In the year 2000, I was fully immersed in the world of PlayStation RPGs.A big pile of birthday money gave me the necessary funds for my games and the fact that I was still in elementary school meant that I actually had the time to play them. I was perfectly primed for Square's "Summer of Adventure."
The games released that year were an odd bunch. Chrono Cross remains controversial for being a less than direct sequel to Chrono Trigger, and Legend of Mana kicked off a long line of mediocre Mana games (though LoM has its defenders, like every Square game). Sandwiched between these better known sequels was Threads of Fate, which I had completely forgotten about until yesterday when I was browsing my PSN downloads.
So you can tell that Threads of Fate left a deep impression (ha ha). Nevertheless, Square last year solicited the opinion of fans in Japan on what they would like to see re-released next, and Threads (known as Dewprism in Japan) was apparently right at the top of the list.
I'm aware that Threads of Fate has a reasonably dedicated cult following, but I'm admittedly a little baffled at the attention. The original game was a middling platform action RPG that was mostly notable for its soundtrack and its unique approach to the storytelling. Otherwise, it wasn't particularly deep, and it didn't really stand out from what ended up being a pretty busy year for Square.
Outside of Junya Nakano's soundtrack, it’s probably best known for its storytelling, which takes aHexyz Force-like approach in dividing it up between two characters. Rue is an organic doll who questions his role in life, while Mint is a princess on the run. Playing as either one offers up a different point of view, and the "threads" can only be tied together by finishing the game with both.
In some ways, it could be considered one of the last of the "old-guard" action RPGs — a platforming offshoot of the 16-bit classics like Seiken Densetsu. The closest we've got now is probably Kingdom Hearts, which is actually probably a pretty close relation, now that I think about it. Beyond that, we mostly have Monster Hunter and its ilk. Action RPGs as we know them today have changed a great deal since 2000.
Beyond the history lesson and maybe the nostalgia though, the best reason to buy Threads of Fate is to encourage Square Enix to keep bringing games to the American PSN.That’s why I made the purchase a few months back. It'll be worth it if we can get other titles like Brave Fencer Musashi over here.
For more info on retro JRPGs, visit http://themolloyboy.blogspot.com/.