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Just when I lower my guard, I get kicked in the bean bag again.

In my last review, I gave Space Invaders Extreme the equivalent of fellatio, stating - and I quote - that "if this is how Square-Enix is going to do things from now on, then maybe, just maybe, the company we used to love for games like Tobal No. 2, Einhander and Bushido Blade will come back to life." Not only was Space Invaders Extreme an outstanding game, but so is Arkanoid DS; two spectacular remakes from a company who's made it a point the past few years to shit out poorly coded, half-assed ports with one or two extras thrown in to make the normally mindless, idiotic Square fanbrat squee. My hunch was that this might have had something to do with Yoichi Wada's recent demand of his management team to start making more acceptable titles, and stop making games only they wanted to play. When this happened, a lot of people started to get worried, thinking that this meant we were going to get less games like The World Ends With You, and more crap like the PSP Final Fantasy 1 and 2 remakes, which were shiny veiners on games we've beaten and re-beaten plenty of times over, and with money already long spent. I actually felt the exact opposite; Square-Enix's record the past few years hasn't been good, with their main properties - everything from Kingdom Hearts to individual Final Fantasy games - milked and abused to the point where every game became it's own individual franchise, all of them shamelessly focus-grouped to their new core audience, which seemed to be 15 year old girls who played games only so they could combine all of the male characters in yaoi fanfiction with sex scenes that paid absolutely no mind to reality, logic or the anatomic possibilities of the male penis and rectum. Finally, I figured; we could get back to a time when this company had some innovation, some care for their end product, and at least the illusion of respect for the consumers that supported them.

On Tuesday, the announcement of a new portion of the Japanese Square-Enix site - with a DS logo and enough "subtle" hints to make even the thickest gamers take notice - got everyone hot and bothered, especially myself. I have to admit that I didn't like the idea of the recent Final Fantasy IV remake so soon after the GBA remake of the very same game; it seemed - and still does seem - like a pointless cash grab, which is really what the company does best, especially with a fanbase one could charitably call "vapid", "delusional" and "suffering from Stockholm Syndrome". However, I've had trusted friends tell me that the game is almost 180 degrees different than the older translations and versions, so I'll have to take their word for it. This time around, however, I pictured the same thing happening to Chrono Trigger, only this time, the memory of paying for a version so recently isn't as fresh in my head. I liked the idea of where Squeenix was going; after such a glorious display, this HAS to be for a full remake, right?

Wednesday, Squeenix confirmed for everyone that Chrono Trigger was indeed coming to the DS. Of course, they couldn't take the opportunity of fucking up a major re-release and let it just pass by, so they told everyone that it was an "enhanced" port, with stylus controls, wireless play, and a new dungeon. Most sources I've seen - save a few commenters here and there crying for a full sequel (apparently, Chrono Cross has been retconned and I didn't know it) - have been busily creaming their pants over the news, and are waiting patiently with open arms and open rectums, waiting for both to be filled.

Sorry Squeenix, but this is the wrong fucking answer! I would say something as banal as "I can't believe Square would do something this lazy!", but their entire history the past decade - well before the merger, when they were just Square - would make a statement like that just look dumb. This is what they do best, from their multiple releases of Final Fantasy 1 and 2 to their whoring of Final Fantasy IV to their lazy, half-assed port of Final Fantasy VI to their pimping of the newest games in that line to their aversion towards any game that tries anything new (exception being The World Ends With You) to taking a good idea in Kingdom Hearts and fucking it up irreparably by turning it into a shoutakon slash fiction as told by Winnie the Pooh. I've always thought the sheer, blind hatred that Lucard had for the company was a bit misguided and extreme, but now I'm beginning to wonder if the lad has had a point for the past eight or so years.

Now, instead of redoing the entire game from scratch, they give us the same game we've played for thirteen years now (fourteen, by the time the game likely comes out), and add three features which they breathlessly announced as if they were Rod Roddy telling some 160kg woman that she was up to win A NEW CAR~ while she dry-humped Bob Barker:

- Dual Screen presentation and stylus controls. I normally don't have a problem with dual-screen displays; I use two monitors on my office and work computers, after all, so if they can use the other screen for useful information, then yay. But advertising stylus controls as a selling point is retarded. Everyone who cannot handle selecting something with a D-pad and confirming with the A button, raise your hands... time's up. The fact is, this isn't something people can't handle; what is it, two button presses, instead of needing a secondary piece of hardware? I'm sure some people will appreciate the choice, but listing something as kludgy as stylus controls as a major selling point just shows that Squeenix is grasping at air.

