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 411mania » Games » Columns

411 Games Top 5 2.09.14: Square-Enix Games
Posted by Sean Garmer on 02.09.2014

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. Square-Enix has so much history separate and together that perhaps it is time we did a topic about them.

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With Bravely Default having come out on Friday, this week, the 411 staff were asked to give out lists for their Top 5 Square-Enix Games. Anything in Square or Enix's back catalog was allowed. Staffers could also include games from distribution deals in other countries or IP's they have bought but perhaps not made a game with yet on their own.

Stephen Randle (Games Zone Reviewer, Quizmaster of Four Player Co-op, host of "Cooperative Multiplayer" The Official 411 Games Podcast, Writer of Wrestling News Experience)

5. Kingdom Hearts - The series has become more Square-Enix than Disney as it went on, but the original featured what I thought was a perfect mix of Disney characters and settings and Final Fantasy-style storytelling and combat (with a few characters thrown in). This was also a perfect game to give an HD remix to, given the usual high level of graphics found in a SE offering.

4. Sleeping Dogs - Technically, S-E didn't fully develop the game, they picked up a partially completed True Crime: Hong Kong and finished it off, but it still counts. Sleeping Dogs is one of the rare open-world games that I felt did a lot of things right and really captured my attention. Mostly, I felt like even when I was doing side missions, I was still progressing through the main story, and I was never tempted to just drive aimlessly around the city because there was nothing interesting to do. In addition, something that doesn't get enough credit is the fact that the game literally directed you where to go to get to or complete missions through hovering arrows throughout the city, and that little added help made usually frustrating things like race missions a lot easier to complete.

3. Tomb Raider - Well, we did name it Game of 2013, so it has that going for it. For me personally, Tomb Raider created interest in a franchise that I had previously had none, and did so with a fantastic game with a great story, well-written characters, and one of the most refined combat systems I've played since Uncharted. I can't wait for the sequel.

2. Various Final Fantasy Games - I'm cheating so I can get more non-FF games on the list. If we want to be specific, I'm mostly talking about FFIV, FFVI, FFVII, FFIX, and FF Tactics, which would be my Top 5 FF games if we ever do that list (or if we already did one and I forgot). Every FF game has something special and unique going for it, whether it be a unique combat system, an incredible story, well-written characters, or an amazing soundtrack. The best of these games combine all those traits.

1. Chrono Trigger - I don't think anyone who knows me is surprised by this one, as it's by far the video game I've played the most over my lifetime (okay, WoW, but besides that). I've played it from start to finish at least nine times. My love of this game is so well-known that Robert Cooper tracked down an original Super Famicon version (in Japanese) of the game on eBay and sent it to me for a laugh...and I told him that I had memorized it so well I could probably still play it. It's not the hardest game in the world, but everything about it is so polished that to me, it could very well be the perfect JRPG.

Todd Vote (Games Zone Reviewer, Regular Contributor to Four Player Co-op)

5.Dead Island - Who do you voodoo, b*tch? Now I know the game didn't live up to the first trailer, but in all honestly, how could it? It was an amazing trailer. But that isn't to say that Dead Island wasn't fun. It was far from perfect, but it still offered a lot of hours playing in an open world with your friends, infested with the undead. Any game that allows me to kill zombies with friends is doing something right.

4.Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Say what you will about Call of Duty now. How they haven't changed it up at all in what seems like forever. But at the time of release, COD: MW was the top of the heap, bringing first person shooters out of the WWII era, and dropping it firmly in the here and now with a fantastic story.

3.Batman: Arkham Asylum - The game that changed the way we look at comic book games. This was Batman done right. From the ability to stalk your prey from the shadows, right down to the free-flow combat, Batman has never been better than he is in this series of games.

2.Sleeping Dogs - One of the bigger surprises of 2012 for me was Sleeping Dogs. It was a unique take on the open world crime game. Having the game take place in Hong Kong offered a new setting for fans of the genre. Guns were scarce, forcing you to rely more on your ability as a hand to hand fighter in a matter similar to Batman's Arkham series. If you haven't played this game, you should seek it out. It's definitely worth it.

