• Square Enix is known for their role-playing video games, including franchises like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.
  • Square Enix has revolutionized the action RPG genre, creating games with real-time combat mechanics and influencing other games in the same genre.
  • Some notable action RPG games by Square Enix include Parasite Eve, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

There’s no question that Square Enix is the most prominent developer of role-playing video games, ever since the days of Squaresoft and Enix. With game-changing franchises like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest to their name, this is the company that most players go to when looking for a solid RPG adventure.


8 Most Experimental Square Enix Games

Square Enix has produced some of the most beloved franchises, and some games were experiments of different genres, like these examples

Whereas most people may associate Square Enix with turn-based RPGs, the truth is that this company has also revolutionized the Action RPG. They have built entire franchises that feature some of the best real-time action combat in the entire industry, to the point that they even influenced other games in the same genre.

10 Parasite Eve (1998)

Resident Evil Meets Final Fantasy

The first boss fight in Parasite Eve.

Parasite Eve

September 9, 1998

Based on the novel of the same name, Parasite Eve is reminiscent of the popular Resident Evil series, but it switches things up by having a bizarre hybrid of third-person survival horror but with RPG mechanics. Oddly enough, it worked, seeing as this game has gained a cult following.

The player controls Aya Brea as she goes through a terrifying adventure in the streets of New York. There’s exploration, item management and unique combat mechanics, like the Active Time Bar or the Range Dome. Parasite Eve really felt like the best of both worlds.

9 Parasite Eve 2 (1999)

More Action, Less RPG

The Burner boss in Parasite Eve 2.

Parasite Eve 2
Square Product Development Division 5

September 12, 2000

Survival Horror , Action RPG

Parasite Eve 2 felt much bigger than its predecessor, but it was not without its controversies, since this game leaned more into the action part of its genre, while leaving some of its more beloved role-playing mechanics behind, like the Active Time Bar or the Action Dome.

What’s left is a solid action game that feels more like Resident Evil than Final Fantasy. It was even directed by Kenichi Iwao of Resident Evil fame. This is a divisive title among fans but, since it kept some RPG elements, like unlockable abilities and an EXP System, Parasite Eve 2 is still considered a solid entry in the Action RPG genre.

8 Secret Of Mana (1993)

The Original Action RPG

The Mantis Ant boss in Secret of Mana for the SNES.

Secret of Mana

October 3, 1993

Action RPG

Back in the days of the SNES, players would be delighted by the release of iconic turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy 6 or Chrono Trigger. But Squaresoft’s Secret of Mana managed to stand out from the rest, thanks to its innovative action gameplay.

Maintaining the top-down perspective of its contemporaries but switching it up by having real-time combat, Secret of Mana was a huge success among players, inspiring an entire franchise (despite the fact that it was technically a sequel). Its best feature was definitely the co-op multiplayer that let up to 3 players control the entire party at the same time.

7 Legend Of Mana (1999)

Improving The Formula

The combat system of Legend of Mana remastered.

Legend of Mana
PlayStation 4 , Nintendo Switch , iOS , Android , PC , Microsoft Windows

July 15, 1999

Action RPG , Adventure

While the fifth generation of consoles was renowned for the introduction of revolutionary 3D graphics, the truth is that systems like the PlayStation were where sprite-based games reached their highest point, and Legend of Mana is a perfect example of their evolution.

This game takes everything that made Secret of Mana so good and elevates it to the next level: with a bigger story, more detailed sprites, and, of course, a more dynamic combat system that feels much better on this new console. It even kept its unique multiplayer aspect. Legend of Mana is currently available on modern systems, yet it feels like it hasn’t aged a day.

6 Kingdom Hearts (2002)

A Genre Revolutionized By Disney

Sora, Donald and Goofy fighting Heartless in Agrabah.

Kingdom Hearts
September 17, 2002

Action RPG

During the early 2000s, Square joined forces with Disney in order to create a brand-new 3D game with characters that could rival Mario in popularity. The result was Kingdom Hearts, a strangely charismatic action RPG that was like nothing players had seen before, and it was the start of one of Square Enix’s most profitable franchises.


Kingdom Hearts: Hardest Games To 100% Complete

Some Kingdom Hearts games are really difficult, and that’s especially the case when trying to 100% them.

With Kingdom Hearts, it seemed like Square took everything they had learned from Final Fantasy and the Mana series and used it to create a thrilling role-playing experience with action combat that a wider audience could enjoy. Sora can perform swift combos with his Keyblade, use magic spells, team up with Donald & Goofy, and even summon other Disney characters, all in real time. And it would only get better from there as the series progressed.

