Square Enix, as a company, has had a lot of ups and downs over the past decade. This list is split between games Square Enix made either internally, through companies they published exclusively for, or own completely. These are all based on the aggregate Metacritic scores for console games, and there will be no PC scores or mobile games represented. These are also based on original releases and not ports, or remasters. We also included only one game per series and will focus on North American dates.
We wanted to actually see how they did with new games this decade. As a final odd note, there are no Final Fantasy games on this list. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers got a 91 on PS4, but it is an expansion so we didn’t want to count it. The best original Final Fantasy game from this decade was Final Fantasy XIII with an 83 on PS3. It is crazy that that was the highest and explains why no game in the series is represented on this list. Kingdom Hearts is the same way, with the third entry's PS4 version also earning an 83.
Anyway, here is what did make the list.
10 Best: Hitman (85)
Hitman launched on March 11, 2016, and was developed by IO Interactive. This review is based on the Xbox One version. After a few bad apples, IO was finally able to transform this series back into what made the originals so great.
They did it with style and ease of use, allowing players to tackle missions in a myriad of ways. Creating this as an episodic game may have been weird news at first, but it definitely paid off in the end.
9 Worst: Lord Of Arcana (53)
Lord Of Arcana released on January 25, 2011, exclusively on PSP and was developed by Access Games. Unlike the West, the PSP was insanely popular in Japan for one primary reason: Monster Hunter.
So when something is popular, clones are sure to follow and this was Square Enix’s answer. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. By 2011 no one cared about any copycats. Well, maybe they would have if this game wasn't boring. It definitely didn’t catch on in the West.
8 Best: Tomb Raider (87)
Tomb Raider launched on March 5, 2013, and was developed by Crystal Dynamics. This review is based on the PS3 version. Lara Croft is an important character in the pantheon of video game characters. Her games were groundbreaking at the time, but prior to this reboot, they were clunky to go back to.
This 2013 version blends elements from the classic series as well as borrows themes and mechanics from Uncharted and Metroid. It is arguably the best of its trilogy, although Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration did earn an 88 aggregate score. However, the sequel's original Xbox One release only managed an 86.
7 Worst: Bust-a-Move Universe (49)
Bust-a-Move Universe released on March 27, 2011, exclusively on 3DS and was developed by Taito and Arika. Now Bust-a-Move, as the name might suggest, does involve music heavily, but it isn’t a rhythm game.
It instead is more like a puzzle game similar to Tetris. There have been good entries in the series, but this launch game for the 3DS definitely felt rushed.
6 Best: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (87)
Dragon Quest IX launched on July 11, 2010, exclusively on DS and was developed by Level-5. This is the best game in the series, hands down, no question of review scores are necessary.
It was able to keep the classic Dragon Quest formula while also transforming it into a multiplayer sensation. In many ways, its features were like prototypes Nintendo then used for the 3DS. If a game can influence an entire handheld’s Infrastructure, then that is proof enough that this game rules.
5 Worst: MindJack (43)
MindJack launched on January 18, 2011, and was developed by FeelPlus. This review is based on the Xbox 360 version. This is a third-person shooter albeit with an interesting premise. Players are able to swap bodies in order to regain health as another host, get new vantage points, or even acquire new weapons or skills. To be brief, MindJack is bland.
However, Square Enix knew this idea was too good to let go, with this body swap mechanic reappearing in The 3rd Birthday, the oddly titled Parasite Eve sequel.
4 Best: NieR: Automata (88)
NieR: Automata launched on March 7, 2017, and was developed by PlatinumGames. This review is based on the PS4 version. The original NieR launched in 2010 without much fanfare, although it did amass a cult following and was more fondly remembered for its bizarre story rather than its gameplay.
At long last, a sequel was released in 2017. Thanks to Yoko Taro’s storytelling and PlatinumGames’ slick combat, the two creative forces were able to revive this cult classic to much appraise from both fans and the mainstream media. A sequel is assuredly on the way. Hopefully, it won’t take another seven years.
3 Worst: Left Alive (37)
Left Alive launched on March 5, 2019, and was developed by Ilinx. This review is based on the PS4 version. This might actually be in the running for the worst game of 2019. How dare they revive Front Mission in this way.
This is a survival game without the series’ iconic mechs or tactical combat. Square Enix must have released this as some kind of joke, right?
2 Best: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (89)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution launched on August 23, 2011, and was developed by Eidos Montréal. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were tied in reviews. Yes, this surprised us too, but this reboot is the best-reviewed Square Enix game of the decade.
Like Tomb Raider, this reboot took what was thought to be a dead franchise and built it back from the ground up. While the bosses aren’t great, Human Revolution's gold and black aesthetic, world-building, and stealth-action combat with an open-ended choice system made it special.
1 Worst: The Quiet Man (28)
The Quiet Man launched on November 1, 2018, and was developed by Human Head Studios. This review is based on the PS4 version. This game was so bad it shut down the studio. Okay, so they made games after this, but shortly after the launch of Rune II this year, they closed shop.
The Quiet Man certainly couldn’t have helped their stature. That said, it might be so bad that it is good. Don’t spend full price on it, but if it drops below $5, we kind of recommend it based on pure shock value. Just to be clear, The Quiet Man sucks big time.