Triangle Strategy

Triangle Strategy is an amazing gift to fans of the strategy genre. It is a take on the format that smartly brings, to plot development, the role-playing that is usually exclusively present in the battlefield. By doing so, it paves the way to a journey that can unfold in multiple ways according to how players interact with its morality framework. Throw into the mix a great battle system where position and strategy rule the day, a quest that is highly replayable thanks to its various branches and multiple outcomes, a fantastic plot filled with moral grayness and tough choices, as well as spectacular production values, and the result is a classic that will be loved by anyone who does not mind wordy games. Part interactive visual novel and part strategic delight, Triangle Strategy is Square Enix firing on all cylinders; and tactical RPGs should henceforth look at it as an example of the genre working at its best.

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Secret Of Mana

Although Secret of Mana is a game that, in many ways, is built on the role-playing staples often explored by the folks at Square, it is also a title that finds features to make it unique. It is a quest that holds an impressive number of well-designed dungeons, appealing locations, and notable bosses; elements that will not surprise anyone who has delved into other works by the company. At the same time, it bets on an action-based battle system that greatly separates it from the Final Fantasy games, and features a tone and traveling mechanics that further expand that gap. Truthfully, with the exception of the technical and artistic prowess it carries in visuals and music, none of the components that constitute it are flawless: its plot lacks development, its combats – even if fun – have a variety of issues, and a few minor design oversights are bound to cause players’ enjoyment of the quest to be slightly disrupted. Yet, despite them, Secret of Mana remains satisfying, and regardless of how Square certainly released better efforts for the Super Nintendo, the title is still worth playing due to how it breaks away from the usual mold followed by the company, sprinkling action and adventure onto the bones of a regular RPG.

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Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars

Consequently, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a game that excels in countless areas. In materializing the rather unlikely marriage between the platforming world of Super Mario and the role-playing greatness of the classics produced by Square during the nineties, it ended up creating a sub-genre of its own: a class of games where thick scripts and turn-based battles meet exploration segments that marry the walking usually done in RPGs with external elements such as action and puzzle-solving. With that combination as its basis, the game assembles a quest that – more than any other Mario game before it – gives life to the Mushroom Kingdom while miraculously succeeding in embracing RPG fans and newcomers to the genre that are naturally attracted to games starring the popular plumber. And even if some of the role-playing quests undertaken by the character ever since have presented more alluring scripts and a wider deck of options, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars retains its position not just as a major pioneer, but as a classic due to how nowhere else in the usually fantastic sagas that were heavily inspired by it can one find such a pure balance between RPG traditions and the quirks of Mario’s universe.

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Chrono Trigger

Both in the grand scheme of things and in the little details of its design, Chrono Trigger is an immaculate gaming experience. The quality of its plot and the way through which Square is able to materialize a complex web of alternate timelines, distinct eras with their own interconnected tales, and fate-altering actions into a story that is engaging, funny, emotional, and easy-to-follow is without parallel. And that achievement is coupled with more than thirty hours of content that is stunningly designed on all fronts, from effective visuals and a touching soundtrack, to an exciting battle system, and an effective approach to traveling long distances through space and time. Combined, these parts amount to a quest that exhales so much grandeur that it writes itself into the definition of the word epic, a term that may have been debased by how frequently it is employed, but that is the perfect adjective to define Chrono Trigger. After all, no other expression could describe an adventure that unfolds so perfectly across millions of years, that unites great characters from distinct eras, and that includes five time periods (each with its own mysteries), unforgettable moments, and challenges. Chrono Trigger is the bar against which all other games that strive to be epic should be measured.

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The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You ends up being a game that is as original as an RPG created by Square Enix can be. It may have its share of problems, coming from both the JRPG traditions it sometimes tends to follow and the bold moves it performs to bring new fantastic elements to the table and take full advantage of the Nintendo DS’ hardware, but none of them will make gamers forget about how big of an accomplishment the game is truly is. Because, as it turns out, adventures with such perfect storytelling and refreshing gameplay do not appear as often as they should. The World Ends With You is a one-of-a-kind flawed masterpiece, and its incredible plot twists, thrilling battles, and unique setting are more than enough to explain the passionate cult that surrounds the game.

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Give the People What They Want

The path to the restoration, or to the maintenance, of a franchise is often not the one fans expect companies to take. In other words, it is possible that Nintendo has learned, through a negative experience, what the limits of the Paper Mario franchise are, and that Color Splash is an honest attempt to successfully integrate some failed elements of Sticker Star into the saga without bringing it down and leaving it devoid of personality. Or, of course, it could be the good old and stubborn Big N trying to prove, against all odds and feedback, that some of their obviously misguided ideas can actually work. The best one can do for now is hope that by not giving the people what they want, Nintendo will happen to actually give us what we have wanted all along.

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Musical Mementos

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call for the Nintendo 3DS is to Square Enix what the Super Smash Bros is to Nintendo. It is an opportunity to sit down, analyze what has been done in the past, and mold everything that is evaluated as being of the utmost quality under the same gameplay umbrella. It is the celebration of an astonishing legacy.

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