Once upon a time there was the beginning of the 2000s. Two large Japanese companies known worldwide for their revolutionary and passionate RPGs decide to come together and become one. From rivals to friends, the world surrendered to this merger that was more impactful than Gotenks.
Why fight for Final Fantasy against Dragon Quest when can you own both? You voted and here is the one from the Worst to the Best Special by Square Enix. Here are our criteria, pay close attention:
- The notes presented are based on the Metacritic note aggregator. If the title was released for more than one platform initially, we will take the notes for each version and do an arithmetic average.
- We ranked the 5 best and 5 worst games of the company, after all, this is the idea of the board. As we had draws, we will have more than 5 games among the best, but only 5 positions.
- Only games released after the official merger of the two companies entered. With that, games like Final Fantasy X, which has a very high Metacritic score, did not make the list.
- We only considered the original games, so special versions and expansions did not make the list.
- They also did not enter the exclusive list of mobile and portable devices.
Let’s start with the best!
5) Tomb Raider (2013) – 86.3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Launched in 2013, we have tomb Raider, which serves as a reboot and presents how the adventures of our beloved archaeologist Lara Croft began. When an expedition to Yamatai’s lost kingdom goes awry, Larinha’s struggle is no longer for evidence of the place but for survival.
The title mixes stealth, shootings, exploration and survival, putting the player in a state of constant alertness. Many elements of the combat were inspired by Uncharted, but without losing the essence of the franchise. The game also has several collectibles to be found and RPG elements, such as experience points that can improve specific skills. And finally, it has an online multiplayer mode in which players face each other in 3 modes and 5 different maps.
Its development started after the launch of Underworld, in 2008, with only half of the team, since the other was working in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Even so, the title did very well with both the public, selling more than 1 million copies in less than 48 hours, and with the critics. He was praised for how well he develops the protagonist, the fascinating places rich in history, the intense combat that needs flexibility and the good selection of tombs, relics and puzzles present. The criticisms were for the multiplayer totally forgettable and the story predictable. Your grade is 86.3.
4) Kingdom Hearts II (2005) – 87 (PS2)
Fourth, we have Kingdom Hearts 2, released in 2005. The game is a direct sequel to Chain of Memories, which had hit the market the previous year. It tells the story of the protagonist Sora, who has no recollection of the events of the past game, again in search of his friends Riku and Kairi while facing Organization XIII.
The game features new mechanics that make the gameplay much more dynamic, not to mention the appearance of the “press triangle to win” as its fans call the reaction system. But perhaps the most welcome novelty was the drive forms. With them, Sora can have a new style of clothing and combat, assuming even the very stylish dual wield! In addition, new worlds were introduced, such as Mulan’s China, and Disney’s world in the 1930s.
The game was an absolute success, selling almost 730,000 copies in its first week in Japan alone. According to Square Enix, 4 million copies were shipped worldwide. The praises made by the analysts, we have the graphics, the performance, the history, the realistic models specifically of Pirates of the Caribbean, its new combat dynamics and its improved camera, but he received criticism for having stupid buttons, for the incredibly dumb allied AI and because of the very low difficulty. His grade is 87.
4) Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020) – 87 (PS4, PS5)
Also in fourth place, we have Final Fantasy VII Remake, launched in 2020, which is a modernization of the title that won the hearts of several owners of a PS1. But unlike the original, it is divided into parts and, so far, only the first has been released, which has 18 chapters and passes through places well known by fans.
The story follows Cloud Strife, a former Shinra soldier who became a mercenary and ended up joining the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE, which aims to take on the Shinra Corporation, which is sucking all the energy from the planet.
Both your exploration and combat are in real time, but use an altered version of Active Time Battle instead of Active Cross Battle from Final Fantasy XV. Even with more than 40 hours of content, the game only covers 30% of the title’s history.
Among the praise received by analysts, we have the combat, the graphics, which even have problems with serrations and some pixelated items, but nothing that gets in the way of the experience. Criticism went to the side missions without originality and the buggy camera. In the end, he ended up pleasing a lot and is a remake with a capital R. The game took home 87 of note.
3) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (2004) – 89 (PS2)
Dragon Quest 8, launched in 2004, uses cel-shading in the characters and scenarios, which, for the first time in the franchise, are entirely in 3D. In the story, the main character is a royal guard of Trodain who travels with King Trode in search of Dhoulmagus to make him pay for his crimes. But the plan is not going to be as easy as expected.
Much of the classic gameplay remains, but with some new features, such as the tension system, which allows the player to use a command to skip a character’s turn and make his next attack much stronger. Who composed the soundtrack was Koichi Sugiyama, who had already worked on the series creating the music for all games until that moment.
The game was praised for its visuals, its simple gameplay and the variety of characters, but its story was described as one of the most basic in the series. He was third on the list with a score of 89.
2) Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) – 89.3 (PS2, Xbox 360, PC, WiiU)
Who came in second was Deus Ex: Human Revolution, released in 2011. The story takes place in 2027, 25 years before the first game in the series, and follows Sarif Industries security officer Adam Jensen in a story that involves transhumanism, the growing power of megacorporations and their impacts on social class. Much of the story unfolds according to the decisions made by the player, which can change the experience from one person to another.
