Gaming has been a huge part of my life since the ’80s and it all started with a Nintendo Game & Watch and the Hales Astro Blaster. As I’ve got older it has become a passion. I love the escapism, the emotional soundtracks, the beautiful artwork and the fantastic story lines that really suck you in. I’m sure that’s why I’m so drawn to Square Enix; they encompass all of those in nearly every one of their titles. Preferring the JRPGs, I’m not into the likes of Hitman or Tomb Raider (greats as they are) and surprisingly I can’t for the life of me get into the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I see Disney before I see Square Enix and I’m not a Disney fan in any shape or form. One day I will try them again… maybe when I’m desperate.
So what are the games to make it into my personal Top 10? I know there’ll be some titles that old school Square Enix fans will yell at me for, but hey, what a boring life we would lead if we all liked the same?
1. Nier Automata
Nier Automata ©2017 Platinum Games / Square Enix
Perfection! I can’t find a single fault with this brain child of Yoko Taro. This games deserves its own blog post. In short, it is an audio and visual work of art. It is deep and philosophical, with existential crises awaiting you. There are parts in this game that hit you so hard you have to walk away and take a breather. Never in a game have I cried, no, uncontrollably sobbed, like I did in this. There are 26 endings in all, the majority being a bit of light relief. To truly get the most from Nier Automata you need endings A – E. Be prepared to delve deep into your own psyche and question yourself.
2. Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 ©2017 Larian Studios
Love this turn-based RPG. It reminds me so much of the Interplay games of old like Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment. Not surprising then to hear Larian Studios are making Baldur’s Gate 3 … I cannot wait! In my humble opinion, DOS2 is one of the best RPGs ever made. Absolutely anything is possible in this game; that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work, but you can have fun trying. The characters have their unique, quirky personalities and you grow to love them all for different reasons. Personally I adore Fane and his constant sarcasm. Oh and some of the insults are top class.
3. Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core ©2007 Square Enix
This is the prequel to the amazing Final Fantasy VII and the only reason I bought a PSP. It deserved so much more attention than what it got. FFVII:CC is the only other game that left me sobbing uncontrollably. Nier Automata got me at various stages through gameplay, Crisis Core got me at the end. The soundtrack is absolutely stunning. “The Price of Freedom” by Takeharu Ishimoto is truly beautiful. Zack grew on me. He went from being an arrogant wannabe with a somewhat unattainable dream to one of the most selfless people I think in the Final Fantasy world. I liked the combat system with its DMW (Digital Mind Wave) rolls. The only thing that did grate on my nerves … “Activating Combat Mode”. I can hear it as I type it.
4 – 10 in no particular order
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (I love the original but prefer the remake)
- Code Vein
- Final Fantasy X
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Final Fantasy XV
- Diablo 2
- Final Fantasy XIV
- Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night