Given the sheer number of Final Fantasy articles that I’ve written in the past, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ascertain that I’m something of a fan, holding the opinion that it is the greatest gaming franchise ever created.
Square are not a one-trick pony, however, and several of the other properties that they have developed or co-developed over the years, though not as well-known as Final Fantasy, are comparable in terms of scope and quality. Several such games and franchises are featured over the next few pages, and each is certainly worth playing if you haven’t experienced them before.
This list does not include any of the following:
- Any game that is merely published, and not wholly or co-developed by Square, such as Breath Of Fire.
- Entries from any series originally created and developed by Enix prior to their merger with Square in 2003, such as Dragon Quest or Star Ocean.
- Entries from any series originally published/developed by Taito or Eidos prior to their acquisitions by Square-Enix, such as Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Legacy Of Kain and Hitman.
Honourable Mention #1 – Final Fantasy Tactics
Excluded purely because it does actually feature the word ‘Final Fantasy’ in the title, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based RPG similar in style to Quest’s Tactics Ogre series. Featuring grid-based combat and significant number crunching, it is much more strategic than the other games that share its name.
Its storyline, meanwhile, is nothing short of epic, and is comparable to George R.R Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire (the first book of which, A Game Of Thrones, was released a year before the games original release) as lead character Ramza and his companions are exposed to a host of morally dubious individuals, beings and groups that vie for political control of the seven kingdoms of the nation of Ivalice.
Remade and enhanced for the PSP (with the subtitle ‘The War Of The Lions’), the game is one of the most underrated of all time, and given its availability on iOS and Android mobile phones, there really is no excuse not to check it out.
Honourable Mention #2 – Racing Lagoon
Throughout the years, games developers have introduced RPG elements to a whole host of titles and genres. You’ll be very hard pressed, however, to find many racing RPGs.
That’s exactly what Square created in 1999 with Racing Lagoon though. A Japan-only release, the game wasn’t exactly well-received, but the sheer uniqueness of a driving game involving quests and the ability to win parts and customise cars by defeating opponents warrants a mention on this list.
The game was voted 45th in a poll for the most wanted sequels by Japanese magazine Famitsu. Such a title could definitely work in the contemporary market if high emphasis was placed on ensuring a high level of overall quality.
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