The game is an action RPG with stealth and shooting as the main mechanics. The gameplay alternates between open world areas with more scripted scenes in which the player must discover the best option to overcome obstacles, either in a sneaky way, killing the essentials or acting as an envoy of the devil who must collect souls for the underworld. There are a number of upgrades that can be done to make Adam’s skills match each player’s preferences.
The game was born many years after the company’s failed attempts to create a sequel to Invisible War, the second game in the series. With that, the development team of Human Revolution it started small, but it grew as the project matured. And this confidence that Eidos Montréal gave to the title directed by Jean-François Dugas was very positive, since the title received praise and more praise from analysts, in addition to having sold just over 2 million units by the end of the year, which was considered a favorable outcome.
He was acclaimed for the variety of possible ways to complete each mission, for the incredible futuristic atmosphere, for the complex story with pertinent themes, for the fun gameplay, for the well-designed levels and for the long adventure that calls the player for a second (or even third) ) gambling. At the same time, he was criticized for weak battles against bosses, long loading times, dated facial animations and weak artificial intelligence. Human Revolution received a Director’s Cut in 2013 that improved several aspects of the title, but as we are only considering the original, it got 89.3 of note.
1) Final Fantasy XII (2006) – 92 (PS2)
Final Fantasy XII was released in 2006 and was a huge success. When Dalmasca’s princess, Ashe, finds herself in danger after losing her father and husband in the Archadean invasion, she finds aspiring hijacker Vaan and others who can help her end the tyranny of the Archadian Empire.
He brought several new features to the series, such as an open world, a controllable camera, a gambit system, secondary hunting missions, the exclusion of random encounters and Quickenings.
It was the sixth game in history to receive the top score from the Famitsu vehicle and was acclaimed by several analysts around the globe. The most recurring compliments are due to the graphics, scenarios, new systems and all the air of novelty that he brought to the franchise. Transitions between gambling and cinematics were also highlighted. The trips were described as tedious, but the team of actors was incredible, as well as the incredible history and rich art direction. Among the few criticisms he receives is the soundtrack, considered the weakest in the franchise, and the gambit system that made the game basically play on its own. His grade is 92.
Now, let’s go to the worst games!
5) Mindjack (2011) – 43.5 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Fifth as Square Enix’s worst game, we have Minjack, launched in 2011. Set in a dystopian future, in which governments are in decline and corrupt organizations are emerging, we control a lackluster character who uses his hacking skills, along with shooting, punching and bombing to defeat his enemies.
With a third-person view, the player must endure horrific graphics, several bugs, a terrible presentation, strange controls and a dragged-down story for those who know how to think that the gameplay is interesting and the multiplayer mode is minimally fun. In other words, it is not entirely bad, but it is far from good. His grade is 43.5.
4) Balan Wonderworld (2021) – 42.8 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, PC)
Fourth, a recent vacillation. Balan Wonderworld, launched in 2021, accompanies two children named Leo Craig and Emma Cole who are guided by a magician named Balan. To face their psychological problems, they must go through different phases wearing different clothes that give different powers.
Now, what’s not different is his gameplay. Beautiful? He is. Good level design? He has. Good amount of powers? He has too. Other than that, it’s all extremely generic, with inaccurate controls, annoying minigames, battles with bosses that are very similar to each other and easy… He aimed where Mario Odyssey hit but went too far! His grade is 42.8.
3) 0 Day Attack on Earth (2009) – 41 (Xbox 360)
0 Day Attack on Earth, released in 2009, is a twin-stick shooter shooter game in which the player must save planet Earth by defeating several alien bosses on the way to proceed to the next level.
The title that was released through Xbox Live Arcade just didn’t disappoint as there was no expectation around it. The visuals are relatively beautiful and the music is very interesting, but the action is extremely repetitive, the bosses are boring, the allied AI is so stupid that it makes the experience frustrating and relatively more difficult and, in the end, the online mode is very lame . Unless you’re on Groundhog Day, stay away from that game. Your grade is 41.
2) Left Alive (2019) – 38.2 (PS4, PC)
Second, a huge disappointment called Left Alive. Launched in 2019, it accompanies a group of people who are trying to survive in the middle of a surprise invasion from one country to another. Some aim to help the survivors, others to destroy the gigantic war machines that are causing everything.
The stuff starts to be problematic when, before its launch, it was compared to Metal Gear Solid. If we think about it, it is almost that, only that it is closer to a Metal Gear Survivor. It is no use being beautiful, having a good story and good music, but failing at the rest. It’s a game, not a movie!
Its controls are hard and unresponsive, enemies are sponges of damage, side missions are very weak, physics is poorly done and the performance is tenebrous. On second thought, it wouldn’t work even as a movie. Your grade is 38.2.
1) The Quiet Man (2018) – 34 (PS4, PC)
And first of all, we have this freak of nature called The Quiet Man, released in 2018. The game mixes poorly performed cutscenes in FMV, that is, with real actors, while the gameplay is a beat ‘em up genetic, poorly done and repetitive.
Not only that, but as the main character is deaf, the developer Human Head Studios (which was closed 1 year after its release) decided to make most of the game’s sounds muffled. The idea is not bad and was used in audiovisual products like the film O Som do Silêncio, from 2020. The problem is that here it is badly done, it hinders the experience and the general understanding of the plot.
Analysts described it as a spectacular disaster, as one of the worst games by a major publisher, as miserable and a waste of time and money. With that, he took the coconut medal and got a note of 34.