1.Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Tomb Raider is a great reboot for Lara Croft. The Definitive Edition looks even better than the version that released on the PS3, and the Xbox 360 if you can believe that. Tomb Raider is the best Square-Enix game that I have played.

John Cash (Reader Voice, Occasionally Contributes to Four Player Co-op)

Note: My gaming background prior to 2002 is entirely made up of sports games, platformers, puzzle games, and copious amounts of Goldeneye007. I've been doing a lot of catch-up over the last 12 years, and if I had focused on JRPGs like Final Fantasy, I probably would be up to FFVII at this point. Maybe. So my top 5 fav SquareEnix games list will probably read like blasphemy to most.

5. Chrono Cross: This game is the the ground zero for me when it comes to JRPGs; this is the one I blame for giving a lot of really crazy (and suspiciously cheap) PS2 JRPGs a chance. I'm sure most people would have Trigger on their list over Cross, but I haven't played Trigger, so that's why Cross is on mine. Unlike most other RPGs I had tried before, Chrono Cross just *felt good* to play, it wasn't tiresome running back and forth in the same village, it wasn't frustrating running into the enemies over and over. It just hit that sweet spot for me. That's not to say it wasn't an immense struggle for me to beat the game, but it was a struggle worth pushing forward through.

4. Tomb Raider (2013): Also known as 411mania's 2013 Game of the Year. I was shocked when I read that it got number one, not as a dig on the game, but because I wasn't sure how many people would give it a chance. I know that if I hadn't found it for $10 at a used game store, I probably wouldn't have played it last year. I'm not a fan of the "realism" trend that is just fluffy speak for throw dirt on everything and make everyone a cynic, and that's pretty much what the trailers for Tomb Raider looked like to me. If I'd known it was basically going to be the female modern equivalent of the Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1985 classic COMMANDO, I probably would have been all over it. Lara's moral center basically shatters in a matter of 10 minutes; she cries over killing a deer with an arrow, then she's killing 30 continuously spawning crazy pirates with an assault rifle like it's her job. That on top of some amazing visuals, a decent score, and more characterization than just "I'm British and I got to tombs because of FATHER", this quickly became one of my favorite action adventure games of the generation.

3. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers: There had to be one Final Fantasy related game, didn't there? From the bits and pieces I've played of FFIV, FFX, FFXIII, and Dirge of Cerberus, FFCC:TCB has nothing to do with any of them. From start to finish it really felt like a completely different franchise to me, even though there were obviously similar items and character terms. It was a very livable atmosphere. It was linear when it came to completing the story, but it never really felt like I was being funneled down a path like some action-RPGs tend to be. I'm sure it's largely over-looked or forgotten because of it's Wii exclusivity, but if you're of the type to pick up a console at the end of it's cycle at it's cheapest and buy all the good games for it at your leisure, go ahead and pick up FFCC:TCB and see what you think, it's certainly not typical FF gameplay.

2. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: The fact that people, to this very day, are clamoring to see more of ANY of the original characters in this game, is a testament to how well loved this SNES game was. It's the one game I always hear people suggest as a 'gateway drug" to RPGs, because it's a great mix of entry level rising up through a difficulty curve to fairly challenging gameplay, an addicting, catchy soundtrack, and of course many of the Mushroom Kingdom cast we all know and love. I am personally in love with this game for eventually inspiring the Paper Mario series, one of the best game series around.

1. Kingdom Hearts: What can I say that hasn't already been said about this game? Honestly? I could start it off with the "People either really love it or really hate it line", but that's been said a million times before. What I will say is that thankfully the Final Fantasy characters, of which I knew literally nothing about except for Cloud and Sephiroth, weren't plot-essential for the most part, so I was definitely able to enjoy the game and it's voyage through many classic Disney worlds. There were some parts where I absolutely wanted to tear my hair out because of the camera, but the rest of the game was just so special (dare I say MAGICAL) that I couldn't help but fall head over heels for it.

