Tag Archive: Squaresoft


Game of the Decade: #2

Final Fantasy X

2001 was a simpler time. Brett Favre had no camera phone with which to capture his underwhelming penis with, Pluto was still our little 9th planet that could,  and the Square was still Soft instead of enix. Final Fantasy X takes me back to a time when I could truly get lost in an RPG. Lost in it’s world, its mythos, it’s story and really get involved and attached to the characters. FFX was the last game I can remember that drew me in and gave me this experience. I can’t say whether this really is  due to the loss of Square”Soft” quality, or if its just a factor of me getting older and more cynical, but both the former and latter are sad conclusions.

Square went back to its roots completely gameplay wise, featuring a turn-based battle system with enough new twists on the system to keep it  challenging and ultimately very strategically delicate. Even it’s extreme linearity is a throwback to the classic days. Which is something some people can’t seem to grasp. One of the main things people harp on when talking about X, or the most recent XIII, is how linear they are, and how Final Fantasy was always about adventure, and exploring, but that was never really the case. Sure, they featured traversable world-maps, but thats just a way to mask the linearity, you never really could go anywhere you want, your hand was always held and you’re always pushed along a very specific path. X simply doesn’t try to trick you, it ropes you along its path and takes advantage of its design to engage and tell you a story in the best way they can.

The visuals were top-notch at the time, and still hold up pretty well today. It’s still one of the prettiest PS2 games out there. Uematsu’s score is also another classic, ranking up there with his best efforts.

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The voice acting wasn’t great, maybe it wasn’t even objectively “good”, but to be fair this wasn’t a time when voice acting wasn’t widely done in games of this magnitude and they do an admirable job with it, though it certainly has its awkward moments.

It  spawned the first direct sequel of the series, X-2, which also turned out to be quite polarizing amongst fans, but I am pretty fond of it aswell. No, don’t worry, it isn’t my #1…

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Game of the Decade: #6

Chrono Cross

Barely qualifying for this list, released in November of 99′ in Japan, but August 00′ in the states, the highly anticipated sequel to Chrono Trigger was met with universal critical acclaim. Rather than simply taking what was perfected with their previous effort and cashing in on a Trigger 2, Misato Kato and his team at Square aimed to take the series into a different direction and keep the ties to its predecessor rather loose.

You play as Serge, who you learn as the story unfolds is at the center of  a dimension-tearing, time-travelling struggle. The plot, though convoluted at first, is well crafted and thoughtfully written. It does a great job of taking the story of Trigger and grounding it in reality,  bringing to light that every action has a reaction, and consequences. By the end you might still be a little in the dark as far as what you actually just witnessed, but a second play through and attentive play should help cement the details of this profound story. It’s worth noting that the foundation of the story is actually based on a text-based game made by square a few years prior called, Radical Dreamers.

The battle system is vastly different from its predecessor, almost taking a complete 180 in terms of design. Where Trigger focused on fast-paced, easy to use technique based battles, Cross takes a slow, methodical approach to its combat. The results are mixed, but ultimately make for one of the more unique systems allowing for a high level of strategy.

Where Cross really shines though, is in its aesthetics. They made the decision to take the art in a completely different direction, and the world they created is vibrant and enthralling. The character designs are striking and the environments are colorful and enticing. The visuals are tied together with possibly the greatest original soundtrack created for an intellectual work of any medium. The score was done by famed composer Yasunori Mitsuda who also worked on Trigger. It’s whimsical, beautiful, and each track captures the emotion of  it’s scene, setting, and characters. It’s full of  sweeping strings and celtic-inspired arrangements. It ultimately leaves you wishing more games put this much effort into crafting its soundtrack, this being a prime example of how much it can add to your overall experience.

Fans of the original sometimes dismiss Cross based purely on the fact that it didn’t turn out the way they wanted, more specifically that it wasn’t Chrono Trigger 2. There’s no denying however, that based purely on its own merits, that Chrono Cross was one of the best RPGs of the Playstation era, and perhaps of all time. It still stands today as the one of the series with the most fans clamoring for a sequel, and even though the likelihood of its happening lowers as every day passes, theres still that glimmer of hope. Square had actually registered a trademark for Chrono Break, an alleged third in the series, but the title never came to fruition and the trademark was dropped in 2005.

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