- Square Enix has shown interest in bringing back more of its classics; a true delight for fans.
- Xenogears was an exceptional masterpiece, and Radiata Stories is a fun, underrated adventure that deserves to make a reappearance.
- Final Fantasy is welcome indeed, but Square Enix has a plethora of excellent classics to choose from, which would surely be appreciated by both old and new audiences.
In a recent shareholder meeting, Square Enix‘s statement could be interpreted as an interest in more remasters and reviving its franchises. This glimmer of hope was immediately grasped by fans of Square’s many classic JRPG gems that have not seen the light of day for many years now. Even the Q&A in the meeting had the million-dollar question of whether we’ll get to see Xenogears again, which was given a diplomatic response.
I believe this has already been stressed enough by fans, and I’ll continue to reinforce that Xenogears should get a revival. Square did something legendary, and it deserves better than to be lost to time. And it’s not just Xenogears either. Final Fantasy has been the company’s focus, but many other of Square Enix’s IPs deserve the spotlight just as much, including the ambitious Radiata Stories.
Square Enix Has A Long List Of Gems
Before Square Enix was formed, there was SquareSoft, and I believe it was the company’s prime time. Squaresoft was one of the most influential developers that forever changed the JRPG landscape. The genre wouldn’t be the same if not for Square’s legendary creations. It was the time when after Final Fantasy, it started experimenting with the ATB system to create unique adventures, with premium JRPG story-telling and versatile mechanics.
It’s because of the versatile mechanics in the games that made every standalone title distinct. The streak continued after Square Enix’s formation, and the newly merged company now had exceptional titles from the Enix side, too. These include Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Radiata Stories, Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve, Star Ocean, and Mana series, to name a few. It would be difficult to find another developer with this many diamonds.
Whether it be excellent, heart-warming stories or ingenious gameplay mechanics, Square Enix had it all. Take a look at Chrono Trigger for example. With a “dream team‘ of three creators: Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Yuji Hori (Dragon Quest), and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), the game is a timeless masterpiece with impressive turn-based mechanics, epic soundtrack, lovable characters, and a story you’ll never forget.
Next in line is Vagrant Story. Following the protagonist Ashley in a world ravaged by civil war and ulterior motives afoot. At this point, rest assured these games do not disappoint in the story. The game plays out in brilliantly crafted 3D environments with a pausable real-time combat system. Along comes the Risk gauge which fills as you attack the same enemy, making you vulnerable but grants a crit chance boost; high-risk-high-reward gameplay.
Vagrant Story is 20 years old! It is not only in the conversation as the best game Square has ever made, it is a towering achievement of the genre both at an artistic and technical level. Here I will share some details about the game that even Hideo Kojima was jealous of ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/oiOLo6QK2A
— Dreamboum (@Dreamboum) February 9, 2020
The same pausable real-time combat is also featured in Parasite Eve. This game was a bit different than Square’s conventional methods. It featured the developer’s iconic ATB-style battle mechanics but was a lot more similar to Resident Evil in concept. The game also featured glorious cutscenes and animations and was a true cinematic experience as Aya discovers a nefarious plot of combusting humans and vowed to foil it.
Xenogears And Radiata Stories – The Old Square Enix Never Missed
Xenogears stands among the most influential JRPGs of all time and is the reason we got Xenosaga and then the Xenoblade Chronicles series in the first place. It truly deserves a revival. Initially, Xenogears was presented as a proposal for Final Fantasy 7, but considering its tone and themes, it was not deemed suitable as a Final Fantasy title. Thankfully, it was greenlit as a new IP, which looking back, was a blessing of a decision.
Xenogears’ plot and story themes are what make it a must-play for every JRPG fan. I firmly believe its story was the major highlight among other aspects. Featuring a sci-fi setting, Xenogears follows Fei Fong Wong and a lovable band of companions that join him throughout his long journey. At first glance, it seems like a standard amnesiac protagonist on a quest for self-discovery with the overthrowing of a tyrannical rule mixed in.
