JOYSTICK: Square Enix releasing some of its earliest gamesPublished 5:00pm Saturday, April 9, 2011
In the time before Xbox, before Nintendo pioneered motion-control technology, way before 3D screens were a serious topic (and not a Virtual Boy joke), there was the original Playstation. And Squaresoft was, for diehard RPG fans, its king.
While the RPG landscape has changed, it’s a given that the Japanese RPG’s halcyon days were on the PS1. Recently, Square Enix has begun rereleasing some of the best (read: slightly obscure) Playstation-era games onto the Playstation Network. For those who are too young to know these wondrous tales when you see them, or for those who simply didn’t find these games the first time around, here’s some of the best RPGs to be rereleased:
Rated T, $5.99
This was an incredibly innovative game well before its time — one that’s a true cult classic. Made by the team that created Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, Vagrant Story has one of the most thoughtful and well-written stories you’ll find, plus an absolutely gorgeous musical score.
The somewhat challenging battle system takes getting used to, but rhythm game lovers will have no problems here.
At $6 and change, there is no conceivable reason to not buy this now.
Rated M, $5.99
When it first came out, Parasite Eve was an anomaly in the Playstation world.
It had action and horror elements as well as a strange-feeling story about biological enemies taking over all life on earth. That doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy purchase, with plenty of story and a difficult challenge after completing the game once.
Secret of Mana
Rated T, $5.99
One of the best things about Japanese RPGs was how absolutely beautiful the art style is. That’s one of the best parts of Secret of Mana, which incorporates an almost baroque European art style with standard Japanese interpretation. The game is also largely non-linear, with a ton of sidequests and interesting story options.
Rated T, $9.99
This philosophical sci-fi RPG is among the most heralded, if not obscure, games to come out during the PS1 era. Squaresoft developers put a lot of effort into incorporating CGI scenes, animation, two battle systems and more. Some of the same people who worked on this game went on to create the Xenosaga trilogy, which, while similar, isn’t a true sequel.