Tag Archives: Retrospective

Xanadu Next Retrospective

Falcom’s works are largely unknown to the masses, despite influencing both Square and Enix into creating role-playing games, creating the first game with a fully developed soundtrack, almost single-handedly inventing the Action RPG genre (and JRPG’s to a lesser extent) and being one of the oldest role-playing game developers in history. While their flagship Ys series is by far their most famous series being only second behind Square Enix in terms of game releases, it never really gathered the same popularity that other similar JRPG series  enjoyed, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and even Shin Megami Tensei.

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Wachenröder Retrospective

Normally with these retrospective articles my aim is to provide more information for video games that people may have heard of before. As an example, I doubt a lot of people have played Panzer Dragoon Saga mainly due to rarity. The quality of the game spread by word of mouth and is now considered a cult classic. The same applied to Vagrant Story and many other games that I’ve done. However, as a self processed “video game connoisseur” in the field of cult classics, even I would have NEVER have guessed that a game like Wachenröder existed, even less so that it would be without a doubt one of the most unusual experiences that I’ve ever had in a video game. Continue reading Wachenröder Retrospective

Vagrant Story Retrospective

The PlayStation era was arguably when Square Enix were at their creative peak. After the release of Final Fantasy VII, Squaresoft received a large amount of profit from the game and decided to use the money to finance a series of innovative projects unlike any other video game released at the time. This involved the company dabbling in genres that they had never been a part of before, and in most cases, redefining the genre. To list a few example; Bushido Blade is one of the rare fighting games to change the Tekken/Virtua Fighter engine through limb targeted attacks that adds a layer of strategy that is not present in any other fighting game (other than it’s sequel, Bushido Blade 2), Einhander took the R-Type model and transformed it into one of only two SHmups that incorporate a well told story into in gameplay to give an added incentive to see how the plot unfolds (the other being Radiant Silvergun). Despite other experiments such as Brave Fencer Musashi, Tobal 1&2, Front Mission and so on, Squaresoft were still contributing to the RPG genre through continuations to their ongoing series like Final Fantasy VIII and IX, Legend of Mana and Chrono Cross, Square will also willing to release new IP’s that later went on to become cult classics (Xenogears anyone?). It is also during this period that Squaresoft provided the Final Fantasy Tactics director Yasumi Matsuno enough money to create his dream project: Vagrant Story: One of the greatest RPGs ever made. Continue reading Vagrant Story Retrospective

ActRaiser Retrospective

To start this retrospective off, I pose a question: What video game companies are notable for creating some of the best games on the Super Nintendo? Nintendo, Konami, Capcom and Square/Enix will probably be the most common answers as a large portion of these companies 16-bit work are considered timeless classics by the gaming masses. While other companies are also known for creating great SNES games, these are usually one-off endeavors. Examples of this include Human Entertainment’s S.O.S: The Human Escape, Athena’s BioMetal, Beam Software’s Shadow, along many others. This makes Quintet’s achievements even more incredible as not only did they create a slew of great SNES games of consistently great quality, they created ActRaiser: A bastion of game design that merges a well told story with a fun dual gameplay system (just like Bastion!). In short: Quintet could be considered the Monolith Soft of the SNES era. Most of their games weren’t released in the United States, they were constantly finding new ways to innovate the medium even if no-one else cared and out of all the games Quintet ever made, ActRaiser would be their Xenoblade. Continue reading ActRaiser Retrospective

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter Retrospective

Some of you might remember that I did a paragraph on Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter during the PlayStation 2 Staff Picks. I feel one paragraph kind of does an injustice to the amount of innovation placed into such a tightly woven game as Dragon Quarter. Furthermore, some of you also might remember a game called S.O.S: The Human Escape released by Human Entertainment (The first games company that Suda51 worked for). S.O.S took place on a sinking cruise liner that would become engulfed in the ocean in one hour. While on the surface, your goal was to escape from the sinking ship with your own life, that was only scratching the surface of the game as it would result in one ending. The true goal of the game was to explore the ship to find trapped passengers that need you to rescue them. Escaping the ship causes different endings to occur with different combinations of passengers. This can be considered the first example of a New Game Plus in video games and Dragon Quarter would take this concept to an entirely new level. Continue reading Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter Retrospective

The Lost Vikings Retrospective

Back before Blizzard created the PC gaming trifecta of World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft and revolutionized the industry as we know it, they were originally known as Silicon & Synapse. While most people are only familiar with Blizzards recent output (referring mainly to this decade), their time at S&S ended up producing some of the most notable games of that given era. While Rock n’ Roll Racing is widely considered to be a cult classic and Blackthorne is still noted to this day as an under-rated platformer, it was The Lost Vikings that make the studio notable for bring one of the most creative power houses of the 16-bit generation. Continue reading The Lost Vikings Retrospective