Vagrant Story is remarkable piece of gaming history. However, it’s often forgotten due to other world-changing franchises that were released around this time. Yes, we all played Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, Crash Bandicoot, and Spiro the Dragon among others. But many missed Vagrant Story. A beautiful, polished, interesting, and demanding game from one of the Final Fantasy creators.
If you’ve never played Vagrant Story, it’s a 3D action game with lots of RPG elements and puzzles. It would seem it had everything required for success: a deep backstory, a unique presentation, and a new and challenging battle system, pleasant visuals and audio. Just not the timing.
The creators, Square (now Square Enix) have done so well with this game, it’s a bit of a shame it never picked up any sequels.
Despite the fact that the game was released 18 years ago, it still has a die-hard fan base. We’ll only say this, whoever jumps on to make a Vagrant Story remake is going to make a lot of money.
Yasumi Matsuno’s masterpiece
The game is set in a fictional world of Ivalice. The world which it shares with Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics. This is not surprising as they share the same creator, Yasumi Matsuno.
Mr. Matsuno has been called a creative genius for his work with FF XII, but we believe that his best work is the Vagrant Story.
First, the action of the game takes place within a 24-hour period. You, Ashley Riot, an elite agent uncovered a secret plot to take over the city of Lea Monde. Can you save it?
The whole story is very deep, tense, and gripping. Something you would find in a bestseller book rather a video game. That’s why older players who have replayed the game claimed to have a new-found respect for the depth of this game.
Another part where Vagrant Story deserves praise is the combat system. It’s unique and well-polished. Even though this is a live action game, during combat you switch to a turn-based mechanic. At that time this was unique and for a game like Vagrant, it made perfect sense.
Especially because it connects with the slow-paced theme of the game. The game is frequently paused by different puzzles. Thus, a fast-paced combat would’ve probably brought chaos and destroyed the experience.
Vagrant Story – it’s all in the story
Vagrant Story is a forgotten gem from Yasumi Matsuno. The game does have a few flaws but in the grand scheme of things they are unnoticeable. The main advantage of the Vagrant Story is the incredibly tense story of deceit and betrayal. Matsuno being a World War II fan certainly helped.
But the presentation is also a key. Top-level art and cutscenes and storyline development. As we play the game, we slowly find out more and more about the protagonist and the world, the decisions that have to be made. All of that comes together brilliantly to make one of the best games not only in 2000, but in the whole history of PlayStation.