Everybody associates Square Enix with the Final Fantasy series. Back in the PSone era, Square was in their prime for RPG releases. In that generation they released Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. During that time while Final Fantasy was getting all the attention Square released a few other titles that, while popular, never reached the same level of fame.
Xenogears and Vagrant Story were two of the best games released for the PSone that some people may not have gotten a chance to get their hands on. Thankfully, given a recent ESRB ratings update, it appears that those two titles will be making their way onto the PlayStation Store in the near future.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has been known to reveal games before their publishers officially announce them. It has happened in the past with games like Double Dragon for Xbox Live Arcade and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for Nintendo DS. Both of those game appeared in the ESRB database before they were mentioned by their publishers. Now Xenogears and Vagrant Story can be added to the list of titles outed by the ESRB, along with several other high-profile PSone games, including Legend of Mana, Ridge Racer 4, and Arc the Lad III.
Vagrant Story was an interesting game that had a great art style and story. The combat was more action oriented than other Square RPGs at the time. Produced by the team that developed Final Fantasy Tactics, it told the tale of Ashley Riot, who is framed for murdering a Duke. The game tells the story leading up to that event.
Xenogears is the one game of the two that, if you haven’t ever played it, you definitely should. I bought both Vagrant Story and Xenogears when they were released. I enjoyed both, but twelve years later I struggle to remember much of Vagrant Story while I still have fond memories of Xenogears. The story, music, and characters are fantastic, exactly what you would want out of a Square RPG. Combining philosophy, theology, and even some old Charlton Heston movie references, it made for one of the most engaging stories of that console generation. If you haven’t played Xenogears but enjoyed the Xenosaga games, you owe it to yourself to check out Xenogears.
Readers, do any of you have fond memories of any of these titles? If you haven’t played them before, are you willing to look past the outdated graphics of these games and give them a chance?
Xenogears and Vagrant Story, along with Legend of Mana, Ridge Racer 4, and Arc the Lad III, haven’t yet been confirmed for release by their publishers. Regardless, it’s a fairly safe bet that they will be showing up on the PSN store sometime in the near future.