Robert Cooper (Music Zone Reviewer, Writer of the Metal Hammer of Doom News Report, Regular Contributor to "Cooperative Multiplayer" The Official 411 Games Podcast, Regular Contributor to Music Zone Top 5)

Honorable Mentions

Cooking Mama
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
The World Ends With You
Just Cause 2

5. Bushido Blade- I discovered this game through a cracked article and I must say out of all of the fighting games I've played (which isn't a ton), this one is by far the most unique games I have played, fighting system wise.

4. Batman: Arkham Asylum-This was the Batman game to end all Batman games when it was released because it took a Batman comic and actually turned it into a game. Batman was as OP in this game as he should be in real life with the gadgets and the free flowing combat.

3. Kingdom Hearts- I love RPGs, and even more than that, I love Disney, so the combination of the two was a match made in heaven. Granted, there were a few bugs in the game, but the game itself was pretty damn cool, all things considered.

2. Chrono Trigger- The ONLY reason that this is in second is because I just started the game. I picked it up a few weeks ago for the DS and while I'm barely into the game, I'm really enjoying it, and I can really see why this is regarded as one of the best RPGs and games of all time.

1. Final Fantasy 7- Out of all of the JRPG games, this one is the one that I have gotten the closest to completing. Though sadly my hard drive got replaced and I have to restart the game, I finally got to playing this game after so many years of wanting to a few years ago. I never owned a Sony System or a Nintendo System before the N64, so I missed out on every single one of the games. But back to this game, it's got an incredibly compelling story and a combat system that is pretty easy to use but complex in nature, or at least as complex as an FF games gets in terms of combat complexity. I hate that I now have to go back and catch up to myself, but I should because this is still a damn good game.

Daniel Anderson (Games Zone Reviewer, Games Fact or Fiction Organizer, Regular Contributor to "Cooperative Multiplayer" The Official 411 Games Podcast)

5. Front Mission Series - Ignoring the last one, Front Mission is one of my favorite turn based games. I love mech games (probably why I am looking forward to Titanfall so much) and Front Mission makes you be more strategic when dealing with mechs as opposed to just blowing up anything around you. Great series and one I readily recommend.

4. Final Fantasy: Tactics - With the exception of a few games, I was never a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. Something just never clicked with me. This game though, I could not get enough of. I loved the multiple class possibilities and different abilities and strategies with each class. If you are a fan of turn based games, I feel confident saying you have played at least one of the Tactics games.

3. Tomb Raider (2013) - A lot of people will say this is too high, but I really enjoyed this game. I was never a fan of the series, but picked up this game because of the good things I had been hearing. It lived up to all the good press and more. I have said before how hard it must be to relaunch a franchise while dealing with the baggage of the older, less successful games, and Tomb Raider did it perfectly.

2. Final Fantasy VII - I have played several of the older Final Fantasy games (pre-PS2 being considered older) and this was my favorite of the group. A great game that everyone seemed to love. The story was great and the graphics were amazing for the time. This and Final Fantasy VI are two of the most loved of the franchise, and I really could have put VI here, but I enjoyed VII a little more.

1. Chrono Trigger - If you ask any fans of JRPG's what the best JRPG is, this game will, most likely, be named. I never played it as much as other people, the little (comparatively) I have played was thoroughly enjoyable. I feel confident in saying that we will probably not see another JRPG that will topple Chrono Trigger from the throne of best JRPG.

Francisco Ramirez (411 Contributor)

HM: Dragon Quest VIII

5. Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen - An SNES gem, later ported to 32-bit consoles. Ogre Battle was different to say the least. Part RTS, part JRPG. Battles consisted of squads that featured anything from Vampires all the way to Angels. Tarot cards were featured heavily, being a great source for magic and healing. Ambitious is one word that comes to mind when I think of this game, and ambition is one of the reasons Enix stood out back in the day.