- Wireless Play. I have to admit that this could go somewhat well. If Squeenix were to include the option for another person or two to select one of your party characters in battle - preferably without a cart - and use them, then yes, I'm down with that, much akin to what we used to be able to do with the old SNES hit Secret of Mana.

But all indications are that Squeenix is not going to do this, and is instead going to make it a competitive battle mode, therefore requiring two carts. Competetive battle? In an RPG? Gentlemen! Start your Codebreakers!

- *ROD RODDY MODE* A NEW DUNGEON!!! WOW!!! A new fucking dungeon! Can you believe this!? One new dungeon! That will surely make me buy this game a third time!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

... Wait, you're serious? One? As in, singular? Uno? You're giving us ONE stinking fucking dungeon and passing this off as the greatest thing since internet porn? Seriously?

What pisses me off the most is that this thirteen year old game with no significant changes is still almost definitely going to be sold at the full, absolute maximum price of $40, the same as every other game they've released, no matter how awesome (TWEWY), good (Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker), decent (Final Fantasy III) or shitty (Tactics A2) it is. I can see that with a game they're busting the budget on; TWEWY was a $40 game, and I don't regret the purchase.

But this game, as it stands today, can be recommended as is to two groups of people: people too young to remember the SNES and Chrono Trigger, and anyone in Europe, which didn't see a release of the game at all. That's all well and dandy, and anyone in those groups that enjoys JRPGs would do well to get the game, but the problem is that this release isn't going to be marketed to them, it's supposed to be for people like myself who grew up on it and other games from around that time. Awesome. So after purchasing the original game for $60, and the Playstation 1 Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation ($40), which had so many loading problems I could have had a tea by the time an average fight loaded, I'm expected to fork out another $40 for the ability to use a miniature pen that I have problems not losing, and AN EXTRA MOTHERFUCKING DUNGEON!!!11!?

I'm sorry, but there's a difference between dedicated and dimwitted, and for me to purchase this game for a third time, I would have to fit into the second category. For what little Squeenix is throwing into this release, they might as well have put it up on the Virtual Console, but if My Life As A King is any indication, Squeenix only sees the downloadable services as another way to separate the foolish from their money. Fortunately for them, Squeenix have the best people for just that task, as their fans are essentially wallets with legs, waiting to give away money for a pat on the head and a pinch on the ass.

I was hoping that games like The World Ends With You, Arkanoid and Space Invaders Extreme were the coming of a new age for the Square-Enix merger. If this garbage is what Wada wanted with his now infamous boardroom rant, then maybe it's not his managers that should lose their jobs, but him. But to do that, Squeenix would have to lose money, and the logic is that re-pimping old, long-beaten games will allow the company to print currency. Sadly, judging from the giddy, sticky reactions around the internet, Squeenix's stupid, mindless drone fanbrats will have no problems proving him right.

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
angeling
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
I lost my respect for SquareEnix when they sponsored a DeviantART contest using TWEWY as its flag, asking participants to send in their character/background design ideas with the grand prize of *drumroll* being critiqued by the TWEWY development team!

What the fuck? The grand prize for sending in your hard work is getting a fucking critique?

The worst part is that hundreds of people gave them their ideas and hard work for-fucking-free, hoping to get that stupid critique. Oh, yeah, and the 10 top contestants got the awesome prize of one $40 copy of the game. :|b

Really now, Squeenix, if you're going to con people into having ideas for you (without paying them for it), at least make it better veiled than this.

Did I mention the contest didn't even have rules, or disclaimers, or anything saying Squeenix wouldn't redistribute your work outside of the contest... nothing? No "relatives/squeenix staff barred from participating", just... nothing. They tossed out a stupid idea marketed as an amazing chance, and welcomed hundreds of people's creative juices with open arms for a whole $400.

