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.