4. Robot Alchemic Drive - One of my biggest guilty pleasures. R.A.D. is a classic, in my eyes anyway. Think Pacific Rim, but way back in 2002. Earth is invaded by giant alien robots named Volgara, the only way to defeat them is to pilot a giant mechs named Meganite. The fun in this game came by the way you pilot the Meganite. Finding a perfect point of view where you can see both the Volgara and Meganite, once set you pilot the Meganite. Literally, pilot the damn thing, the R and L triggers controlled Left and the Right legs for movement, the left and right Analog sticks controlled the arms for punching. The Meganite could later be upgraded with missiles and other special moves. The fun was definitely in the battles, yet the story portion holds a special place in my heart, with one hell of a cheesy translation with such gems as "A robot killed grandma!". Once again, a game that Enix would take a risk on, yet such a different game, in today's world, I bet Square-Enix wouldn't take a second glance at.

3. Valkyrie Profile - More Enix love, and if you've read any of my prior lists, you know the love I have for this game. You control the Valkyrie Lenneth, who must go out and recruit einherjar for Odin.Einherjar are recruited so they can battle the Vanir in the war for Asgard. Recruitment is the main dish in the game, each characters story is unique and very well done. Many of them tragic, but none so much as the "true" ending of the game, finding out the truth about Lenneth and her connection with some of the einherjar. Battles were turn based, yet completely unique, timed correctly unleashed a Purify Wierd Soul special, all of which were pure eye candy. A sequel was released, which amazing enough I own and have never gotten around to.

2. Final Fantay VI - Depending who you ask, one and two can be interchangeable. My opinion is set though, as much as I love Final Fantasy VII, I have to give the nod to VI for being the superior game. A deep storyline, class turn based battles, Espers, and a great cast. A classic, with classic moments in gaming, be it the opera scene or the suicide attempt, yes a freaking apparent attempt at suicide! One of the best games ever, not just in Square's roster.

1. Chrono Trigger - Surprised? Of course not, Square and Enix put out great games, their bread and butter though has been the JRPG. The cream of the crop to many is easily Chrono Trigger. Great story, great locations, one hell of a soundtrack, Akira Toriyama designed characters, Frog, yes freaking Masamune wielding Frog! What else can be said about this game that hasn't been said multiple times for almost two decades now?

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Fun Links To Checkout

Wrestling 2 the MAX Podcast. Go listen to episode 76 and tell us what you think at wrestling2themax@gmail.com this week, we reviewed RAW, TNA IMPACT, and NXT. We also discussed what lies ahead for the six participants in the Elimination Chamber match, more on CM Punk quitting WWE, Jimmy Snuka's murder investigation and more.

If you are a fan of W2M make sure to listen live on Monday Nights at Midnight ET on Spreaker.com And you can always call-in at (972)-591-8620 And make sure you join our ever growing facebook group as well. W2M Facebook

You might want to visit the W2M facebook page this month as every week we will ask a new trivia question and the first five to answer correctly will be entered into a random drawing that takes place on February 23rd after Elmination Chamber ends. The person selected in the draw will win a six month subscription to the launch day edition of the WWE NETWORK! On us. So, don't miss out.

The Trivia Question this week is: Which wrestlers on the current roster have participated in an Elimination Chamber match? Also, you need to note if they have won a Chamber match, and if they have participated in more than one Chamber match as well. post your answer on the appropriate post on the Wrestling 2 the MAX Facebook page or email us your answer at wrestling2themax@gmail.com You have until Monday 02/10/14 before RAW begins to send us the answer.

If you don't listen to the Official 411 Games Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer" you should because Stephen Randle hosts a panel of 411 Games Zone staffers (usually including myself, Robert Cooper, Daniel Anderson, and possibly a few others) discussing games they've played, the gaming news of the week, and just having a lot of fun too. Here is this week's episode…

Games Coming Out the Week of 02/09/14

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360 & PS3)

Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3 Only)

Far Cry Classic (Xbox 360 & PS3)

Far Cry Compilation (PS3)- Includes Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition (Xbox 360)

Toukiden: The Age of Demons (PS VITA)

DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PS VITA)


10 Most Anticipated Movies

Nick Diaz: Own Worst Enemy?

Andrei Arlovski: Who's Next?

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