Friday, February 18, 2011

Square is going Soft

Seeing as how this is Square Enix week on Steam, I’ve been tempted by several great deals on Square games I never got around to playing.  Before buying I decided to go against my “trust Square’s every decision” instinct and downloaded the demos for Supreme Commander 2 and Front Mission Evolved.  I’m sure glad I did, because both of these games were awful.  Supreme Commander 2 is a hollow shell of what its predecessor was, with major changes that encourage turtling and hyper-specialized research.  Front Mission Evolved is not only a major departure from the franchises most successful gameplay (which I knew beforehand), it’s a crappy watered down version of its third person shooter predecessors as well.  The controls were clunky, aiming was hypersensitive, and the voiceovers were irritating.

Seeing two titles from my favorite game company fail this hard was not only disheartening, it was eye opening.  I took a moment to look back over Square’s history with my favorite franchise (Final Fantasy) and came to the realization that they’ve been putting out crap for almost a decade now. Starting with Final Fantasy XI, the company has continuously released games in the series that scrap the winning Final Fantasy formula in favor of relentless experimentation, striving to make games a showcase for their new ideas rather than fun experiences.  Final Fantasy XII and XIII were good games in their own regard, but it was clear that the focus was on the “revolutionary mechanics” of combat and advancement, pushing aside franchise staples like… fun and story.  Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t even need explanation, especially since the company has personally apologized for how bad it sucks.

Between 1997 and 2002 Square was an RPG powerhouse, raising the bar for the genre with every release.  Now it seems as if their hunt for innovation has made them forget their winning formula:

Add 1 part beautiful story,1 part gorgeous vistas, 1 part innovation, 2 parts familiarity, a great ATB combat system, Nobuo Uematsu and lots of chocobos. Not that hard, Square.  If you want some help getting back on track, feel free to hire me.  In fact, here are two big tips for free:
-More Strategy RPG's
-Whatever happened to the FFVII remake?  Scrapped? Well unscrap it!

1 comment:

  1. Yasunori Mitsuda can be swapped for Nobuo Uematsu. Just sayin'. :)

    I'd love a Chrono Strategy RPG. But I'm weird.