A+ would snort again.
superbus
Jul. 3rd, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
Woah, wait, I didn't know about this! Can you give more specific details? Is there a results page?
angeling
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
I'll try to look it up, give me a few.
angeling
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
Full ruleset, which has zero protection for the contestants, but completely protects SquareEnix from being charged with legal action if they did anything. Quote, BY PARTICIPATING IN THE SQUARE ENIX “The World Ends with You” CONTEST, YOU AGREE TO RELEASE AND HOLD www.deviantART.com, SQUARE ENIX, THE JURORS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS, AND ALL PRIZE SUPPLIERS HARMLESS FROM ANY AND ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, RIGHTS, CLAIMS, AND ACTIONS OF ANY KIND IN CONNECTION WITH THE SQUARE ENIX “The World Ends with You” CONTEST (...) AND CLAIMS BASED ON PUBLICITY RIGHTS, DEFAMATION, OR INVASION OF PRIVACY, WHETHER SUFFERED BY YOU OR A THIRD PARTY.

News article for the contest.

Journal entries for where the 'sample' design boards were posted.

Entries.
superbus
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
Some of those entries are VERY close to what some characters ended up being; are all of those before the game was conceptualized?
angeling
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
No, after. They're likely close because Squeenix told people to use their own concepts for inspiration. I'd keep an eye on future designs, though, because it really sounded like thinly veiled idea theft.
ext_23616
Jul. 3rd, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
It's not Square games that I hate - it's their business practices.
superbus
Jul. 3rd, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
I didn't specifically mention games or practices; I just stated that you hated the company, which is pretty accurate.
ext_23616
Jul. 3rd, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah.

That being said I would kill for a new Threads of Fate. or even a re-release. it's been 8 years
samuraiter
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
*patpat*

I might give you the chainsaw, Mr. Lucard.
burning_phoneix
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
I was kinda surprised when My Life as a King jumped from 50 something on metacritic to 80 in a few days.

Let's hope Little King's Story turns out to be better.

also check this golden question from IGN reader to the Sqaure dudes about My life as a king:
The IGN Readers: First of all, the game looks great. It's amazing the amount of content you've been able to squeeze in. However, what kind of size can we expect the download content to be?

Yuji: The total size of all DLC combined comes to about 1/7th the data size of the original game. Of course, the size of each DLC varies by type.
recession
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe I missed it, but what do you have against Tactics A2? I've been enjoying it, even if some parts of the game are set up in a rather "Wtf?" way.
superbus
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
They took everything that sucked abut Tactics Advance and stuffed it into the new game. There's still a law system, there's still the god-awful story, and the combat is still slow (the one problem I had with the original Tactics).
recession
Jul. 3rd, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
They fixed a lot of the garbage from TA that was awful though. At least now if you break a law it doesn't penalize you like you were caught shooting the president -- you just take a hit on your stage bonus and can't use phoenix downs.

The main character is a lot more likable in this game. He just goes with the flow of things, which is a good change from the OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M STUCK HERE WRRRRRRYYYYYYYY? main characters we usually get from Square.

If there was a way to skip the enemy turn screen -- like just all together (press start, then everyone has attacked and moved to their new place) -- it would be nice, because the game tends to pause before the enemy attacks like it's thinking. That's probably my biggest bitch about TA2.

Well, that and that thief skills are fucking pointless because they have a 45-50% chance to hit, but it weighs heavily on the "miss" side, so why bother using them?
burning_phoneix
Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
An acquittance of mine put it in a good way:

Character health vs. damage done makes FFTA2 battles take way longer.

The whole game just feels elongated. Earning new abilities for your characters is now a complicated process involving you randomly killing everything you can hoping for them to drop item "X" so you can combine it with three other items to unlock the ability to purchase a weapon or a piece of armor with money that you also have to grind for. FUUUUUUUUUKING FUN.

It's so hard to tailor a group the way you want it to in this version. So many retarded story characters you want nothing to do with that get dragged into battles taking slots, so few new recruits, and what races you get are just completely up in the fucking air.

Which pretty much is the definition of this game. It's just random shit. You randomly get new moves the majority of which are useless thanks to the bizzarre hit rates for the random characters in your party to follow the random law to fight characters that showcase little to no A.I. but are sure to outclass you with moves you don't have the potential to unlock yet.


