Here’s a list of my personal favorite RPG’s. I’ll count it down for you now.
5. Chrono Trigger (SNES/Wii)
When first playing this, I was rolling through SNES games left and right, having just finished FF6 and the Star Wars games. I figured this would be amazing off of previews and bought it, even though it was expensive. This game has one of the best intro’s and the best feature’s for New Game+. The music is great, if you like the 16 bit style of it, and the game play is fun if you like rpg turn based combat. I think that the tech abilities where somewhat new and the seemingly sparse combat options were actually pretty new to me at the time making it more cutting edge back then. However it is still a fun play through with cool characters and some interesting plot points. I heard there is a shoddy mobile to pc port just released so be sure to emulate the SNES or buy the Wii version if you still have a Wii, but stay away from cash in garbage that SquareEnix pushes out.
4. Odin Sphere (PS2)
I love the idea of a theatrical RPG based on warring factions. The different factions is what makes a game interesting. It stops the idea of one character or set of characters from stealing the show. In this game the focus is the retrieval of coins to bring a race of animals back to their true form. In the process we see a story of different lands fighting and heroes and villains being created and killed. There are a few very touching moments where I was almost brought to tears. The voice acting is really well done, but it can be a bit over-acted. If you buy into the drama it fits really well and feels great to experience a game with this much attention to detail put in it. I have the PSVita demo and it has a bit more action, but I have only fully played the PS2 version, so I have to recommend the PS2 version. The music is whimsical and emotional at times, with action and a grow system for planting that is original as well as a cafe for leveling up stats. Its actually really rewarding to save up for meals from the levels drops. Gwendolyn’s story arc still is one of my favorites and her scene’s of introspection with her spirit bird are some of my favorites in all of gaming.
3. Final Fantasy VII
Iconic, and anticipated with such great hope. My fondest memories being getting the game and reading the manual constantly for clues on who Sephiroth is supposed to be in the story. That might be lost now, but in the beginning it was really ambiguous for a while if he was good or bad. As a Final Fantasy game, I like this one more than 5, 6, 3 or even 8. The creative use of Mako as an explanation for character’s abilities and the state of the world was helpful in fleshing out a world that felt real. Also, the side games and quests are also a lot of fun and provide more back story as you finish them. I think the graphics where a little disjointed at times, but it really didn’t matter as the content was so good. I like the PC port on steam, its basically a HD remake with a good amount of respect for the original material. The in development “remake” should blow in comparison.
When I first bought my PS1 I bought Suikoden thinking it would just pacify me till FF7. Over time, I have played this game several times and going back to it, I am always am amazed at how “real” it feels. There is something about how it is written and how the music fits into the story so well that makes it seem so believable. It is just so entertaining to play still after all these years. I can’t explain why, but out of the 108 character’s to get, only a few seem like drop in’s for no reason. It plays on a lot of common themes, but there is an over arching theme of friendship and hardship during an uprising that makes this so great. I hope it never gets an HD remake, just pixel upgrades to make it viewable on nice tv’s. The perspective is silly, even for ps1 it looked like a snes game on steroids, rather than a next generation game, but had such well written characters and story points to it that it didn’t even matter. There is also a cool alternate game mode during war sequences that plays on the characters you have gained and used in the normal game mode. Character’s can also die and be lost if you are not careful, a nice feature.
Finally… #1. is Wild Arms (PS1, PSVita)
I have nothing but great memories of this game. It has so much going for it, that it is a shame it lived in the wake of FF7. There are only 3 main characters but they are so interesting and the world is so beautiful, with inspirational themes in it. I just have to place it at the top right now. I replay it and I think, it’s so great for simple reasons. The classic world map and the new 3d battle engine at the time made it interesting for a play on the classic 16 bit style of rpg previously in place. There is also some cool character development going on, the three main character’s have a lot going on. The best part I have noticed it it drives the plot with charm and being concise. I personally love how I don’t need a crap ton of exposition to keep things moving and keep things feel good too. I think it’s a personal complaint on games that use too much dialog in rpg’s today, that I have a greater appreciation for games like this that tell the story through game play. Also the game is challenging, as I remember having to explore the whole world a few times sometimes to advance the story. This can be frustrating as the battle rate is a little high, but the rewards are so great for the time spent, I can get beyond it. Usually if I do get frustrated at the game, I have to just get up and walk away then come back. The world of Filgaia is so interesting and filled with excellent detail that I always come back to it. Did I mention this was the first game I had that featured an anime style opening sequence. The music and graphics in it where very well done and I think still hold up well. If you have a PSVita, I highly recommend it, as the small screen makes the game look AMAZING!