If you are a fan of RPGs then you are probably a fan of the developer known as Square-Enix (or to its most loving fans, Squeenix). However, you might not remember that SquareSoft and Enix used to be two completely separate companies, hence this list of the 10 Best SquareSoft Games. Oddly enough, they made far more games back when they were separate than they do now, including some of the most loved titles of the NES, SNES, and PS1 eras. These are the 10 Best SquareSoft Games in our opinion, from before the two companies merged. We only included one game per franchise, though, to prevent the list from becoming bogged down by Final Fantasy.
Front Mission started as a series of tactical RPGs based around giant walking mechs, and that’s when the series was the best. Current day Front Missions are more like shooters, much in the vein or Armored Core, and they have noticeably declined in quality. However, if you want a real tactical treat with incredible depth of customization in units, definitely check out the first few Front Missions. They are more than good enough to make it on to our 10 Best SquareSoft Games list.
Not every good SquareSoft game was an RPG. Believe it or not, the company dabbled in racing games in the early days. Remember Rad Racer, the premiere racing title for the NES? Sure it was basically a clone of Out Run, but it was a good clone, and any fan of cars and octane had this for their 8-bit console, or even better, played the original version in the arcades.
SaGa Frontier really pushed the boundaries of what an RPG could do. It told the story through the eyes of not one, but seven different characters. The player was tasked with playing through all of these separate scenarios before bringing the party together. Not only that, but each scenario had their own characters, items, and special equipment, along with special events that would change other scenarios. It was a game ahead of it’s time and continues to be a cult classic to this day.
Everyone loves Kingdom Hearts. It’s Disney/Final Fantasy crossover self insert alternate universe fanfiction… the best kind of writing! In all seriousness, Kingdom Hearts had an astounding story, a decent gameplay system, and graphics that could make you cry tears all over Disney’s enchanted kingdom. Kingdom Hearts 2 is largely accepted as the best in the series, though we will have to wait and see what Kingdom Hearts 3 has to bring to the table.
Horror and RPG don’t play well together, but Square made it work. Parasite Eve was not only fun to play and offered tons of strategic options both in and out of battle, but it was scary as all get-out! Watching that girl in Parasite Eve II rip through her own skin to become a monster fueled by her very own possessed cellular structure made legions of RPG fans vomit in horror, and earned Parasite Eve II a spot on our 10 Best SquareSoft Games list.
Square didn’t just make traditional RPGs. They also dabbled in the action genre. This is where Secret of Mana came in, with its simple equipment and magic system and its real time battles. Not only that, but Secret of Mana was one of the first RPGs ever developed to include multiplayer. In a way, we wouldn’t see the MMOs that we see today if it weren’t for this games simple two player battles.
Paper Mario was an awesome game. The Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga is still releasing great games to this day. However, the greatest Super Mario RPG was… Super Mario RPG, developed by SquareSoft back in the days of the SNES. Super Mario RPG introduced the ideas of timed attacks and simplistic stat management. It also was one of the first games to feature Bowser as a playable protagonist, and had the Princess play a supporting role rather than a damsel in distress.
Awesome martial artists riding giant robots fighting for the fate of the universe. No, we're not talking about G Gundam. We're talking about something much better! Xenogears! This was one of SquareSoft’s last big RPG opuses before Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within flopped and they needed to merge with Enix to dull the pain. It was filled with awesome gameplay, a fantastic story, Freudian psychology, katanas, and giant robots. So it’s probably a bit more like Evangelion than G Gundam.
What? Final Fantasy? Oh, Final Fantasy VII. The one everyone loves. The one with the dead flower girl. Yeah, we know that one. Great game, right? Yep, fantastic. Interesting material system, great villains, great characters. It’s almost as if everyone in the world knows about this game and doesn’t need us to explain why it’s awesome.
Finally, we have the best SquareSoft game of all time, and perhaps the best RPG and best game of all time period, Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger had made its way onto so many of our lists now it may make the top of any Best Top 10 Lists we make. It has everything: combo techs, characters by Akira Toriyama, time travel, robots, cavemen, Magus! Everything! At this point if you haven’t played Chrono Trigger you have basically committed a sin in the eyes of the church of JRPGs. No wonder it's #1 on our list of the 10 Best SquareSoft Games.
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