When I first heard that Squaresoft and Enix would be merging, I glanced over at my PlayStation collection of RPGs. Along with all the Final Fantasy titles, I saw the likes of Vagrant Story , Parasite Eve , Front Mission 3 , Legend of Mana , Threads of Fate , Chrono Cross , and Star Ocean: The 2nd Story . Enix only did the latter, but hey, it was an awesome RPG and Squaresoft…well, they were the masters. Plain and simple.
But the dream role-playing company never seemed to take shape. Yeah, we still got some of the best RPGs I've ever played, including Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII , but it has become more and more obvious that FF remains the only guaranteed smash hit from Square-Enix. Games like The Last Remnant (based on reviews, I don't care in the slightest if it ever comes to the PS3), Infinite Undiscovery , and Star Ocean: The Last Hope have proven something to me: I really like Star Ocean , but it doesn't really measure up to expectations; if this was a decade ago, I certainly would've anticipated a little better from the king of RPGs. Now, one can make an argument for or against Square-Enix based on a variety of handheld titles and other games I haven't mentioned here, but I think all RPG fans can agree that Square-Enix hasn't lived up to the legacy of Squaresoft. I'm not really sure why…are they putting all their effort into Final Fantasy XIII ? Is this why the IPs and other lesser sequels aren't as great as they could be?
I admit to not knowing the reason, and I further admit that FFXIII will rock; if it doesn't end up being the best RPG of the generation, I'll actually be surprised. I also have high hopes for Final Fantasy Versus XIII . But I'm just pointing out the obvious contrast here: there was a time when I'd peruse the shelf at the game store and if a game said "Squaresoft" on the box, it'd probably be a must-buy. Hell, they even did an awesome 2D side-scrolling shooter in Einhander ! And for fans of the JRPG genre, Squaresoft was it . I remember it very, very well. Now, I find myself looking at a game with the Square-Enix logo and saying to myself, "hmm…I dunno." I'm actually skeptical . I would never have expected this when I heard about the Square/Enix combination; in fact, I would've expected the exact opposite. It's like they can do anything FF-related wonderfully, but anything else doesn't seem to live up to expectations. Look at those other PS1 games from Square. I mean, that's just not happening now.
I'm not trying to "talk trash" about Square-Enix or anything like that. I think the developer has immense potential as it always has, and as I said, I have nothing but the highest hopes for any FF installment. I'm merely pointing out a distressing observation that most all RPG fans will agree with, and I'm hoping Square-Enix can turn things around at some point, here. I have my eyes set firmly on End of Eternity , even if it's another tri-Ace-developed title. I guess I just miss the good ol' days of Squaresoft, you know?