Crisis Core is pretty good, and the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series is decent. The latest Crystal Chronicles for the DS was underappreciated as well.
I will vote Atlus, because I really really like the SMT battle system & monster combining system, and that the way Persona 3’s monster powerup system ties into its theme of relationships is just sublime…
However, I recognize that Square Enix never makes the same game system twice. They may have tons of sequels, but they all play a little differently. (Or a lot differently, like FF XII.) (Dragonquest might be an exception…) So it’s not like SE is resting on their laurels.
Chocobo tales DS was very good I thought (also see Dragon Quest rocket slime)
Atlus seems to take more risks: Riviera, Etrian, Contact, Izuna, not to mention Tactics Ogre back in the day - I’m glad someone took a stab at bringing those to the US.
I like Atlus’s philosophy more, but I recognize that I probably like the average Square game more on average.
Atlus delivered Persona 3, S-E didn’t. Atlus’ current dominance in the SRPG genre is not that important to me, but the fact they have a game on their roster that for once integrates mechanics with plot in a meaningful, well translated manner that has eluded S-E forever is enough. How hard can this be?
I voted Atlus because I’m willing to buy almost anything they put out. Yes I’ve been dissapointed but they’ve taken a lot of chances and I respect them for that. They have also given me some of the best times I’ve had in gaming. There are very few Atlus games I don’t own at this point.
As much as I love Atlus – and I do, because Persona 3 was -phenomenal- – I have to give my nod to SE thanks to the all the great games I’ve played from them for the last 10-15 years. Final Fantasy games have dictated my console purchases, and the primary reason I own a PS3 is because it’s the Final Fantasy machine. FF12 is one of the best games I have ever played, and I’ve played through it twice.
It’s close, though. Atlus has published some real gems, and I look forward to playing more stuff of theirs.
Both companies put out games I desperately want to play, and a lot of games I ignore on the store shelf. It’s just that Square as of late has a larger buy vs. ignore ratio.