But make no mistake, the story stays fresh and unique and has a lot of twists mixed in, which are better left unsaid, not to spoil the experience. One thing that sparked considerable controversy was its religious themes. Moving on to the gameplay, it follows a similar ATB system Square was so well-known for. And making use of its sci-fi setting, the game brings controllable giant mechas called Gears.
The combat consisted of these two types; controlling individual characters in standard battles, and the specialized Gears battles. It played out quite similarly in both cases, abilities and basic attacks with an ATB gauge, and a fuel system for Gears to use skills. Overall, You can never go wrong with picking up this game as you’re sure to have a great time. Not just the story; the characters and their development and interactions, the music, area design, visuals, everything was splendid.
After a universally recognized and popular title, let’s discuss a more underrated game; Radiata Stories. My reason for choosing this title is that after multiple games from the Square side, it’s important to highlight one from the merged Square Enix era, which showcases the new collaboration at its peak. Another reason is most of the classic JRPGs are known for turn-based combats and old action games are seldom known.
Does anyone else remember playing Radiata Stories? My dad lived in an extremely rural area and this game was available to rent at the local supermarket. I rented it every weekend for 6 months I loved it so much but no one else seems to remember it!
by u/Lost_And_Found66 in videogames
In terms of plot, Radiata Stories has a fairly simple and at times hilarious premise. The game doesn’t try to take it too seriously, thus retaining the funny and refreshing story as it’s supposed to be. The game truly shines in the depiction of an actively progressing world. For a game of 2005 to create a world with actual Day/Night cycles, NPC’s steadily growing and the feeling of the accurately changing surroundings was a remarkable achievement.
If you’ve played Star Ocean or Tales of series, you’ll find the combat both refreshing and familiar. Like these titles, the game has a separate overworld and battle area. Similar to Xenogears, encounters take place in a different space, but with no ATB or other turn-like elements. The game gives full control of all of Jack; the protagonist’s abilities in action combat. Teammates are AI-controlled and they can be issued strategic commands.
Final Fantasy Is All Good, But These Games Deserve A Chance
Final Fantasy has always been Square Enix’s favorite child, and thus the face of the company. As such, it has also received luxury treatment. Earlier games returned as ports and remaster, Final Fantasy 7 and Crisis Core got remakes, and the series continues with Final Fantasy 16 – the action game, as the latest entry. Although I’ll certainly appreciate more of the series like a modern-turn-based game, I believe other games too deserve a turn.
At this point, anything whether it be a remake or a remaster would be appreciated. I’m more of a remaster guy since remakes carry significant risks, and due to Square Enix’s recent poor decisions, I’d never want my beloved gems to be ruined. Still, many of Square Enix’s modern projects have been excellent which shows the developer has still got what it takes, and the prospect of an excellent remake is too good to ignore.
Since Chrono Trigger and Mana have made recent appearances, it’s better to give others a chance now. Games like Parasite Eve will benefit a lot from the recent survival-horror boom. Similarly, Vagrant Story would do great in a remake. For Radiata Stories, the game doesn’t need a remake as much since it is comparatively recent and the 3D environments and character design would do great with a remaster and release for modern consoles.
For Xenogears, I think Square Enix can’t go wrong either way. Considering the overwhelming demand, fans will take anything over complete desolation. A remaster will not only preserve the game but make the original experience available to newer audiences. Square Enix did a wonderful job with the classic Final Fantasy’s revival as-it-is and the same approach could work great for this sci-fi adventure too.
Xenogears is also the game that could benefit the most from a remake. Considering hasty development, the game is still incomplete with the second half of the game on Disc 2 told as a sort of slideshow. A remake would provide the opportunity to complete the game. The best possibility would be to remake the game in parts, sort of how Final Fantasy 7 is being handled, and refine each part to perfection.
All in all, Square Enix has plenty of exceptional titles to choose from if it decided to bring back the classic JRPGs we’ve grown to love. Whether it be Square’s magnificent turn-based creations like Xenogears and Vagrant Story, Enix’s creative Star Ocean, and Valkyrie Profile, or the merged Square Enix’s Radiata stories. I’ll be happy as long as any of these deserving gems see a resurgence.
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