One of my favorite things to do with XBox Live Arcade is to browse new games every 3-4 weeks and see if anything catches my eye. Well, I recently found a Square-Enix game that completely flew under my radar called Crystal Defenders. The game looked beautiful, so even though it was based off of Final Fantasy Tactics A2, which I didn’t like very much, I thought I’d give it a shot.
…And, it was a defense game. I don’t mind defense games; it’s just that they’re not something I would buy when I could always play any of the random ones on Starcraft for free. Sure, they might be uglier and have less character, but the gameplay is just as fine, sometimes even better than commercial defense games.
That point is moot, though, because the game was originally released for Japanese Mobile Phones. More importantly, Crystal Defenders made me realize something; Square-Enix has all but abandoned 2D RPGs. Sure, we got The World Ends With You, and judging by how no one ever talks about it, I must be the only person excited for the WiiWare release of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years (which comes out tomorrow, by the way!). But, this and Crystal Defenders has been pretty much it, apart from re-releases.
What’s even more obnoxious is that TWEWY was really good, and Crystal Defenders, while not something I would pay for, is obviously a well-made defense game. I’m betting quite heavily that FF4: The After Years will be a decent game, too. What’s bothersome is that Square-Enix can still make such obviously excellent 2D games (and yes, I guess I am implying that their 3D outings as of late have been sub par!). With our current technology, 2D experiences could be even more beautiful than ever, and there’s obviously a pretty large demographic that would be interested.
…But, I have to admit, there’s really no good reason to do so. 3D is the wave of the future, and it’s awfully hard to sell someone a hardware game for sixty dollars (and more in other places) that’s nothing more than a 2D RPG. Also, conversely, with our current technology, I’ve heard (as in, I could be wrong) that 2D graphics are even harder to make than 3D graphics. So, I guess this is just the ramblings of nostalgia.
What if I’m on to something, though? TWEWY was, in my opinion, Square-Enix’s best outing in years, even counting remakes. If FF4: The After Years turns out to be S-E’s next best game of recent memory, then maybe there is some merit to bringing the 2D back? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.