Fanart Friday returns, duct-taping broken bottles and a survival knife to each hand and fighting wolves (take this as a hint to go see The Grey as soon as you can). Last week, we started our three-week theme on role-playing games, and we continue that with this week's look at Squaresoft, Enix, and Square-Enix RPGs. It's timely, too, as I'm madly playing through Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which is surprisingly good) so I can have a review up for all of you this weekend. Let's get this show on the road!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
I'm amazed at how hard it is to find Illusion of Gaia art. For those who don't know, Illusion of Gaia was an SNES RPG by Enix that felt a lot like The Legend of Zelda, with some trippy sci-fi elements.
While I'd normally put a huge, rambling paragraph in here about how much I love Xenogears even with its myriad flaws, I will instead direct you to Jake Murray's online shop and suggest you buy two of everything. The guy's art is amazing.
A lot of people say that "Dragon Quest is always the same." I really don't see what the problem is with mechanics that Enix got right the first time--and when you have a story as good as Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, it becomes even less of an issue.
Chrono Cross' Harle is one of those weird pseudo-villains--you want to bash her head in because the game's telling you to and she's trying to kill you, but you can't help but like her all the same, and you'll still recruit her into your party at the first possible chance.
While Vagrant Story was easily my most favorite part of Square's Ivalice Alliance, am I alone in hoping for a follow-up to Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings?
Okay, be honest: what did you name your character in Secret of Mana? Because my guy is always named Boobs. It probably explains why he gets shoved off a bridge at the start of the game--life is cruel for the kid named Boobs.
After all its doom and gloom and the emo BS of Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, I am more than happy to see a nice, light-hearted look at Final Fantasy VII.
Yangus: easily the best part of the excellent Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, especially his awesome Cockney dub.
On the other hand, Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of the few times where I just plain hated the voice acting. I missed out on the game's soundtrack because I played the whole thing on mute.
In the leadup to Final Fantasy IX's release, who would have thought that the most compelling, interesting character was the little Black Mage?
Chrono Trigger does it all perfectly for me: Yasunori Mitsuda music, Akira Toriyama character designs, multiple endings, and a flexible take on Active Time Battle. You have no idea how happy I was when it came to DS, and then I could cart it around with me wherever I went like a stuffed puppy.
Was Front Mission always this intense? It sure felt like it...
"Wait, what's he doing there?" some of you may ask. Well, the excellent and underappreciated Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was developed by Squaresoft!
We need more games like Valkyrie Profile: beautiful hand-drawn graphics, a dynamic battle system, a truly epic story (that made sense), and it has a lot of replay value.
On the other hand, you need a series-specific Cliffs' Notes to understand Kingdom Hearts. Between Hearts, Heartless, Nobodies, characters' Nobodies, Organization XIII, Ansem, and Xenahort, it's barely even scratching the surface of the games' hilariously complex plot.
Parasite Eve almost felt like an experiment by Square--could they make a mark in the new-and-popular genre of survival horror? Well, not really, but it was still a cool RPG that introduced tough leading lady Aya Brea to gamers.
And this is how you end things on a good note: Final Fantasy VI came out about a year before Chrono Trigger, and it was the same perfect package of artistry, music, story and gameplay. In fact, let's take one last look at Chrono Trigger. What kind of art could I find that would perfectly sum up my admiration of this game?
DEFINITELY NOT THAT.
Well, I think I'm completely at a loss for words. Tune in next week, when we finish up our three-week RPG theme with a look at my favorite kind of role-playing experience: Western RPGs!
Were there any Square-Enix titles you think we missed this week? Let us know in the comments!