Even though the game is bogged down by all this, I can feel a good game deep down inside this. It's just covered with a lot of shit,broken glass and used condoms :(:(:(
bardiche
Jul. 3rd, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Nice to know I'm not the only one critical about this Chrono Trigger remake. Though I'm no fan of it, I HAVE to admit (nowadays, because I'm not quite the stubborn whiner that I used to be) that it's well made for what it is, and the chances of what looks to me like a lazy remake fucking the overall product up? Very high.

And there was more I had to say, but I'm too tired for the point to come out clearly, so fuck it.
rantmaster_mark
Jul. 3rd, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
Given the fact that any remake of an old Square game will be remade by the modern Squenix association, I'd sooner see an untouched port of Chrono Trigger.

See, I understand to a point where you're coming from with this, but

1.) The last time anyone saw CT was on the PS1 about seven or eight years ago, so it's not so unreasonable of a remake in this context, as a lot of gamers may well not have played it at all, and

2.) Chrono Cross was, in the minds of many, not very good, so a true sequel to CT might only end up polarizing the fan base once again.

I mean, I understand getting bent about yet another FF1 or FF2 remake, but I don't know if I'd want to fight this battle.
lordglenn
Jul. 3rd, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
By "minds of many," you must be referring to the deranged CT fanbase who can't see past their desire to hump Chrono et al. and who wanted the sequel to include those characters and only those characters.

Chrono Cross itself is a marvelous game. Hell, it managed to get impressively high scores across the internet(including at least one 10, IIRC), so it's not bad.

Coming from someone who's played both(and likes both), Chrono Cross is as much a sequel as any other sequel, and it's a damn good one, if I must say so myself.
rantmaster_mark
Jul. 3rd, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
Actually, by "minds of many" I'm also including myself and most of my friends, not for the aforementioned reason (I don't care what characters are in a game so long as it's a good game) but rather for the "I hate FFVII" reasons that the storyline felt like ponderous rhetoric, the game felt less like a sequel and more like something with the word "Chrono" slapped onto it, and there was nothing I derived enjoyment from throughout the experience.

I have the same opinion of Chrono Cross that I do of Metal Gear Solid 2; I didn't care that Raiden was the main character so much as I cared that the game simply did not feel like a "sequel" so much as it felt like a game where storyline was made the focal point over gameplay, and didn't do anything that felt fresh, exciting, or interesting. Other people who are not me might think it's a marvelous experience, but I felt it was a marvelous pile of drek, and in the several years it's sat in my CD spinner, I've not felt the need to go back and play it since.

IOW, I couldn't give a crap about the heroic mime and his band of merry cohorts and, save for Frog, I hardly remember any of the characters, but the presentation and gameplay of that game made me a fan, and the sequel did neither of those things, so I didn't care for it. Much like Valkyrie Profile 2, Parasite Eve 2, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, I'd sooner go back and play the prior game again instead of the presented sequel, because I found the sequel to be wanting.
samuraiter
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
Other people who are not me might think it's a marvelous experience,

*raises hand*

Very different from its predecessor, yes, but I enjoyed it. I kinda have a thing for deep, murky storylines.
superbus
Jul. 3rd, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
OK, if they want to rerelease CT, fine. We have this wonderful invention called the Virtual Console that allows them to rerelease it in it's 16 bit glory. But no! Just $8/title won't do, they have to release it for FORTY fucking dollars, with just enough bullshit thrown in to pass as innovation. Just because sheep will buy it doesn't make it right.

And there's one thing I forgot to mention in the article that I might edit in: if I trusted Square not to come back three years later and go "OK! We've completely reworked this game! Here it is for $50! PS, fuck you people!", I wouldn't be as frustrated. But after Final Fantasy 1, 2 and 4 (and very likely 6), it's patently obvious they're just taking advantage of a fanbase that is pants-on-head stupid.
rantmaster_mark
Jul. 3rd, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
Um, not to be a dick, but you're forgetting about the installed user base.

The Wii has about a 20 million IUB, of which maybe half is online. The NDS has, worldwide, a 70 million IUB.

