sword – Lumina – before the Thirstquencher army does.

The game involves Musashi fighting a variety of enemies, using both the Lumina and Fusion blades in order to save the kingdom from numerous threats.
Brave Fencer Musashi was definitely a game with high fun-factors. The story will remind you somewhat of Zelda – if you’re familiar with it. But has many elements that separate both Link and Musashi, such as… Musashi being a fencer.

It’s clear that Square Enix has lost a lot of their interests in pursuing successful franchises due to, most likely, ignorance. It’s kind of bewildering to see developers/publishers such as Square limit their resources to a franchise that has become more popular, and successful, because of its name: Final Fantasy. I’m in no way knocking the Final Fantasy series. It has its share of memorable stories; but to have completely omitted games that deserved a chance of success only shows that they’re not willing to please their audiences; only to quench their own thirst for a little more mullah.

These are only a few of the games that Square Enix has left out to dry. What about Parasite Eve (it’s now that it’s getting the a PSP release)? Bushido Blade? The stagnating release of newer franchises is, without a doubt, great for the RPG gamer, but there are franchises that have left gamers in the dark questioning the storyline of certain titles.

It’s kind of disappointing to see that gaming has now become a one-sided genre of FPS shooters rather than offering the variety it did 10-15 years ago. Stories have now become bland being that graphics now seem to be the more glamorized at the expense of a riveting story. Look at games like Secret of Mana, Terranigma, Soul Blade, Metal Gear Solid, etc. It’s only a handful of next-gen games that offer somewhat of a compelling story.

But my beef here, at the moment, is with Square Enix and how they abandoned franchises that should have been given the opportunity of success rather than continuing to feed all of their gamers a repetitive name that has become more of poster-boy for RPG’s rather than a savior.

Square Enix has tons of franchises it continues to pump out by name. I’m looking forward to the newer unknowns more than I am to the next Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. A lot of fanboys will, undoubtedly, call me stupid for even blurbing such things. But how many of us have actually played through their next installments? We can’t continue to grade games solely on the their graphical prowess. Games have more to them (gameplay, story) besides visuals.

RPG’s are becoming an extinct thing of the past. It’s not every year we’re presented with a decent RPG anymore. Nowadays, when we hear of an RPG, we jump to the name of it simply because it has become an obsolete genre that so many long for. I remember back in the day, when gaming was at its prime, when we were consistently given titles that would awe. When the story of a game was more important than the 16-bit visuals that were presented. When games actually had a deep meaning metaphorically imprinted in the story that would question things and affect our way of thinking. It’s things like that which made a game memorable and created legacies. The last game that did that to me was Crisis Core in a long time… and I mean long time. Time has sure as hell changed.

 /  Co-Founder
Born and raised in New York City, Yaris is one of three co-founders at DualShockers. Gaming since the inception of Nintendo in the 80's, he has grown to avidly appreciate games of every genre, maturing his preference specifically now to third-person action games, first-person shooters and JRPGs. He's a software engineer, father and husband during the day, and mildly attempts to hold onto his "hardcore gamer" title during the evenings. An attempt that he tends to fail miserably at.
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