5 Final Fantasy 15 (2016)

A New Chapter In Their Flagship Franchise

Official Art of the combat in Final Fantasy 15.

Final Fantasy 15
November 9, 2016

Action RPG

One of the best aspects about the Final Fantasy series is how each game can be something completely new and different from what came before, and Final Fantasy 15 was the first time this franchise went full-on Action RPG. Despite some development issues, this was a truly unique game that a lot of people enjoyed, thanks to its plot, characters, music, and its combat.

The inspiration from the Kingdom Hearts franchise is quite evident, as Noctis can fight in real time by summoning an array of different weapons. Later updates even added the option to control other members of the party, which was a breath of fresh air that kept the gameplay diverse. The incredible bosses not only looked impressive, but they were so satisfying to take down.

4 Final Fantasy 7 Remake (2020)

A Remake That Switched Things Up

Cloud wielding the Buster Sword in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake
April 10, 2020

Square Enix Business Division 1

Action RPG

For years, fans had been clamoring for a remake of Final Fantasy 7 with modernized graphics and mechanics. Yet, they were surprised when Square Enix released Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which wasn’t a proper remake, but it also switched from being a conventional turn-based RPG to an Action RPG.

Despite this sudden change in genres, Final Fantasy 7 Remake was well received by audiences because of how solid the real-time combat is. Players can now control Cloud Strife and other members of his party, with dynamic action, Materia management, an Active Time Battle system, and Limit Breaks. Square Enix managed to implement most of the classic mechanics from the original release into this unexpected remake, and it worked extremely well.

3 Kingdom Hearts 3 (2019)

Combining All The Mechanics Into One Game

Sora using the Double Arrowguns Keyblade transformation in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts 3
January 25, 2019

After many years of waiting, fans of this franchise finally saw the release of Kingdom Hearts 3. While it was not without its flaws, this was an excellent Action RPG that managed to combine all the best mechanics from previous installments into one tight package.

Aside from its dynamic base combat in real time, Kingdom Hearts 3 also featured Drive Forms, Shotlocks, Situation Commands, Flowmotion, and much more. As the closing chapter of the Xehanort Saga, it was evident that Square Enix wanted to pay homage to the entire series. On top of that, subsequent updates and DLCs added more incredible boss fights and new interesting mechanics that made this great game feel even better.

2 Final Fantasy 16 (2023)

An Action Game Of Epic Proportions

Clive Rosfield and Torgal fighting together in Final Fantasy 16.

Final Fantasy 16
June 22, 2023

Action RPG

Final Fantasy 16 was yet another main title in this franchise that combined real-time combat with classic role-playing mechanics. It was developed by designers that worked on some of the most influential hack & slash series, like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, and Kingdom Hearts. And it shows, because the combat in Final Fantasy 16 is a truly incredible experience.


Final Fantasy 16: 7 Best Eikon Builds

Eikons can be immense sources of power in Final Fantasy 16, and here are the best ways to use them.

Clive Rosfield is equipped with the powers of the mighty Eikons that let him perform a variety of abilities. It is up to the player how and when to use them to their advantage, which can lead to impressive combinations. The best parts of Final Fantasy 16 are its amazing boss fights, in which the player can control Ifrit in order to take down gigantic creatures. These are definitely some of the best bosses Square Enix has ever made.

1 Kingdom Hearts 2 (2005)

The Perfect Action RPG

The 1000 Heartless Battle in Kingdom Hearts 2.

Kingdom Hearts 2
March 28, 2006

Square Enix

Action RPG , Hack and Slash

Kingdom Hearts 2 not only managed to improve on everything that the original game did wrong, but its combat system was so amazing that it influenced the design of modern Square Enix titles, like the aforementioned Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 16.

The action in Kingdom Hearts 2 is flawless. Every single mechanic, like Drive Forms, Reaction Commands, or Revenge Values, works perfectly in sync in order to create a combat system that feels dynamic, customizable, and incredibly satisfying. Not to mention that the Final Mix version added some of the best & most challenging battles in the entire franchise, which are the perfect place to put all of these mechanics to the test. There’s a reason there are so many fans online that stream and speedrun Kingdom Hearts 2, even to this day.


8 Weirdest Square Enix Games Of All Time

Square Enix has released some pretty strange games throughout the years; these are the weirdest ones by far.


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