Given the choice between selling a product to 70 million people or 10 million, no one on Earth would say "let me sell this to LESS people" and to pretend otherwise is delusional if any other option were to present itself. Nintendo will release games on the VC because it's their product and they have to support it, Sega will do so because they already released their compilation disc and they can afford to dump said individual games onto a download service, as can SNK and Capcom and whoever.

If Square can turn around and re-release a game for $40 with the understanding that someone, somewhere will purchase it, and is more likely to on the system with more users, whether it's rampant douchery or not, it's good business.
superbus
Jul. 4th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
I'll concede the userbase point.

My column is named "Unbranding the Sheep" for a reason: I want to show users just how stupid they can be sometimes.

It oftentimes fails, and sometimes leads to backstage politics from wrestling writer faggots, but but it sure is cathartic, and does work on at least a few people.
rantmaster_mark
Jul. 4th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
Well, in his defense, you were shitting on the company he works for. If Best Buy had been paying me $100K a year, plus benefits, I'd be worried too if someone associated with my website started saying how much they suck.

Anyhoo, as a counter point, isn't there a game that, if it were re-released, you'd jump on no matter the price? I'd certainly do that with Snatcher. Deep down, we're all big kids (with money, now) at heart, and we love what we love. If a company wants another $40 of my dollars, so long as they give me what I want, I think a lot of us are willing to accept that.
superbus
Jul. 4th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
My job is to shit on companies that deserve it. I'm not an anti-fanboy; when company does good, I pat it on the head and give it a cookie. When company does bad, I spank it with a newspaper. I don't mercilessly pick on a company at every opportunity. If he's that worried, he shouldn't be associated with a third party website that has other writers. Fuck him and his weakminded, flabby ass.

But a company that does it again and again and again is something that I can't accept at face value. I bought Final Fantasy IV for the third time when it came out on GBA, now I'm expected to buy it a fourth? I bought Final Fantasy on NES, and gladly bought Dawn of Souls on GBA... then they come out with the same game with LESS options, and expect me to plunk down my money? I'm afraid if I buy Chrono Trigger V.3 - again, a game I've already spent $100 on in my life - will I be left holding the bag when the REAL improvements come in Chrono Trigger V.4?

Mind you, there are games, and some of them are even Squeenix games. DQIV? I'm all over that, with a side of chips. There are others as well; any game that says "Fire Emblem" on it is a given. Shining Force II and III, absolutely. Guardian Heroes? Yes, please. Earthbound? Fuck yeah. Basically, if 1) there's virtually no shot that I'm going to be told to buy the same game in a few years again, and 2) it's not something I can accurately portray on an emulator for a legacy system, then yeah, I'd buy it.

That's a major reason why, despite my misgivings, I'm going to purchase FFIV this time around (though Aileen is the major one).

Edited at 2008-07-04 04:56 am (UTC)
dmajohnson
Jul. 4th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC)
I bought Final Fantasy IV for the third time when it came out on GBA, now I'm expected to buy it a fourth?

Um... No, you're not. SquareEnix didn't hold you at gunpoint and force you to buy another copy of the game. Believe it or not, there are people out there who haven't played these games and have never had access to them outside of pirating the ROM. Heaven forbid a company give them a chance to play the game too.

Already got a working copy of the game? Good. Then don't bother buying the port just to whine about how you're being squeezed.

You don't want Chrono "ver. 3"? Then don't buy it. I certainly don't plan to; I've already got the PS1 port which, despite its shoddy, mind-numbing loading times, is more than enough for me.

Chrono DS is another buying option for those who want it. Keyword: option. Don't buy what you don't need.
dmajohnson
Jul. 3rd, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Chrono Cross was never retconned. Certain gamers just can't come to terms with the fact it exists. They live in constant denial.
samuraiter
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Must've saved up a lot of anger, 'Bus, if you had to bring Rod Roddy out. *chuckles* You already know my feelings on this one. Good article! One minor correction: You mean Tobal No. 1, I think; Udon: Tobal 2 was never released in the U.S.
yubsie
Jul. 5th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
Why are they making DS port when you can play the GBA version on a DS ANYWAY? (Other than the obvious "money" :p)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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