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Square-Enix what have you done?

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20090614

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Square-Enix what have you done?




Being a legendary game studio is no easy task; Square-Enix should know more than most. Releasing some of the greatest games of all-time, there was an era where Square was simply unmatched when it came to pure role-playing goodness. Presently, the masters of fantasy seem to have stumbled into a hole filled with uneventful jargon and the biggest glue guns you’ve ever seen.

If I had to pick 10 of my most favorite games of all-time, at least a few of those titles would belong to Square. Their influence has touched upon practically all of the games we currently enjoy and then some. That’s why it’s rather troublesome to see the low quality coming out of their hands. Since 2008, Square has had several major releases which include Infinite Undiscovery, The Last Remnant, and Star Ocean: The Last Hope. If you follow scores, Star Ocean ended up faring the best, but saying that isn’t exactly a pat on the back. While Square only developed The Last Remnant, they still published the other games. Rule number one; anyone displaying their name on the box has participated in the creation of the game and therefore is willing to accept the praise and/or consequences that come with the success or failure of the title.

The big problem with Square’s RPG ventures has been the copy and paste mechanic. Practically all of their games contain the same character and costume design, complete with atrocious voice-overs. Immersive stories and unforgettable moments have been replaced by forgettable, lackluster events. Even Final Fantasy, their key title, has been influenced by this design. It also doesn’t help that as of late, Square’s motto seems to be, “When in doubt, better make another Final Fantasy spin-off.” Seeing nothing truly new definitely dampens the RPG gamer spirit. By the way, has anyone noticed that game titles are becoming increasingly ridiculous? Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. What? Is that pronounced 358 and a half days? Perhaps 358 slash-two days? It makes me wonder if they just pick names out of a hat and go from there.

Perhaps the reason why we haven’t seen too much from the real Square is because they’re holding back. The last few Electronic Entertainment Expos have certainly been surprising; being that Square has made some obvious, yet stunning announcements. Front Mission Evolved is going completely off-course, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be the Armored Core game we’ve wanted all along. Their flagship series and its latest installment, Final Fantasy XIII, looks extremely compelling along with the online only Final Fantasy XIV. They’ve also got Final Fantasy XIII Versus, but what that entails is anyone’s guess. What’s really fresh though is Square’s new partnership with Gas Powered Games and their co-development of Supreme Commander 2. These titles all hold promise, but then again, so did The Last Remnant and Infinite Undiscovery.

Square still has a lot of quality forthcoming, and while they are far from being filed under the shoddy category, they certainly haven’t shown their distinct, high-caliber abilities in a long while. Final Fantasy can usually always be counted on for quality, but it’d be nice to see Square finally release other quality titles that don’t pertain to the series. If Square can break their comfort zone with Supreme Commander 2, maybe, just maybe, we can see this troubled cliché they always seem to fall back on vanish before our eyes.

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